Dan Shaughnessy is a egotistical, self-absorbed, rabble rousing, pot stirring idiot. This guy writes a book 20 years ago blaming all the Red Sox struggles over the years on the fact they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Forget the fact Ruth was a womanizing drunk who gave both the manager and owner constant grief. Forget the fact that Ruth wanted out. Forget the fact that Ruth, only a good player at the time, not the great one he would become, was known more for his pitching than his bat. Nah- the Red Sox sucked and never won the World Series was because of a CURSE.
And what does Mr. Serious Journalist do after the 2004 championship year? He writes another book telling us this time the curse, still real mind you, was reversed. If you ever read his column, most of the time he writes about the Red Sox, it's always something negative. He criticizes management, or ownership, or the player. After the 2005 season, he wrote a column on the fractured relationship between G.M. Theo Epstien and club President Larry Lucchino, causing Epstein to resign as G.M., only to change his mind after owner John Henry put a band-aid on the fighting. Obviously people like Shaughnessy because he still has his job, and is a featured writer for the top paper in New England. And Red Sox fans, especially ones who live in Boston, don't ever seem like they are happy unless they are in misery. So I understand the guys appeal, I just don't happen to like it.
This time he has really cranked my chain. He's going after Curt Schilling for seeking a contract extension for 2008. Schilling has asked for his contract to be extended for 1 year, at his 2007 price of $13 million per year. Sure, the fact that Curt is saying if it's not done by April 1 and he won't negotiate during the season bothers me. I don't like the timing of it, but if that's the way he feels, that's the way he feels. Speaking his mind has never been a problem for Schilling his whole career, and that's a big reason why Schilling is a either you love him or you hate him kind of guy. Guess which way I feel.
See, for me, what Schilling did in 2004 gets him a free pass for life with me. Not only did he swagger into town like John Wayne at high noon, he embraced playing in Boston like no athlete in recent memory. Unlike other players, Schilling GETS it. He talks to the writers, the fans, the radio and tv people. Passionate, loyal, and yeah, cocky is how you can describe Schilling. To be a great athlete, you have to be all three and more. Tough and team first are others. And after winning 21 games in '04, Schilling starts Game 1 of the ALDS versus the Angels that year and gets the win. In the 7th inning of that game he came off the mound to field a ground ball and came up limping. Turns out to be a dislocated ankle tendon.
Flash forward to Game 1 of the ALCS vs. the Yankees. Schilling looks nothing like the flame throwing, spittin', cussin' ace he's been all year. The Yankees are up 6-0 before the 3rd inning is over, Schillings out of the game, and every Red Sox fan feels like fate just kicked them square in the marbles. Down 3 games to none, everybody living in a civilized country knows what happens: they go on to win it all. They don't do that without what Schilling did in game 5 of that series or game 2 of the World Series. With stitches, Super glue, and rubber bands holding that tendon in place, with blood seeping out through his sock, Schilling manned up and gave the team 7 and 6 innings respectively. Through intense pain and damage to his body, he sacked up and mowed 'em down, knowing he was putting his next season, even career, in jeopardy.
He missed the early part of 2005, struggled as the closer for a time, then sorta bounced back to finish up OK. Last year, he won 16 games, went 6 innings or more each start, and along with Josh Beckett was one of the only 2 pitchers the team could count on all year. At nearly 40 years old, a time when most pitchers his age are in the bullpen or retired.
So yeah, I have no problem with Schilling getting paid for one more year. At 40 he is still better than 90% of pitchers playing today. I'm sure he saw all the monopoly money being tossed around this off season and realized he could get paid. It's not that Schilling is a bad guy either: he is very active in finding a cure for Lou Gherig disease, as well as several other charities. He's a loyal husband and father, which if you've read this blog, is a characteristic and example I try to live by.
Give him one more year. Pay him not for what he'll do in '07, for what he did in '04.