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So Curt Schilling announced his retirement today. It is a very special day, indeed.
I guess he felt it was time to steal another headline. Why not? Especially with Spring Training in full swing, with the World Baseball Classic dominating the collective consciousness, with the Sweet Sixteen defining itself and with the NFL draft right around the corner...
I don't like Curt Schilling. I believe him to be a total ass; a prima donna, a diva, a Queen and many other slang terms I usually never need to express myself. He's foolishly arrogant, insolent, smug, prideful, egotistic, full of himself, haughty and utterly obsessed with being in love with himself. I will state publicly - If he was a black man most people's opinions of him would be much like that of the general public opinion of Terrell Owens or Barry Bonds.
Yet, there are so many people in the world that don't view Curtis Montague Schilling the way I do. That's fine - you've all been fooled!
Let's take a step back and let me also state: I am very impressed with his willingness to openly take on the Mighty Yankees repeatedly over the course of his career. Of course, Yankee Hater Curt didn't come into existence until AFTER Randy Johnson carried the 2001 Diamondbacks over the vaunted Yankees - and Curt saw the opportunity brewing. Fairness obliges me to say this - His "Aura and Mystique are strippers" quote was classic.
He spent FAR too much time needlessly defending himself in public view, on his blog, calling in to talk radio shows - this is a putrid act from my perception; and even by his very own (and loudly proclaimed) "professional ethics"... talk should be done on the field of play. And don't even get me started on how he interjected his political beliefs into his own personal "Aura and Mystique". Don't get me started on how many ex-teammates he never introduced himself to or took the time to be a teammate with. Don't get me started on how public image was a greater concern to him than facing up to reality. And don't get me started about what people within the game feel about the all-consuming Superstar known simply as "Red Light Curt".
He shoved his way into being some sort of knowledgable and leading figure for all professional players to resemble and follow. He squawked loudly that steroids were wrong, about what it meant to be a teammate, about how professioanls act - ALWAYS mounting his high horse for public consumption. I (and many others like me) was never fooled, Curt. We know you played on the '93 Phillies and we know you took "greenies" (amphetemines which are every bit as illegal as steroids), we know the "Bloody Sock" was bullshit and even if the blood was real (it wasn't), you could have NOT played it up to more than it was. But then you wouldn't have been Curt Schilling, would you?
I do - sadly - think he's going to get into the Hall of Fame
However, I DON'T think of him as a Hall of Famer. And I definitely don't think he belongs in. I think he reaped a tremendous pile of creedit for which he did not deserve (See a STACKED Red Sox team that got him 2 rings and a "Chosen" D-Backs team that would have won without/despite him). He never won a Cy Young (he was 3 times a bridesmade), he never was the best pitcher in his league, and he was RARELY the best pitcher even on his own team (Tommy Greene, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Josh Beckett)!!! He was a 6 time all-star and started twice (Dave Stieb was a 7 time All-Star who started twice) and he never finished better than 10th in any MVP vote. Although he twice led his league in Wins and Strikeouts he never won an ERA title.
He came into the league as a power thrower from the bullpen in the late 80's. During the latter part of his career, he was a craftier pitcher and displayed very fine control numbers as expressed by his k-bb ratios (No one is beating down Tommy Bond's door to put him in the Hall for his excellent K-BB ratio; nor Doug Jones, nor Ben Sheets, Bret Saberhagen et al). He was by all statistical and/or popular definition, "Clutch" in the postseason (but so was Lonnie Smith, Dave Henderson, Gene Tenace, Billy Hatcher, Lenny Dykstra and Jack Morris). Regardless, we're still talking about a pitcher whose career is favorable similar to that of Kevin Brown, Bob Welch and Orel Hershiser - ALL three of whom had dominant postseason performances and oddly enough, roughly the same amount of career wins (all within 11 wins of each other)- except Welch and Hershiser each won a Cy Young award during their career.
Hell, Vida Blue had an MVP and Cy Young and just as many postseason heroics as Schilling and he'll never sniff Cooperstown. If you think that Schilling is a Hall of Famer, I can't wait to hear your theories on Brown, Welch, Hershiser or even a pitcher MORE deserving than the lot - Jack Morris.
Sure Curt has one of those magical* numbers to help his cause - 3000+ K's. But so does Bert Blyleven - who has 70 more wins and nearly 600 more strikeouts and ALSO played in an era where batters struck out less than during Schilling's era.
Curt slapped his name on a lot of charitable causes for a reason
Schilling finagled his way out of Philly, burned his way out of Arizona and hung around for reflected glory in Boston. He was an attention leech, a media sucker and slimeball who only worried about one thing - being "Red Light Curt". He only wanted to be "on the record" and he only wanted whatever credit could be doled out while deflecting ANY and ALL blame. He constantly was praised for charitable work he was responsible for but the root of that effort was a sham - or at least the doings of his equally loudmouthed wife Shonda. Their method was to scream loudly about their "good work" so no one could ever see through the mirage of their fakeness. Curt Schilling pursued charitable work out of guilt or personal tragedy not out of a kind, caring, giving heart as he tries so hard to have you believe.
Note: I don't bash the charities he's aided, nor do I disrespect the results of his faked efforts. I bash his motivation - personal gain for doing "good". I see his charity work as no different than Charles Manson speaking righteously about the life of Jesus.
Also Note: Curt Schilling was paid more than $114 million dollars in salary during his career. I'm not saying what level of charity is "acceptable" for any person but there's a lot of non-hundred-millionaires in the world giving more of their time and energy and not asking for ANY publicity. Just saying.
Burner of Bridges
Anyone who could be badmouthed - as Curt Schilling was - by former Arizona Diamondbacks owner/Classiest Guy in Sports Jerry Colangelo should be forever banished to the public consciousness' Stockade of Shame. Colangelo didn't just push/shove Curt to the Red Sox, he would have done dirty and disgusting deeds to make sure the deal would get done. Every player in the Diamondback's clubhouse unanimously agreed that he needed to go and even the self-righteous/diva-ish at times/supposed friend and compadre Randy Johnson publicly admitted he could not wait to see him leave! Yet Curt had us all believe that the trade was some mastermind doing of his own geniusness.
He was traded three times before becoming a Phillie (in a deal for Jason Grimsley, oddly enough). There's not much evidence that he was traded those first three times simply because he was an intolerable buffoon, but a case could be made when you analyze the trades and see he was the "throw in" and not the active prinicple until the Grimsley deal.
Let us recap: The Phillies (who also couldn't wait to dump his cancerous and devisive personality) got Travis Lee, Omar Dahl, Nelson Figeroa and Vincente Padilla in return for him... Think about it. Did the D-Backs fleece the Phillies or did the Phillies just take whatever they could get? Think about it further and you'll realize the Phillies graciuosly and willingly fleeced themsleves in the deal.
Let us recap: The D-Backs got a whopping, mind-blowing package of Casey "Hit 'Em to Where They Can't See 'em" Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge De La Rosa and minor leaguer Michael Goss for the "dominant" righthander. Did the D-Backs get robbed blind or was there something else? No need to call Columbo...
Sure, the Red Sox got all they could handle with Curt. And he was a perfect fit! The Duke of Mouth didn't fluster a clubhouse with two affluently petulant superheros (Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez) simply because Curt didn't speak Spanish. The Red Sox - who seem to have been dysfunctional since time began due to geographical, social and logistical reasons - had a bigger battle on their hands (getting big enough to take on Big Brother; the Yankees) than to care for any damage he could do in that clubhouse. He was a largemouthed bass in a pool of ducks. He was harmless in any effort to damage the hodge podge of bogus personalities already in place.
And he still made himself bigger than Babe Ruth to the lemming-ish "Red Sox Nation".
Stay Far Away From the Microphones and Cameras, PLEASE!!!
If any person on this planet not named Rachel Ray stands a chance of singularly making my TV experiences more miserable than Mr. Tim McCarver, it is Red Light Curt... God, PLEASE do not do this to me!!! I had to deal with him when I lived in Philadelphia, when I moved to Phoenix and then watched as his "Journey" moved on to the 24/7 experience of the Northeast Bias channel.
PLEASE let the suffering end!!! (And while you're at it God, a McCarver-Ray head on automobile collison is not too much to ask, is it?)
Dear reader, don't you fail to note for even a second that Today, the day of the last great Curt Schilling tememed news wire (fat chance) it is March 23rd, 2009 but Curt Schilling will forever tout ad nauseum that his final appearance on a big league mound was "as it should be" - a World Series win... in october 2007.
So go long into that great good night and though I could never pray enough that you will be silenced and rendered impotent in the public eye, good riddance - FINALLY!