The best story to come out of baseball's winter meetings in Orlando was a fight in the parking lot on Wednesday, reportedly between two agents. It was reported by Yahoo's Jeff Passan, but without the detail we all wanted: Who were the agents?
One of the agents accused the other of stealing a client. "Stay the fuck away from my guy," he yelled, according to witnesses. Also: "I'll burn your fucking house down!"There were punches, a kick, and intervention from a local sheriff and hotel security. Good stuff. But it'd be even better if they were two agents people have actually heard of. It'd be best if they were two former players.
A rumor started circulating among the reporters at the Dolphin hotel that the two involved were former pitcher Dave Stewart, who represents a handful of clients including Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley, and former outfielder Gary Sheffield, whose only major league client is Pirates closer Jason Grilli. The rumor goes that Sheffield believed Stewart was trying to poach Grilli.
We heard this version from multiple media members, but it was always second- and third-hand—they'd heard it from an agent who heard it from another agent, that sort of thing. But the rumor percolated up on Twitter, and today, the Section 336 Podcast on Baltimore Sports Report is "reporting" that it was indeed Sheffield and Stewart throwing down in the Dolphin parking lot.
Except it wasn't. The video on the Yahoo article is taken from too far away to make out anything about the participants but Jeff Passan tells me both his witnesses to the fight said the men were white, or at least light-skinned Hispanic.
I texted Sheffield to ask him if he had thrown punches with Dave Stewart. He texted back: "What? Naw bruh."
Another version of the rumor is that there were actually two fights on Wednesday, the one in the parking lot and another in the lobby of the Dolphin. Was that one Sheffield and Stewart? Sheffield says he wasn't part of any altercation, and that he hadn't even heard there was an agent fight.
Passan also heard the rumor about a second fight, but no firsthand witnesses have come forward, and he doesn't buy that it could have been two famous ballplayers. "Don't you think if Gary Sheffield and Dave Stewart fought in broad daylight, someone would have reached out to [Deadspin]?"
So, video proves that something happened at the winter meetings. Maybe there was even a second something, in the lobby. But we can say pretty firmly Gary Sheffield and Dave Stewart weren't trading punches in the parking lot, and Sheffield denies that he was involved in any confrontation at all. The two agents from the first fight remain unidentified. We have to dig deeper. Know anything? Drop me a line.