I guess we should have seen this one coming. Former Red Sox player Curt Schilling and current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, two of baseball’s most well-known and most outspoken personalities, have finally stopped careening past each other and have finally settled into the same orbit. Problem is, the orbit doesn’t exactly seem heavenly.
The most dynamic picture on the internet of Curt Schilling talking. c/o clinicaltrialpartnershipsblog.com
Schilling – the dominant pitcher and instant Red Sox legend who hung up his spikes for an ESPN gig – had some choice words on Baseball Tonight when asked about the Daniel-Bard-as-starter effort: “Mismanaged on an epically horrible scale,” Schilling said.
Ooh. Epically horrible scale? Really? That was, to quote the movie Clueless (which I firmly believe, even as a 30-something year old grown up woman, to be one of the best movies of all time), way harsh, Tai. Epically horrible? Epically? I see how maybe some things could be tweaked, some expectations could be modified, and so forth, but epically horrible? It’s not like Bobby Valentine’s broken Daniel Bard. In fact, Bard pitched a smooth outing against the Twins today, allowing three runs on six hits over six innings, with three walks and seven strikeouts. That’s a quality start – I’ll take that from a fourth or fifth starter any day of the week.
But, wait! There’s more. Schilling also made the rounds at WEEI this week, announcing to listeners that Valentine’s approach was already starting to wear thin in the clubhouse:
“I thought that the manager that managed the Mets, that I was not a big fan of, now was going to be a different manager. And I don’t think there’s anything different at all. And, I don’t think that’s going to be conducive to doing well here. There are a lot of things I think that are happening not just from his perspective, but when you talk to these guys – and I’m still talking to some of these guys – I don’t think this is going well. And I think it’s going bad quicker than I had expected it to.”
Schilling summed up his thoughts thusly: “I always feel like Bobby’s trying to reinvent the game. I don’t think players have ever responded well to that.”
Here’s the thing: Schilling, for all his loudmouthing, generally knows what he’s talking about when it comes to baseball. After all, he is a professional baseball analyst, and used to be a professional baseball player. So if Curt Schilling, a former pitcher and future Hall of Famer, wants to opine about why the Sox are mismanaging Daniel Bard’s development, I think us hoi polloi should probably listen. And, if Curt Schilling wants to explain to the masses why maybe a new manager – especially one with the outsize personality of Bobby Valentine, he of mustachioed renegade fame – should lay a little low during his first season in a fragile clubhouse, I think we should at least consider his point of view.
The problem here, that’s been pointed out extensively by the Boston media, is that during his own Boston days, Curt Schilling constantly railed on reporters that claimed to know anything about anything related to the team’s chemistry, the team’s clubhouse atmosphere, or anything that happened somewhere other than on a baseball diamond in front of thousands of fans.
In fact, when reporters asked Josh Beckett to respond to Schilling’s comments, Beckett simply, quietly, yet almost staggeringly elegantly said:
“I haven’t seen him around this year. Is he one of our pitchers?”
I put that short, sweet quote in the special “quote” format, just because it’s so awesome. Josh Beckett, you come off as ornery, intimidating, and quite possibly on the downside of your career, but your zingers will always keep me coming back for more.
A few other pitching tidbits: the Sox saw strong performances from Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront yesterday. Aceves went six innings against Toronto, allowing only one earned run and striking out four. Meanwhile, Doubront faced a minor-league Twins lineup for six innings, pulling off a two-hit shutout.
And, Not That Chris Carpenter – the player that got sent over from the Chicago Cubs as Theo Epstein compensation – has bone spurs in his pitching elbow. He had surgery yesterday, and nobody’s yet said when he expects to return. The Red Sox are playing it off like the bone spurs are a new injury (which, given that they had access to his medical records, they kind of have to do to save face). But, Trusted Internet Resource webmd informs me that bone spurs form due to repeated stress that occurs over a long period of time. I’m sure that pitching constitutes repeated stress over a long period of time – so maybe the Red Sox didn’t notice anything unusual in the records, because maybe there wasn’t anything unusual in the records. But at the end of the day, it’s kind of a bummer, and definitely some lemon juice in the Theo wound.