Schilling vs. Shaughnessy

I used to like Dan Shaughnessy. Growing up, he was among those baseball columnists who wrote well and generally wrote what I felt about the team. It helped that he mostly stuck to opinions. Since then, something happened to change him into a bitter, angry and  — worst of all — blatantly unfair writer who sank perhaps to his lowest point when, according to Feeding the Monster, he was told by Sox ownership that a column he was about to print regarding Theo Epstein’s hiatus from the Sox was untrue and replied that he would print it anyway. He and Murray Chass have long grappled for the title of Worst Baseball Columnist.

Give the Curly Haired Boyfriend credit. I don’t know that Chass would ever have printed this:

"I think there’s things that you write that are absolutely and totally unequivocally uncalled for. I think you take personal vendettas to the paper. I think you rip people in the paper because you don’t like them whether they’re good people or not. As an athlete, that bothers me, but as a teammate of these people, it bothers me even more . . . I certainly came in with a little bias, but I don’t think that given what’s happened that it’s unmerited."

In an interesting, presumably verbatim interview with Curt Schilling, the two get into it a little bit. For once, it’s all the things I used to like about Shaughnessy — informative, entertaining and fair, both to Schilling and to himself.

47 comments… add one
  • Paul, I think this is the money comment, particularly in the context of this site:
    What about the perception that you’re doing this because you saw what the market was paying starting pitchers over the winter? The Royals are paying Gil Meche $11 million per season for five years.
    “If I was going to use Gil Meche, or any of the market, as a comparison, then I sure as hell would be looking for a whole lot more than $13 million. Because I could get it. And I believe in my ability to go out there and win 22-23-24 games this year and be a No. 1 and walk into the market next year and find someone that’ll pay me $17-18-19 million for a season. And I would leverage the Yankees.”
    You said you wouldn’t go to the Yankees. Why take them out of the mix?
    “I didn’t offer that up unsolicited. Someone introduced the Yankees in the conversation and I said that was not a choice I would make. Not because I don’t like the Yankees. I don’t hate anyone over there. But it’s not something I could do. I think it would just be, on my end, an incredibly disingenuous four years that I spent here. I couldn’t do it.”

    SF February 2, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • “If I was going to use Gil Meche, or any of the market, as a comparison, then I sure as hell would be looking for a whole lot more than $13 million.”
    SMACK! I don’t like Shilling much, but that’s well said. The next bit, about winning 22-24 games, is pretty silly, but most athletes are prone to overstating their ability (or, in the case of pitcher’s wins, their ability + ability of teamates + luck).
    As for the Yanks… meh. I’d have liked getting him when the Sox got him from the D’backs, but not now. So that’s fine by me.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) February 2, 2007, 2:02 pm
  • That 22-24 win line is the offseason equivalent of “I’m not tired,I can throw to this guy” during a mound visit from the manager in the 7th inning after giving up 2 hits, 3 walks on 47 pitches.

    SF February 2, 2007, 2:04 pm
  • There’s plenty of great stuff in that interview. I also thought Shaughnessy’s attempt at self-deprecation was funny — “taking the high road, for once” — because though it was meant to be sarcastic (I think), it was actually very truthful.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • If Schilling stays healthy, he’s right about being able to command that money. If Schilling wins 17-20 games, and with the Boston (or NY) offense that’s totally capable, he’s absolutely right about it.
    I do think Shaughnessy must’ve gotten Schilling on a bad day though, and I loved it.
    Imagine what it would do for A-Rod to say some of that stuff to the Yankee beat writers?

    Brad February 2, 2007, 2:34 pm
  • dc:
    no zzzzzzzzzzz’s yet? I’m surprised. This is the perfect topic for you to act as if you’re not interested, buddy.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 2:46 pm
  • Loved the article. It’s so refreshing (and a bit humorous) to see it, it’s like a huge dosage of unedited honesty that was much needed in media.
    I think Curt echoes what some Sox fans feel about our own local media. I know that it’s how I feel about it, at least.

    Scott SF February 2, 2007, 2:54 pm
  • …i guess i’ll have to go back and reread the article, because i didn’t see why he had a change of heart…it’s a lot of money they’re talking about, but he never seemed to be about the money…the attention, yes, but not so much the money…any insights, theories?…and how does he “leverage” the yanks when he’s made it clear that they don’t have a shot?…

    dc February 2, 2007, 3:03 pm
  • Dc, that’s what Schilling was saying — if he wanted a bunch of money, he would have leveraged the Yanks. But since he’s not, it’s pretty clear that’s not what he’s after. Hard to argue with him about that. At $13M a year, even at age 41, he’ll be a bargain.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • I agree, Paul. They should lock it up now.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • At $13M a year, even at age 41, he’ll be a bargain.
    Really, Paul? You think Schill’s a lock to make 32 starts this year? You think the risk/reward for him in 2008 is fair at $13M? I don’t necessarily think it’s a terrible deal, but it’s not necessarily a “bargain” either.
    But here’s the thing: if it’s not about the money, then why can’t he work out a deal with the Sox during the season? If he’s thinking of loyalty, then why wouldn’t he work in good faith, see how his season is going, and re-open the discussion with the Sox in June or July? I know he has no agent, and doesn’t want the distraction during the season, but this “It’s not about the money but I am not negotiating after spring training and you can be damn sure I am better than Gil Meche by a longshot” is the definition of talking out of both sides of your mouth. The bottom line is he’s NOT a free agent, so Gil Meche as a comparison is useless. There’s only one market for Schilling right now: the Sox. And he’s trying to create the perception of a bigger market the same way Boras did with Dice-K, though we know how that worked out. At the end of the season that might be different, if Schill hits free agency. And so what if the Yankees aren’t “leverage”? The Jays might be, or the White Sox, or the Phillies, or the Mets, or whoever. The Red Sox with Damon have proven that (depending on the circumstances) they don’t give a crap about being leveraged by the Yankees.
    I typically find Curt’s talk somewhat refreshingly unfiltered, but this stuff is total hokum. He wants another contract, and he’s leveraging the approaching season and the emotions of the fans (hence the “I’ll never play for the Yanks”) against the Red Sox, working the PR game. He wants another year, right now he wants it from the Red Sox, who he may be happy with, but who also have a lot of money, emotional fans, and are the only player for his services. How convenient. And calculated.

    SF February 2, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • “Really, Paul? You think Schill’s a lock to make 32 starts this year? You think the risk/reward for him in 2008 is fair at $13M?”
    Is 32 starts the break-even point for $13M when far inferior pitchers will throw fewer innings and be less valuable to their team despite costing nearly the same amount even if Schilling makes, say, 29 starts?
    I agree that right now, the market is only the Sox. But he’s said already he doesn’t want a raise from the Sox. So at $13M in next year’s free agent market, it’s a pretty fair guess that based on this year’s market (in which Jeff freaking Weaver gets $8M-plus, Gil Meche gets $11M, Jason Marquis gets $10M) that such a price would be a bargain. Even if in 2008, Schilling wins 14 games with an ERA of 4.60 — $13M is a bargain. (This year his 15 wins were unluckily low, thanks to the collapse of the offense the final six weeks of the season).
    Based on where the market is, and where it projects to go, I don’t see how $13M for Schilling is NOT a bargain.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • 32 was just a random number, but yeah, it could be 27, or 28, or 34. High 20s/low 30s, how about that for a “number”?
    There’s no market for Schilling right now. I don’t see why it matters (other than the whole “distraction” thing, which I find to be largely BS) whether or not he signs in March or June, if the money isn’t an issue. By putting it off until the end of the season, he immediately makes it all about the money, I don’t care what he says. He’s using the threat of leaving as leverage. And the only way he leaves is for more money, right?!

    SF February 2, 2007, 3:36 pm
  • I agree on that. It’s the one thing that bothers me. I’m wondering why he would be unable, after starting the season 13-0 with 0.50 ERA, to accept it if the Sox came to him and said, “$13M? Done.” Schilling himself says it should take just 15 minutes if they’re “in the same space.” So if it’s not about the money, and the terms are take-it-or-leave-it 1 year, $13M, I don’t see what potential for distraction there is for them to revisit on any given off day during the season.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 3:43 pm
  • Well, if that’s how Theo and Co. read it, I think he’s made a mistake. They are not the office that’s going to cave into his demands or “threats” based on the idea that he may go to NY or elsewhere. They let Pedro, Damon, and other walk knowing full well that they had other offers.
    If they didn’t balk on the two I mentioned, I don’t think they’ll balk on Schilling. If they sign him, it’s because they wanted him, not because they were concerned about him going to NY.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • Like I said before, the biggest risk in signing Schilling is that 1. he could block Lester or Buccholz from starting in 2008, or 2. his money might already have been allocated for another need that offseason.
    If either of these is true, why can’t the Sox sign him and trade him? I don’t think there’s much of a question that Schilling will be one of the top 10-15 pitchers in the AL this season (as he was last season), and if so, he could bring in a great bounty of prospects and/or league-ready youngsters in a post-season trade.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • Does Schill have a NTC, Paul? Would he demand one? I hardly think he’d sign a deal that offered the risk of being shipped to Tampa in the last months of his career.

    SF February 2, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • Yeesh. Now I know how Red Sox fans feel when Yankees fans talk about A-Rod or Pavano.

    Andrew February 2, 2007, 4:20 pm
  • …maybe i was being naive when i asked why he had the change of heart…after reading sf’s posts maybe it is all about the money, and whatever reasons he gave for retiring in the first place can be bought off for the right price after all…i’m just trying to understand why a guy who would appear to be so sincere [if arguably misguided at times] about everything he says, would change his mind about something so significant, and appear greedy [not sf’s word, but that’s the feeling i get reading his post] and a bit disloyal to boot….could he be sick of the attention dm’s getting already?…whaddup?

    dc February 2, 2007, 4:21 pm
  • According to this link, he does not. He does have some fascinating clauses, aside from the illegal World Series clause, including one that seems to address a possible trade:
    “all performance bonus money is paid to specific chairities- + if he cannot sell ARI or NE (if traded) homes the Red Sox must buy them at the appraised price- + receives personal luxury box at every home game he starts”
    So he has no no-trade clause, but if the Sox trade him and he can’t sell his house, the Sox have to buy it. Heh.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 4:23 pm
  • “could he be sick of the attention dm’s getting already?…whaddup?”
    You may havee hit the nail on the head, dc. This could get interesting – he may short-circuit with the spotlight on another pitcher. Please, God let it happen…

    Andrews February 2, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • If I remember right, that was also supposed to happen to Pedro when Schilling was brought on board. Instead, the Sox won a World Series.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 4:45 pm
  • Yeah, I think Schill is too competitive to let Matsuzaka just take the spotlight. I love watching Schilling pitch when he really buckles down and is careful with every single pitch. The result is always good, and he hates to play second fiddle, so that passion could lead him to having a very good year with Matsuzaka just like he did with Pedro.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • …or maybe it could lead to a meltdown…
    Will be interesting to watch – esp. if it’s the latter :)

    Andrews February 2, 2007, 5:33 pm
  • I don’t think the DM arrival is a factor. I think the fact that Curt realized he wants to play another year, that he doesn’t have a contract for that year, that he’s playing for a wealthy team, that he’s a valuable commodity, all these (in no particular order) have contributed to this.
    As for the “greed” issue, I think Curt’s being greedy in the sense that he is surely making an attempt to maximize the deal he will get from the Sox. Within his own constraints (wanting to end his career in Boston), the only strong card he can play is the threat of leaving after his contract is up. He is smart enough to understand that he has no other suitors at the moment, and the only way to leverage his position is to play the “line in the sand” card, whether he admits it is that or not. I don’t begrudge him this right, though I don’t like it’s been denied as a tactci – he can do what he wants after this season if he’s not signed. I do like the fact that he represents himself: he’s smart enough to do so and he’s done well by that, and that makes his dealings (if not his words) somewhat more trustworthy: no middle man “representing the best interests of the client”.
    What I don’t like (and the more acidic tone of my earlier posts is from this exact thing) is the “I am not drawing a line in the sand” claim when that’s exactly what has been done. I think that is disingenuous, which is ironically what Curt says he would be if he were to play for the Yankees.

    SF February 2, 2007, 5:37 pm
  • “If I remember right, that was also supposed to happen to Pedro when Schilling was brought on board. Instead, the Sox won a World Series.”
    And soon after Pedro left the Sox amid rumours that Pedro didn’t like Schilling always thrusting himself into the spotlight and having to be “the Man”, when Pedro felt he was the Sox #1 pitcher and had been for a long time before Schilling showed up.
    In fact, I recall Schilling calling in to WEEI and chewing some ass because he didn’t like what was being said when that very subject was being discussed.

    Whatever February 2, 2007, 6:17 pm
  • I heard a bit of the same interview, whatever, rebroadcast on ESPN radio.

    Andrews February 2, 2007, 6:23 pm
  • I know there was some of that when Pedro left, but in no way was that THE reason why Pedro left. He left because the Sox didn’t offer him the fourth guaranteed year. If the Sox had made that offer, or offered to extend before 2004, that wouldn’t have come up. As it is, the move doesn’t look so bad now. And do we really see Schilling doing the insecure pouty crap that Pedro pulled from time to time? They’re totally different personalities. If anything, competition pushes Schilling harder.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 6:36 pm
  • “They’re totally different personalities”
    Yes. That’s why this –
    “that was also supposed to happen to Pedro when Schilling was brought on board. Instead, the Sox won a World Series.”
    is pretty weak.

    Anonymous February 2, 2007, 7:18 pm
  • me

    Andrews February 2, 2007, 7:30 pm
  • If anything, Andrews it makes it even stronger. Pedro was “supposed” to melt down when a rival ace was brought on board. Instead, he and Schilling were dual aces and led the Sox to a title. Now Schilling, whose personality is nothing like Pedro’s is supposed to do the same thing Pedro was supposed to do (but didn’t)? I know you’re just speculating, as we all are at this point, and probably wishing more than anything. I’m just saying the chances DM’s arrival provokes some kind of Schilling meltdown are beyond remote — particularly considering DM is far more of an unknown than Schilling was in 2004.

    Paul SF February 2, 2007, 7:35 pm
  • In my book, Pedro has no bearing on the Schilling situation, so it certainly doesn’t make yoour point stronger.
    Yes, you’re right. I’m speculating AND wishing. But to say a meltdown isn’t possible is one and the same on your part.

    Andrews February 2, 2007, 7:44 pm
  • DMat is lucky that he won’t be able to understand the BS that’ll be rolling out of Schill’s mouth, although I guess Schilling did said something about learning to speak to speak Japanese didn’t he. Heh.

    Whatever February 2, 2007, 8:25 pm
  • to speak to speak? Nice. Dumb ass. I’m always hard on myself.

    Whatever February 2, 2007, 8:29 pm
  • …just for the record, i wasn’t suggesting that we’d see a shilling meltdown, like was predicted for pedro…shilling did become the king of beantown, hawking donuts, bloody socks and all, the face of the world series that pedro couldn’t deliver…that appeared to eat at pedro a bit…shilling’s cooler about his image than pedro was, but he’s being upstaged by dm right now…if he’s stewing at all he’s held his poker face well…i was just suggesting that he’s going after a little attention of his own…he is gambling that the sox are willing to sit tight on his status, preferring to wait until the season’s over so they can determine if they still want/need him, setting up a big drama that’ll drag out through the regular season, insuring him his fair share of the spotlight…

    dc February 2, 2007, 8:29 pm
  • did said something? Idiot! See, I told ya.

    Whatever February 2, 2007, 8:31 pm
  • Sleep deprivation is setting in. I gotta get to bed early tonight. Why did I volunteer to work overtime again tomorrow? 5:00 a.m. here we come. BTW, it’s supposed to get -15 below zero here in Iowa this weekend with wind chill readings of -30 to -40 below zero. Nice. OK, I’ll quit rambling here now.

    Whatever February 2, 2007, 8:41 pm
  • I’m always hard on myself.
    you should be.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 9:11 pm
  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    dc February 2, 2007, 9:14 pm
  • It’s a good problem to have this one. Two great pitchers, and one of them possibly refusing to be upstaged by the other, so he tries harder.
    Plus, when was the last time we saw Schilling have any sort of meltdown? He said he go into Yankee stadium and dominate, and he does just that more often than not. He said he’d win a WS and did. He said he will win, and he probably will. He’s an ace, granted one who had a rough year, but still one everyone would love to have in their rotation. Well almost anyone, some guys would rather have Rasner, but that matters little.
    I kind of like the idea of Schilling pitching for a new contract, but I’d like for the Sox to go ahead and lock it up.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 9:15 pm
  • sadly, my hatred of shaughnessy is by now embedded so deeply that i resent him for putting it in the column solely to get the kind of credit you just gave him above.

    beth February 2, 2007, 9:53 pm
  • …i gotta admit you’re right brad…the sox are in great shape not only with their starters, possibly having co-aces, but for that matter, on all fronts…they have to be the favorite to take the whole darn thing this year…sox fans have a right to be excited…

    dc February 2, 2007, 10:13 pm
  • okay, someone call the cops. Someone has kidnapped frequent poster dc, and taken over his identity on this website.
    Even if it’s out of sarcasm, which I suspect you may be throwing some of my own venom back at me, there is some truth to it. If the Red Sox get the closer thing straight, which won’t be easy at all, it could be a great season.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 10:26 pm
  • also, that’s a great call, Beth. He could write down the exact instructions to cure cancer in Sunday’s Globe, but somehow, he’d manage to point out that it’s the Red Sox fault he hasn’t gotten it to us quicker.

    Brad February 2, 2007, 10:28 pm
  • brad, actually my comment is fairly consistent with most of what i’ve said over the past few months about the improvements the sox have made and how that affects the way i view their chances for next year…if you have faith in the moneyball theory that a closer is not critical, then you appear to have no problem…
    both teams will have strong offenses as they typically do, but if the yankees can’t straighten out their rotation, and get solid years from some [right now] real question marks, they will have trouble unless they score 10 runs per game…that i think makes the sox a slight favorite…

    dc February 3, 2007, 8:40 am
  • I grew up in Boston and I will say that I agree with this post. Dan was the man as far as writers were concerned but has fallen into a place where he knows his power, as a writter, has influence. To often he decides to be negative or has an agenda. Boston can be an apathetic sports town at the least, but at its best we enshrine our players to legend status. When 2004 happend it I changed from an apathetic pessimist to an eternal optimist. It really bothers me that Dan tries to destroy the Sox because he has a kindergarten like dispute with one or two of them. Dan, make like a tree and get out of Boston.

    T-DOGG February 4, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • Hesterical.

    attackgerbil February 4, 2007, 6:28 pm

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