A few days ago someone named "Curt Schilling" spent a few moments commenting on this blog. Following the quick deployment of YFSF's 21st century identity-verification system (which consists of an egg timer, a sharpie, and a snickers bar, but we can't tell you how it works) we discovered that it was, in fact, the real Curt Schilling. And the real Curt Schilling has generously answered some questions we posed to him via email, about subjects ranging from his thoughts on the worthiness of a possible Hall of Fame induction to his nightstand reading to pesky liberals in the Sox' clubhouse. We're very grateful for Curt's presence here at YFSF, and hope that he will continue to chime in as the season becomes ever more exciting. Here's our correspondence.
YFSF: Do you have any personal/baseball goals or milestones for this year and beyond you have yet to achieve?
CS: About 2-3 years ago when I looked at where I was, I realized the only 2 ‘goals’ or numbers I had a chance to reach were 200 wins and 3000ks. Those are the two I’d like to have when I retire.
YFSF: Are there any other accomplishments that you feel might ice your Hall of Fame credentials, or do you think you're already there?
CS: I’ve been asked a lot over the past 2 seasons about the HOF and where I think I fit. I have always answered the same way. I’ve played with 2 HOF pitchers, RJ and Petey, and in my opinion I don’t fit. RJ has the 240+ wins, the 4000ks and all the Cy’s, Petey has the period of dominance unmatched in the history of the game, 200 wins, 3000ks and the Cys. They both belong. I’ve never felt I made it far enough numbers wise to deserve it and knowing that I have about 50-60 starts left means, in my opinion, I won’t get high enough in any of the ‘important’ categories to warrant being voted in. That being said I am ok with it. I am proud of what I’ve been allowed to accomplish and incredibly thankful to God to have been allowed the chance to do the thing I love for a career. Through baseball I’ve been able to touch lives and make a difference in a way I don’t think I ever could have doing something else. A plaque, while it would be incredible and rewarding, is not going to make me look back on my career any differently. Going to the HOF would only change how others look back on what I did.
YFSF: Do you plan on staying in baseball after you retire or do you see yourself in the conventional business world.
CS: TBD. I would love to work with kids, minor league kids I mean. But the only reason [at the moment] that I am retiring is that it’s time to start paying back the wife and kids for the sacrifices they’ve had to make in their lives to allow me to do what I do 110%. The time they’ve had to give up of mine, is really hard to fathom and I am missing things dads shouldn’t miss. I won’t ever get a chance to see the things I’ve missed in their lives and it’s harder than I think people realize. Having to watch your kids grow up over the phone is nothing something I have to do, where others might have to, I don’t. Getting even harder now is the fact that my oldest son Gehrig is 11, and has fallen head over heels into baseball this year, he’s now switched tunes and DOESN’T want me to retire next year. I just want to make it through next year healthy. People always just assume that the size of the paycheck cures anything that might possibly go wrong at home, it doesn’t.
YFSF: What's your take on media treatment of Manny Ramirez-- particularly the growing consensus that Herald and Globe columnists and WEEI commenters have been dismissing his Hall of Fame contributions and focusing on his mental gaffes? Does Manny ever talk about his feelings about that treatment?
CS: People that ride that bus are missing what will most likely be one of the 5 greatest hitters to ever live’s prime. This is a guy that shows up, home and road, to the park a lot of days at 10am to get early work in, leaves, has lunch, and comes back for more work. The whole “Manny being Manny” phrase is ‘catchy;’ so it works. Check the numbers, and this year even moreso. He plays pretty much everyday, and hits.
YFSF: Do you have any heated political debates in the Sox clubhouse or does that stuff stay pretty much personal? Are there any left-wingers on the roster that you like debating current events with?
CS: Gabe Kapler and I always go back and forth.
YFSF: Nightstand reading: Any recent books that have piqued your interest?
CS: Just finished Flags of our Fathers, great book. I am working hard to get into my Bible more, I put it off way too often in favor of other things and it’s something I am constantly trying to get more into.
YFSF:Who is the best hitter you've ever faced?
CS: Trick question. To really answer this you need to be more specific. Who WOULDN’T I want to see up in certain situations, or something like that. There are guys I don’t want to face with a runner on third, less than 2 outs, and those same guys I have no problem facing in another situation. The guys that hit me real well early in my career for the most part, were ‘smaller’ guys. By smaller I mean short, not tall. As fastball pitcher, early in my career I would always try and _power_ littler guys, and I learned, and was told very early on, that the ONE thing all ‘small’ hitters can do is hit the fastball, especially the high fastball. Mark Lemke, Marquis Grissom, they wore me out for awhile. Guys that I will always remember facing, falls more in the line with guys who I have respect for in the way they play the game, or guys I was a fan of before I got to the big leagues, Dave Parker, Cal Ripken, Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Scott Rolen, Paul Molitor, John Olerud, guys like that.
YFSF: Is there any possibility that you'd consider playing for the Yanks after your contract is done for the Sox, or are you finishing up in Boston?
CS: No. Even if I didn’t retire after next year I just can’t imagine jumping to the other side of this rivalry. Financially this game has taken care of me, so the next contract would be the same as this one in that we’d end up where we wanted to live and in a scenario we were familiar with. When all is said and done if I didn’t retire after next year I couldn’t imagine playing anywhere but Boston anyway to finish my career.
YFSF: Steroids/HGH: Still a problem or do you think it's been fixed?
CS: I think performance enhancements will always be a problem. My understanding is that the bad side is smart enough to stay one step ahead of the good side when it comes to testing and creating new things. I also don’t think it’s even remotely exclusive to baseball, I think it’s a society issue as much as it is a baseball issue.
YFSF: You've been vocally supportive of the Theo regime. What is it that you most admire about the way they do things? What do you think has been their biggest mistake during your time with them?
CS: From the first day I sat with Theo and Jed I’ve respected their honesty. Regardless of whether or not it’s what you want to hear, they are straight with you and as a player that’s all you can ask. As far as assessing the mistakes, I won’t. The mistakes they make we all identify because we use hindsight, they have to pony up when the clock is running, so assessing them and criticizing them is best left for the media ‘experts’ and know it alls. Lord knows I’m not short of opinions but for the most part when it comes to that kind of stuff and the things I’ve said in the past it’s been under people that in my opinion were doing a lot less than they were capable.