Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 26, 2006
BASEBALL: Schilling & Simmons

Tremendous in-depth interview of Curt Schilling by Bill Simmons. (Bill did get in a few Joe Biden-length questions, but after all, he's the writer here). My favorite Schilling lines:

On sportswriters: "The only thing, as a fan, that you can be assured of as truth is the box score . . ." I'm seriously thinking of adding that to my template, it's such a great line.

(Schilling's not afraid to name names of misbehaving sportswriters either, fingering Dan Shaughnessy and Bill Conlin as "some of the better writers [who] suck at their jobs from my standpoint." He's also the first player I've heard use the term "VORP")

On free agency: "I just wish both sides would own up to it when called on it, you leave for more money, or you don't offer someone more money, say so when someone calls you on it."

On the bidding for Johnny Damon:

Ask yourself this. Doesn't every team that makes a HUGE offer to a free agent, then loses out -- doesn't that team find it in their best interest to make sure their fans know they tried? I mean, the earth wouldn't split if this was the first time Scott Boras BS'd a team into giving a player way more than any other team out there because he had a team on the grassy knoll offering 200 billion, would it? If I am the 'Mystery Team,' I want my fans and season-ticket holders to know we tried, to know we laid 65 million out there to get Johnny Damon. I think it was only the Yanks and Sox in on this one to begin with.

His explanation of Manny is fascinating, if unsurprising, as well. Read the whole thing.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:23 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I like the Sports Guy. if it wasn't for him, i wouldn't know the NBA existed. But the Schilling lovefest was too much. How about question along the lines of, "Why are you such a self-mythologizing blowhard?"

Posted by: seamus at January 26, 2006 8:12 PM

An interview with Schilling. That must be a tough get. Doesn't he usually wait until February to whore himself out? Must be making up for last year's lost season. Maybe we can get a graft from a cadaver and sew his mouth shut

Posted by: misterpet at January 26, 2006 9:39 PM

What was Ed Wade's line about Schilling-"He's a horse once or twice a week and a horse's ass otherwise."

Posted by: John Salmon at January 27, 2006 12:34 AM

I see similar comments to the first two above whenever Blez talks to Billy Beane. Do you think he or Bill Simmons would get such long and frank answers to their questions if they used their interview time to attack their subject?

When you're talking with an athlete or GM and you want to get something other than boilerplate, perhaps it's helpful if you show him a little love. He might loosen up and chat a bit more, and you get interesting insights.

I agree with Crank, I thought it was a really good interview.

Posted by: Dave W at January 27, 2006 5:41 AM

Yeah it was a good interview. No matter how much money these guys make what they or anyone really want is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. A little bit of that honey can go a long way. Fans, and sportswriters, have a right to boo, and should boo, when the player does not respect them or the game. It works both ways. If a sportswriter or a 'fan' on a message board disses an athlete just because he needs to prove to someone that he is better than the guy on the field, he is being a jerk and should be called on it. A little off topic here, but one thing that really pisses me is how much the media hate Barry Bonds. OTOH Payton Manning is a jerk because he dissed his coach on the field with everyone watching and then dissed his team mates in an interview after the game to cover his own poor performance. Yes, he could have had better protection, but that was not the time to say that.

Posted by: jimbo at January 27, 2006 6:00 AM

There are a lot of varieties of jerk, and Bonds is all of them. I blame nobody for giving him a hard time. But I agree that in most cases writers who tear down athletes - especially guys who are surly with the press like Eddie Murray, Jim Rice and Albert Belle - are doing so for a lot of the wrong reasons.

It doesn't bother me that Schilling is a guy with a big ego and a thirst for glory. He's no different than Michael Jordan in that respect; that's part of what makes these guys worth watching. And I do think Schilling is basically a straight shooter who says what he thinks.

Posted by: The Crank at January 27, 2006 8:35 AM

C'mon Crank. He's a Yankee killer. Thats why you like him...

Posted by: seamus at January 27, 2006 9:30 AM

It doesn't hurt, but I liked Schilling when he was a Phillie and killing the Mets.

Posted by: The Crank at January 27, 2006 9:38 AM

pretty weak article IMO. I wish Simmons would have asked Curt about his mini fued with Heyman. It seems like Curt doesn't appreciate Heyman airing his dirty laundry - namely his run in with Varitek and when he questioned Williamson's injury. It's stuff like this that makes teammates and fans not like the guy.

Posted by: blah blah blah at January 27, 2006 10:53 AM

That thing was waaaaaaaaaaaay too long. I kind of expected a little more objectivity. We get it. Simmons loves everything about Boston. He's capable of so much better though. The 30 wins comment (I hope tongue-in-cheek) gave me a chuckle.

Posted by: Nate at January 27, 2006 11:09 AM

If you aren't a Sox fan I can see why this would seem like a little too much. The article is really long due in large part to "questions" that are sometimes 2-3 paragraphs in length. Part of this is due to the fact that this is an atypical interview since it was all done by e-mail. I like the format (he did an e-mail "interview" with Mark Cuban last year that was great because Cuban is so frank) because you get more complete thoughts. I don't even bother listening to athletes interviewed on the radio or TV. Why listen? The questions are quick and leading and the answers are straight out of the Bull Durham playbook ("I'm just happy to be here.", etc. etc.). Sure, only a few guys are going to do an interview like this one and, yes, Schilling no doubt has NO problem with this sort of situation. At least he is saying something though which is so much different than what you hear from typical athlete interviews.

Simmons is a homer for the Sox and he makes no bones about it. He's not trying to be objective. He's not a sports reporter. He's a columnist. He comes in with an agenda and that agenda is 100% pro-Red Sox. Schilling is the kind of guy that everyone hates until he pitches for your team. Then you love him. I thought he was a jerk too and then he went 21-8 and pitched 2 of the gutsiest games I have ever seen and the Sox won the World Series. He can talk about being born again and call talk shows all the freaking time as far as I am concerned. He's a bastard but part of that makes him what he is: one of the dying breed of true Number 1 starters.

Again, it is long if you aren't into the Red Sox and/or you don't dig how Simmons approaches his topics. I probably would not invest the reading time on an in-depth interview with Derek Jeter (or heaven forbid A-Rod) so I get why people see it as a bit of bore. I think Schilling deserves some credit for his willingness to put his opinions on the record in this manner. Althletes have become so guarded that this is rare (I think some times a lot of them just don't have much in the way of opinions about anything.) and Schilling gets busted because he is willing to be forthcoming.

Posted by: jim at January 27, 2006 1:40 PM

I thought the interview was fantastic. Seriously, how often do you snore during most interviews with athlete's today? Schilling is an ego driven individual and his confidence in his own self is apparent with every word he utters (or in this case types).

I agree with the assessment that most pro athletes are guarded and PR concious. A-Rod immediately comes to mind. Schilling is the anti-PR athlete and you have to respect him for that. He is way outside the comfort zone.

Like the crank, I am a Mets fan and liked Schilling when he was in Philly. Now that he's killing the Yankees, you have to love him even more.

RE: Simmons, his byline is "The Sports Guy" not the "Sports Reporter from the BBC". I find no fault in his view of the world according to Bill. It's a refreshing look, and mirrors many of us bloggers and blog-ites. He's one of us, except he roots for another team. You'd probably share a beer with him in First Edition on Bell Blvd watching the game.

Posted by: Mike from Queens at January 27, 2006 2:15 PM

Um, nobody is more PR conscious than Schilling. Everything he says and does is caclulated to make him look as good as possible.

for those who say they "like" Schilling...did you like how he handled himself in front of congress last year when he basically contradicted all of his previous comments on steroids?

Face it, the guy is a phony. Members of the media have said it, teammates have said it, and former managers have said it.

He's a great pitcher...but a complete jackass.

Posted by: blah blah blah at January 27, 2006 2:42 PM

Make that three Mets fans (all from Queens, by the way) who like Schilling and really liked the interview.

By the way, I'm on the opposite end of the borough from Bayside, but that's another topic for another day.

Posted by: Mike at January 27, 2006 2:45 PM

I'll disagree with you on the PR conscious point.

He's definitely media aware, meaning he knows exactly what is being said about him at all times, radio, web, tv, etc. But, does he mitigate anything about his behaviour or what he says as part of being PR conscious?

Not really. He doesn't care if he appears as an ass or something else.

I'll concede the point that he can and probably has said things that were controversial so he can keep the Schilling lore alive and well. But overall his media soundbites are not PR savvy, just self serving.

The only time he backpedaled to do a PR fix/dive was during the Congressional review, and that wasn't very good. Outside of that, if he was more PR savvy, most of his statements wouldn't be as controversial as they are. They would be as boring as most other athletes.

Queens rocks, no matter what part of the borough you're from.

Posted by: Mike from Queens at January 27, 2006 4:35 PM

I'm a Mets fan from Manhattan who has always liked Curt Schilling. And I liked this interview. Curt talks a lot, but he usually does have something worth listening to. And, unlike Alex Rodriguez (who also talks a whole lot about himself), Schilling actually puts his money where his mouth is. He said he'd bring a championship to Boston, and he did. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Annie at January 29, 2006 7:02 AM

'He said he'd bring a championship to Boston, and he did.'

And with a bloody sock no less. But I'm sure someone is going to say that was makey fake believe.

Posted by: ICallMasICM at January 30, 2006 3:35 PM

As far as the fake sock thing goes there are those in the Arizona D'back organization that believe the sock was fake or doctored. I think that is crap.

Posted by: jim at January 30, 2006 7:08 PM
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