April 2, 2012

Valentine on Schilling's Comments: Consider The Source

Boston Dirt Dogs: You changed your mind about retiring after this season [2007], any chance you could change your mind on ... a stint in the media, NESN analyst, a la Dennis Eckersley, Baseball Tonight commentator, etc.?

Schilling: Absolutely zero chance of this ever happening, less than zero actually.

July 9, 2007
Curt Schilling joined ESPN's Baseball Tonight as a commentator in 2010.

Now in his third season offering opinion and analysis, Schilling has made recent comments that various Red Sox players he is in contact with have said that the Valentine Era is already off to a rough start.
[W]hen you talk to these guys - and I'm still talking to some of these guys - I don't think this is going well. And I think it's going bad quicker than I expected it to. ... I always - kind of like I felt with Tony LaRussa in a sense - I always feel like Bobby's trying to reinvent the game. I don't think players have ever responded well to that.
Chad Finn, at the Globe's Touching All The Bases blog, called out Schilling last Friday for his blatant hypocrisy:
When he was a player, Schilling was a outspoken believer in the tenet that if you're not in the locker room and a member of the team, you can't possibly know what is going on with said team, even if plugged-in sources are telling you. Several years ago, he famously ripped former Fox 25 sports anchor and WEEI fill-in host Butch Stearns for suggesting there was a rift with fellow ace Pedro Martinez.

Et tu, Schill? The role changes, and so do the rules?
Josh Beckett was asked about Schilling's comments:
I haven't seen him around this year. Is he one of our pitchers?
Beckett, who has made his opinion of clubhouse snitches crystal clear this winter, denied being one of Schilling's sources.

Schilling was back on the air Monday, telling ESPN Radio:
I think the [Daniel] Bard situation was mishandled. I think there's some cryptic stuff going on. ...

The manager's impact of wins and losses I think has changed more in baseball than any professional sport. I think they have very little to do with the 9 innings and 3 hours of game play each night. ... I think their jobs have become managing personnel. And Bobby is a guy that is interested in trying to making you understand how much he knows about the game. ...

[O]ne of the reasons Terry [Francona] was able to do what he did was because he didn't worry about the little stuff. And Bobby's entire life is caught up in the little stuff. ...

I just feel like this is not going to go the way people had hoped. I thought there were different choices that could have been made here [to be manager], from a personality perspective, knowing some of the guys on this team. I'm not so sure that this isn't going to be an oil and a water mix early on, especially if they don't get out to a really good start.
WEEI's Kirk Minihane also believes "it's time for Curt Schilling to shut up".
If a former Sox player went on WEEI in March 2004 and said things weren't going well during spring training (without making an appearance in Fort Myers) Schilling would have blasted the guy for having no clue and then would have questioned what exactly his motive was for trying to forward such an angle. And he would have been right. I have no problem with a healthy debate about Bobby Valentine, but how about letting the guy manage, I don't know, one inning of an actual game before we start kicking dirt?
Valentine's only comment on Schilling: "I just consider the source when I hear stuff like that."

All joking aside, that is good advice. I would not be surprised to learn that Curt Schilling simply does not like Bobby Valentine, who has replaced the manager Schilling pitched for both in Philadelphia and Boston, a manager who was trashed with rumour and innuendo on his way out the door by the same organization that then happily welcomed Valentine.

For 4.5 years of Valentine's tenure with the Mets, Schilling pitched for the Phillies, who were usually looking up (sometimes, way up) at the Mets in the division standings. Both Schilling and Valentine have reputations as know-it-alls with an opinion on everything and an insatiable appetite for media attention. When I hear Schilling denigrate Valentine, it sounds like he could be describing himself.

My main question is: Schilling last pitched for the Red Sox in 2007. Terry Francona is gone. Theo Epstein is gone. Most of Schilling's teammates from that season are gone. How many more years have to pass before the former #38 is not considered an expert on the team's clubhouse?

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