Boston Red Sox: Curt Schilling

Snapshot: Schilling and son at Fenway

May, 29, 2014
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Curt SchillingAP Photo/Elise Amendola
Not to be overlooked in last night's celebration of the 2004 Red Sox was the presence of Curt Schilling, who made his first public appearance since finishing radiation treatment for cancer. He received a loud ovation when he was introduced and walked to the diamond with his oldest son, Gehrig.

Photo: Schilling ready for next step

April, 13, 2014
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Curt Schilling's wife, Shonda, posted a picture of her husband on Twitter to recognize his completing radiation treatment for cancer. Schilling, who already went through a round of chemotherapy, has not disclosed what type of cancer he is battling.

Schilling: 'Criteria has to change' for voters

January, 9, 2014
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he wasn’t disappointed with the results of this year’s Hall of Fame ballot (he got 29. 2 percent of the votes, down from 38.8 last year), but did criticize the voting process.

“I don’t get frustrated with this -- at all,” Schilling said Thursday morning in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “Because that would indicate a significant amount of energy being expended at it. I can’t. There’s nothing in this that I have any control over. Again, once I threw my last pitch, I was done. So, I hold under my hat the stuff that I was able to be a part of -- the World Series and all the things that happened. I’m all right with that. If this happens -- I work with Barry Larkin, who went in on the second ballot. I played with Hall of Famers. So, it means something to have that plaque. But it can’t mean everything.”

Schilling, now an ESPN analyst, said he respected his colleagues in the media who agonized over picking their ballots, but lashed out at those who either don’t follow baseball closely enough to deserve a vote or use their ballots to “make a statement.”

“I absolutely don’t think they’re the right people,” Schilling said.

“I think first of all the criteria has to change,” he added. “I think one of the rules should be anybody that gets 90-plus percent of the vote, anybody that doesn’t vote for that person should immediately lose their ballot.”

Schilling also weighed in on the quandary voters face on whether to vote in Steroid Era players who are either suspected of PED use or had tested positive. In Schilling’s opinion, it’s a situation for which both players and the media are at fault.

“One of the challenges as a player from this era is that the responsibility is on us. The fault lies with us. As players -- especially in my situation as a player rep -- we had a chance to do something about it and we chose not to,” Schilling said.

“Just like the media chose to look the other way. All of these sanctimonious guys that are making a statement with their ballot, go back and read the stuff they were writing when this era was happening. They all bought in with everybody else. They were all suckers like everybody else. And we as players didn’t do what we should have done, and now we’re paying for it.”

Hall support drops for Schilling, Clemens

January, 8, 2014
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There was a pitcher with Massachusetts roots elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, but no players with Red Sox ties were tapped for the honor.

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Which former Red Sox pitcher(s) deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

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    9%
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Discuss (Total votes: 3,606)

In voting revealed Tuesday, the 2014 Hall of Fame class will include starter Greg Maddux (97.2 percent of the vote), Billerica native Tom Glavine (91.9 percent) and slugger Frank Thomas (83.7 percent). Seventy-five percent is required for election.

From a Red Sox perspective, starter Curt Schilling saw his support drop from 38.8 percent last year to 29.2 percent (75 percent is required for election). Roger Clemens dropped as well, though not so sharply, from 37.6 percent to 35.4.

The biggest argument for Schilling’s election is his postseason numbers. In 133 1/3 innings, he had a 2.23 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 25 walks. Clemens put up Hall of Fame numbers (seven Cy Youngs, 354 wins) but his connection to performance-enhancing drugs has most voters passing on him.

Both Schilling and Clemens will be on next year’s ballot, garnering more than the 5 percent required to remain.

Below are the results from other players with Red Sox ties who were on the ballot. Of these five, only Lee Smith will be back on next year’s ballot:

Lee Smith -- 29.9 percent
Hideo Nomo -- 1.1 percent
Eric Gagne -- 0.4 percent
Sean Casey -- 0 percent
Todd Jones -- 0 percent
Mike Timlin -- 0 percent

Schilling: Send Bradley to Triple-A

March, 27, 2013
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You can count former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling among those on the Jackie Bradley Jr. bandwagon, but he’s the guy in back pumping the brakes and urging caution.

In an ESPNBoston.com Hot Button video segment, Schilling made a case for why the Red Sox should start the soon-to-be-23-year-old Bradley at Triple-A instead of on the big league roster.

Schilling’s argument? Spring training success is not an indicator of major league readiness, no matter how impressive.

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If you were running the Red Sox, where would you start Jackie Bradley Jr. this season?

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“I can remember every single spring, somebody having a super spring,” Schilling said. “This is not a knock on Jackie Bradley because I think he’s going to be a very good big league player.”

Bradley has an on-base percentage better than .500 and 11 RBIs in 24 Grapefruit League games.

“It means nothing when you try to correlate it to having a great season; there’s just so many things going on in spring training from a pitcher’s perspective,” Schilling said. “You’re not seeing anybody’s plus-plus stuff. That doesn’t come out until Monday.”

How would Schilling handle Bradley, who looks in line to make the major league roster out of camp even though he has never had an official at-bat above the Double-A level?

“This is not the time and this is definitely not the market to experiment,” Schilling said. “He’s going to be ready for the big leagues, it might be May, it might be June. But let him be ready when he gets up there.

“And again, he’s had a monstrous spring. He’s done everything they’ve asked of him. This is not punishment; this is just a normal course of bringing a legitimate talent to the big leagues. Let him go to Triple-A. That’s a big step. That’s where you start to see big league pitchers, big league patterns. Spring training is not it. The last 10 days of camp is the only time, to me, you can judge a hitter versus a pitcher. ... The rest of it is eyewash."

Where would you like to see Bradley start the season? We’ll lay out the cases below.

* Start him on the major league roster: Bradley has given Red Sox fans something to get excited about this spring, and the injury to designated hitter David Ortiz opened up a starting spot for him in left field. The best possible Red Sox team includes him in the everyday lineup, at least until he shows he can’t cut it in the bigs just yet. If he struggles, the Red Sox can always demote him and ensure he doesn’t hit free agency until 2019.

* Start him at Triple-A Pawtucket: The reasoning here is twofold: (1) Starting him in the majors now could mean he becomes a free agent a season sooner (in 2018 as opposed to 2019) than if you keep him in the minors at the start of April; and (2) You risk stunting his progress if he falls flat at the major league level (remember Craig Hansen?). Will Middlebrooks started last season at Triple-A, and the Sox promoted him after he tore it up at Pawtucket. The Red Sox should put Bradley on that same course.

Vote in the poll above and share your thoughts in the comments section.

MLB gives statement on Schilling matter

February, 8, 2013
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In response to comments made by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling Thursday that someone in the organization told him performance-enhancing drugs were an option for him as he tried to work his way back from a shoulder injury in 2008, MLB issued the following statement:

“At the time of the incident in question in 2008, the Boston Red Sox immediately reported the allegations to Major League Baseball as required by our investigative protocols. Once the Red Sox reported the matter, Major League Baseball assumed sole responsibility for the investigation. The Club handled the matter consistent with all MLB rules and requirements and in a manner that was above reproach.

“Major League Baseball thoroughly investigated the allegations and considers the matter closed.”

Schilling: Conversation resulted in probe

February, 7, 2013
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In the video above, Curt Schilling talks to ESPN's Michelle Steele about his comments on ESPN Radio that former members of the Red Sox organization told him that performance-enhancing drugs were an option for recovery.

Schilling doesn't specify who was part of the clubhouse conversation, but he does name three people who were not -- Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer.

"It was a conversation that happened in the clubhouse between a member of the organization and myself," he said. "It wasn't members, plural, it wasn't a bunch of people, it was a conversation. ... I was hurt, I had wanted to go a different route to get healthy and the team and I disagreed, but this was a conversation that came up in the middle of the season between this person and myself, and other people heard the conversation."

Schilling, who is now an ESPN analyst, noted that the conversation actually spurred an investigation by Major League Baseball at the time.

"Someone in the front office became aware of the conversation and went to MLB," he said. "And there was a conversation that I had to have with people from Major League Baseball about this conversation. From that perspective the process worked."

Schill: PED path raised in Sox clubhouse

February, 7, 2013
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Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said on ESPN Radio on Wednesday that in 2008 "former members of the organization" told him performance-enhancing drugs were an option to help him get healthy and extend his playing days.

Schilling, who had signed a one-year contract with the Sox in 2008 but did not pitch that season due to a shoulder injury, would not identify who was involved in the conversation, or whether it was a player, coach or staff member.

“At the end of my career, in 2008 when I had gotten hurt, there was a conversation that I was involved in, in which it was brought to my attention that this is a potential path I might want to pursue,” said Schilling, who is currently an ESPN analyst.

Schilling said the topic came up in a clubhouse conversation that could be overheard by several teammates.

"It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation," he added. "Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren’t in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn’t going to get healthy, it didn’t matter. And if I did get healthy, great.

“It caught me off guard, to say the least," he added. "That was an awkward situation.”

Schilling officially retired from baseball in March 2009.

Schill's path to Cooperstown won't be easy

January, 9, 2013
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There was a day when it was unimaginable that Curt Schilling would receive more Hall of Fame votes than Roger Clemens, a pitcher he once regarded as an idol and mentor.

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Do you think Curt Schilling belongs in the Hall of Fame?

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    79%
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    21%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,176)

Yet that's exactly what happened on Tuesday, when Clemens and his seven Cy Young awards carried less weight with voters than the opinion that his enormous achievements were grounded in the detritus of performance-enhancing drugs.

But while Schilling, whose reputation has stayed largely intact, drew seven more votes than Clemens (221 to 214), neither pitcher has an easy path to Cooperstown.

Since 1984, 11 starting pitchers have been elected Hall of Famers. Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer were all first-ballot selections.

Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Ferguson Jenkins and Catfish Hunter all received more support in their first year on the ballot than Schilling, who drew 38.8 percent of the vote, compared to Clemens' 37.6 percent.

Only two Hall of Fame pitchers elected since 1984 made a worse showing on the ballot their first year. One was Don Drysdale, who received 21.4 percent of the vote in his first year before being elected in 1984, his 10th year on the ballot.

The other was Bert Blyleven, who received only 17.5 percent in his first year of the ballot and waited until his 14th year before being elected in 2011. Blyleven did not go as high as Schilling’s percentage until his eighth year on the ballot.

It won’t get any easier in 2014, either, when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina all become eligible for the first time, while Jack Morris, who missed election by 42 votes Tuesday, will be in his 15th and final year of eligibility.

Maddux and Glavine, both 300-game winners, should be first-ballot cinches. A year later, three more pitchers with impeccable credentials -- Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz -- will be on the ballot.

It remains to be seen whether support for Schilling, who is now an ESPN analyst, will grow incrementally enough for him to receive the 75 percent required for election, but it appears clear he will be in a waiting mode. Whether voters will reconsider Clemens’ candidacy is an even greater mystery.

The only greater enigma? Why one Hall voter wrote Aaron Sele's name on his ballot.

Schilling: 'Fitting' that no one got Hall call

January, 9, 2013
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For just the second time in four decades, no players were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in what appears to be an indictment of the steroid-tainted stars who were on the ballot for the first time.

ESPN analyst Curt Schilling, who himself was on the ballot for the first time and got 38.8 percent of the vote, said it was “fitting” that no one received the required 75 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Among the first-timers on the ballot were controversial stars Roger Clemens (37.2 percent of the vote), Barry Bonds (36.2 percent) and Sammy Sosa (12.9 percent), all of whom have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

“If there was ever a ballot and a year to make a statement about what we didn’t do as players -- which is we didn’t actively push to get the game clean -- this is it,” Schilling said on “SportsCenter” shortly after the announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.

Astros second baseman Craig Biggio led all vote-getters with 68.2 percent, a number Schilling felt was too low.

Schilling pulled no punches when discussing the steroid era as it relates to Hall of Fame voting, placing blame on himself, his fellow players, reporters, fans and owners.

“Perception in our world is absolutely reality. Everybody is linked to it,” Schilling said. “You either are a suspected user or you’re somebody who didn’t actively do anything to stop it. You’re one or the other if you were a player in this generation.

“Unfortunately, I fall into the category of one of the players that didn’t do anything to stop it. As a player rep and a member of the association, we had the ability to do it and we looked the other way, just like the media did, just like the ownership did, just like the fans did. And now this is part of the price that we’re paying.”

As for his own Hall candidacy, Schilling said he was “elated” to receive 38.8 percent of the vote.

“I haven’t gotten anybody out in six years; I quit playing. It’s nice. ... People are talking about and considering me as a Hall of Fame candidate,” he said. “It’s incredibly humbling, flattering; I’m honored just to be in the conversation.”

Laying out Curt Schilling's HOF credentials

January, 5, 2013
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Curt SchillingJay Drowns/Getty ImagesCurt Schilling went 11-2 in his postseason career, including this Game 2 win in the 2007 World Series.
Maybe it was because I was spoiled by watching Pedro Martinez, the greatest pitcher I ever hope to see.

Maybe it was because I was distracted by the sideshows -- the bloody sock, the blogging, the braying.

Maybe it was because he arrived in Boston near the end of his career and the excellence he brought faded quickly, his sturdy right shoulder succumbing at last to age and two decades of punishment.

I always appreciated Curt Schilling as one of the finer practitioners of his craft. But it is only upon further review, triggered by Schilling's first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, that I now see him as something more -- a pitcher who is not merely a borderline candidate for the Hall but richly deserves his place in Cooperstown.

Chances are the current ESPN analyst won't be a first-ballot inductee -- too many voters will be put off by his modest victory total of 216, a number exceeded by 43 of the 59 starting pitchers already enshrined in the Hall. Only two pitchers who pitched beyond 1960 and had fewer wins, Dodgers teammates Sandy Koufax (165) and Don Drysdale (209), are Hall of Famers. Koufax went in on the first ballot; Drysdale received only 21 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility and wasn't voted in until his 10th year on the ballot, in 1984.

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Does Curt Schilling deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

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    34%
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Bert Blyleven, who won 287 games, wasn't elected to the Hall until 2011, his 14th year of eligibility.

But if we have learned anything in this era of more sophisticated statistical analysis, it is that a pitcher's victory total offers an incomplete, and occasionally misleading, barometer of his greatness. Schilling did his share of winning, with three seasons of 20 or more wins, including a 21-6 record in his first season in Boston, 2004.

Had he won the Cy Young Award as his league's best pitcher in any of those three seasons, his Hall case would be strengthened, but each time he finished runner-up, twice to Arizona teammate Randy Johnson, and to Johan Santana in 2004.

But consider his other achievements: He struck out 3,116 batters, which ranks 15th all time. He had five seasons of 200 or more strikeouts, including three with at least 300. Only Johnson and Nolan Ryan have had more seasons of 300-plus K's.

His control was exceptional. Only four pitchers have struck out batters 3,000 or more times and walked them fewer than 1,000 times: Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins and Martinez, plus Schilling, whose 711 walks is the lowest tally among the four. His strikeout-to-walk ratio, a category in which he led his league five times, is the best in post-1900 history: 4.383.

From 2001 to 2004, Schilling had a 74-28 record and a 3.11 ERA, which was 50 percent better than the league average in that span. He struck out 1,006 batters and walked just 139, a phenomenal ratio of 7.24 K's per walk. He averaged 9.9 K's per nine innings in that span while averaging 1.4 walks, and his WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) was 1.037. At the height of Koufax's career (1963-66), the great Dodgers left-hander averaged fewer K's (9.3) and more walks (2), and, although his ERA was a vastly superior 1.86, that was 72 percent better than the league average (adjusted for ballpark), coming as it did in an era of less prolific offenses.

Am I saying Schilling was Koufax? Of course not. But if the brilliance of Koufax's best years catapulted him into the Hall, so then should Schilling deserve a similar hearing. He finished in the top 10 in pitchers' WAR (wins above replacement) seven times, including back-to-back seasons of 8.5 in 2001 and 8.3 in 2002. His ERA-plus (adjusted to league average and ballpark) was 40 percent or better than the league average six times, and his career ERA-plus of 128 would rank him 18th among Hall of Fame starters, better than Seaver, Gibson, Palmer, Marichal and Feller, among others.

The clincher in Schilling's Hall-worthy career is his postseason record: 11-2 and a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts. He set a single postseason record with 56 strikeouts in 2001. Five times he pitched in games in which his team was facing playoff elimination; his team won all five times, including, yes, the bloody sock game; his record was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in those games.

As a longtime member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, I have a Hall vote. Schilling's name was on my ballot. He deserves his day in Cooperstown.

Schilling weighs in on Hall of Fame ballot

November, 28, 2012
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ESPN baseball analyst -- and former Red Sox pitcher -- Curt Schilling is one of 24 players who became eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time Wednesday on what he dubbed “the first steroid ballot.”

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Would Curt Schilling get your vote for the Hall of Fame?

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    78%
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Discuss (Total votes: 6,114)

Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa -- all players whose numbers were tainted by performance-enhancing drug allegations -- headline the list of first-timers. Players need 75 percent of the vote from more than 600 longtime members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to get in.

For Schilling, the decision on those three should be easy.

"I wouldn't vote for them, ever,” he said in an interview on SportsCenter (embedded above). “It generally tends to go this way with people that get caught doing stuff. You generally never catch somebody on the first go-round. These guys I think to some degree or another in different cases cheated and in some cases cheated for a lengthy period of time. I think that had an impact on who they are and what they did. I would be someone who wouldn’t vote for anyone that cheated in that manner. ...

“At the end of the day, I just feel like what guys did with performance-enhancing drugs gave them such an immense advantage over the competition."

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    35%
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As for his own candidacy, Schilling wasn’t making any guesses. He’s considered a borderline candidate by many and said it’s too hard to predict a process Schill called “schizophrenic.”

"I honestly have no idea,” he said. “I haven’t won a game or struck out a hitter in five years. I did what I did. I had a chance and I interacted with a lot of guys over the years in the media that voted for the Hall of Fame and it's schizophrenic in many ways.

“Unfortunately there are people that take this process as a personal platform to write an article. I know a writer who did not vote for Nolan Ryan to protest Don Sutton not getting in the first time. I know of writers that have intentionally not voted for players they didn’t like.

“Knowing that, that has made it very easy for me to not give this a second thought in the sense that it's completely out of my hands and it's completely in the writers' hands. They're human. They have different opinions about different people and like me I'm sure they're going to look at some guys and say 'character matters for me when I vote for this guy and it doesn’t matter to me when I vote for this guy.’ That’s just the way it is."

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Would Barry Bonds get your vote for the Hall of Fame?

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    71%

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Schilling’s career numbers make him an interesting candidate for many reasons. He pitched for 20 years and won 20 games times, but never won a Cy Young (he finished second three times). A six-time All-Star, he finished with 216 career wins, 3,116 strikeouts and a 3.46 ERA.

In the postseason, he was even better. In 19 career postseason starts, he was an incredible 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and helped three teams win World Series (the 2001 Diamondbacks and 2004 and 2007 Red Sox).

Schilling said the fact that the best players of his generation “have all for the most part have been involved in discussions of cheating” makes his performance look even better.

"That's why when I look at my numbers I know I did them against guys that were cheating,” he said. "So I'm proud of that."

Your turn: Do you think Schilling is a Hall of Famer? What about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds? Vote in the polls above and sound off in the comments section.

Schilling: Valentine 'set up to fail'

October, 4, 2012
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Appearing on "SportsCenter" Thursday night, Curt Schilling said that Bobby Valentine was set up to fail and never had a chance to succeed as Red Sox manager.

Schilling said the hire was blundered from the outset. "The players didn't want him there, the GM had other ideas, and this was put on the GM by ownership," he said.

Schilling said ultimately culpability for the poor season falls on the players, but added that Valentine "made it harder on himself and his players" at every turn.

Schilling also mentioned DeMarlo Hale and John Farrell as possible hires who would command the respect of the players, but said the Red Sox have a lot of holes to fill and are far away from contending in the AL East.

Schilling might have to sell bloody sock

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
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Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling on Thursday confirmed reports that he might have to sell the famous bloody sock from the 2004 postseason in order to pay back debts from his failed software venture.

“Yeah. I personally co-signed for the finances for the company and put myself out there to do that,” he said. “When the company went bankrupt I am obligated to try and make amends. Unfortunately, this is one of the byproducts of that, having to pay for your mistakes.

“I am in a situation now where I’ve been working with the banks to try and to find an amicable solution. It’s still going to fall short of being able to pay, to me, the most important part of this, which is the 400 families who were most desperately affected by this. I am trying to do everything I can do to make it as right as I can make it.”

Schilling also didn’t rule out selling his World Series rings.

“I have debt. I have obligations,” he said. “I put my name to it. And if you’re not as good as your word, what good are you?”

Schill: Bobby calling out coaches 'gutless'

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
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Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN baseball analyst ripped into Bobby Valentine after the Sox manager said he felt undermined by some of his coaches this season. The following is Schilling’s take from Baseball Tonight (video above):

“This is one of the most gutless things I’ve seen anybody do. He’s ruined the careers of some of his coaches, maybe all of them, because all of them are thrown under that blanket. If you’re a manager and you have a problems with one of your coaches, you sit down in the office and have it out and either the coach goes or you fix it. If you can’t do that as a manager, if you can’t tell your coaching staff, ‘this is the line, this is how we do things, and this is what we do here.’ If you can’t do that, quit.

What’s the price of your integrity? (Red Sox hitting coach) Dave Magadan is one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for. I wasn’t a hitter, but he was phenomenal. (First base coach) Alex Ochoa is a phenomenal young coach. Every one of these guys is now going to carry this with them, ‘They’re disloyal, they talk behind their manager’s back.’

“You played with teammates you didn’t like, you played with teammates you didn’t get along with. You never did this to a teammate in the media, no matter how bad they were, ever. I don’t comprehend any of this.”

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