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Tigers Release Gary Sheffield, Another Roster Surprise, This One Makes Sense

The Tigers have been busy making moves lately — both of which have been shocking. First they placed pitcher Dontrelle Willis on the disabled list with an “anxiety disorder” that was discovered through a blood test. Right. Then on Tuesday they released Gary Sheffield, whom they owed $14 million, and who was on the cusp of his milestone 500th home run (he’s at 499 for his career). Does this one seem strange? Weird? Shocking? Possibly, I guess. But the Tigers’ reign of offensive dominance (that had some jerkoffs picking them to win the World Series) hasn’t gone as planned and they need to change things around. That includes releasing Sheffield, who was one-dimensional and the least effective hitter in the group of big bats in Detroit.

Just look at the Tigers — they have guys playing out of position all around the diamond. Carlos Guillen, a natural shortstop, is in left field. Brandon Inge, a part-time catcher, is playing third base. Miguel Cabrera, who has no real position, is at first. Looking at that mess, despite the upside with the big bats, Jim Leyland needed some flexibility. If Guillen’s killing them in left field because let’s be real — it’s his first season playing the outfield — then they’re going to need to put Marcus Thames out there as a replacement some games. At that point, wouldn’t you prefer Guillen’s bat as the DH over Sheffield’s these days? I think the world of Sheff as a hitter and even I’d agree with taking Guillen, especially considering that Gary was hitting .178 with plenty of at-bats in spring training.

Then it comes down to Thames over Sheffield for the DH spot and since Thames is the better fielder and thus more flexible (not to mention less of a headcase), the move makes complete sense. And even with all the guys out there still unsigned (Jim Edmonds, anybody?) how do we know that someone will take a chance on Sheff? I know one thing: a pissed off Sheffield is a good Sheffield. I’d sign him. How strange will it be to see him hit number 500 in a Phillies uni??

Video: Indians/Tigers Brawl, Gary Sheffield and Fausto Carmona Fight!

If there’s one player in MLB you don’t want to mess with, it might be Gary Sheffield. The guy’s got a short fuse and already looks mean enough at the plate. He’s someone you don’t wanna piss off. Well, Fausto Carmona apparently could not care less, because after giving up a home run, he responded by brushing Sheffield back and nicking him with a pitch. The following brawl between the Tigers and Indians was the result. My advice is to watch with the sound down — you’ll enjoy it much more that way.

Thanks to contributor Gene for the tip. I think the best part was when Sheffield carried the bat the entire way down the first base line. How classic was that? I’m telling you, Sheff’s a guy you don’t wanna mess with. Fausto clearly wasn’t intimidated. Can you believe how steamed he got? I also liked Sheff’s explanation for the fight:

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Gary Sheffield Interview on HBO Real Sports

The audio from Gary Sheffield's interview on HBO's Real Sports with Andrea Kremer. Amongst the highlights:

– Sheffield can't avoid controversy
– Yankees treat black and white players differently
– Joe Torre called him out
– Sheffield took the cream and the clear
– Sheffield is not a steroid user
– Steroids are only injected in the butt
– He was controlled by Barry Bonds

It was quite a well-done interview on all ends. I really enjoy Sheffield for speaking his mind and providing entertainment. One thing though, just because he did not know what he was taking does not absolve him from having used steroids while under Barry's watch — just like it doesn't absolve Barry. You have to be careful about the products you put in your body and the people with whom you surround yourself.

Letting Bonds control him was one of Sheffield's biggest mistakes. Overall, it was an excellent interview.

MP3 File