Schilling’s Numbers Are Not Hall of Fame Worthy

Curt Schilling is no stranger to controversy. In recent years, the former Red Sox ace has found trouble over the way he expresses his controversial beliefs. The debate has increased since becoming eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. Most Bostonians would vote for Schilling’s induction in a heart beat, but it’s not up to us. It’s up to the Baseball Writers Association of America and right now they’re not too fond of Schilling. I wouldn’t vote him in because Schilling’s numbers don’t warrant induction.

Much of the debate swirling around Schilling centers on his behavior. Many argue that hisSchilling's Numbers reputation for being hard to work with as well as his hardline political views are keeping him out of the Hall of Fame. That very well may be true. For me though, my opinion that he doesn’t deserve induction isn’t based on who he is or what he thinks. It’s the fact that his numbers, while strong, aren’t stellar enough to deserve induction.

Schilling has respectable numbers. He struck out over 3,000 batters, won more than 200 games, and played on three World Series-winning teams. Being a six-time All-Star, a World Series MVP, and winning 20 or more games in a season three times isn’t anything to forget about either. These numbers and accolades reflect an extraordinary career but fall short for many reasons.

First, there’s plenty of other pitchers that aren’t in the Hall of Fame who posted much stronger career stats than Schilling’s numbers. Luis Tiant, another former Boston ace, had more 20 game-winning seasons and retired with a lower ERA. Jim Kaat not only played in four different decades, but also racked up 283 wins and 16 Gold Glove Awards. Then there’s Tommy John, a four-time All-Star whose name is synonymous with career-saving surgery for pitchers. While none of these three men topped 3,000 strikeouts, or played a key role in winning a World Series, their contributions to baseball outweigh Schilling’s.

Going back to Schilling’s numbers, it’s his post-season stats that most people focus on as justification for induction. He won eleven games in the post-season, was named the 1993 NLCS MVP, and the 2001 World Series MVP. There’s also the bloody sock! Again, these stats are amazing, but no so much that they merit a place for him in Cooperstown. Additionally, Schilling isn’t the only one to accomplish such great feats (except for the bloody sock, that WAS an amazing). Jack Morris, who won four World Series titles, was the 1991 World Series MVP after throwing 10 innings in Game 7 to win it for the Minnesota Twins. By the way, Morris had much better numbers than Schilling and he’s not in the Hall of Fame either.

Schilling’s Numbers Don’t Warrant Induction

Schilling is a long ways away from crossing the necessary 75% threshold for induction. He received only 38.8% of the votes in 2013, and 39.2% last year. He might gain more votes if he decided to tone down his political views, but he’s entitled to say what he wants.  However, he can’t control the way others respond to him, including the Hall of Fame voters. If he had stronger numbers, voters might choose to shrug off his views and vote him in. But Schilling doesn’t have the numbers.

Playing Major League Baseball is for the exceptional. But induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is for the elite. Curt Schilling was no doubt an exceptional player.

But among the elite? No.

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.

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.

John Farrell Calls Out Pablo Sandoval’s Weight

The 2015 Red Sox cannot be summed up in just a sentence of phrase. The frustration from the fan base and players has now a visible effect on manager John Farrell. Farrell is usually a stay the course, the players will figure it out, type manager but over the last week he has not shied away from holding his players accountable.

David Ortiz did not run out a ground ball last week and Farrell went out of his way to Pablo Sandovalmention it. You can now see Farrell has grown frustrated with the pitching staff he was handed as well. Rick Porcello who continues to trot out to the rubber every fifth day and continues to not get out of the fifth inning almost every start. John Farrell has floated out the idea that Brian Johnson and Henry Owens will get a look in the rotation and soon. Farrell seemed to float out the idea of roster moves coming as well, although that is necessary when your starter only goes two innings.

The main frustration that was picked up from John Farrell’s press conference last night was Pablo Sandoval’s weight problem. Sandoval left the game due to dehydration and Farrell said his weight needs “addressing”. The Red Sox knew what they were getting into Sandoval this off-season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was a continued critic of Sandoval’s weight during his time in San Francisco. He would continue to show up to spring training over the weight the Giants wanted him at, but he would continue to perform in October so they took the good with the bad.

This year Sandoval has not looked like a $19 million player because he is not a $19 million player. It made sense for the Red Sox to sign Sandoval, but to expect him to be a middle of the order force was wrong, he is simply not that player. His career high in home runs is 25, and has been in the teens in home runs the last three years.

There is no question Sandoval’s weight is a problem but the elephant in the room, no pun intended, has rarely been brought up this season. If you watched the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN commentator Curt Schilling brought up the fact that Sandoval has definitely gained weight this season. Maybe motivation is a problem, with the team losing. He is said to be with his friends Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz, so that should help him no?

The Red Sox need to figure out Sandoval’s weight problem before the end of this season. It will be on the minds of many this off-season. What will Sandoval look like come spring training? Will he be moving to first base? Those questions need to be answered soon and Sandoval needs to react the to comments of John Farrell.

Pedro Martinez Gets his Number Retired

You can say what you want about the Red Sox struggles on the field, but the one thing they can do is throw a ceremony. Whether it’s raising a championship banner, or honoring an ex-player as they did Tuesday night with Pedro Martinez, they do a very good job of throwing a celebration.

Last night it was Pedro Martinez’s turn to get honored after being formally inducted into the Pedro MartinezHall of Fame on Sunday. Before the game Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox, the now-Hall of Fame pitcher had his number retired by the Red Sox. Pedro joins Ted Williams, Johny Pesky, Carlton Fisk, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Jim Rice, and Carl Yastrzemski as the only Red Sox players with their numbers retired. Illustrious company, to say the least, when it comes to Red Sox history. He also joins Jackie Robinson up there, who’s number 42 is retired throughout baseball.

As for the ceremony itself, which I was lucky enough to attend, it started with a countdown of career stats on the center field screen. This included, but not limited to, his career win-loss record, strikeouts, and much more. It also involved visits and presentations from ex-teammates Orlando Cabrera, Trot Nixon, Curt Schilling, Ralph Avila—who first discovered Pedro Martinez and his brother Ramon, and former Expos manager Felipe Alou who managed the team that Pedro first rose to prominence on. The best one, though, at least in my mind, was when Pedro called out Jason Varitek ahead of schedule. Varitek was supposed to come out to catch the first pitch, but Pedro called him ahead of schedule in very Pedro-esque fashion, stating that it was his party.

After his number was unveiled below the right field roof deck, the ceremony ended with a video highlight tribute, again shown on the center field screen, set to the song “Hall of Fame” by The Script, which was a great way to cap off another remarkably well put together ceremony by the Red Sox. It sure gave me chills, and it also succeeded in making me forget the struggles of the Red Sox at the present moment.

At least, that is, until the actual game started. The Red Sox ended up losing to the White Sox behind a 9-run outburst and a great outing by White Sox pitcher Jeff Samarzdjia. A late rally in the 9th would fall well short, but the Red Sox never really stood a chance, not with the way the team has been playing this year.

Oh, well. At least the ceremony for Pedro Martinez was worth the price of admission, even if the actual game wasn’t.

AL East Could Be Open Again

The Red Sox are doing it again – playing well enough to make me think they could go on a run. The Red Sox have gone 5-2 in their last 7 games against AL East opposition, and have won 3 of their last 4 series (8-5 overall). Which includes a series victory against the defending AL champs, the Kansas City Royals, by the way.

If they want to have any chance at making a run, Gordon Edes points out that they wouldAL East Red Sox 2015 have to go on a ridiculous tear worthy of what the 2004 Red Sox did. Hypothetically, if 90 wins were enough to win the AL East, the Red Sox would have to go 53-28 for the rest of the season. As Edes points out, the only time the Red Sox have been able to put together that kind of run since the schedule moved to 162 games in 1961 is when they went 54-27 down the stretch in 2004 en route to a World Series title.

Could they do it? Talent-wise, they might (key word being might!) be able to. In reality, though, probably not, given the way this season has gone. The problem, as Edes points out (and I agree with him), is that the 2004 team was loaded – they had Curt Schilling (still in top form), Pedro Martinez, the best 3-4 offensive combination at the time in David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, and a Gold Glove infield, among other pieces. The 2015 team falls woefully short of that, to say the least.

They’ll have to make a few trade deadline deals and fill some of their holes if they want to have any shot of contending for the AL East this year, and I hope they do. If they can make a few moves without breaking their farm system while fetching good, major league-ready talent in return, then I’d be for it.

This could just be me starting to tell myself that there’s still hope where there is none, but I hope not. I’m sick of losing, and I would love to see the Red Sox at least make some kind of effort to get back into contention for the AL East. And hope some of the other guys

Hey, I can dream, can’t I? We’re only 6.5 out at the moment.