A Capra World Buzz report
Staff writer/Tom BradleyCINCINNATI — He sat in front of his locker in the storied Cincinnati locker room. Hands tugging at his hair and a dejected look on his face.
As reporters were swarming the locker room to talk to the players and management of the Roses, moods were low and morale was poor.
It’s not easy to lose a World Series. It’s not easy to put in a 162-game effort and come up short.
Cincinnati Rose left fielder Catfish Sheets seemed to be taking it worse than anyone else.
“I just don’t know what’s real anymore,” Sheets said in front of his locker.
His mitt thrown to the side, eye black and Advil spilled across the top shelf, towels on the floor and his bat propped up against the wall, Sheets’ demeanor matched much of the mood in the locker room.
A reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer prefaced his question with a gesture of encouragement, “It’ll be alright, Catfish, no shame in winning an AL championship, talk about the run you guys had to get to this point?”
Sheets, confused by the question, looked up and glared at the reporter.
“What? You don’t get it do you?” Sheets said staring into the eyes of the Enquirer reporter. “This isn’t about the game anymore. I could care less.”
This had the making of being a classic post-World Series breakdown.
“I just don’t know what is real anymore. Have you been paying attention to the news? I assume you have cable, do you even watch MTV? Do you even know what is going on in my life? Because I sure don’t. I don’t know what is real anymore,” Sheets said.
Silence from the reporters surrounding the locker room of the right-handed veteran from Vista, Calif.
It was clear this was no longer about the game. It was clear Sheets was struggling with a personal issue.
“You all are familiar with the term Catfish, right? It’s this movie, or show or something, that basically proves everything you thought was true, isn’t,” Sheets said.
Some reporters were holding back laughter, others looked genuinely confused. Sheets did not blink for what seemed to be an eternity.
“I’m the victim here. Catfish has been Catfished,” Sheets said, referring to himself in the third-person. “Apparently my life is a hoax, a giant hoax.
“How am I supposed to believe anything anymore? Is my wife real? Is my family real? I’m just finding out now about how much of a hoax this really is, how much of a lie my life is,” Sheets said.
Some thought this was a joke, intended to lighten the mood, but it wasn’t.
“Manti Te’o found out his dead girlfriend was a man, I’ve seen others find out their relationships were with gay men or strange women, lying about who they were,” Sheets said. “And their name isn’t even Catfish.”
Sheet’s high school sweetheart and wife, Victoria Sheets, stood outside the clubhouse unaware of the disaster unraveling just feet away.
“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live a lie anymore,” Sheets said. “I gotta get out of here, I’m sorry, I can’t talk anymore.”
Sheets sulked out of the clubhouse, leaving reporters awestruck with the information. No one said a word for minutes.
Walking past his wife who went in for a consolation hug, Sheets put his arm up and blocked her heartfelt attempt.
“Not now,” he said to his wife of eight years.
Sheets sent a text message to Cincinnati management days later, declaring his intentions to enter the free agency market.
“I can’t live this live here anymore. Cincinnati has too many bad memories, too many lies that I can’t shake,” Sheets said in the texts obtained by Capra World Buzz. “I’m entering free agency. It’s nothing against this franchise. It’s strictly personal. I can’t live here anymore. I can’t live a life of lies.”
Cincinnati ownership is seeking counseling for Sheets. His future on the Roses is unclear, as is most of his life.