that word does not mean what Gary Sheffield thinks it means

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I think I finally understand Gary Sheffield’s particular, current brand of crazy. It started with the fabulous “steroids is something you stick in your butt” quote and Sheff’s unwillingness to believe the actual definition of what steroids are.

This time we got started off by a Boston Globe article where, among many other things crazy and potentially inflammatory, Sheffield said this:

I don’t prefer platooning here, but I understand because I got off to a slow start, that’s part of it, but I feel I’m playing better now. I’m back to being a threat I need to be.
Nick Cafardo/Boston Globe

Jim Leyland begged to differ:

“I told him that all I had here for him was a DH. If he did not want to accept that, do not accept the trade,” Leyland recalled. “I’m still confused by the article because it talks about ‘platoon doesn’t set well.’ Gary Sheffield never platooned here.

“Platoon is when you have a left-hand hitter and a right-hand hitter. One plays against right-hand pitching and one plays against left-hand pitching. That is a platoon.”

Leyland said Sheffield played in 39 of 51 games before going on the disabled list in May and played in 36 of the past 43 games, entering Monday’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Anybody that has a brain knows that’s not a platoon,” Leyland said.
Jayson Stark/

Sheff’s response to this reasonable and widely-accepted definition of a baseball platoon?

“I come in some days and I don’t play and some days I play. That’s platooning to me,” Sheffield said. “You might think it’s different. It’s not a big deal, but that’s the way I feel.”
Jayson Stark/

And now Gary Sheffield begins to make sense to me. It is now obvious that he has some sort of dictionary or encyclopedia which he can consult on the meaning of words and phrases, but this dictionary/encyclopedia is unlike anyone else’s. It is his own dictionary/encyclopedia: a unique, one-of-a-kind version owned only by Gary Sheffield. Cat knows where he got it. If we could get our paws on it, most things about Gary Sheffield would be explained. In this dictionary/encyclopedia, steroids clearly ARE something you stick in your butt, and cannot be taken in any other way! In this dictionary/encyclopedia, a baseball platoon is any situation where a player does not start 100% of the games!

In this dictionary/encyclopedia, a baseball ‘threat’ is a DH hitting .224 and OPSing .714! It all seems so obvious now. I don’t know why we didn’t realize it before. Why would Sheff INSIST on his crazy, sometimes provably wrong statements unless he had some source that he felt was reputable telling him otherwise?

The Tigers have put Sheff on waivers, which he will probably clear, because although his big book tells him that he is a threat and a viable outfielder, most teams will view him the way the Tigers do, i.e. as a fairly old DH who’s not producing much at the plate, with significant injury risk and a huge contract. Once he’s cleared waivers that means he’ll be trade-able. Whether or not the Tigers will be able to actually trade him is a whole other can of cat food.

Because Sheff performs best when everyone is pissed off at him, he hit two home runs in tonight’s (stupid, obnoxious, BULLPEN FAULT-FUL, JOEL) loss to the Jays.

I think the path to a successful rest of the season with Gary Sheffield is clear. Detroit reporters should ask him leading, controversy-fomenting questions every couple of days. Sheff will obviously respond with his usual mix of honesty, bluntness, and complete and utter wrongness. The front office, the fans, and his fellow teammates will respond by trying to trade him/booing him/smacking him with wet towels in the clubhouse. Sheff will slug .700. This is the obvious solution, folks and felines!

Apparently we also signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract. He hasn’t pitched in ages, so it’s kind of an ‘eh, why not’ move. We shall see what we shall see.

On Wednesday the Tigs face off against the Bluebirds again, 7:05 pm EDT. Should be Kenny vs. David Purcey. David Purcey has started 5 games all year and has been terrible in all of them. Like, worse than Kenny, which is really saying something with the way Kenny has been pitching lately. I am hoping for more of the same tomorrow. From Purcey. Not from Kenny. Anyways. Go Tigers!


12 responses to “that word does not mean what Gary Sheffield thinks it means

  1. librarymonkey27

    Sheff started cooking too late and talking too soon.
    he could hit is 500th Tater in the next four days, but it won’t help the Big Cats turn this season around and much of the blame is on all those Ground Outs and Pop Outs of mr. wiggle bat

  2. I tried to convince myself that trading for Sheffield was not a horrible, no good, very bad move but in the back of my mind I always knew it was a terrible trade.
    Why was it a bad trade?
    We did not get our own copy of “Sheffield’s Dictionary and Etiquette Guide 2008 Edition”, edited by Isaac Matthieu Crazinski. If we had that book Sheff would merely be eccentric and not fifteen cashews short of a party mix.

  3. I’m on board with this plan.
    And I love the detail on the spine of the dictionary. :)

  4. USUALLY I’m really annoyed when fans at Comerica boo a Tigers player (I was even uncomfortable when Jason Grilli got booed). On Monday night in the 7th inning I was totally behind them. You can’t say the crap Sheff has said in Detroit and expect the fans to still be on your side. Sorry, Sheff.

  5. Leslie Monteiro

    So what was your favorite Gary Sheffield moment?

  6. Casey on the Bench

    I wonder, what does ‘waivers’ meaning in Sheffield-speak?

  7. I’ve long suspected Shef does not hit well unless he’s angry. In answer to Leslie’s question, my favorite Shef moment, without a doubt, came early last season, when somebody – I can’t remember who – absolutely beaned him in the back of the shoulder. I remember the benches clearing, but nothing really happening, and then Shef coming up at his next at bat, hitting a long ball, and just giving the pitcher a really long glare before he set off trotting for first base. That started him off on his first (only?) great hitting tear as a Tiger.
    The last week or so, I’ve taken to telling my TV that he’s an old man who will never amount to anything ever again, every time he comes up to bat. Lo and behold, it looks like his bat is slightly warmer than it was before. You’ve got to make the man mad to get him to hit!
    I’m never in favor of booing Tigers, even if they give up the game-winning run like poor Zoom-Zoom last night.

  8. If it takes Sheff two thirds of the season to start hitting I’ll opt for another way. Maybe someone anyone will claim or trade for him, if they do I imagine the Tigers would shed that bad fur ball in a heartbeat at this point.

  9. librarymonkey, I don’t know if MUCH of the blame is on Sheff, but some of it certainly is.
    David, if you think about it, this could be part of the reason why Sheff has been on so many teams over the years. Nobody has the dictionary!
    PfP, glad someone noticed. ;)
    Phil, see, I support booing Gary Sheffield, not because he necessarily deserves more or less booing than some other people on the team (he may, he may not, that’s a whole other debate), but because Sheff evidently THRIVES on booing. It’s like adoring cheers to him or something.
    Leslie, I would have to say that the ‘stick in your butt’ thing was a highlight, simply because it was SO over-the-top wrong and crazy.
    Casey, we cannot know for sure unless Sheff himself tells us (since he’s got the only known copy of that dictionary), but I would guess it means something like ‘desirable commodity list’.
    heitk1le, that’s what I’m sayin’. Maybe we should have Paws standing on top of the dugout holding up, “SHEFF UR DONE OLD MAN” signs or something when he bats.
    Paul, I have a hard time believing that any team is going to claim him on waivers with the money he has left on his contract. Trading him will be hard for the same reason.

  10. I agree with this! I was at the game last night- we booed, he hit a home run. We got the whole section booing, he hit another homerun! Now if only booing could make Zumaya throw strikes…

  11. Siani, it’s remarkable in its consistency… and I think Sheff himself has said before that he likes playing with pressure from the fans. Of course who knows what he actually MEANT by that, but perhaps we can take him at face value every so often.
    Jeff, has he been saying race is a factor again? I haven’t seen anything, but then again I also haven’t been following it too closely what with job (finding) shenanigans and such.

  12. I am a true Gary Sheffield fan. It is obvious to me that deep down inside Gary is just a bit frustrated. A man of his integrity and education can not truly believe that race is a factor. HOWEVER, when a man makes a mistake, a Man should admit his mistake, say he is sorry for his mistake and move on. Any role model in any situation should take into account the impact his or her actions have and do play in the hearts of young minds.. and us old ones too ..

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