I would go play for them. It doesn't mean I'm going to be happy playing there. And if I'm unhappy, you don't want me on your team. It's just that simple. I'll make that known to anyone. ... I have to deal with what they dish out, they got to deal with what I dish out, period. ... You're going to inconvenience me, I'm going to inconvenience every situation there is.Such a class act. And this comes only a few days after bumping an umpire while screaming about being called out at first base. I've seen no news of a fine or suspension, though when "Yankee Bob" Watson is in charge of MLB discipline, current Pinstripers have little to worry about.
In his ESPN blog, Buster Olney writes:
[W]hen Sheffield is unhappy, he simply shuts it down, like flipping the switch on a motor. I covered Sheffield in his last days with the Padres, in the midst of their 1993 fire sale, and angered by the situation, the man stopped competing, like a 100-meter sprinter who decides he's only running 40 meters.Sheffield had similar attitude problems in Los Angeles, Milwaukee and Atlanta. Wasn't there some incident in which Sheffield admitted intentionally making errors while playing in Milwaukee? I did some digging on the internets.
Ground ball just to his left? He wasn't diving; ole. Runner at third base and one out? He wasn't worried about contact; he just swung as hard as he could, and if he struck out, too bad. ... [W]hen he wanted his deal renegotiated or when he wanted an extension and he wasn't getting his way, he went from All-Star to Also-Ran.
According to a post at Bronx Banter, the Sheffield quote appeared in the Los Angeles Times on September 1, 1992. About his time in Milwaukee, Sheffield said:
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.Sheffield later backed off, saying he had spoken "out of frustration" and innocently wondering "Why would a player purposely make mistakes?"
Times writer Bob Nightengale did note in that 1992 article that "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."
May have? ... Either he did or he didn't. There's very little middle ground.
Jay Jaffe at Futility Infielder has a lengthy post about Sheffield from last August which discusses all of this stuff in greater detail, including what the Brewers play-by-play data reveals about Sheffield throwing games.