One of the single coolest memories I carry from the mad blur that was the 2004 post season is the image of the lads saluting their World Series victory, raising champagne bottles as Curt Schilling toasts “the greatest Red Sox team ever assembled.” And I admit: when Schill kissed Pesky full on the lips, I cried like a 12-year old paperboy who just got punched in the jimmy by a pack of urban toughs. I also dig on the fact that maybe, just maybe, folks think twice about speeding down route 109, fearing Curt might be lurking in the bushes with an official MLB radar gun.
But what do I know? Hell, I’m just a fan. Even worse, an Ortlieb’s-chugging punk from West Roxbury. Turns out that among his peers, Curt is roundly despised — a status which landed him on GQ‘s list of “The Ten Most Hated Athletes.”
This article’s been out for about some time now, but it still irks me. Barry Bonds is on the list, and that makes sense, because if there’s life on Mars, chances are they don’t like Bonds either. But Schilling? I just don’t get it. As a fan, I like the fact that in Schilling, we have a dude who isn’t afraid to phone WEEI to call bullshit on them. Who debriefs all players new to Boston on the media types you can trust, and those you can’t. Who stands at the ready to bitchslap Gordon Edes back to the stone-age.
Randy Johnson greets the city of New York by threatening to kick a photographer in the testicles. Rafael Palmiero lies before a congressional panel. Kenny Rogers knocks a camerman on his ass, and, far worse, continues to dirty up the good name of that guy who wrote “The Gambler.” If I was a ballplayer, I think I’d rather have a locker next to Schilling than any of these miscreants. But none of them made the list.
Perhaps I’m too consumed with love for the hometown nine to properly assess Schilling. I mean, there are probably folks in New York who think Sheffield’s the sort of bloke you’d want to go out for waffles with, right?