Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Opinion: Sheffield doesn't have any heart or pride

ESPN reported today that New York Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield has no interest in playing in the World Baseball Classic, a 16-country event set to take place in March 2006.

The ESPN article said that Sheffield told reporters, "My season is when I get paid."

"I'm not sacrificing my body or taking a chance on an injury for something that's made up," Sheffield said, leading baseball fans to wonder if he is more concerned about the health of his body or the health of his wallet. Either way, Sheffield made one thing clear to fans: He has no pride, no competitive spirit, no heart.

Just a week after the International Olympic Committee voted to boot baseball from the summer games after 2008, the Yankees' slugger told the baseball world just how little he cared about an international event played for pride. He repeatedly called the World Baseball Classic "made up." Unlike the Olympics, which take place in the middle of the MLB season, the world's best players would actually be able to compete in the Classic because they wouldn't have to leave their team for two weeks.

Sheffield claimed that "a lot of guys" share his opinion, despite players like Miguel Tejada and Dontrelle Willis stating their support for the event the same day as Sheffield's remarks.

This isn't the first time this season Shef has whined about things that he doesn't want to do. When he heard that his name had come up in trade talks, Sheffield told reporters on June 29 that if he was traded he would gripe about "contract, years, everything. Other than that, you might as well not bother trading for me, because you're going to have a very unhappy player." He added, "If I'm unhappy, you don't want me on your team." Sheffield, by the way, does not have a no trade clause in his contract.

It's almost as though Sheffield wants the bad publicity -- as though he is angry about the lack of heat he took over his admitted steroid use (he went relatively unnoticed in the BALCO scandal as compared to Barry Bonds and Yankee teammate Jason Giambi) and now feels he has to make up for it.

As for the World Baseball Classic, Shef would have been better off keeping his mouth shut until the invitations go out and (if he gets invited) gracefully declining, stating that he would rather save his health for the regular season.

Instead he chose to make a scene and ended up looking classless.

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