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Gary Sheffield was one of the most feared players at bat during his more than 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, but the nine-time All-Star recently revealed that he doesn’t even watch anymore because he’s “disappointed” in how the game has developed.
Sheffield, 52, told CBS Sports Radio on Friday that the only time he watched baseball was when he was “forced” to do so while working as an analyst for TBS.
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“I don’t watch baseball at all,” he said. “I was kind of forced to watch baseball because I was working with TBS.”
He continued: “I’ll tell you the secret now: I never watched the games during the season. I would get educated on it when I got there. … It’s not something that I could watch, based on what I’m seeing, because I’ll be a complainer. … This is the first time I’ve ever said that out loud, but I’m just truly disappointed with what I watch.”
Sheffield argued that the game has changed to become “more hitter-friendly.”
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“[It was exciting] when I was playing. They implemented all these rules now and they’ve changed the game so much, they’re making it more hitter-friendly — even without having success,” he said. “These guys can go out there and strike out 180, 190 times, and it’s OK. And then all of a sudden they show a home run. Now, a home run is less appealing, when a home run was a big deal and more appealing [when I played] because it wasn’t happening as often as it is now.”
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He added: “When I see a pop-up player that everybody gravitates to — he’s the face of the team, the face of the city — and he has 100 strikeouts in April. When I see stuff like that, I’m not one of those older players that scoffs at the game and then talk about the game in a negative light. I just speak on facts. But what I do is meet these kids where they are at. That’s the way the game is played today, that doesn’t mean I have to watch it.”
Sheffield ranks 26th all-time with 509 home runs in 22 seasons. He is a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and is currently in his seventh year of Hall of Fame eligibility but only received a little over 40 percent of the ballots.
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