03.31.09

First Rick Wagoner, Now This: Sheff’s Out in The D

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 12:35 pm by

Turbulent economic times, man. Bad CEOs, fading sluggers, pretty much everyone working in the manufacturing sector. No one’s job is safe. Of course, certain gigs are safer than others. Yes, even though he has 499 career home runs and is probably (I mean, right?) a Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield was released by the Tigers today. Sheff was batting under .200 this Spring, but it takes awhile to get up to speed at a certain age.

This is just true of people who already have their places in Cooperstown sewed up. Take, for instance, Hall of Fame honoree Peter Gammons, whom I like but whose softball TV interviews and rambly, ultra-positive writing work have him looking more and more like the baseball world’s answer to Larry King. Two weeks ago, Gammons dropped this bit of happy talk into a Spring Training roundup:

The way Gary Sheffield has gotten back his bat speed and leverage through the hitting zone after a year and a half of shoulder problems makes him look like a serious comeback of the year candidate.

This latest turn of events would, admittedly, make Sheffield’s comeback candidacy that much more dramatic. You know, provided he finds a job somewhere.

3 Responses to “First Rick Wagoner, Now This: Sheff’s Out in The D”

  1. Rog says:

    Gammons might not be totally wrong about any of this, considering that teams are also salary-dumping a lot these days. Either way, the Larry King analogy is pretty good, though I think that King’s diction and clarity surpass even in-his-heyday Peter Gammons. In that regard, Gammons is closer to Tom Brokaw.

  2. Jason Cohen says:

    I’m actually more worried that Sheffield will be able to get some team to give him an actual contract (however modest) as opposed to simply joining the best team that wants him for the minimum (i.e. the Phillies, already said to be talking to him after taking their own $9 million hit on Geoff Jenkins.

    I think it’s worse than rambling simplemindedness – these guys just pick up such “tidbits” from a (usually self-interested) scout or agent and run with them. I mentioned a similar thing on the Twitter – Jon Heyman writing about how great Tom Gordon, who has been recovering from surgery and hasn’t pitched in major league ST yet, is looking for Arizona. If he’s actually down there and watched Gordon throw on the side to make the judgment he should probably say so.

  3. David Roth says:

    I think you’re right on with this, Jason — there’s something of a gossip-column vibe about a lot of the really wide-ranging baseball roundups, although at least the gossip folk (parenthetical thanks to both Jumbo and Missy Elliot) credit “sources” or “friends” or “spies” or something that basically reminds you that you’re reading publicist-planted hearsay. Gammons’ roundups — and Heyman’s too, I guess — sometimes have this Cecil B. DeMille quality about them, like they’re trying to give you informed notes on every single everyday player in the Majors. Nice notes. Like about how fit they are or how awesome they’ve looked in Spring Training.

    It’s a nice thing, not a bad thing, that Gammons never has a bad word for anyone — I’m sure a Nexis account would turn up some hilarious stuff about “Brian Rose looks 17-win good” or “Greg Vaughn is in the best shape of his life” — especially considering his rip-intensive peers in the game. It’s just weird that he’s still thought of as a reporter. I know, he’s 60-something and has been ill and is by all accounts a nice fellow, and I don’t want to say anything bad about him, but this is just silly, and I think whoever plants these things does it with him because they know he’s a soft touch.

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