This post started as merely a comment to Sarah’s article (below). If you haven’t read it, go do it right now. It’s quite good.
Go on. I’ll wait.
For those of you who have already read it, good for you, and while we wait for the others, allow me to remind you that Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and that no one can tell your mom how much you appreciate her quite like Mr. T can.
All of you back? Good. Cause I’m throwin’ it down.
Sarah asks a question (possibly rhetorical, but as a blogger, I have no patience for rhetoric) that was too good to not respond: “why do so many folks want to believe… that Curt wasn’t really bleeding on the mound?” It’s a juicy one.
First off, the guy is easy to hate. I am not saying I personally hate him because I’ve never met the guy. I have no reason to have any strong feelings about him, really. But Curt reminds people of those who tormented them in high school, college, and at other points in life. Currently standing at nearly six and a half feet, he was probably bigger than everyone else growing up, and with his demeanor, it’s easy to imagine him pushing around smaller children. Like, seven year olds. When he was nineteen. I can’t even be certain that Curt Schilling didn’t invent the atomic wedgie. If Gary “The Forehead” Thorne told me he did, I may believe it. Even if that’s an unfair position to put him in, he does have that air about him that rub some people the wrong way. The guy’s a total meathead. Some people love meatheads, others not so much. And what are the odds that Gary Thorne wasn’t on the receiving end of a few gotch pulls in his life?
Moreover, the general dislike of Red Sox fans held by many outside New England becomes manifested towards Curt Schilling. That, I can personally attest to. In 2004, I found myself actually enjoying the Red Sox run in the playoffs. When the final out made its way into Mienkiewicz’s glove, I was happy for them.
Then Jimmy Fallon ran onto the field to make out with Drew Barrymore. That moment, in retrospect, epitomizes the ridiculousness of it all. The organization allowed the Farrelly brothers to film that scene for “Fever Pitch” at the exact moment that the purity of baseball was supposed to return, if only for that one fleeting moment. It was an inopportune reminder that this is a business. Red Sox Nation is a corporate brand – and worse, it’s a brand that doesn’t include me. The “members” of Red Sox Nation (and good lord, I know I’m going to hear it from people for writing this) appear to have a large contingency of those who know very little about baseball outside the Northeast Corridor of Amtrak (I can feel the hate already). The world revolves around David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and Theo Epstein. They’ve already put Jonathan Papelbon in the Hall of Fame. Bill Simmons is their Hemingway (Ernest, not Mariel).
Now admittedly, this is me speaking as a New Yorker, and this certainly does apply to Yankees and Mets fans as well (although us Mets fans have less to boast about). And of course, there are many Red Sox fans out there who do have some sense of perspective, are very knowledgeable and rooted in reality. However, as it goes with most things in this world, the most rational ones are not the most visible ones. Look again at Curt Schilling. David Ortiz is probably a far more likable person than Curt – but he’s not the one with the blog. It’s the backlash from the months and months that those of us who carried foreign passports into Red Sox Nation following October 27th, 2004, have had to endure. Their “woe is me” disposition turned into a “sucks to be you” attitude in mere minutes. Those who had never heard of Tom Brunansky immediately headed off to the local mall to purchase Red Sox paraphernalia and boasted their level of fandom. I recall seeing a segment on the news the night they put the Cardinals away that had a college student in Boston actually utter the words “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime”. We weren’t ready for that.
So I think this resentment fueled the flames. There is no doubt that Gary Thorne is a total wiener. Even if it was true that Doug Mirabelli had told him this, it was extremely unprofessional and irresponsible to state it on the air during an Orioles broadcast. The story never should have gotten so much attention to begin with because it was a moronic assertion from the start. If Curt Schilling were more likable, it would have been far easier for people to dismiss. But Curt is the loudmouth of an already far too vocal and proud Red Sox Nation. People want to bring him down and knock him off the pedestal. It’s human jealousy. And if he doesn’t want people to hate him, then he shouldn’t be so goddamn good at it.
P.S. Treat you mother right.