ESPN Wrong to Omit Schilling Footage

I can’t say I was heartbroken when I heard ESPN fired Curt Schilling for controversial remarks he made about transgender people. His remarks were void of any substantial and intelligent insight into the transgender community, and only incites anti-trans rhetoric. Furthermore, political comments he’s made in recent years have made me wonder if he thinks he works for Fox News instead of ESPN. However, I do think ESPN made a terrible mistake in their recent decision to cut Schilling footage of his “bloody sock” game from their “Four Days in October” documentary about the 2004 World Series.

In Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees,Cut Schilling Footage Curt Schilling pitched a masterful game against the Bronx Bombers even though he was in intense pain from a torn tendon sheath. Despite the injury bleeding through his sock, Schilling pitched seven innings and gave up only one run (the sock sold for $92,613 to an anonymous bidder in a 2013 auction). Schilling’s performance that night made it all the easier for the Red Sox to advance to the World Series, where they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in four games.

Schilling’s callous remarks not only offend the LGBTQ community, but embarrassed ESPN. As I stated in an earlier article, Schilling has every right to his opinion, and I would defend his right to express his opinion. But as a private company, ESPN has a right to protect its interests, and they felt letting Schilling go was a way to protect themselves. Despite his views, I’m having a hard time understanding why ESPN had to cut Schilling footage from their documentary about the Red Sox historic 2004 season. Schilling’s brilliant pitching was a key factor in the Red Sox success that season, and he’s already been punished once. So with that said, I don’t see why cutting footage from the documentary is necessary?

To cut the Schilling footage from the ESPN documentary because it depicts a ballplayer prone to controversy is a very slippery slope. What’s next? Do we take out all references to Tris Speaker at Fenway Park? You know the Hall of Famer was once a proud member of the KKK in Texas (though he changed his ways later in life when he mentored Larry Doby, the American League’s first black player). Maybe ESPN did it because Schilling’s words are still fresh in people’s minds, but where does one draw the line between continual punishment and moving on?

Schilling’s footage should be restored to the ESPN documentary because his political views had nothing to do with his success on the mound.

Red Sox Playing Strongly After Rough April

For the first few weeks in April, fans in the Red Sox Nation feared that 2016 was shaping up to be a repeat of the last two seasons. Price gave up 8 runs to Tampa Bay, Clay Buchholz continued to struggle (and still does), strong leads were being blown in later innings, and Farrell’s job seemed on the line (probably still is). In the last week, though, fans are now seeing the Red Sox playing strongly, much like the team they were in 2013.

The Red Sox won four straight in the last week of April, highlighted by a multiple home runRed Sox playing strongly game for Dustin Pedrioa that included a grand slam off Pesky’s Pole. Only 1 game behind the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox find themselves within striking distance of taking first place in the American League East. While Thursday night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves was a small setback, the Red Sox should have no problem sweeping the New York Yankees, who are currently in last place, as the Red Sox go into May.

While it has lost much of its steam in recent years, the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees is still strong. The rivalry started in 1912 when the Red Sox beat New York, who back then were named the Highlanders, 7-6 in 11 innings when Fenway Park first opened. After Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1920, the Red Sox went without a World Series title for 86 years, which many attributed to the Ruth’s departure. Since then, the Yankees have broken the hearts of the Red Sox Nation multiple times, whether it was stealing a pennant in 1949, or Bucky Dent’s home run in the 1978 ALCS at Fenway. Since winning the World Series in 2004, the conflict between the two teams has died down somewhat, now that Yankee fans can’t hold The Curse of the Bambino above Sox fans’ heads anymore. Nevertheless, it’s always a thrill to be in the stands when the Yankees come to town because there’s almost as much drama in the seats as there is on the field.

While the Red Sox winning streak was snapped by Atlanta Thursday night, they’re still in second place. If we continue to see the Red Sox playing strongly going into May, then the team should snatch first place by the end of the first week of the month.

UPDATE: As of May 1st at 11:27pm, the Boston Red Sox have swept the New York Yankees and are now in first place in the American League East!

Let’s Reflect On What Curt Schilling Said

I can respect most people’s opinions regardless of whether I agree with them or not. The
exception comes when an opinion is based on bigoted assumptions and false information, which brings us to what Curt Schilling said yesterday about transgender people. In his latest blunder, Schilling recently posted (then deleted) a meme on his Facebook page swiping at activists who are currently combating the laws recently passed in southern states Schilling saidprohibiting transgender people from using bathrooms assigned to the gender with which they identify.

Specifically, Schilling said, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.” It wasn’t just what Schilling said that was ignorant. It was also the accompanying image that further exacerbated the controversy. The image itself depicted a man wearing a blonde wig with holes cut in the front of his dress exposing parts of his body that mimic that of a woman’s. It was a disturbing and sickening image leading many to call for Schilling to step down as a commentator for ESPN.

I want to focus more on HOW Schilling presented his thoughts rather than what they were in the first place. Do I think Schilling should step down from ESPN altogether? Well, that depends. Schilling has a history of saying reckless things, including an hours-long rant last year about how evolution isn’t real. Again, it’s not his opinion that I disagree with, as much as how he presents it. Between his denial of evolution and his views on transgender people, Schilling has shown to be less than informed on both issues. He doesn’t cite any evidence to support his opinions, the research he has done on these issues wouldn’t live up to scrutiny in a kindergarten class, and perhaps worst of all, he enables others to follow his lead by suggesting that his ignorance equates to other people’s intelligence. There’s no doubt that Curt Schilling is a hero in the Red Sox Nation, especially after what he did in the 2004 World Series. But I can’t help but feel that he’s tarnishing the very reputation he’s worked an entire lifetime for all because he can’t think before he speaks.

What Should Curt Schilling Do Next?

There’s two things Curt Schilling should do in the future. First, he should stop and think about whether the opinion he’s about to convey to his audience is actually relevant to baseball. Second, if Schilling really feels that discussing his thoughts about these topics are that important, then he should take the time to do some legitimate research. That’ll not only make him sound a tad more intelligent, but he’ll have a chance to effectively defend his views (or at least try to; most anti-trans people are struggling to justify their opinions).

In no way do I agree with Curt Schilling’s views regarding transgender rights, or creationism. However, I absolutely defend his right to say them. We can’t silence someone just because we don’t like what they have to say. After all, he’s an American and has a right to voice his opinion. But he needs to understand that if he wants respect, regardless of whether people agree or disagree with him, articulating his thoughts more intelligently would go a long way. Then again, Schilling probably does not care what people think.

Red Sox Leadership Up For Grabs

Ever since David Ortiz announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2016 season many have wondered who will bear the Red Sox leadership torch. After all, Ortiz’s shoes will be hard to fill. Not only is Oritz a member of the 500 Home Run Club and a 9 time All-Star, but he’s the last remaining Red Sox player on the current roster who was on the 2004 World Series team— the team that broke the curse and won a title for Boston for the Ortiz Red Sox Leadershipfirst time in eighty-six years. Whoever takes the baton from Ortiz as the next leader for the Red Sox will have the weight of the team on his shoulders.

Many are looking at Xander Bogaerts as the one who will take the torch from Ortiz after this season. Boegarts moved to no. 3 in the lineup last season ahead of Ortiz, a sign of the faith manager John Farrell has in him. After winning the Silver Slugger Award for hitting .320 last season, Bogaerts stands out as one of the more dependable hitters in the lineup. After I personally saw Bogaerts hit his first career grand slam against the Tampa Bay Rays last September, I became convinced right then and there that he could be the next Red Sox leader, especially since both he and Ortiz can hit in clutch situations.

Who Else Could Play A Red Sox Leadership Role?

Mookie Betts is another name that’s starting to emerge in connection to Red Sox leadership as he continues to improve his hitting and fielding. While Betts hit a respectable .281 with 18 home runs last season, it was his fielding that made Red Sox fans and foes’  jaws drop as they jumped out of their seats. Last September in a game against the Orioles, Betts robbed Chris Davis of a home run in the top of the 9th when he leaped against the Red Sox bullpen wall to catch the ball. Red Sox players and fans erupted in cheers as Betts came back to earth with the ball firmly in his glove. Betts is also a danger on the base paths after stealing 21 bases last season. Being at least a three-tool player for the Sox would make him a strong model and inspiration for the rest of the team.

Finally, I think another strong contender is Brock Holt. Yes, he’s not quite the power hitter we’d like him to be, as he only hit 2 home runs last season and has a career total of 6, but his solid batting average and all-star appearance last season makes him a dependable player who has what it takes to rally the team when they need it most.

Red Sox leadership isn’t anything to be taken lightly. Whoever takes over Ortiz’s spot will have a lot to live up to. But if any of these three players listed above continue to play as well as they do, it’ll only be a matter of time before one of them emerges as a natural leader. Before you know it, he’ll be leading the Red Sox to another World Series.

David Ortiz’s Best Moments in a Sox Uniform

David Ortiz hit his 500th home run over the weekend in one of the few highlights of the Red Sox season to date. This gives new life to the “Should he be in the Hall?” debate, but that’s a separate article for another time. What isn’t up for debate is that David Ortiz had many great moments as a member of the Red Sox.

I’ll highlight what I thought were his absolute 5 best moments in a Red Sox uniform. This listDavid Ortiz is in no way perfect, and it was difficult to pick just 5 because there are so many, like I said. Also, this list is in no particular order, so keep that in mind as you read this.

5.) “This our bleeping city!” I think we all remember when David went on TV before the game against the Royals and said this, which summed up how Boston was feeling a few days after the tragic events of the Boston Marathon a few days before that.

4.) His on-field heroics during the 2013 World Series: That year, he reached base in 19 of 25 plate appearances and hit 11-16 (.688 average) and ran away with the World Series MVP on his way to carrying the Red Sox to their 3rd championship in 10 years. Pretty amazing.

3.) His grand slam in game 2 of the 2013 ALCS: Speaking of 2013 heroics, let’s talk about the grand slam against the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS. That tied the game up at 5 when he hit it, and helped the team avoid going 0-2 at home.

2.) His walk-off heroics against the Evil Empire: Back to 2004. David Ortiz helped spark a rally from down 3-0 by first hitting a walk off home run in Game 4, then following that up with a walk off single in Game 5. That gave the team a huge momentum boost that the carried through the remainder of that series and into the World Series that year.

1.) Hitting home run #500: This season hasn’t been memorable, but David Ortiz hitting #500 is a huge milestone, and one of the main reasons fans kept up with the team, even after the season was essentially over.

Again, it was really hard to narrow this down to just 5 with so many to choose from, but there you have it. David Ortiz’s best moments with the Red Sox. Feel free to disagree or suggest your own. There are plenty Papi moments to choose from.

Remembering the Career of Pedro Martinez

Forget the negatives of a terrible season for now. Let’s talk about Pedro Martinez for a second. Earlier this year, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and the Red Sox will be honoring him with a special ceremony on Tuesday before they take on the Chicago White Sox. The ceremony will invlolve Pedro getting his number retired by the Red Sox organization, among other things.

Pedro will be formally inducted over the weekend in Cooperstown, which should give Red Pedro Martinez HOFSox fans some reason to smile. Pedro Martinez spent 7 years here in Boston, won a World Series in 2004, and created a lot of memories along the way. Some of my fondest memories of my earliest years of being a Red Sox fan involved my uncle unexpectedly coming over and taking me to see Pedro pitch. That was always fun, especially during the ’99 season, with a seemingly unhittable Pedro en route to striking out 300 hitters; a season that culminated in him pitching 6 perfect innings in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. That was also the year the All-Star game was held at Fenway Park. Pedro pitched 2 scoreless innings in that game, striking out 5 of 6 batters he faced. That included Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, and Jeff Bagwell—some of the best in the game at that time.

And then there was 2004 when he helped us break the Curse of the Bambino. For Pedro, that culimnated in a 7 inning scoreless performance against the St. Louis Cardinals—one of his best individual performances in a Red Sox jersey—after he had struggled earlier in the playoffs. That game put the Red Sox within 1 game of winning the Series, and within one game of breaking the curse. He was simply outstanding in that game. It was a vintage Pedro Martinez game, when the Red Sox needed it the most.

Pedro ended his career with 3,154 strikeouts and ultimately was a worthy addition to the Hall of Fame. Whether you are a Red Sox fan or not, you simply have to appreciate the greatness that was Pedro Martinez.