Sheffield, Sheffield, enough already
Gary Sheffield’s attitude has overshadowed the entire spring training for the Dodgers. When I wrote an inflammatory editorial last Saturday, I covered all of my thoughts on Sheffield, an unimportant player. However, every day this past week, including today, Sheffield has been the subject of Jason Reid’s article in The Los Angeles Times. Today it has been reported Sheffield said he might struggle this season unless traded to the New York Mets, the New York Yankees, or the Atlanta Braves.
Gary Sheffield has been an important player for the Dodgers since 1998. During this period most people could not mention the Los Angeles Dodgers without thinking and/or mentioning Gary Sheffield. When Sheffield slumped, it was news. When he succeeded, it was news. When he criticized his teammates’ desire, it was news. When he found a new exercise program, it was news. However, this winter Sheffield did not make news. The Dodgers focused on improving their pitching instead of finding another power hitter to complement Sheffield.
Sheffield could see he would not get much attention this spring either. As in past springs, the Dodgers have many good stories, and Sheffield is not one of them.
Everybody’s eyes are on the new Dodger manager Jim Tracy to see if he can help the Dodgers reach their potential. Everybody hopes Adrian Beltre can recover from his appendectomy and play in 2001. Everybody welcomes back Ramon Martinez and Dave Wallace into the Dodger family. Jesse Orosco, 43, is trying to make the team as a left-handed reliever. Jim Morris, a former high school coach, hopes he can make the team. Chad Kreuter, Paul LoDuca, and Angel Peña try to prove the Dodgers did not make a mistake when they chose not to re-sign Todd Hundley or actively pursue Charles Johnson.
Sheffield could not stand not being the center of attention. He decided to demand an unreasonable contract extension. When Bob Daly said no, Sheffield demanded a trade. He insulted Daly and some of his teammates. Today when he threatened to struggle in a Dodger uniform in 2001, it caught another headline.
Baseball has no room for players with out-of-control egos. Gary Sheffield has demonstrated he wants attention for himself instead of helping the Dodgers reach their potential. If he struggles this season, he proves to the Dodgers and their fans that he is a spoiled brat, and the Dodgers were justified in not giving him a contract extension. People should ignore Sheffield, and probably he will go away.