Schilling blasts Manny

Curt Schilling’s latest entry on his blog, 38pitches.com, was very, very interesting. It has been removed from 38pitches.com (unsurprisingly), but the text still comes through on my RSS reader. I have quoted a few relevant excerpts…

No, by saying PLAY I mean exactly that. The issue got to the
point where everyone finally took him at his word, there was no choice.
A guy refusing to get on a team plane, having to be literally coaxed
on, by people with pride and people that love the game, because meeting
the obligations of a 20 million dollar contract were not even close to
enough to get him going???? If he did not get traded he was going to
need “time off” to rest his injured knee, and it got to the point where
he made it clear time off could mean the rest of the season.

So it’s not ‘what could have been’, we knew what was to be, and what
was to be was that if he did not get a contract extension he was going
to take a seat, and in taking that seat he didn’t give a rats ass what
anyone thought, including the 24 guys that wore the same uniform. So
the ‘what could have been’ in the post season is not the question. The
question is would there have been a post season if he had stayed, and
that’s a question, and a gamble, that I think everyone felt they knew
the answer too and in the end a gamble no one was willing to take, and
rightly so.

It is demeaning and disrespectful to the guys that did respect their
teammates, the game and the fans by busting their asses through broken
down hips, sore arms, strained abs and whatever, to grind it out for
each other and the fans, their love of the game and anything else you
can think of, the organization, to hear people question the hows and
whys of this whole thing. That was why I said ‘he flipped you all off’
because if you heard ANYTHING he said after he left, he did.

But the thing that killed me in the end was this; he never gave a rats
ass about any of us that suited up with him, not one iota. He was, and
he said repeatedly, about going to the highest bidder and getting as
much money as he possibly could, period. If that meant pissing on us in
the interim, so be it.

Schilling went on to discuss how the team was disappointed not to make the World Series and glowingly runs through the Sox roster saying that “the Sox are poised to be a force in baseball for the next decade.”


For the entire text, scroll on… For the comments, click here.

No one wants to hear less about the ending of the season and the
whys than fans that love the Sox. While I am officially no longer a
member of this organization I have read and keep reading the “What if”
stories as they relate to Manny and the team and the playoffs.

Enough has been said by anyone, and everyone, involved that it makes
peoples ears bleed but it still appears a huge important piece to the
puzzle is being missed.

First off anyone saying

Jason Bay is a nice player, but he’s not Manny.

is just not a very smart baseball person. Putting up the numbers he
did in Pittsburgh has been vastly downplayed in my opinion. Yes his
last year was less than stellar but in the Major Leagues that happens.
Bottom line is this guy is a 30/100 above average on base guy who plays
his ass off in the field and runs the bases hard and right. Is he
Manny? Hell no, who is? Who has ever been? But he’s far more than a
‘nice player’. Nice players are guys that play 140 games, hit 275 and
drive in some runs, and are good guys. This guy is a very good, very
good player. Not only that but he proved the October limelight is not
something that will make him wilt. Oh and he had a hell of a nice run
the last few months in a market that couldn’t be more opposite than
Pittsburgh.

That’s beside the initial point though. People are going to say, and
have been saying, what if Manny had stayed? What if Manny had done what
he did in LA, in Boston? If TJ Siemers can crawl out of Manny’s butt
long enough he’d objectively look at what happened and know he’s at the
front of the ‘I’m going to look like an ass at some point’ line and
wake up. I’ve made enough horses ass comments to know to at least be
aware now, when I am headed down that path….

It was NEVER a question of Manny’s ability, ever. Hell I am not sure
anyone had more run ins with him, as a teammate, than I did, but I’ll
never say anything other than this guy studied and practiced the art of
hitting, and executed, as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.

No, that wasn’t the issue, and no one argues that. What was the
issue, and this is my opinion only, became very clear to anyone in or
around the team at this point. The issue was not whether he would play
‘hard’ every day. He ALWAYS hit, but the game is so much more than
swinging the bat it’s laughable. No, the issue was whether he would
actually PLAY. I don’t mean play hard, play tough, play lazy, no, PLAY.

He had in the past taken days off. Hell most guys do. He certainly
had his own way of doing it and it was never ever with thought to
anyone but himself but for the most part I always took it with the
“Manny knows his body better than anyone”. We all knew there were times
it was just ‘He didn’t feel like playing today” and by ‘playing’ that
meant anything. Pinch hitting, pinch running, anything. His days off
for the most part were totally off. That’s not common, not at all. You
played that day, or series of days, with a 24 man roster, that was
never a thing you doubted or that came unexpected after awhile. As a
pitcher that is and always will be a factor in being a leader in the
clubhouse. A starting pitcher has very little idea what these guys do
to their bodies every day. But what I do know is I played 23 years of
professional baseball and have played with guys that ran the spectrum.
The guy who said “I’m good” while trying to catch with a broken
collarbone, and the guy who literally HAD to feel 100% to take BP. So
for a pitcher to question a position player, well in certain contexts
that just didn’t happen, but you also knew your teammates and you got
to see ‘behind the curtain’ when that ‘hurt’ guy took 5 days off and
spent less than 10 minutes in the training room. A direct opposite to
the guy who took one day off, made sure the manager knew he could Pinch
Hit if needed, and spent the game running back and forth from the bench
to the training room getting interval treatment as he could.

No, by saying PLAY I mean exactly that. The issue got to the point
where everyone finally took him at his word, there was no choice. A guy
refusing to get on a team plane, having to be literally coaxed on, by
people with pride and people that love the game, because meeting the
obligations of a 20 million dollar contract were not even close to
enough to get him going???? If he did not get traded he was going to
need “time off” to rest his injured knee, and it got to the point where
he made it clear time off could mean the rest of the season. Few guys
will admit to it and that’s cool, I get that, but no one, if in the
right situation, would ever deny that was anything but true.

So it’s not ‘what could have been’, we knew what was to be, and what
was to be was that if he did not get a contract extension he was going
to take a seat, and in taking that seat he didn’t give a rats ass what
anyone thought, including the 24 guys that wore the same uniform. So
the ‘what could have been’ in the post season is not the question. The
question is would there have been a post season if he had stayed, and
that’s a question, and a gamble, that I think everyone felt they knew
the answer too and in the end a gamble no one was willing to take, and
rightly so.

People continue to try and assign logic to the thoughts and
decisions made when we all knew so many illogical things were said and
done that logic was far from a factor in 99% of the things happening at
the end. I don’t think Scott Boras told many to ‘tank it’, Manny’s a
grown man and any decisions or actions he made are all on him.

It is demeaning and disrespectful to the guys that did respect their
teammates, the game and the fans by busting their asses through broken
down hips, sore arms, strained abs and whatever, to grind it out for
each other and the fans, their love of the game and anything else you
can think of, the organization, to hear people question the hows and
whys of this whole thing. That was why I said ‘he flipped you all off’
because if you heard ANYTHING he said after he left, he did.

Ya, remember this guy was at the forefront of bringing the first
world championship to Boston in 2004 (but please also throw a cheer or
three Foulkies way, that guy was the man in October of 04), remember
this guy, along with David, made the most fearsome middle of the order
of our lifetimes, remember when he was at the plate you better not
THINK of not being able to watch what he might do. This guy, when he
hit, changed games BEFORE he came to the plate.

But the thing that killed me in the end was this; he never gave a
rats ass about any of us that suited up with him, not one iota. He was,
and he said repeatedly, about going to the highest bidder and getting
as much money as he possibly could, period. If that meant pissing on us
in the interim, so be it.

Hey! That’s cool, that’s 100% your prerogative. But please don’t
crap all over the guy, or guys that spent years as your ‘teammates’
covering your ass by saying “Aww that’s just Manny being Manny” and the
hundreds of thousands of other things we needed to say to stop the
stories from being more than they could. Please don’t piss all over the
Manager and GM who pretty much swallowed every ounce of pride they
possessed because they knew that it was ‘win above all else’ here to
the fans and owners. Manny had a cult following because Manny could hit
and act goofy, period. Hey that’s cool, that’s what some fans love an
that’s fine, but that’s it.

Manny left because Manny wanted to get Manny the largest possible
contract Manny could. That happens and that’s fine. But the Sox got a
player that’s going to help them get back to October next year out of a
situation they could have been left with a player not playing, and a
patch work of guys filling in for the rest of the year.

That doesn’t mean, to me anyway, that the question should be “How
much farther would we have gotten” but rather “Would we have gotten
there?”

Why on earth would ANY situation be as good as it’s ever been? Why
would things be so fun and nice and happy and exciting AFTER you lose a
first ballot HALL OF FAME PLAYER? Is the rest of the baseball world
that much smarter than a guy widely recognized as one of, if not the,
best GMs in the game? Is a guy widely recognized as one of the best
managers, and on top of that best human beings, in the game that dumb?
Couldn’t it be that the opposite is true?

Don’t ask how far they could have gone. Let it be what it is. That
team went from 7 runs down and 7 outs to the end of a season that had
more turmoil and injuries than the Dallas Cowboys, to tying run on base
in the 8th inning of game 7. One game from the World Series.

Is that good enough? Ask the players, they’ll all tell you hell no
because it’s now different here. They now, and rightly so, expect to
win the World Series every year. Anything short of that is
disappointing and you can scream all you want but it’s realistic, and
earned. Ya it’s not the Yankees of the late ’90s, but it’s getting
there. This group has earned a place of respect in baseball that’s been
earned and the onus is on them to maintain that level of expectation
through performance, on and off the field. But for me, personally, the
far cooler piece is that the composition of players on the team now,
and the organization, is now setup to be held to a far higher standard
personally and professionally, and with that comes good things. The
fans deserve that, the game deserves that.

Joe Maddon benches his star young player twice and his team reaches
the World Series. Hell Scioscia has to pretty much kick a star
offensive player off his team during the playoffs, it might even have
cost them a shot at getting to the World Series in 04. I’m ok with
saying it because while you can scream all you want about things I’ve
said in the past, I’ve never intentionally disrespected the game, or my
teammates, never. I’ve said dumb things and done a few real stupid
ones, never was anything said or done with the intent to disrespect
either, anyone telling you otherwise is a liar.

I promise Tito, Jim Fregosi, maybe even Bob Brenly and Frank
Robinson will tell you I was a pain in the butt at times because I
talked too much though the GMs might say it a little more adamantly.
But there isn’t a coach or GM I ever played for that will tell you I
didn’t bust my ass every day I had the ball in my hand or that I was
ever unprepared for the job at hand, or that I ever played the game
with anything but respect. I am not a Hall of Famer, I’ve known that
since suiting up with one. I played with guys that don’t and will never
like me, hell that happens. But I cared about every teammate I ever had
and I cared what my teammates thought of me when it was my day, and I
cared what the guys in the other dugout thought of me when they had to
compete against me. Beyond that what people ‘knew’ of me was/is far
less than anyone ever will beyond my friends and family.

The Sox are poised to be a force in baseball for the next decade.
The Left Fielder is a perennial All Star, the staff is littered with
aces, the bullpen is anchored by a guy that will end the decade as the
games most dominant closer, the first and second baseman should finish
1-2 in the MVP race (not sure what order), the team has a HUGE pool of
young, homegrown, talent in the majors, and on the way, the manager,
though bald with an enormous nose, is as good a manager as anyone in
the game and manages people better than anyone I’ve been around, he
cares, deeply, about his players and hsi staff and that matters to them
all, the coaching staff has 2 future managers at least, one future GM,
the fans got their 4th ALCS in 6 years. It’s a new time, a new team and
the future is awesome. Remember the 2008 Red Sox as a team that
persevered thorugh a lot more than 90% of the teams in the game and
battled their asses off to within 2 runs of a World Series while
authoring the greatest comeback ever for a team faced with elimination.
Remember them for the 3rd baseman that played through what could only
be described as a broken hip, an Ace that gutted out a game that will
be horribly under appreciated forever, in a must win. Remember 2008 as
the year Jon Lester, a cancer survivor, turned into one of the premier
pitchers in the game, not the league, the game. Remember them as the
team who’s closer extended a record post season scoreless streak even
farther, remember them for their 2nd baseman, a five foot nothing guy
who can fricking rake (though he knows he can’t hit me) a gold glove
first baseman who cemented his place as a premier all around stud
(though bald and a mullion). Those are the things to remember this team
by, those are the things that matter.

No more ‘what could have beens’, they are good enough now to take
responsibility for what is, and what will be, and there isn’t a player
on this team that will shun accountability or responsibility for their
actions or their teams. That’s a pretty cool thing.

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