Thursday, April 2, 2009

With Friends Like These.....

I'm sorry to keep going to the well on great Sports Illustrated stories from the past, but seeing how Gary Sheffield is in the news now, I couldn't resist.

If you never saw this story from years ago, it's still a must read. It's by Tom Verducci and it describes how much of a jackass Barry Bonds can be when he really puts his mind to it!

As I read the story, I started to feel kinda bad for Sheffield. Then I realized he's as big of an asshat as Bonds!

Here's a money passage for you people too busy to digest the whole thing.

Soon after Sheffield arrived in San Francisco, the friendship between him and Bonds began to sour. Bonds insisted that Sheffield stay at his house and not rent a car. He insisted that Sheffield not pay for anything, though Sheffield did bring his personal chef. "[It was], 'It's my way or no way,' " Sheffield says. "I'm not a child. I make $11 million. I can buy what I want."

To thank Bonds for inviting him into his home, Sheffield arranged for the two of them to see a boxing match in Miami on Feb. 2, 2002. "I was going to pay for the plane, the flight, pay for the limo service, the hotel," Sheffield says. "He gets my mail. He looks in my mail and sees he can get better seats, so he gets better seats. He can get a better flight, so he gets a better flight. He can get a better limo service. And he can get a better hotel. So basically my plan, in trying to do something in return, he wound up doing it. And [that sort of behavior] just escalated."

Another time, Sheffield arranged for a limo and tickets for him and Bonds to see the Sacramento Kings host the Los Angeles Lakers. "He complained the whole drive," Sheffield says. "'Man, I could have drove. We would have gotten there a lot faster.' The whole time. And I'm saying to myself, Never again. Never again."

Sheffield says the breaking point occurred one morning when Bonds departed for their morning workout without him, leaving Sheffield to scramble for transportation to the gym.

When Sheffield eventually showed up, he found Bonds laughing at him with someone he later learned was a writer for Men's Journal. "He sold me out to the media," Sheffield says.

Though Sheffield says he was under doctor's orders not to run because of his knee, he did so anyway because Bonds and his trainers wanted him to. "Now all of a sudden my knee was hurting," Sheffield says. "He said something to me [about being late]. I did not respond, because if I did respond at that particular moment, I would have knocked him out. That's how I was feeling. [But] I said [to myself], No, I'm just going to walk away, and when I say walk away I mean walk away."

Sheffield flew home to Florida with his chef. The chef told him, "Gary, I want to confess something. [Bonds] made an offer to hire me: He'll get me a car, give me a place to stay and pay off my student loan."

Shortly after they returned, Sheffield says he and his chef parted ways. Sheffield says about a month later Bonds called him to inquire about why the chef was no longer working for Sheffield but made no mention of a related development: Bonds had hired him.

"That's the kind of person I found out I was dealing with," Sheffield says. "To me, I don't want friends like that. I never will have friends like that."

REACT: It's just priceless stuff. If either man makes the baseball HOF, then I pray to God that the other guy crashes the podium and starts trashing the inductee.

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