Gary Sheffield Says He Doesn’t Watch Baseball Anymore

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Former MLB star Gary Sheffield says he doesn’t watch baseball anymore because he doesn’t like what he sees. And speaking as his first son, I can’t detect any lies. And who can blame him? The game stinks right now.

The nine-time All-Star was asked about black representation and why it’s dwindled since his debut in 1988.

“During my era, we had superstars that wouldn’t step up. I was a player that spoke up about things, and I wasn’t speaking about them just to cause problems.”

Sheffield is defending himself a bit here, and who can really blame him? I witnessed my father voice frustration over the way he was covered for years when all he did was speak on issues he cared about. Not everyone who speaks out is an expert, but at least you can respect their opinions.

The writers of baseball unfortunately labeled him as “problematic” and “cancerous” when nearly every teammate he ever played with would disagree.

But lets dive into his remarks further

He was asked what needs to happen to promote change in this sport.

“Well for one, you can start advertising more to African Americans,” Sheffield said. “You can start putting (black players) in a more positive light.”

He’s actually right, and I’ll explain why. When a black player, like White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, shows personality in the game, people say he’s disrespecting the sport, a hot dog, or that he deserves to get drilled in his next at-bat. Isn’t that exactly how Anderson was covered the past two seasons? Of course it is, and all the sport did by failing to protect a strong personality is scare minorities away.

And I know this might be a touchy subject for most, but minorities play the game differently than white players. When Ricky Henderson was popping his collar around first base after going 450 feet to left field — the game was more fun to watch. The sport was inadvertently advertising for more players to be themselves on the field, and that naturally draws people of all races to the game.

“Major League baseball probably does the worst job of marketing the game of any sport,” Sheffield continued.

Can anyone argue against that? MLB suspends players for showing personality and fails to promote the league to minority communities, yet they expect minority players? Not saying we need a quota in any sport, but any game all races want to play will end up in better shape.

For now, we’re watching a bunch of Frankenstein personalities strike out or hit homers. It’s boring, so maybe Major League Baseball should bring my dad in for some advice. He may not know everything, but he absolutely wants to see the sport succeed. After all, the game afforded him an unimaginable life.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. Ok, so here’s my thoughts. Let’s extrapolate the “let them show personality.” I’m assuming you’re talking about showboating and stuff after a big hit/HR? Like bat flips and poppin collars. Pitchers should just take the showboating and disrespect, right? Along the lines of “if he doesn’t want me flipping my bat, he should pitch better.” Right?

    So let’s flip it. What if pitchers and catchers started showboating after strikeouts? Those are big plays also. Do you know how many fights there would be? If a catcher threw the ball back yelling “that’s what I’m talking about! Struck him out!!! He can’t hit you!!” Or the pitcher yell “That’s right! You can’t hit me!! Better swing that bat faster to catch up with me!!” Considering batters fail over 66% of the time usually, you’d be asking the batters to take an awful lot of “personality.”

    It’s a slippery slope. Do you think minority players could take such disrespect, errr, i mean personality? Because it would be highly disrespectful behavior by the pitchers and catchers. Uhhh I mean, it’d be an awful lot of personality being shown.

    A simpler solution would be to play the game and act like you’ve been there before.

  2. I agree with Gary about baseball being pretty robotic and if anyone shows personality those ‘oldschool’ guys seem to think that deserves a plunking to the ribs. I didn’t find offense when Jose Bautista bat flipped because that was a big moment.

    One of the reasons I like watching Trevor Bauer’s youtube channel is as a pitcher he’s totally cool with batters showing some emotion as long as he’s allowed to do the same with big strikeouts.

  3. It’s too much to expect these GROWN-ASS MEN to be ADULTS and act as such. Whether it’s over-showboating or over-reacting to someone showboating, I’m sick of the discussion and the on-field mobs over it. Everybody mind your own goddamn business and stop worrying so much what the other guy does when YOU mess up.

  4. Always really enjoyed in person when I went to Dodger Stadium a truly magical place but watching on tv can’t do it too slow and boring and unfortunately not watching at all after the all star move fiasco kee p the damn politics out of sports

  5. A LOT of things are wrong with baseball right now. The HR or K mentality of the hitters. The economics of it. Trevor Bauer in the off season signed with the Dodgers. How many teams honestly had the ability to sign him? 5 teams?

  6. I grew up when black players represented about 15%-20% of the league. I miss the Dave Parkers, the Willie McCovey’s, the Bo Jackson’s, the Willie Wilson’s, the Ozzie Smith’s, the Reggie Jackson’s…I could go on. But today, black kids are drawn to football & basketball…baseball is considered slow & boring to today’s youngsters, white & black. How much MLB is at fault for its marketing efforts in the black community is debatable. Without parents, other relatives or mentors guiding kids to play baseball, it’ll be tough to change.

  7. I agree that Gary was demonized by the media. Every team and almost every player disagreed that he was a cancer. But I disagree that advertising isn’t including blacks. That’s nonsense. MLB is just bad at marketing and making decisions as evidenced by their ASG decision.

    I’m okay with shows of emotion, but as many have pointed out, it goes both ways. Expect some “disrespect” from pitchers especially in the AL. Success rates for pitchers is a lot higher than for hitters.

  8. Seems I remember WokeCenter taking shots at Sheffield back in the day. I didn’t care. I still wore my Marlins Sheffield jersey.

    I think we know how this plays out in today’s climate. WokeCenter will keep tabs of how long emotion is displayed by some players and who was on the receiving end of said emotion. Then we’ll see an info graphic that reads, “Why does [insert white pitcher] show emotion .3 sec longer when striking out batters of color vs white batters? Is there a white supremacy problem in MLB?”

    I’m ok with a little unloosening of the collar, but I question the timing. If you want to start somewhere, how about ditching some of the unwritten rules of baseball.

  9. perhaps adjacent to Gary Jr’s point – there were times when I felt that Cam Newton was covered unfairly by the national media. chief offender in this regard was none other than Paul Finebaum.

    people talked about Cam having a bad attitude as if being emotionally invested in the game was a somehow a net negative. Never thought that was fair. As a Panthers fan I was thrilled to have him in this small market. Still thankful for all the highlights and the incredible 2015 run

  10. How about just playing the fucking game and let the drama and beauty inherent in the game itself speak for itself? we are the fans. we understand what is important or not. and how to react to it. the NFL is a prime example of showboating for no reason – making a tackle, etc. if players want to express themselves, make a fucking play worth acknowledging and we’ll thank you with our presence, applause, cheers, and money.

  11. I was in college in 2004 and doing sports radio. There were at least 2 or 3 stories a year I would find about white players taking baseball scholarships at HBC’s because they could not find enough black players that wanted to play baseball. I even remember a story linked to that where black players said when they were in high school they were made fun of by other black kinds for playing a “white man’s sport.” I’m not saying representation wouldn’t help, but as always there is more to these complex issues than what is on the surface. Love your work though Gray. Keep it up and keep us thinking.

    • Speaking on that topic alone I’ve watched more college baseball than ever before and I’m struck by the teams being seemingly 90% white guys. I’m sure that isn’t completely true but there sure seems to be a lack of color. I’ve heard that it’s a struggle to find black kids that would rather play baseball than basketball or football.

  12. I have to disagree. Ken Griffey Jr had the biggest marketing machine short of Michael Jordan back in the 90s. I even owned Ken Griffey shoes and didn’t even play baseball. The reality is that black kids are drawn to different sports. Russel Wilson and Kyler Murray went the football route.

    That being said, there are tons of black latin players in the league who provide a ton of flare, Juan Soto comes to mind.

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