Detroit’s Gary Sheffield (above, left) has a two-run HR off Cleveland’s Jeremy Sowers, as the Tigers lead the Indians, 5-2 in the top of the 5th inning at the Jake. Earlier in the week, Sheff was hit with a 3 game suspension for throwing a shard of broken bat in the direction of home plate umpire Greg Gibson during Thursday’s loss to Cleveland, and responded with a bizarre threat to unveil “a conspiracy” if said ruling wasn’t overturned.

If that wasn’t enough action for one weekend, the AP today has been circulating Sheffield’s remarks from the most recent issue of GQ.

The typically outspoken Tigers designated hitter said Latin players have replaced African-Americans as baseball’s most prevalent minority because they are easier to control.

“I called it years ago. What I called is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out. ¦ [It’s about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do — being able to control them,” he told the magazine.

“Where I’m from, you can’t control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that’s a person that you’re going to talk to with respect, you’re going to talk to like a man.

“These are the things my race demands. So, if you’re equally good as this Latin player, guess who’s going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.”

Though I’d be very interested to hear Sheff ID which mediocre Latin players are claiming roster spots that would otherwise have gone to African-Americans, I’m also open to the possibility he was quoted out of context. Or that he’s just full of shit. Either way, there’s a great chapter about Roberto Clemente in Dave Zirin’s new collection of essays, “Welcome To The Terrordome”, and perhaps Gary can check out it when he finally serves that 3 day suspension.

(UPDATE : Sheff elaborates a bit and perhaps is not as totally out to lunch as I’d implied earlier.)