04/18/09 2:32 AM ET
Mets, Brewers alike awed by Sheffield
Impressive feat just part of the veteran slugger's package
By Brittany Ghiroli / Special to MLB.com
After Sheffield blasted his 500th career homer in the seventh inning on Friday night, the thought going through the minds of the Mets was more along the lines of, "We better win this game."
"When Sheffield got 500 home runs, I wanted to win," said Luis Castillo, who was responsible for the walk-off hit that sealed a 5-4 victory. "He tied the game, 4-4, and it was good for us and good for him. And that's what we wanted to do, is win this game and help Sheffield feel happy."
To the Mets' credit, Sheffield couldn't have been happier.
"They're very supportive ever since I got here," Sheffield said of his two-week-old teammates. "They've been very special to me."
The feeling was mutual, particularly given the historic moment that the latest Met brought to Citi Field.
"An unbelievable feat for him to accomplish," catcher Brian Schneider said. "And I know he just wanted to get that [number] out of the way, with switching the balls out and worrying all the time. [He's] a great guy, and I'm just glad I was here to be able to see it, and witness it and be his teammate at the same time."
Even those not in the orange and blue couldn't hide their admiration.
"You can't help but get goose bumps in a situation like that," Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun said. "Just the consistency you have to have over your career to get to that number. It's a huge number. It looks like he still has the same bat speed he had when he was 18 years old, too."
"It's cool to see it, for sure," said Braun, who was 4 years old when Sheffield first went deep in 1988. "You never root for an opposing player, especially in a situation where he hit the home run. But just being a fan of baseball and the history of the game, it was pretty cool to see that."
Sheffield's entry into the 500 Club also resonated with manager Jerry Manuel, who had high praise for Sheffield as a player and as a person.
"I'm very happy for him," Manuel said. "I'm glad he accomplished that feat and will move on to other things.
"He has been a great addition to the chemistry of the team -- when he's not playing, he's talking to guys about hitting, what he looks for, those types of things. And every time you call on him, he seems to put together a pretty good at-bat."
Friday night, like so many other nights, Sheffield had some pretty good results.
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.