Gary Sheffield: True Professional

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Is he a man misunderstood? A malcontent? A moody selfish slugger? It is no secret that Gary Sheffield is a powerful presence on the field. Just look at his stats over the years.

Yet it is also uncontested that he can also be self-destructive. How you see him depends on how you view him. You can take his reputation at face value or you can try to understand him. It is no secret that many view him as a disruptive force. First you have to judge him with a clear head.

Try and forget for the moment all the rumors and innuendoes. Essentially you have to either sit with him more than once to agree with the opinions of others—or you open your mind and form your own opinion. Sheffield has enormous talent that has reflected his performance on the field.

He has at times put up MVP like numbers and has been a focal team leader on some mediocre teams as well. He can carry a team on his back and lead them to the head of the pack. Is he at times outspoken?

Yes. Can it be that he’s outspoken because he realizes that due to his position as one of the best ballplayers in the game the retaliation will be minimal? Or is it that the media will crucify him more easily than a white ball player? Whichever way you choose, you have to look at his relationship with the other ballplayers in the clubhouse.

Everywhere he has played, he has garnered the respect of his fellow players. He speaks his mind and tells it like it is; which is something the mainstream media criticizes him for. Of course media love him when it benefits their needs. Many times players of color who speak their mind are miscast as malcontents. In this case, that label would be wrong. Sheffield is person who enjoys playing baseball and enjoys his personal life.

He is like many other players who work hard to achieve and keep his respect with his fellow peers, coaches and managers. He is private in his personal life and gives as much respect as he gets. He is a feared competitor who has earned the right to speak what he feels, and to be treated fairly.

To call him anything else other than a true professional would be sacrilegious. Deeply religious and always available for charity work, Sheffield has earned in this writer’s eyes much respect. He is a man who works very hard to stay at the top of his game and should have all the negative labels stripped away.

In Sheffield you get a professional who tells it like it is and does not mince words. It is about time that someone like Sheffield is given the credit he deserves and the respect he has earned.

He is a gentleman who communicates well not only with his peers but the fans as well. He slugs on the field and plays whether he is hurt or not—and gives the game his all. You can count on Sheffield to answer questions about the game anytime. He is ready to carry the Yankees on his back with help from his teammates to lead the Yankees to the promise land. Watch this year as he slugs away at opposing pitchers and puts up MVP type numbers again.

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