Gary Sheffield appeared on ESPN 1040 AM following game 2 of the ALDS. And he had a lot to say about why he is unemployed and why the Rays gave Rocco Baldelli a job instead (You can listen to the entire interview below)..
On why he and other players that can contribute don’t have jobs:
“Because of that Good Ol’ Boy system like I’ve always said…you can’t even justify why a Rocco Baldelli is on [the Rays]. Period. He might be a great guy. Give him that. He might be a great teammate. I’ll give him that. But what is he doing to help your team win ballgames?”
And what is the “Good Ol’ Boy” system?
“A lot of players golf with their manager, general manager and ownership. And that’s that Good Ol’ Boy system. We get along. You like me. And regardless that you’re a terrible ballplayer, I’m gonna give you a job. We’ll hire you somewhere. And we’ll justify it at the same time…Absolutely [it's a buddy system], and if they deny it, they’re lying.
On what other members of the Rays feel about Rocco Baldelli:
Let’s keep it real here. I have no dislike for Rocco Baldelli. We are talking about other guys I’m speaking for and that will not say what I’m saying. Those other 24 guys on the roster…will bust their butts for six whole months to get to this point. And you just bring a guy who has never done nothing in the big leagues. Who has never proven himself. Has never shown he can be healthy, even when he was healthy. That’s what I’m angry about. That’s what I’m frustrated about.”
Two major points that Sheff missed (or intentionally left out) during his rant: 1) We’re not sure how Rocco qualifies for the Rays “Good Ol’ Boys” club considering he was drafted in 2000 and only played under Stuart Sternberg and Andrew Friedman for 3 seasons. It’s not like they had been together 15 years; 2) We’re sure if Sheffield would have been willing to play for the big league minimum, he would be wearing a Rays uniform right now. Somehow, we don’t see Sheff accepting a paycut $13.6 million from his 2009 salary just so he could play in front of his kinfolk.