Curt Backs Up

Curt Schilling, in what seems to be the most unnecessary backtrack ever, dials down his highly publicized comments from Sunday:

I would have loved to have him, I said so, but the second he chose the Yankees it became a non-factor. This game is hard enough worrying about the things you can control much less the things you can’t. We have a very very good team. I think we have the best staff in the game right now. Can that change? Sure it can but no one here can tell us how when and why it will change. Maybe it won’t. Bottom line is if you are in our clubhouse wishing we had Clemens you are basically telling a teammate you suit up with every day that we’re better off without you.

In case you missed it, this is what Curt said, as quoted by Edes in the Globe:

"It would have been nice to have him, we didn’t need him — we don’t need him," said Curt Schilling, the winning pitcher in yesterday’s 4-3 decision here over the Minnesota Twins. "It’s May, that’s a long way to go. I like the way we’re comprised right now. I like the people. This team has incredible makeup, this team has great chemistry. I feel like we were legitimate World Series contenders without him, and that hasn’t changed."

I just don’t understand the need to clarify, "It would have been nice to have him, but … we don’t need him," into, "I would have loved to have him … (but) we have a very good team." His original quote was inspirational, kind of in-your-face. It was team-leader stuff. Great stuff.

But Dan Shaughnessy, proving once again that he has no clue, bafflingly called it "a comment of stupefying arrogance." Curt in his post mentions "CHB" twice, so it seems clear those comments dug at him. Is Curt afraid of offending Clemens? Is he mad at Shaughnessy for choosing only the "We don’t need him" portion of the quote? I don’t know, but Schilling’s post raises some concerns.

This is the second time in a little more than a week that Schilling has unfairly criticized "the media" for the actions of what appears to be one man. In the Gary Thorne/bloody sock fiasco, when one idiot broadcaster essentially made a story up out of whole cloth and was publicly embarrassed when the Boston media did their jobs and proved Thorne’s account false, Curt whipped out the ridiculous (and incorrect) generalization that "working in the media is a pretty nice gig. Barring outright plagiarism or committing a crime, you don’t have to be accountable if you don’t want to. You can say what you want when you want and you don’t really have to answer to anyone." Seth Mnookin did an excellent job knocking that one down.

Having read both Boston papers and watched NESN after the Clemens announcement, in only one place — Shaughnessy’s column — did I see the "don’t need him" quote divorced from its "nice to have him" introductory clause. Yet Curt again criticizes "media people" in a lengthy, bitter-sounding post. He uses more qualifiers this time, but the tone’s the same.

I have little patience for those who generalize their distatste with a specific reporter or story into generalizations about all news or sports media. This is obviously because I am a member of the news media, and I’m more sensitive to these types of baseless generalizations, being the subject of them fairly often. I don’t imagine it’s easy to be a person (sports figure, politician, celebrity, what have you) whose every word is taken down by reporters, who then sees those words splashed somewhere out of context, open for misinterpretation or just plain wrong. We’ve all had that happen to us in private, with friends, coworkers or family members. I can’t imagine what that feels like when something you didn’t mean to read a certain way — or something you didn’t say at all — is being read by thousands of people. I sympathize greatly with Curt Schilling, who is simply fed up with being (he feels) intentionally misquoted or made to look bad by one or two reporter-columnists.

Nevertheless, because he feels angry and slighted by the generalizations made about him that have been fueled by mangled or twisted quotes — "blowhard, "red-light Curt" and the like — I had hoped he would avoid similar generalizations when he published in his own medium about those who cover him. Instead, he seems to be indulging the media sterotypes, and that is unproductive for everyone involved.

22 comments… add one

  • I did just see where “WE DON’T NEED HIM” was blown up big on the front of the Herald. But that has nothing to do with the reporters, and again, I have trouble seeing how that’s somehow a bad sentiment to have attributed to Schilling.

    Paul SF May 8, 2007, 2:20 am
  • I took this more as a situation where he was generalizing on purpose to take a thinly veiled shot at CHB specifically. In other words, I thought he was pissed enough about that column to want to address it without actually admitting that he was really responding directly to one a**hole’s criticism. Probably doesn’t make his generalizations right, but I can’t say I blame him. And I do think we’ll be hearing that part of the quote taken somewhat out of context some time in the future.
    I don’t read his blog’s comments so I don’t know…but I’m also curious about how much of his response is really addressed to to his commenters.

    desturbd1 May 8, 2007, 2:55 am
  • Schilling is what he hates when he makes sweeping generalizations like that.
    I like his blog for the sole reason that it gives insight into the inner workings of the team and the game. And I’m glad that he uses it to say nice things about his teammates sometimes (in that same post he gave props to both Daisuke and Beckett, which is never a bad thing to hear). But I don’t consider it “required” reading by any measure, and when he bilovates about the media and whatever non-baseball things pop up, it’s insufferable. Schilling’s a smart and opinionated guy, but that doesn’t mean he has to say every single thing that’s on his mind.
    He could really use an editor too.
    CHB is an ass who mangles quotes and says stupid things just to make an impact, but Schilling isn’t exactly a saint himself.

    mouse - SF May 8, 2007, 3:53 am
  • This Clemens saga is just another topic for the media chatterers to write/talk about from the tabloids to talk radio. Just like the Jeter doesn’t like A-Rod or Manny on Ebay stuff earlier this year.
    One curious thing is that Schilling refered to CHB as “she” on his blog:
    “Contrary to CHB’s belief, and she may find it hard to believe, I LOVE pitching with Daisuke, I love to be able to see first hand what he brings to the team and the organization.”

    Devil Rays' Fan May 8, 2007, 5:15 am
  • CHB also has Clemens riding a horse after a previous Yankee championship.
    WHaaat!?
    If he can’t get basic facts like that right, what’s that say about more complex matters.
    The media are paid to tell a story. Why bother with facts if they get in the way? That’s true of everything from Arod’s hitting problems to the lead up to the Iraq War.
    The only solution – read widely and especially internationally. Puts things nicely into perspective.

    jim - YF May 8, 2007, 6:27 am
  • Wjat does CHB mean?

    Jim Cusack May 8, 2007, 8:29 am
  • It’s Simmons given for “Curly-haired Boyfriend” – said of Shaughnessy by Carl Everett.
    Correct SF’s?

    jim - YF May 8, 2007, 8:52 am
  • As a YF that would love to make fun of Schill, I thought his first statement was enough – no need clarify.
    Most teams would love to have him. Did anyone expect Schill to go “Oh shucks, we needed him!”? Heh.

    Lar May 8, 2007, 9:05 am
  • Actually the quote came from Carl Everett — I believe he called him “Gordon Edes’ curly haired boyfriend”…

    Kluv May 8, 2007, 9:13 am
  • Sorry — misread the quote, Jim. Indeed, Simmons is credited with the abbreviation.
    Need that cup of coffee before I fire up the computer.

    Kluv May 8, 2007, 9:14 am
  • An excellent post Paul, thanks. It’s frustrating to see the press demeaned. It’s a serious concern in our society, because the fourth estate is crucial to a functional democracy. It is unfortunate that venues like the Times and the Globe don’t hold themselves to higher standards, on the sports pages and elsewhere.

    YF May 8, 2007, 9:23 am
  • What, YF, the press never deserves it? For being the lapdogs of the big businesses (who own them) or of government (who censors them) or of the public (who buys the banal stuff)?
    Me, I loved Schilling’s response to the bloddy sock. For all of the Boston media that defended him, they were vastly overwhelmed by the rest of their bretheren. And name one media member that traveled to Cooperstown and preformed the $100 test it would have taken?
    If the baseball media isn’t interested in truth for matters as trivial as a sock and a horse, then what hope does the entire professional stand. The Iraq War is the most glaring example. For all the Woodward and Bernstein history, it’s a pretty sad present when the most glaring reports come out three to four years after the initial debate.

    jim - YF May 8, 2007, 10:44 am
  • There really isn’t much of a bloody sock controversy. The socks he used in the Yankee game are not the ones in the hall of fame: those were thrown out by Yankee staff. So there’s really no way to ‘test’ anything: why not look at it like this? The guy pitched with one ankle, and even though the Yankees were too stupid/noble/stupidly noble to bunt off the guy every chance they got, he shut them down. With one ankle.

    Andrew May 8, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • Shaughnessy is a meanspirited, insecure little shrew. Occasionally, he’ll write a worthy piece, like the one he penned the day after Matsuzaka signed, but these are few and far between.
    He doesn’t like Schilling and that’s fine, but he makes it personal and that really isn’t appropriate. He’s also one of these guys who routinely seems to forget that his job is to tell the story and provide his observations on the story – not become the story~

    Craig May 8, 2007, 12:48 pm
  • This feud is another disgusting example of grown men acting like spoiled children. Neither seems to realize that fame does not equal a free pass to behave in any way you choose…

    Andrews May 8, 2007, 1:25 pm
  • Oh yeah, I thought I saw something else that might have made Curt mad. Buster Olney’s blog entry yesterday was titled: “Curt’s Words Ring Hollow.” Basically he said that Curt’s open questioning about whether the Sox may or may not have been better off w/Clemens then Tavarez was absurd (duh, of course they’d be better with Clemens).
    Olney more or less says that Schilling has said all the right things. Which makes the title of the post and the tone of the Tavarez rip more then a little unnecessary. I like Olney and Schilling seems to, too, but this was kind of stupid.

    desturbd1 May 8, 2007, 2:35 pm
  • Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure Clemens got up on a horse after they won. The picture of Boggs is more famous but I think Roger got up on one too.

    Soog May 8, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • Soog –
    I watched everyone of those celebrations and I remember no such thing. And I could find nothing on a search. Not a report or a picture. Whereas Boggs comes up very easily. I’d be very interested to see if I’m wrong. But I think it’s one big urban legend.

    jim - YF May 8, 2007, 4:01 pm
  • D1, I think Olney (and others) make a mistake by comparing Clemens to Tavarez when it’s pretty clear that the relevant comparison will be Clemens to Lester, in which case Schilling’s comments are more defensible. Heck, they’re defensible even with Tavarez on the hill. Olney was clearly talking out of his butt on that one.

    Paul SF May 8, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • d1: I read Olney’s column too (saw the headline, which was basically a tabloid attempt to get clicks – it was on the ESPN homepage). The headline rang false: Olney basically said that the only thing that “rang hollow” was Schilling backing Tavarez over Clemens, but Olney probably knew that Schill was just going to bat for a teammate. How bad would it have reflected on Schill if he had gone on record as saying Tavarez was a POS, that he can’t believe that the Sox missed a chance to replace him? He’s still his teammate, so Schill was doing an (amateur) diplomat’s work. Olney (or, the ESPN.com producers, more likely) twisted that column headline to read differently than the substance revealed. It was certainly suspect. I didn’t think it was worth a full thread, but I did notice it.

    SF May 8, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • Finally got around to reading Callaghan’s take on Rajah landing in the bronx- boy- he really didn’t pull any punches on that on,huh? While it basically sums up my feelings on the deal, this struck me as a little over the top:
    Every pitcher grows old and breaks down some day, and that day is fast approaching for Clemens. You know how some athletes don’t want to leave the game if they have one more great performance in them? Roger doesn’t want to leave while he has one more big payday in him. He wants to grow old on somebody’s dime, and right now, that somebody is wearing a white turtleneck and conversing with the coat rack in his New York apartment.
    Zing! Sure big stein’s mental capacity has been called into quesiton of late, but wow. Took the gloves off on that on.

    Nate=Soxfan May 8, 2007, 5:42 pm
  • Nate, you’ve got it wrong. “Coat Rack” is Steinbrenner’s pet nickname for Brian Cashman.
    ;-)

    SF May 8, 2007, 5:45 pm

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