For some reason, Curt Schilling wasn’t a beloved figure by baseball fans.
Schilling, who announced his retirement today, was…on the field…what we should want our athletes to be. He was tough, he played through pain, he was a winner, he cared about the cities that he played in, and he communicated with the fans.
Ironically, it’s that communication that has caused so much discontent among those that dislike Schilling.
Here we are as sports fans, complaining about how athletes are too vanilla, never take a stand, never say anything compelling, don’t want to interact with us. Yet, when Schilling developed well thought out opinions that made others think, he was villified. Whether he was talking about Barry Bonds’ home run record, or Manny Ramirez staying in Boston, or discussing revealing the names of the 104 players that tested positive, Schilling was always forthright.
Yet the blogosphere, who live to post ridiculous opinions on the internet, blasted him at every turn. It’s one thing for The Yankee Scrolls to take shots, that’s to be expected. But when the Bleacher Report, Deadspin, The Onion and Fan Nation are taking pot shots at an athlete for having an opinion, that’s over the top.
Schilling was the anti-Nuke LaLoosh. You remember the scene in Bull Durham where Crash Davis is telling the phenom how to deal with the media? Crash says “here’s what you say, I just want to contribute to the team,” and “I just want to give a-hundred percent.” When they get to the majors, that’s the way most baseball players are. Schilling was the rare smart, thoughtful AND outspoken player, and his candor will be missed.
Is he a Hall of Famer? He says no, and I agree. But baseball could use more Curt Schillings, and now that he’s gone, the haters will miss what they had.