Gary Sheffield was one of baseball’s most outspoken stars during his playing days, leading to a job in retirement as a studio analyst with TBS for the postseason.
The former slugger says he no longer watches the game, citing the rise in strikeouts and home runs as the reason.
“I don’t watch baseball at all,” Sheffield told CBS Sports Radio last week. “I was kind of forced to watch baseball, because I was working with TBS. And so I had to remember, really find out who were these players.
“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 hit 509 career home runs, 26th on the all-time list, over 22 major-league seasons, including three years with the Yankees from 2004-06 and one with the Mets in 2009. He never struck out more than 83 times in any season.
“(Baseball was exciting) when I was playing. They’ve implemented all these rules now and they’ve changed the game so much, they’re making it more hitter-friendly, even without having success,” Sheffield 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.
“That’s the way the game is played today, that doesn’t mean I have to watch it,” Sheffield added.
The 52-year-old Sheffield has three years remaining on the Hall of Fame ballot after earning a 10-percent bump to 40.6% in his seventh appearance earlier this year.