Much hoopla has been made over Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens. Schilling claims that his early career failures were the result of his lax work ethic. That changed when he met Clemens and observed how diligently the man worked. From that day forth, Schilling decided to fulfill his potential. It paid off, of course, in 2001 and 2004, when he won World Series titles.
Roger Clemens has once again made himself the center of attention by declining to decide whether he will pitch during the 2007 season, and, most importantly, where he will pitch. The media eats this kind of thing up, printing weekly articles on the status of Clemens which, invariably, is “no decision.”
Curt Schilling, on the other hand, has made himself the center of attention (or at least that was his intention) by announcing that he will pitch in 2008. And, to stir the pot a bit more, he said that it won’t necessarily be with Boston.
“Where I’m going to play beyond 2007, I hope it’s Boston, but I will go out and find a home to pitch,” he said. “I hope it’s here but there’s also that possibility [of pitching for another team].”
He tries to come off as affable throughout the article, but it’s easy to see right through Schilling. He sees the attention falling on J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Manny Ramirez and, most recently, Todd Helton, and wants his own part of the action. So he does what he does best, run his mouth to the media, crying for a new contract, all while spinning it to make him look like the good guy.
There is no doubt Schilling was one of the best pitchers of his era. But, entering his age 40 season, there are no more guarantees. Theo Epstein would be wise to ignore Schilling and play it like he was still going to retire after 2007. I understand his value as a pitcher, but 1) he’s trying to hold up your organization and 2) he was expected to leave after this season anyway. If Curt had pure intentions, he wouldn’t change his retirement plans during the slowest baseball news time of the year, and he wouldn’t set such a tight deadline on getting a deal done.
But the people of Boston will love him anyway.