Red Sox legend Curt Schilling has harsh words for ownership
Former pitcher Curt Schilling has some harsh words for the Boston Red Sox ownership group, claiming they never cared about him.
Curt Schilling will always be remembered fondly by Boston Red Sox fans for his contributions to two World Series titles, but the feeling isn’t entirely mutual.
At least when it comes to those that signed his paychecks.
The six-time All-Star pitcher has had a strained relationship with the Red Sox ownership group since his retirement, which he reveals began to deteriorate in the offseason leading into his final season.
Schilling joined Kirk Minihane on his “Enough About Me” podcast to discuss a variety of topics this week, including a meeting prior to the 2007 season when his relationship with his former bosses began to unravel.
According to Schilling, the straw that broke the camels back was when Red Sox ownership thought that he wasn’t being truthful about an injury he was dealing with.
"“I thought I had a very close relationship with all three [John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino], absolutely,” said Schilling. “That meeting we had when we got together with the player rep, they said things to me in that meeting that made me realize that they never gave a [expletive] about me… The thought that they might think I was lying bowled me over, because I was taking pain meds all through this time. From ’04 to when I retired, whenever I needed it. I knew why, because I wanted to pitch, and they wanted me to pitch. But when I was done, they were done.”"
Seriously? The guy that stapled his ankle back together so that he could get back on the mound to defeat the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, that’s who you want to accuse of faking an injury?
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This isn’t Manny Ramirez asking out of the lineup with a hamstring injury, then forgetting which leg was supposed to be injured. Schilling poured his blood, sweat and tears into this team in the four seasons he spent in Boston.
Schilling dealt with a variety of aliments late in his career. Heading into the 2007 season he wasn’t 100 percent and had lost some zip on his fastball. A pitcher that once piled up K’s, striking out over 300 batters in a season 3 times, saw his strikeout rate plummet to 6.0 K/9 – his lowest rate since 1992.
Despite his eroding skills and injuries that limited him to 151 innings, Schilling still posted a winning record in 2007 with a respectable 3.87 ERA. He would go on to win three of his four postseason starts en route to delivering the franchise their second World Series title since he arrived in Boston.
"“I think what it was was I don’t think they really cared anymore about me because they knew I was almost done,” said Schilling."
As baffling as it seems that ownership would mistreat a beloved icon on his way out the door, it wouldn’t be the first time. Under Henry’s regime the Red Sox have often taken a cold, calculated approach to evaluating talent on their roster. While it may be good for business to detach emotions from their decision making process, it’s understandable that this method could leave players feeling a bit under-appreciated.
Schilling hasn’t entirely distanced himself from the Red Sox organization, having returned to Fenway Park to participate in festivities such as the 10-year Anniversary of the ’04 championship team that was honored on the field in 2014. He was also inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2012.
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The recent comments Schilling made shows he still holds some resentment toward Red Sox ownership, but at least the bridges haven’t been permanently burned. Schilling remains an important figure in franchise history for the contributions he made during his brief stint in Boston, even if he wasn’t treated that way when his career was winding down.