Sox-A’s Postmortem III: Still the Ace

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.

23 comments… add one
  • I think Schill is one of the best, if not the best big game pitchers in MLB. His drive to win is palpable in that you can see the competitive drive on his face. He’s more than your ace though as far as the pitching staff is concerned, he’s your lifevest. Consider this:
    -Beckett leads all of MLB in HR’s allowed at 27 and he has an ERA of plus 5.00.
    -Lester who is 4-0, has pitched 37.1 innings so far. In those 37.1 innings he has given up 35 hits, 25 BB, and has plunked 3 batters. That’s 63 baserunners allowed in 37 plus innings. If Sox fans think the luck of his BAIP rate is going to keep up they’re smoking crack.
    -Wake’s back. How problematic is this injury going to be? Who knows, but back injuries for a pitcher almost always lead to issues w/mechanics and bloated numbers.
    -What are you going to get out of Wells and Clement upon their return? I have no clue, but pinning your hopes on those two is about as smart as sticking your hand down a badger hole.
    This long post was not done to piss off or antagonize. The comments Paul made about Schill really made me think in depth about the Sox pitching staff. If I was a Sox fan I’d be screaming bloody murder for Theo to go get a decent and reliable arm like Lieber or Livan Hernandez, because if the Yanks land Abreu and Hideki is back by mid to late August that offensive is going to get a hell of lot more effective.

    bloodyank78 July 16, 2006, 2:39 am
  • It’s great to see Curt back on top of his game after what I’m certain was a disappointing 2005 for him. This performance was truly vintage Schilling and if this is a preview of what we can expect from him the rest of the way there will be lots of frustrated batters and teams facing him in the second half. The Yankees are still breathing down the Red Sox necks because the while the Red Sox did feast mightily on NL East teams during interleague play, they are a woefully inadeqate 4 and 10 against the last 4 AL teams they have faced.
    Included in that carnage are two extra inning games that the Red Sox should have won, but didn’t…
    Matsui in August? Who is the one smoking crack? Listen, I have heard of stranger things, but did you not witness the same footage of Godzilla’s injury that I did? A broken bone is one thing, but this guy’s hand was flopping around! There wasn’t anything besides flesh and sinew holding it on. Does anyone remember Joe Theismann getting his leg broken? Theismann still walks with a limp. Matsui will be lucky to play again this season. The injury I saw him sustain will give Matsui problems for years, if not the rest of his life… and he’ll set off airport metal detectors from now on. That type of injury that does not come back to 100 percent. At the very LEAST his wrist will ache like an SOB when it’s rainy and cold.

    Anonymous July 16, 2006, 10:26 am
  • Paul, can you answer a question for me? When Schill was about to leave the D’backs, I heard that he said that he didn’t want to go to the Yanks. Hence, the market for him shrank, and the Sox got him for a song.
    Is this true? Do you know why he hates/hated the Yanks so much? Do you think that this has anything to do with the esteem he’s held in by RSN?

    Sam July 16, 2006, 11:27 am
  • As far as I remember, the Yanks were the first team he was willing to waive his no-trade clause for while in Arizona. Theo had to convince him to waive it for the Sox. His son is named Gehrig because of his great admiration for the player, so I’d be surprised if he hated the Yanks before he came to the Sox. Now, he says he hates them because of the rivalry. We’ll see if this is true hatred in 2 years when he’s deciding on whether to retire or to make some more money and George is offering him some absurd contract.

    Nick-YF July 16, 2006, 12:12 pm
  • Nick is right. Schilling has done a lot of posturing about the Sox-Yanks rivalry. He acknowledged fairly recently that the Yankees were his next choice after the Sox, and presumably the Sox were his first choice because of the most famous Thanksgiving dinner in Boston history — well, except for that one with the Indians…
    Whether Schilling really feels the animosity toeard NY that he shows out there, I don’t know. At his introductory press conference, he said, “Well, I guess now I hate the Yankees.” Schilling is his own best publicist, and I suspect many of the anti-Yankee and anti-NY things he’s said have been ways to make sure he remains alive in people’s minds. The question is now that he’s tasted what it’s like to be a big-game pitcher in Boston, where every game is a big game, whether he’d ever want to go anywhere else…

    Paul SF July 16, 2006, 1:52 pm
  • My guess is Schilling “hates” everyone he plays against. That is, he wants to win, no matter what. Beating the Yankees in such an intense rivalry it probably stokes his fires and strokes his ego (to be such a big figure), but my guess is his “hatred” for the Yankees doesn’t run as deep or as intense as many fans’. That’s probably true about most players on any teams involved in bitter rivalries, in fact: they love the rivalry, but they don’t “hate” the other guy, like we do. That’s something we ought to consider.

    SF July 16, 2006, 1:57 pm
  • I don’t hate the Yanks, never did. The comment at the press conference was more in line with me saying “Ok, I get what this is about, and who I am supposed to not like”. Way too much respect for the guys wearing the pinstripes, not to mention I don’t _hate_ anyone, life’s way too short. BTW at this point in the season, given the incredibly tumultous(sp?) ride they’ve had, where they are record wise is nothing short of unreal, and then again not given their core people.

    Curt Schilling July 16, 2006, 7:37 pm
  • Oh. My mistake, then. So it was just a question of simply choosing to play for the Sox over the Yanks, eh?

    Sam July 16, 2006, 7:52 pm
  • If that’s really you, Curt, thanks for stopping by! If it’s not, then someone is doing a heck of sly job imitating a Red Sox throwing compliments the Yankees’ way, something that isn’t typically done too often at this site. ;-)

    SF July 16, 2006, 9:49 pm
  • Not really. My first choice was to go ‘home’ to Philly and finish my career, knowing this was my last contract. Other than that, the Yanks were really the only other team I had interest in initially because I wanted to contend as many times as possible over the last 4 years and given their owner, their people and their fan base, that would happen. The Sox weren’t even on the radar initially because of my misconception of Fenway, and at the time the ‘rumors’ around the league were that it wasn’t a real stable enviroment. After the 2003 post season and the hoopla surrounding Grady in my mind the instability rumor was only reinforced. That being said, when I heard Tito was interviewing, it became a legitimate option for me. A few hours of my own research on Fenway helped too. I know now, that the reason things happened so fast was that Theo and the Dbacks already had the outlines of a deal in place, should I open the door to Boston as a potential suitor, because Mr Colangelo told me the Sox would be calling the next morning at 9am, less than 15 minutes after I told Mr Garigiola that I would be open to talking to Boston. I knew and had heard through alot of channels that the Yanks were interested, but I had no real interest in using one against the other since I knew the dollars, in either spot, were not going to be a dealbreaker in the end. Again, I don’t hate the Yanks and anyone that saw the press conference that night I signed knows for 100% certainty that the “I guess I hate the Yankees now” comment was completely tongue in cheek and in concert with the line of questioning being asked at the time.

    Curt SChilling July 16, 2006, 10:26 pm
  • I think that us fans end up being the “haters” at a level the players probably think is crazy. Are you guys constantly amazed at how much animosity seems to come from the fans, and is it disproportionate to the emotions felt by you guys? Or do you know of any players (confidentiality, if necessary, is completely understood, so feel free to apply pseudonyms if you want) around the league who truly “hate” other teams, and if so for what reason?

    SF July 16, 2006, 10:33 pm
  • Not amazed at all, especially in sports. Mob mentality rules in the stadium, check out Euro soccer, world cup stuff. 55k people jammed into a stadium, drinking beer, and hating the people across the aisle can be fun to watch from the dugout. Passion from fans makes the sport, any sport, into an experience for the players. The passion is what creates the energy in the stadium, and that creates the memories, good and bad, for me anyway, as a player.

    Curt SChilling July 16, 2006, 11:30 pm
  • Welcome aboard, Curt!
    Let me clarify that that’s what I meant when I referenced your press-conference Yankees quote — that you were acknowledging the “rules” of the rivalry and were making sure Sox fans knew you understood.
    I think we’ll have some more questions dor you later, but I just wanted to say hello, and at the risk of sounding like I’m fawning all over you, you are truly one of the best pitchers I’ve ever seen wear our beloved uniform. If I had a vote, you’d be in the Hall of Fame when you’re eligible, and I think you’re going to get there anyway…

    Paul SF July 17, 2006, 11:39 am
  • Schilling’s top 10 comparables from Baseball Reference:
    1. David Cone (914)
    2. Dazzy Vance (906) *
    3. Dwight Gooden (902)
    4. Kevin Brown (897)
    5. Jimmy Key (897)
    6. John Candelaria (893)
    7. Lon Warneke (890)
    8. Mike Cuellar (888)
    9. Mike Mussina (888)
    10. Bob Welch (880)
    No doubt a great pitcher, and he does deserve extra credit for the Bloody Sock, and he would be far from the worst pitcher in the Hall of Fame, but objectively right now he would be one of the weaker selections.

    Fred Vincy July 17, 2006, 1:35 pm
  • Well, that’s not the issue. We all know it’d be a borderline case, particularly when looking at career wins, but the postseason really pushes him over the top…

    Julian Tavarez July 17, 2006, 4:10 pm
  • Haha, my alter ego slipped. ;-) That last post was me…

    Paul SF July 17, 2006, 4:11 pm
  • i think alot of what curt did last year got lost in the shuffle. for him to take the ball in any situation plausible at this stage in his career really solidified the man as a blue collar hardnose to me. he had nothing to prove after 2004, and could have stolen a year of salary. instead he closed, started, and pitched in spots, all with a less than 100% lower body and risking injury with every pitch. i’m not sure to many of todays superstars would do the same. i’m looking at you foulke.

    sf rod July 17, 2006, 5:16 pm
  • curt is going on the dan patrick show in a few minutes to discuss how he interacts with fans on different websites. this could be an opportunity to prop YFvsSF.

    sf rod July 18, 2006, 1:57 pm
  • Keep us posted, SFR. We want to know if Curt gives us a shout-out.

    SF July 18, 2006, 1:58 pm
  • he mentioned he was chatting online with yankee fans over the weekend. he says he’s a baseball fan first and thats why he chats. he said sox and yankee fans are well versed in baseball knowledge and offer intelligent debate…….at times.

    sf rod July 18, 2006, 3:57 pm
  • Hey! That was me! I’m the only YF engaging on this thread while Curt was around.
    Of course, whether that means I’m the only well-versed and intelligent Yankee fan that Curt knows is another matter entirely… :)

    Sam July 18, 2006, 4:39 pm
  • I’ve been waiting for that segment all day. The show is delayed on the station on which I listen.

    attackgerbil July 18, 2006, 4:58 pm
  • Finally got to listen to the Schilling interview on the Dan Patrick show. Good interview.

    attackgerbil July 18, 2006, 6:02 pm

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