"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, R-E-T-I-R-E-M-E-N-T

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In this confusing, turbulent world of unceasing change, it is always reassuring to know that a few precious things will always stay the same. Among these rocks in the surf  is Gary Sheffield, who as you may recall is 42 years old now and did not play last year, but met with Joe Madden at the Winter Meetings to explore the idea of making a comeback with the Rays. Apparently the Rays never followed up on this, with the result that Sheff is “99.9%” sure he’ll retire, and also, of course, is feeling “a little disrespected.”

As you’ll probably recall, Gary Sheffield feels disrespected when the wind blows, or when a bunny looks at him the wrong way. Not to get all Psych 101 on you but I always figured that was how he kept himself motivated. And I imagine he could be a real headache to manage, but I always loved watching the man hit. He had the perfect at-bat music the last year or two of his Yankee career (Ludacris’s “Move, Bitch,” a song I often wish I could blast while trying to push through the thick swarms of slow tourists outside my office building), and it would pump up the crowd while hapless third-base coaches and players cowered as far from the likely path of his scalded liners as they respectably could.

If this is the end for Sheff I wish him all the best, and I hope he finds a good post-playing outlet for all that competitiveness and bad-ass energy.


1 Diane Firstman   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:16 pm
2 Will Weiss   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:18 pm

[1] Ugh .. this offseason has gone the way of the Schlitter.

3 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:28 pm

[2] Schlitt happens.

Honestly, its getting harder and harder for me to see a path to victory for the 2011 team. And aside from the pointless and mind boggling Feliciano deal, its not even because the Yankees did something *wrong* this off season. Maybe they'll put a rabbit out of the hat, maybe they'll get a number two starter mid season, but the deck is very stacked at this point. *

*That doesn't mean I'll be happy with an 87 win third place season. Anything short of a World title is still a failure. It just might be an expected failure this year.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:34 pm

[0] I'm with you re: Sheff, Emma. Fuggin' great right-handed hitter. Loved his at-bats.
If we suckers who hold office jobs could only go about our business like Sheffield - for just one day - there'd be a lot less passive-agressive b.s. in cubicleworld. Alas, menacing swagger doesn't play among pansy-asses who type words like alas.

Respect to ya, Sheff, as always.

5 Will Weiss   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:38 pm

[4] Some of us, do, sir. Although, you do have to admit that Sheff is an extreme personality when it comes to his behavior at the point he decides his employer is disrespecting him.

I will say this, though: Covering the Yankees while he was on the team was fun. As much of a badass as he was, he treated the writers with respect and understood the media game as well as any outsider who's had to fit into that clubhouse.

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:44 pm

Unless you stare down your colleagues, waggle that briefcase, and establish your swinging radius in cublicleworld, you ain't goin about your business Sheff-style.

7 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:45 pm

And to be fair, Maddon (or someone) probably could have called him back and let him know they wouldn't need him. I do think he's reached the point where you can extend him that little courtesy.

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 7, 2011 12:51 pm

[5] I've read that about Sheff and the writers. You think he might have just been jockeying for Hall of Fame votes, or did he actually enjoy rapping with the writers?

9 Emma Span   ~  Jan 7, 2011 1:19 pm

[8] I only overlapped very with Sheffield briefly in the locker room, but it didn't seem like jockeying to me. I think he just liked to speak his mind.

10 vockins   ~  Jan 7, 2011 1:32 pm

I really enjoyed watching him bat. The whole schtick was perfect - the bat waggle, the hard fouls to left, the overswings where he'd have to put his bat into the ground to catch himself.

The July 14, 2005 game where Schilling was coming off of the ankle injury in relief, after weeks of protracted Schilling B.S., and Sheff drove the ball into the Green Monster - BANG - holy crap that was awesome.

Love the guy.

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Jan 7, 2011 2:11 pm

[5] Sorta like Jeter felt disrespected when he was *only* offered $45m?

I loved Sheff. And I didn't think he was that bad.
I'd be interested to go into a parallel universe and see what type of feedback Sheff would have gotten if he was White.

A lot of people don't like a white guy with a big mouth.
But a LOT of people really, really don't like a Black guy with a big mouth.

12 bp1   ~  Jan 7, 2011 2:53 pm

[10] Yep, one of those great moments. The place was going bananas when Schilling came into the game, but that didn't last too long. Didn't A-Rod hit a home run right after Sheff, and then Mariano locked down the 9th by striking out Papi and Manny?

Wish I had that game on tape.

13 vockins   ~  Jan 7, 2011 2:59 pm

[12] ARod homered on the first pitch. Mo got Damon, Renteria, and Ortiz to end the game.

14 NYYfan22   ~  Jan 7, 2011 3:41 pm

[6] classic.

15 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jan 7, 2011 3:44 pm

[12] I remember that game! Sheff and A-Rod hit two of the hardest balls you could ever see. Was beautiful watching that off Schilling.

16 Raf   ~  Jan 7, 2011 4:34 pm

Sheff played hard, he played hurt, I had no issue with him when he was here. He offered to play 3b after Boone got hurt, he played 1st base when he came back in 2006. I wish he would've given playing 1b a little more thought.

Things may not have ended well in NY, and he said some dumb things after traded, but with Sheffield you take the good with the bad.

17 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jan 7, 2011 5:41 pm

He did play 3rd in the game where Jeter dove into the stands and then had to leave. Might have even had a putout.

18 NoamSane   ~  Jan 7, 2011 6:21 pm

Re: Sheff's Ludacris at-bat music
I clicked over to the YouTube video linked and found this bit of brilliance among the highest rated comments:

"this is the song of a visionary
bitches do need to get out the way
Ludacris knew this in 2001
and now, in 2011 (almost) is society starting to realize the truth to this song"

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver