Curt Schilling has done nothing but talk this spring. A couple of weeks ago, he kicked things off with a lengthy interview with press foe Dan Shaugnessy . And when I say lengthy, I mean looong. The entire column was basically raw Schill. The highlight:
The media is the hardest part of this. There’s so much of it and there’s a lot of bitterness and jealousy here that doesn’t exist in other places. . . I just think there’s a lot of potshots taken because it is personal. You and I have never gotten along very well. 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. As hard as it is for some people in your business to believe, I don’t enjoy talking to the media. I don’t look forward to being in front of you guys .
And yet, earlier this week, there he was again, in front of “us guys.” The loquacious righty first discussed his chances of getting into the Hall, as a 3,000 K, 200 win man:
It’s not something I think about. My hand to God, it’s not something that motivates me or drives me, because it’s obviously 100 percent out of my control. When you see the guys that aren’t in there that belong in there, the Bert Blylevens, the Jim Rices, it makes it very easy not to worry about it. Hopefully, I’m going to stay healthy and pitch the next two seasons and win another World Series or two, win 25 games each year and walk away healthy, if that’s what we decide.
Then he talked about what it’s like to be a 40-year-old pitcher.
You have to listen to your body more as you get older. It might take me a little longer to do things, like warm up, but they pay me to pitch. I have to get my body ready to pitch every fifth day. I feel good. I’ll be ready to go Opening Day.
Then he rattled on about new teammate Daisuke Matsuzaka (stuff-wise, makeup-wise, and video-wise):
I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere near the adjustment people off the field think it is. I think the kid is phenomenally talented. I think he’s an ace in the making, stuff-wise. Makeup wise, he’s polished, he’s very composed. He’s a mature 26-year-old kid. From what I’ve seen video-wise, he’s a phenomenally talented kid. Obviously he’s pitching in the toughest division in baseball, in the world, but I think he’ll be able to step up and do some pretty special things.
And then he talked about learning Japanese.
I’ve gotten some software, some audio stuff and a bunch of different books. I’m trying to learn conversational Japanese. It’s a challenge. It’s a very difficult language. I said hello to Dice-K (Matsuzaka) and Oki (Okajima) in formal Japanese. There are times we’re on a bus or on a plane, and we want to get know each other. There’s a fun group of guys here and I don’t want them to miss out on that fun.
Finally, Curt even talked in Japanese, as if one language weren’t enough for all his words, trying out a few phrases with the foreign press corps’ cameras rolling and earning a smattering of applause.
And then, yesterday, Schilling weighed in on the sports story that rocked Boston this week: Actress Bridget Moynahan is carrying ex-boyfriend Tom Brady’s baby. (Experts predict it will be the second-most-attractive baby in the world, after Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.) Nevermind Tom Brady’s initial silence on his own baby; Boston could not rest until it had heard Curt Schilling’s take on Tom Brady’s baby, the price of fame, and the psychology of celebrity. And Curt generously obliged:
As an athlete, what recourse do you have to [publicity] like that? None. Absolutely none. Our thoughts and feelings about how it goes down, or doesn’t, are irrelevant. You have to accept [that]. If you don’t, it’s not a life you’re going to succeed in. You can get mad about it and angry about it, but you have to accept it…People can’t fathom that, with the exception of our God-given talent and our salaries, there is absolutely nothing different between me and any father of four. Shonda and I still get frustrated when our kids don’t listen and we get upset when they’re sick. That doesn’t change when you make $13 million a year. [Fans] believe that the things that make us different on the field are there off the field, too. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, maybe we’re less equipped [to cope] than most because we’ve had to do less to get more.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and God Bless America.
Perhaps all this chit chat is why rumors keep surfacing that the Republican Schilling will consider running for Senate against Massachusetts incumbent John Kerry. It is, after all, the world’s most deliberative body.
But Big Schill isn’t quite ready to hang up his spikes just yet. He’s canceled plans to retire and wants to pitch at least in 2008, and possibly for longer. The Ace was confident he’d be signed by the Red Sox before the season, but after the team FO broke the news that they wouldn’t negotiate until after the season was over, he said he planned to file for free agency. Curt, for his part, has been a step ahead of his younger teammates in Fort Myers, but despite racking up 10 wins before the All-Star Break in a comeback season last year, he faded in the second half. Perhaps this is why the Sox are insisting on waiting until the end of the season to decide how much he’s worth. Yet Schilling maintains that despite his plan to file for free agency, he won’t go to the Yankees (it would be “disingenuous”), and that he is willing to pitch for the same amount of money he made this year ($13 mill). How do I know all of this? Why, because of all the talking he did this morning on WEEI. Seriously, he’s everywhere. He makes Barack Obama look like a taciturn hermit.
For a guy who doesn’t like talking to the media, he sure does a lot of it. And it’s still the first week of Spring Training.