Controversial former Red Sox pitcher declined invitation to Opening Day ceremony

Sep 24, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  General view of the Fenway Park press box prior to a game
Sep 24, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; General view of the Fenway Park press box prior to a game / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Just one day after the Boston Red Sox made public the plans for the Opening Day ceremony at Fenway Park, a former player has already declined the club's invitation to participate in the proceedings.

Curt Schilling has decided not to come to the Red Sox's Opening Day festivities at Fenway Park on April 9, reported by Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe (subscription needed).

Boston plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 2004 World Series and the breaking of the Curse of the Bambino. Schilling was a key member of the 2004 Red Sox club — he pitched to a 3.26 ERA over 226.2 innings that year. He earned an All-Star nod, came in second place in Cy Young voting and 11th in MVP votes.

The Red Sox will also honor the life and legacy of Boston icon and fellow member of the 2004 Red Sox team, Tim Wakefield, who died of cancer in October. His wife Stacy will also be honored, as she also passed from cancer in February. The Wakefields were involved in charitable work in the Boston community and beyond and their contributions to the Red Sox Foundation and their other philanthropic work will be remembered on April 9 and beyond.

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling will not partake in the ceremony at Fenway Park's Opening Day

Days before his death, Schilling defied Wakefield's wishes and shared his terminal diagnosis with the world, finding himself under fire from other members of the Red Sox family, such as Jason Varitek's wife Catherine. Schilling cited his faith as his reason for sharing the information Wakefield entrusted to him.

A source familiar with the situation stated that Schilling declined the invitation to the ceremony so that he would not pull focus away from the Wakefields.

Schilling is no stranger to controversy since his retirement from professional baseball, and the decision to opt out of the Opening Day ceremony is a wise one. It is yet unclear if Schilling declined Boston's invitation himself or if the decision was made for him. Regardless, Schilling has no business taking part in a ceremony honoring the Wakefields after he seemingly betrayed their trust.

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