Especially if his name is Gary Sheffield.

Part One.

Part Two from Friday afternoon, as reported by Newsday’s Jim Baumbach in tomorrow’s paper.

Gary Sheffield admittedly came close to “blowing a gasket” Friday about the state of his $13-million option for 2007, telling Yankees owner George Steinbrenner not to “play” him in negotiations.

But then Sheffield did something only he can do with a straight face. He took it all back, then left Legends Field insisting he holds no grudge against the Yankees. “I’ll be fine tomorrow,” Sheffield said. “It’s just that I’m venting.”

Sheffield explained in his second round with reporters that the main source of his anger was how ESPN portrayed his Tuesday meeting with Cashman, when Sheffield was told his option likely will be picked up.

The ESPN report, still posted on its Web site as of Friday evening, made it appear as if Sheffield felt the option already had been picked up, directly followed by Cashman’s denial. “It looks like I’m a 2-year-old who can’t relay a message,” Sheffield said.

“It never was a done deal; he just said it’s a possibility,” Sheffield said, referring to the message he received from Cashman on Tuesday.

“One side, I trust you, but don’t play me. Don’t play me. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if it’s The Boss. I don’t care if it’s him … The owner? I’ll talk to him the same way. Just don’t play me.”

Asked what the phrase “play me” means, Sheffield explained, “You think you can tell me anything and I’ll be happy and then I’ll go out and perform like I always perform and then you say, ‘OK, we’ll pick it up.’ It doesn’t work like that with me.

“Just like all these guys feel comfortable here, I want to feel comfortable, too,” Sheffield added. “Why do I always have to have my back against the wall and have to prove something to everybody? ”

Asked about his relationship with Cashman, Sheffield said, “I trust him, but I don’t trust him totally. I don’t trust anyone totally. Until it’s on paper, I don’t trust you.”