Gary Sheffield and Barry Bonds shared a personal trainer, a drug connection, and one of the most ridiculous excuses ever put forth by any human beings, ever. Back in 2002 Sheffield and Bonds had a bit of a tiff because Gary blamed Barry for getting him mixed up in the whole BALCO mess.
But now that Bonds is on the threshold of breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record, Sheffield is offering an olive branch to the San Francisco slugger. Here’s what Sheffield had to say: “I want him to break the record so bad because of the way they are treating him. Barry transcended the game, Barry changed the game.”
Sheffield also calls Bonds “the best who ever lived.” Bonds is the best who ever lived, the best who ever lived during baseball’s “Steroid Era.”
But really, how much weight should be given to the statements of a man who took steroids and said he didn’t know what he was taking? Who really cares what Sheffield says, a guy who shared BALCO, Greg Anderson and a dim-witted steroid defense with Bonds?
Here’s what Sheffield has said about his involvement with steroid use – the clear and the cream – and his tenure under the tutelage of Greg Anderson, Bonds and BALCO. He says that he never took steroids even though he’s admitted to taking the both the cream and the clear. Here is Sheffield’s justification: “I don’t care what nobody say. Steroids is something you shoot in your butt. You know, I do know that.” Um, no you don't, Gary.
Spelling and grammar check really had a hard time with that statement, but I digress.
Looking at the honorable way that Hank Aaron played the game of baseball and comported himself during his chase of Babe Ruth, should we be surprised that Sheffield, a career malcontent and recidivist trouble maker, supports Bonds, one of the most selfish and unlikable players ever to don a uniform?
Keep in mind that Sheffield recently claimed that New York Yankees manager Joe Torre treated black players differently than white players, by “calling them out” in front of the team where white players were spoken to in the manager’s office. When Sheffield was reminded that the Yanks' most prominent and popular player – and team captain – Derek Jeter is black, Sheffield said that Jeter is “black and white” and when asked to clarify he said, “It’s just (he) ain’t all the way black.”
So this is the guy that supports Bonds. Shocker, eh?
I’ll tell you what would be newsworthy– if Sheffield came out and said that he felt bad that someone like Bonds would break Hank Aaron’s record. People would be shocked if Sheff expressed remorse for being tied up with Bonds and BALCO and came clean about his involvement in the sordid case which sullied the reputation of an entire era of baseball.
Certainly one can say that Bonds changed the game, and he certainly acts as if he is above and independent of baseball. But it can also be said that what Bonds has done has been a huge negative, a black mark, on the game — taking drugs just to pull attention away from other ballplayers and to break Hank Aaron’s record.
Let’s be real. That’s what this whole thing has been about from the beginning. From the time Babe Ruth revolutionized the game almost 100 years ago right on up through today, the home run has ruled. Before he sold his soul, Barry Bonds was already considered the best player of his generation and an all-time great. But that wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted to hit home runs and get some of the glory – and chicks – that went to the home run hitters.
Ty Cobb, John McGraw and other “small ball” proponents of the 1910s and '20s didn’t take the long ball seriously. Babe changed the prevailing wisdom of the game and became a cultural icon. Almost a century later nothing had changed, and if anything, the homer holds more sway. Forget the fact that Bonds was a great all-around ballplayer, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and a host of others were chasing the "Holy Grail of the Home Run Records" and getting all of the attention for doing it.
Barry didn’t like hitting half the amount of home runs of some of these other guys, hitting 35-45 when others were hitting 60-70.
Gary Sheffield, a guy who has been with seven organizations in 20 years because he’s worn out his welcome mat everywhere, is sticking up for another guy that nobody really can stand. Big deal. Totally predictable and expected.
Now that Bonds is about to pass Aaron, I really can’t wait until guys like him, Sheffield, David Wells, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens retire. Let them take their mouths, money, and whatever records and accolades they’ve collected, and ride off into the sunset. Over the years these guys have taken enough attention away from guys like Frank Thomas, Derek Jeter, Craig Biggio, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Ken Griffey, Jr., Albert Pujols, Dontrelle Willis, and some of the young studs of the now/next generation.
Now it’s time for them to go away. Especially Bonds and Sheffield.