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Surprised that his GQ comments made such a stir, Sheff responded...

Sheffield criticizes baseball for not recruiting more black players

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield insists he meant "nothing derogatory" toward Latin players when he said recently that Major League Baseball found it easier to "control them" than black players.

However, teammate Carlos Guillen said he was happy Sheffield said what he said.

"I'm happy he said it," Guillen told The Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. "I'm glad somebody spoke up."

Sheffield said he was surprised his comments, which appear in the current issue of GQ magazine, created such a stir. The outspoken slugger said he merely answered a question about why there were so many Latin players in baseball as opposed to blacks.

"I said this a long time ago, this is a baseball issue. If they want to change it, they can change it," Sheffield said before Detroit's game Tuesday night at Texas.

"When you see a black face on TV and they start talking, English comes out. That's what I said. I ain't taking a shot at them or nothing. I'm just telling it like it is," he said.

Guillen told The Free Press that Sheffield's words in the GQ article rang true with his own experience as a young Latin player trying to break into the big leagues.

"In my first year, in rookie league, I hurt my elbow and I played DH," he told the newspaper. "In my first at-bat, I hit a double, and I missed first base. I was out, and they screamed at me."

"I didn't know what to say. If I had said anything, they would have sent me home. I was afraid to talk.

"That happens to every Latin player. They are afraid to talk."

Last season, only 8.4 percent of Major League Baseball players were black, the lowest level in at least two decades, according to an annual report by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. The report showed that 29.4 percent of players last season were Latino.

Sheffield's comments Tuesday were similar to those he made to the magazine, when he expressed his long-held belief.

"What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. ... [it's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them," he told the magazine. "Where I'm from, you can't control us."

In expanding on his comment about control, Sheffield said Tuesday, "They have more to lose than we do. You can send them back across the island. You can't send us back. We're already here.

"So there are a lot of factors involved you look at. I'm not saying you can tell them what to do and it'll be 'yes sir' and 'no sir.' I'm just saying from a grand scheme of things," he said.

Sheffield, the nephew of former major league pitcher Dwight Gooden, said the large number of Latin players "is a big accomplishment."

But Sheffield chastised baseball for doing more to recruit players from outside the United States than in the inner cities.

"The subject was players of my race and what we deal with and why they don't look in the inner cities for that same talent that they do in other places," he said. "[Latin players] have a backing, a support when they come off the island, and black players don't. As far as authority figures, we're only going to respond to people who care about us. That's what I meant by it."

While acknowledging that it's "a complex question" on how to deal with the situation, Sheffield would like for baseball to do more to find minority players in the United States.

"When you see Major League Baseball putting academies in other countries, obviously that throws up a red flag. You wonder why they ain't going up in our neighborhood," he said. "Bottom line, what I see, I talk about. ... I see it over and over. if anybody can show me I'm wrong, then show me."

Sheffield said he hasn't gotten any negative response from teammates or other players and doesn't expect any. He said he has gotten along with Latin and white players throughout his 22 seasons in pro baseball.

Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who is from Puerto Rico, told reporters to "just leave the poor guy alone" when asked for a reaction to Sheffield's comments.

Rodriguez then approached Sheffield, and the two shared a couple of laughs. Sheffield referred to "Pudge" as his friend.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland characterized Sheffield as a "total professional" who is popular with his teammates and is never a problem.

"I love Gary Sheffield. We have a great relationship. I don't agree with everything he says," Leyland said. "If you have different views on something and then you expose those views, you're going to be exposed in some controversy, that's just the way this is. I'm not going to tell my players what to say and what not to say. They're grown men."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn't want to comment directly on Sheffield's remarks, but told The New York Daily News in Tuesday's editions his own theory on why there are more Latin players in the game now than African-Americans.

"I guarantee that Latin American people play more baseball than any people, because that's all we have," Guillen told the newspaper. "You have more people playing baseball in Venezuela or the Dominican than anywhere, so there are going to be more players from there."

Guillen also told the newspaper that he believes there are more Latin players in baseball than African-Americans because players from Central and South American and the Caribbean can sign as free agents while American players have to go through the draft.

"It's not that they can control us; maybe when we come to this country, we're hungry," Guillen told the newspaper. "We're trying to survive. Those guys sign for $500,000 or $1 million and they're made. We have a couple of dollars. You can sign one African-American player for the price of 30 Latin players. Look at how many Latin players have won Cy Youngs or MVP awards the last couple of years, how many Latin players have been in the All-Star Game; it's quantity and quality."

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Like they talked about on the Jim Rome show on Monday. Gary Sheffield is not the person I want to hear his from, he is not as informed as others and cannot bring up as good as a reason as people who study this can. I want to see Gary Sheffield hit a baseball, not list his non-educational reasons as to why there seems to be less and less blacks in baseball.

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Like they talked about on the Jim Rome show on Monday. Gary Sheffield is not the person I want to hear his from, he is not as informed as others and cannot bring up as good as a reason as people who study this can. I want to see Gary Sheffield hit a baseball, not list his non-educational reasons as to why there seems to be less and less blacks in baseball.

Gary Sheffield is entitled to an opinion, especially as a black American male with a tough background. That homo Jim Rome's "education" in no way makes him more informed to make a call on something like this than Sheff.

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Gary Sheffield is entitled to an opinion, especially as a black American male with a tough background. That homo Jim Rome's "education" in no way makes him more informed to make a call on something like this than Sheff.

Wasn't Rome talking, was two black beat writers.

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Same story. Sheff is entitled to an opinion.

but he is wrong,, MLB doesnt look to black areas for baseball anymore because the black neighberhoods have shut down the little leagues in many cases due to the popularity of NBA and its culture in the last 20 years or so.

There isnt anyone to recruit, ,black kids are saying no to baseball and only want to play basketball 24/7 in leagues in their areas,,

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but he is wrong,, MLB doesnt look to black areas for baseball anymore because the black neighberhoods have shut down the little leagues in many cases due to the popularity of NBA and its culture in the last 20 years or so.

There isnt anyone to recruit, ,black kids are saying no to baseball and only want to play basketball 24/7 in leagues in their areas,,

I disagree, if baseball were made more available to black kids, more of them would choose to play it. It's ludicrous to think otherwise. Tell me, does urban America have enough places to play baseball? No friggin way. Hell, ball fields are even becoming scarce in the SUBURBS!

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He can have his opinion, but I don't buy it. First of all, many of the "Latin players" would also be considered black. Is the reason for the lesser amount of white players be because blacks were easier to control or because blacks were unfairly kept out of the game for so many years? The Latin players are easier to control because they won't speak up, but the Latin players succeed over black players because they have a "backing a support when they come off the island"? I don't think logic is Sheff's strong suit.

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I disagree, if baseball were made more available to black kids, more of them would choose to play it. It's ludicrous to think otherwise. Tell me, does urban America have enough places to play baseball? No friggin way. Hell, ball fields are even becoming scarce in the SUBURBS!

disagree? its a freakin fact,,

MLB is attempting to fund the little leagues that were closed down through lack of interest.

It wasnt a conspiracy, the black communities have stopped playing baseball. It used to be VERY popular for eons. It just dried up wit hthe advent of the NBA and sneaker campaigns 30 odd years ago..

Stop looking for a problem, ,the black community stopped it themselves,, the same % drop in Little league in urban areas shows the same % jump in BBall league participation,,

MLB is even buying the equipement in test areas thinking that may be the problem ( I am sure it contributes

), but they stil larent having great success. The kids just dont want to play basebal lanymore,, its the NBA or nothing.

MLB also thinks the lack of fathers in urban communities hurts, as LL has as its foundation, men/fathers of players teaching and tutoring the kids as they progress thru LL.

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disagree? its a freakin fact,,

MLB is attempting to fund the little leagues that were closed down through lack of interest.

It wasnt a conspiracy, the black communities have stopped playing baseball. It used to be VERY popular for eons. It just dried up wit hthe advent of the NBA and sneaker campaigns 30 odd years ago..

Stop looking for a problem, ,the black community stopped it themselves,, the same % drop in Little league in urban areas shows the same % jump in BBall league participation,,

MLB is even buying the equipement in test areas thinking that may be the problem ( I am sure it contributes

), but they stil larent having great success. The kids just dont want to play basebal lanymore,, its the NBA or nothing.

MLB also thinks the lack of fathers in urban communities hurts, as LL has as its foundation, men/fathers of players teaching and tutoring the kids as they progress thru LL.

A "fact" in SJ world maybe. Urban areas aren't being exposed to baseball. These are brand new generations without access to or influence from the sport. To say that the ONLY THING BLACK/URBAN KIDS WANT TO DO is play basketball is nearsighted.

Stop getting so friggin defensive.

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A "fact" in SJ world maybe. Urban areas aren't being exposed to baseball. These are brand new generations without access to or influence from the sport. To say that the ONLY THING BLACK/URBAN KIDS WANT TO DO is play basketball is nearsighted.

Stop getting so friggin defensive.

oh lord, i give up,, you are clearly looking for a reason to say its nots partly due to pure lack of interest..

they just dont want baseball anymore,, its BBall all the way..

it didnt used to be tha tway, but it is now.

Read Wilbons editorial, it speaks volumes, from someone who grew up a black LLer,,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041302316_pf.html

other reasons contribute,, the lack of funds and the worsening fact that black communiities dont have enough men that are willing to be community minded/LL coaches, let alone fathers..

but its till doesnt change the fact that there isnt alot of interest anymore..

can it be improved, sure, but never back to where it was,, some sport has to be king, ,and it used to be baseball afet rJackie Robinson era and was until the 70s,, now its BBall

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oh lord, i give up,, you are clearly looking for a reason to say its nots partly due to pure lack of interest..

they just dont want baseball anymore,, its BBall all the way..

it didnt used to be tha tway, but it is now.

Read Wilbons editorial, it speaks volumes, from someone who grew up a black LLer,,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/13/AR2007041302316_pf.html

other reasons contribute,, the lack of funds and the worsening fact that black communiities dont have enough men that are willing to be community minded/LL coaches, let alone fathers..

but its till doesnt change the fact that there isnt alot of interest anymore..

can it be improved, sure, but never back to where it was,, some sport has to be king, ,and it used to be baseball afet rJackie Robinson era and was until the 70s,, now its BBall

Dude, of course it's due to lack of interest, but the fact is that this lack of interest is a direct result of minimal exposure to baseball. If there were more opportunities to play baseball, more kids would be doing.

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I think your are some what right SJ ,I coached LL last season and I had 4 kids on my team that were colored But only 1 was Black american and the other 3 were from Haiti.

and I can tell you this ,the kids from haiti had no clue on how to play the game and their parents were unclear on the equipment but they were trying hard to learn (Which I was happy about) and the black american kid and his parents had eveything he needed .

But here in Fla it is BB and Mostly Football 24/7 so you are kinda right.I also tried to get other colored boys to play for my team but they all said "baseball"?? and Laughed as if I were joking or something ,Right there I knew Baseball for blacks was not the same as when I was kid not to long ago.I guess with the 10 or 15 years that have pasted they really believe that BB or Football are the only ways out of thier Hoods.Which is very sad especially when you witnees it first hand.

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Dude, of course it's due to lack of interest, but the fact is that this lack of interest is a direct result of minimal exposure to baseball. If there were more opportunities to play baseball, more kids would be doing.
and this it what I have to agree with also 80.you and Sj both have great points. But i think both your points are one in the same.
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I don't want to hear it from them, either.

What makes their opinion more valid than Sheff's?

They're more educated in this topic, or at least the people who study it are, way more then Sheffield. Gary Sheffield has never known what the hell he has been talking about, and this is another instance where he should've just kept his mouth shut.

Like L.I. said, blacks and whites too, are more into Basketball and Football more, they have grown more popular then Baseball, especially at the Middle School / High School level.

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They're more educated in this topic, or at least the people who study it are, way more then Sheffield. Gary Sheffield has never known what the hell he has been talking about, and this is another instance where he should've just kept his mouth shut.

Like L.I. said, blacks and whites too, are more into Basketball and Football more, they have grown more popular then Baseball, especially at the Middle School / High School level.

How!?! They're BEAT WRITERS, not sociologists. Sheffield's opinion is AT LEAST as valid.

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They're more educated in this topic, or at least the people who study it are, way more then Sheffield. Gary Sheffield has never known what the hell he has been talking about, and this is another instance where he should've just kept his mouth shut.

Like L.I. said, blacks and whites too, are more into Basketball and Football more, they have grown more popular then Baseball, especially at the Middle School / High School level.

How are they more educated in this topic than a guy who is actually a subject of said topic?

What makes you think a beat writer has studied this subject?

I hate Gary as much as the next guy, but I don't value a beat writer's opinion over his.

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How!?! They're BEAT WRITERS, not sociologists. Sheffield's opinion is AT LEAST as valid.

As I've said at least twice in this thread, not so much the beat writers, who cares about them, they weren't saying they were more educated and neither am I. I am saying I agree with the beat writers that OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE EDUCATED ON THE TOPIC should be the one's speaking. Not Gary Sheffield. Play baseball, stay out of trouble and shut your mouth for once Gary. Thanks.

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One thing that's being ignored is that it COSTS MONEY (a good deal of it, too) to play baseball. For inner-city communities that don't have much money to spend, $300 aluminum bats, gloves, baseballs, etc. doesn't make much fiscal sense when you have basketball courts set up already for you.

Plus, where exactly is the space to play baseball? Fields have been vacated and used for building space and trying to build new ones is darn near impossible.

It's a combination of a lack of interest, lack of exposure, and higher cost along with a multitude of other reasons that can explain why we're seeing less and less black kids playing baseball.

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Dude, of course it's due to lack of interest, but the fact is that this lack of interest is a direct result of minimal exposure to baseball. If there were more opportunities to play baseball, more kids would be doing.

I guess you didnt read Wilbons article,,

direct result of BBall popularity in last 30 years,, minimimally due to exposure,,they didnt have aexposure problem when babseball was more popular than BBall..

just read the article and realize it aint always the mans fault :confused:

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Maybe someone should offer our tax money to throw at the problem that wont be fixed.

So, what I am getting here is, the kids dont want to play, they dont have many places to play, and then blacks complain there arent enough of them in the majors...

So, how do you fix the problem Mr. Sheffield? Throw taxpayer money at the problem?

Maybe the black community should stop looking outside to fix their problems. Where are the millionaire black baseball players running in and starting inner city baseball programs?

Where are they?? Not in the inner city. They just dont care enough.

Stop bitching... come up with a solution.

Oh, and Mr Sheffield, if you were an executive of a major league franchise, what type of player would you want... one who will do what you tell them and will work hard to make it... or one who thinks they have worlds of talent and wont work hard for it or listen to coaches??

In every business, I would rather have someone who works hard and wants to learn and will listen to their superiors, instead of someone who feels they deserve everything because of their education or experience.

Please... just disappear already Sheff. I might hate you more than Bonds.

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One thing that's being ignored is that it COSTS MONEY (a good deal of it, too) to play baseball. For inner-city communities that don't have much money to spend, $300 aluminum bats, gloves, baseballs, etc. doesn't make much fiscal sense when you have basketball courts set up already for you.

Plus, where exactly is the space to play baseball? Fields have been vacated and used for building space and trying to build new ones is darn near impossible.

It's a combination of a lack of interest, lack of exposure, and higher cost along with a multitude of other reasons that can explain why we're seeing less and less black kids playing baseball.

Another factor when I was growing up was that you don't need 18 guys to play hoops or football. You can play 1 on 1 hoops, 2 on 2 basketball or football and just keep adding guys as they show up. For baseball/softball you need an organized game because without at least 10-12 kids you can barely practice.

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I guess you didnt read Wilbons article,,

direct result of BBall popularity in last 30 years,, minimimally due to exposure,,they didnt have aexposure problem when babseball was more popular than BBall..

just read the article and realize it aint always the mans fault :confused:

LOL... the man??? Are you that defensive? No one's blaming anything on the man. These are basic sociological phenomena.

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LOL... the man??? Are you that defensive? No one's blaming anything on the man. These are basic sociological phenomena.

i quit,, u dont get it,,

u r looking for something thats not there..

its more a desire for the lifestyle of the NBA then it is a money/ lack of fields issue,,

MLB had plenty of black ballplayers from Urban LLs before the NBA explosion

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Let's put it this way-it's a question of who plays the game. My sons ahve between them been in organized little league/CYO basbell in Brooklyn collectively for about 10 yearsa between them, and about the same for Pop Warner/high school football.

Think of Brooklyn as a microcosm. In baseball it spawned Lee Mazilli, Rich Aurilia, Joe, Torre, Willie Randolph,David Dejesus, Ruddy Lugo.

When my sons play football, there were tons of black kids on their teams and opposing teams playing, but few Latinos.

When they play baseball, there were tons of Latino kids on their teams and opposing teams playing, but few blacks. Heck, in the city parks where they play you're more likely to see Carribean blacks play cricket than baseball or softball.

Neither son has yet played much basketball. But knowing people in coaching and who've played Division I ball, that's always attracted black players.

It's just a reality. Saying that somehow Latinos are more compliant wiht management is really insulting.

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Black kids just arent playing baseball anymore for multiple reasons as Jetfan80 stated. BBALL and Football is more attracting, and little leagues are being wiped out. Off the top of my head I can think of 3 little leagues in queens that existed when I was a kid that are no longer around. The little league i played for is extinct too and it was a great league with tons of talented players every year. We almost made it to the little league world sesries in williamsport over 10 years ago. Today the little league is gone, and they built an elementary school over the fields. From what I heard participating kept declining.

Its ludicrous to think MLB teams would take a lesser talented spanish player over a black player because the latino keeps his mouth shut. If that were true Sheffield wouldnt be in MLB anymore.

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Gary Sheffield is entitled to an opinion, especially as a black American male with a tough background. That homo Jim Rome's "education" in no way makes him more informed to make a call on something like this than Sheff.

great, he's entitled to an opinion. so is every moron. the difference here is, this moron is getting a platform to broadcast his crap all over the country.

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