Curt Schilling, in what seems to be the most unnecessary backtrack ever, dials down his highly publicized comments from Sunday:
I would have loved to have him, I said so, but the second he chose the Yankees it became a non-factor. This game is hard enough worrying about the things you can control much less the things you can’t. We have a very very good team. I think we have the best staff in the game right now. Can that change? Sure it can but no one here can tell us how when and why it will change. Maybe it won’t. Bottom line is if you are in our clubhouse wishing we had Clemens you are basically telling a teammate you suit up with every day that we’re better off without you.
In case you missed it, this is what Curt said, as quoted by Edes in the Globe:
"It would have been nice to have him, we didn't need him -- we don't need him," said Curt Schilling, the winning pitcher in yesterday's 4-3 decision here over the Minnesota Twins. "It's May, that's a long way to go. I like the way we're comprised right now. I like the people. This team has incredible makeup, this team has great chemistry. I feel like we were legitimate World Series contenders without him, and that hasn't changed."
I just don't understand the need to clarify, "It would have been nice to have him, but ... we don't need him," into, "I would have loved to have him ... (but) we have a very good team." His original quote was inspirational, kind of in-your-face. It was team-leader stuff. Great stuff.
But Dan Shaughnessy, proving once again that he has no clue, bafflingly called it "a comment of stupefying arrogance." Curt in his post mentions "CHB" twice, so it seems clear those comments dug at him. Is Curt afraid of offending Clemens? Is he mad at Shaughnessy for choosing only the "We don't need him" portion of the quote? I don't know, but Schilling's post raises some concerns.
This is the second time in a little more than a week that Schilling has unfairly criticized "the media" for the actions of what appears to be one man. In the Gary Thorne/bloody sock fiasco, when one idiot broadcaster essentially made a story up out of whole cloth and was publicly embarrassed when the Boston media did their jobs and proved Thorne's account false, Curt whipped out the ridiculous (and incorrect) generalization that "working in the media is a pretty nice gig. Barring outright plagiarism or committing a crime, you don’t have to be accountable if you don’t want to. You can say what you want when you want and you don’t really have to answer to anyone." Seth Mnookin did an excellent job knocking that one down.
Having read both Boston papers and watched NESN after the Clemens announcement, in only one place -- Shaughnessy's column -- did I see the "don't need him" quote divorced from its "nice to have him" introductory clause. Yet Curt again criticizes "media people" in a lengthy, bitter-sounding post. He uses more qualifiers this time, but the tone's the same.
I have little patience for those who generalize their distatste with a specific reporter or story into generalizations about all news or sports media. This is obviously because I am a member of the news media, and I'm more sensitive to these types of baseless generalizations, being the subject of them fairly often. I don't imagine it's easy to be a person (sports figure, politician, celebrity, what have you) whose every word is taken down by reporters, who then sees those words splashed somewhere out of context, open for misinterpretation or just plain wrong. We've all had that happen to us in private, with friends, coworkers or family members. I can't imagine what that feels like when something you didn't mean to read a certain way -- or something you didn't say at all -- is being read by thousands of people. I sympathize greatly with Curt Schilling, who is simply fed up with being (he feels) intentionally misquoted or made to look bad by one or two reporter-columnists.
Nevertheless, because he feels angry and slighted by the generalizations made about him that have been fueled by mangled or twisted quotes -- "blowhard, "red-light Curt" and the like -- I had hoped he would avoid similar generalizations when he published in his own medium about those who cover him. Instead, he seems to be indulging the media sterotypes, and that is unproductive for everyone involved.