The Red Sox are David Ortiz’s team. Make no mistake — Jason Varitek may be the captain, Manny Ramirez may be the bat that assures Ortiz gets the pitches to hit. But Ortiz is the face of the franchise — and the principal reason the Sox are where they are right now.
Nevertheless, if Ortiz is the head and shoulders (very broad, considering all the times he picks up the other 24 guys and carries them to victory), Curt Schilling is the backbone. Sure, he might speak his mind too much. People who aren’t Red Sox fans may think he’s annoying. Big freakin’ deal. He is a money pitcher, and he’s better when his team needs him most (4-1 this year after a Red Sox loss). Players like Kevin Millar should not wonder why no matter how poorly Curt performs, he’ll never be booed in Boston. Forget for a moment the Bloody Sock, which made reaching the 200 win/3,000 strikeout milestones the only formalities left for Hall of Fame induction. Forget the Series MVP and his rings. During the grind of the season, in mid July, with his team reeling from three of their most frustrating losses yet, Curt Schilling delivered perhaps his best performance of the season. You need innings? You need few or no runs to give the bats a chance against a good starter? Ok, how about 7 innings of two-hit, shutout ball with nine strikeouts? We saw him do it all year in 2004. He’s done it all year this year.
That’s why he’ll never be booed at Fenway Park. And it’s why I don’t give a crap how annoying he is to other teams’ fans, or to other players. He gives everything he has on the mound for the Red Sox. And, more often than not, he comes through when the Sox need him most. That’s all a fan can ask.