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Web Letter

The author seems to spend most of the article bashing Sheffield and dismissing his comments. The first four paragraphs of the article insult Sheffield before even considering what he said. Examine the article. You have to wade through many "morons" and a "WMD" reference before Sheff's words are even present.

For the record, Sheff is a brother from Tampa--that's it. He's not exactly Cornell West. I wouldn't expect him to articulate the economic concepts the author highlights when noting the investments all ball clubs have in Latin America nor the hyper-poverty from which the ball clubs are benefiting. Even though the author discusses the economics, he dismisses their effects on the ability of new players to "speak out." Again, I don't believe Gary Sheffield is saying "well-established Latino players are more docile than (well-established) African-American players." The fact the Sheff is discussing being "sent home," implies he is discussing the opportunity to enter the majors.

Sadly, the author's best attempt to discredit this assertion is to mention the fact the Carlos Delgado spoke out against the war? This somehow constitutes evidence against what Sheffield has said? Delgado is a well-established player. The author has done absolutely nothing to discredit Gary's main assertion, "So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of (African-American(Handy))players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."

The author tries to hide the Detroit Free Press comments of Guillen (current Sheffield teammate) behind yet another insult in the twelfth paragraph. Guillen explicitly states his fear to speak in his first year: "I'm glad somebody spoke up. In my first year, in rookie league, I hurt my elbow and I played DH," Guillen told the Detroit Free Press Tuesday. "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." No question poverty and competition creates pressures to not speak out.

He fairly states the percentage of A-A players at 8.5 percent, but fails to give any context to this fact. Interestingly enough, that percentage is actually lower than the immediate years following Jackie Robinson's "breakthrough" as America's Newest Tap Dancer. Moreover, the author could have given the year the percentage of A-A players reached its Zenith (15 percent--I'm unsure of the year). For example, what was the percentage of A-A players at the time Sheff made the comments? It's obvious Sheff is right, because the author hides the percentage decrease from the time Sheff first made the prediction ("I called it years ago in GQ."). However, look at how the author just leaves this percentage out there in a one sentence comment in the fifth paragraph of the article.

To be exact, Sheff's comment's constitute one paragraph of no more than five sentences. I fail to see where the author explains the reason the Latino players have become more prominent with respect to their skill. Maybe the author is explaining the superior skill level by including the fact that steriods are sold over the counter in these Latin countries? Guillen supports exactly what Sheff said by relaying his first-year experience. The author focuses on docility and not the unexplainable reason for the increase of the Latino:A-A ratio. Moreover, the author manages to insinuate Sheffiled is a racist by bringing up the fact the Latinos will be used as "Willie Hortons."

The true essence of his comments are what he said in the GQ article. The ratio of Latino to African-America players has increased in favor of Latinos. The author agrees the Latino players are poorer; however, he ignores the fact that poverty may control their tongues?!

I'm quite sure if anyone were to read the article, it wouldn't that a "dolt" could have anything important to say, but I agree with Gary Sheffield 1000 percent.

Norman Handy

Baltimore, MD

Jul 21 2007 - 2:52pm

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