The first thing that always comes to mind whenever I greet the grand new blooming day is, "Gee, I wonder what Curt Schilling is thinking about things this morning?" Is it Our Nation's Economic Crisis? I go to the 38pitches blog and learn that Curt has posted a piece from the Bloomberg News Service in which Democrats are to blame. (The author, whose byline Curt fails to include in what I am sure is an unfortunate oversight, is Kevin Hassett, who is one of the economic advisors to Republican candidate John McCain. Quelle surprise, as they say around the batting cage.) Is it The War of Civilizations? Curt agrees with William (Nickel Slots) Bennett and some retired generals about who's a sheep and who's a wolf. (Turns out, we're sheep and we should watch out for wolves. Our soldiers are sheepdogs. Curt considers this very profound. You couldn't make this stuff up.) Or maybe I'll tune in to Curt's weekly discussion of professionalism with the sports-radio METCO Gorilla Morning Zoo Crew and find out what the ex post facto departed-teammate slander of the day is. After all of this, I take an aspirin or five and go back to bed, because it seems like a better option to me than driving tenpenny nails into my eyes.
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A little over a week ago, obviously taking a break from his regular national-security briefings, Curt unlimbered himself on the subject of Manny Ramirez, who had not been a member of the Red Sox for over a month. Curt explained that his former teammates had been calling to him out of the bowels of the hell that Ramirez had created out of the delicate infrastructure that is the Red Sox clubhouse, and that Manny's "level of disrespect to teammates and people was unfathomable." Of course, Curt then goes on, at length, to fathom it.
Now is not the time to go through the endless saga that is the end of Manny's tenure here. There's been enough moaning from the pundit fainting couch about that. The Red Sox had to do what they did, and they made the best deal they could have made under the circumstances. The fact remains that the resurgence of the Red Sox, and the first two world championships they'd won since the Wilson Administration, all hang on the acquisition first of Manny Ramirez and then of Curt Schilling. The first guy's one of the best right-handed hitters who ever lived, and he also happens to be a world-class whackadoo. The other guy is one of the best postseason pitchers who ever lived, and he also thinks he's Secretary Of Defense. They're both first-ballot Hall of Famers, unless the Maiden Aunt faction among the baseball writers gets all vaporous about Ramirez. They're twinned forever in the town's history. Life's a funny old dog.
There was absolutely no reason for Schilling to exhume all this ill will a month later. (Well, I can think of one reason, but asking Curt Schilling to substitute self-aggrandizement for discretion is like asking a goose to abandon honking in order to whistle Mozart.) In the first place, in his travels from Philadelphia to Arizona to Boston, Schilling himself didn't exactly leave all of his own former teammates in bowls of bitter tears. In the second place, the one thing the Red Sox didn't need coming into the stretch was to relive, even by radio proxy, the whole Ramirez mishegas. But he couldn't help himself. He really couldn't, even though, as he said, "I haven't thrown a freakin' pitch all year. I've been the biggest waste of space, I've been robbing the payroll the entire season, no one feels worse about not contributing than me."
Poor lad. Imagine the dark nights of the soul that Curt suffers through every time that check comes to his door. How does he ever manage to bring himself to cash it? Does he go to the bank in a raincoat and a false beard? He managed to collect his money for not playing, and then also give himself the credit for, you know, really being bummed about the whole deal. (He's learned one thing being around John McCain, that's for sure.) Look. Wow. The chicken just put an X in the center square!
OT columnist Charles P. Pierce is a Boston Globe Magazine staff writer.