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.

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22 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Yikes. I don't know what to really say after reading that. Easy to go a few different directions. I will say this about Sheffield, he has been known to burn bridges on the way out of doors where burning wasn't really necessary.

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  2. Sheff also brought up Jermaine Dye. As much as I would have loved to see Dye in a Rays uniform instead of Hawpe - and as a counter to the great left handed pitching in the playoffs - Dye also wasn't budging off his salary demands. The market changed and he didn't.
    I like Sheffield a lot. He is a Hall of Famer in my eyes. We need more guys like him to say what's on their mind. But I think there are few dynamics here that he misses.
    Of course there is the reference that race played a role, yet the Rays are one of the few teams with numerous high profile black players (Price, BJ, etc). Not really buying Shef's rationale.
    But also, there is no way Rocco should have been playing in the postseason.

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  3. RivalsTees says:

    Another example of bad sports radio in Tampa. Why doesn't he just say because he's white? Look in the mirror Sheff! You're an over priced clubhouse cancer! Rocco is the anti-Sheff.

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  4. Don says:

    Oh boy...Sheff said/implied NOTHING about race ...He is CORRECT on two points:
    1) There IS a good-ole-boy net work in major league baseball..and Maddon is the poster boy...Besides..Balki, you can take Kaplar, Purcy, Gross, Sonn.,Hawp. on and on...Maddon gets them paid...poor Sternberg...$ gone!
    2) Baldelli has NO right to be in a major league uniform..
    If he needs money or wants to hang around the team..fine...pay him as a flunky..NOT as a player..
    If there is any racism in Sheff statements its because the white boys/media brings it up...that what I'm saying..

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    • raysfan137 says:

      If you honestly think the Shef saying "Good Ole Boy" system multiple times was not playing the race card, then you're in denial and aren't commenting honestly either. That said, I agree Baldelli might not have deserved a post season roster spot. But let's be honest, something had planned regarding this all season. That's why they signed him to a special contract in the Spring. So when we comment on things, we don't have all the details. In either case, its not like Shef lost a spot to play because of Baldelli.

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    • cubfanraysaddict says:

      You're talking about roughly ~$10 million in salary with about three-quarters of it tied into one player. Seeing PtB w/ SF is at least proof that he can still be a productive player with the bat, it just shows that even the smartest front offices cannot tell if a player will transition to DH smoothly.

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  5. I have no doubt the Rays would've taken a flyer on Sheff or Dye if the price was right. The price wasn't, so they didn't. If Shef wanted to play, he should've came down on his price.

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  6. Pinto says:

    Aren't there 29 other teams in MLB? Why didn't any of the others pick up Sheff or Dye?

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    • KillaTapes says:

      Good point... Shef publicly declares that he wants to sign with the Rays, the raise can't afford him, and all of sudden they're the bad guys for not signing him?

      I always have liked Shef, but that's not the way things work

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  7. Tone says:

    We don't know what either Dye or Shef were willing to play for. What we do know is Rocco got a roster spot over Aybar, and that was sad. I was hopeful of Rocco making an impact, but he looked bad, and they are supposed to be able to gauge things like that. The fact he was off the roster so quickly shows someone pulled strings for him to be on it in the first place and after the performance and negative attention, that person was over ruled. Whether it was Maddon, Andrew, or Stu, we won't know. Shef could have had a point but he did not make it very well.

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  8. Beth says:

    Rocco was on the roster for one day this post season, so enough about that!

    And as for Sheffield, no, we don't know what he demanded price-wise, but any doubt that if he'd been willing to sign for the minimum (or, like Hawpe and Blaylock, sign a minor league deal) they would have take him? It's nuts to think the Rays would have passed on him. Weren't they thought to be in the hunt for Manny Ramirez before Chicago took him? Clearly they will consider good players who are cheap enough even if they are not the sort who would be willing to wear a Brayser (or could you imagine either Ramirez or Sheffield on the Pants Rowland trip?)

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  9. I disagree that Rocco never starred in this league, he was the best player on this team until he got sick. The fans and management loved him. The decision to put him on the team was because we needed a strong right handed bat. When he saw he couldn't fill that spot, he stepped aside any made room for Aybar. If Sheffield would have played for a pro rated $5 million salary, he would have been on the roster.

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  10. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    Doesn't matter now.

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  11. Billy says:

    Gary,

    Over a DECADE ago, you admitted you tanked to get out of Milwaukee. You, sir, are VERY LUCKY you had a job as long as you did...

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    • george strott says:

      I had part of season tickets back in the early ninetys when he was with the brewers and he did every thing so to make them trade him. Reminds me of manny with the red soxs.

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  12. Mike says:

    Sheffield had the opportunity to play for the Rays when we were bad but he wasn't interested. Now that we are good he is interested. He is a cancer not worth a roster sport at any price.

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    • Indiana Ray Boy says:

      I agree with you 100 percent. Not to mention, Cliff Floyd had no problems finding a job from the Cubs to the Rays in 2008 to provide leadership in the clubhouse and a veteran presence to this team. Sheffield or those hosts never brought that up.

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  13. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    This was the same Gary Sheffield was mentioned in the Mitchell Report in the BALCO scandal. The reason why Sheffield and Dye are sitting at home because they both didn't want to play for the league minimum and they were in their late 30's to early 40's. The Rays don't want a 40 year old steroid washed up player. The only thing I agree with Shef is that Maddon didn't activate Aybar on the roster in Game 1 in favor of Rocco Baldelli. As his thoughts on Navarro, he is just bad and can't hit at all. Notice that these imbeciles never challenged Sheffield on why Maddon started Desmond Jennings (rookie) in RF that played 17 games with 21 AB's in a playoff situation. It is not based on race, it is based on who you know. This 'so called' go ol boy' reference that Sheffield uttered is ridiculous.

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  14. Rick says:

    Has there been a time when Gary Sheffield didn't complain about something? His whole career he's been known as a whiner.

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  15. Sarah says:

    This is completely unrelated to Sheffield, but I couldn't resist reposting this from Big League Stew -- when will Selig start making noises (preferably in the middle of a pennant race) about how the Braves should stop making any new investments in their stadium because Atlanta just isn't a baseball town?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Photo-Braves-back-to-not-selling-out-Turner-Fie?urn=mlb-276210

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