Major League Baseball has asked the Yankees to open the 2004 season in Japan. What a homecoming for Godzilla, huh?
Meanwhile, the other Matsui, Kaz, is headed for the States. But he doesn't look like a fit for the Bronx. Not if Boss George gets his man Sheffield. Sheffield is a borderline Hall of Famer who is coming off his greatest season. But he has a history of being a headache too. Reader John Litt sent me an e-mail yesterday hoping beyond hope that Sheffield doesn't wind up in pinstripes:
"Please, please, please, please, please, not Gary Sheffield. Gary Sheffield disgraced the game, disgraced it in a way that few players have, and was never punished, never apologized. These are Gary Sheffield's words about his time in Milwaukee:
"The Brewers brought out the hate in me. I was a crazy man. . . . I hated
everything about the place. If the official scorer gave me an error, I didn't think was an error, I'd say, `OK, here's a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose.' "
That's from an article in the LA Times by Bob Nightengale on 9/1/92, quoting a previous article. Nightengale goes on to talk about Brewers' fans "mistakenly believing that Sheffield's quote was an admission that he wasn't performing up to his ability." Excuse me? I don't know how else to read the original quote.
Nightengale's article continues, "Sheffield said Monday: 'What I said was out of frustration. They want to take something and run with it. Why would a player purposely make mistakes? I'd never do anything to hurt the team. You get paid to play.' Sheffield said the only time he may have made an error purposely out of anger was when he was in the Brewer minor-league system."
...The fact that it was a decade ago really doesn't matter to me. And furthermore, it was only a couple of years ago that he demanded a trade from LA because he wasn't happy there, either. He not only demanded a trade, but it basically had to be to Atlanta or New York, so he could be closer to his family. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers traded him; after all, we know what Gary Sheffield can do if he's unhappy.
I don't want this guy on my team. I don't care how he hits. Not now, not ever. Please, please, please, please, please.
I think that Sheffield would be fine in New York for a brief period of time. If he remains healthy, he should be productive as well. But I can understand why John wouldn't want him around.