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.
🎙 Former #MakeItMajor star Gary Sheffield says that he doesn’t watch the sport anymore because he’s disappointed in what he sees.— CBS Sports Radio (@CBSSportsRadio) April 17, 2021
❓Do you believe the sport’s young stars can turn the game around?
📡 @SIRIUSXM 206 pic.twitter.com/Q3P2zDzj8n
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.
Tim Anderson goes deep on the first pitch of the game! pic.twitter.com/ecNu46J7dq— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 18, 2021
“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.