Thursday night, after another long and exhausting day of negotiating with Sox general manager Theo Epstein in trying to strike a deal - actually, the word he used was ``competing'' with Epstein - Schilling sat down to his computer around 11:30 p.m. and began surfing the Internet until he came across a couple Red Sox fans Web sites.
``It was like logging onto a different country's Web site,'' he cracked. ``I got to reading some of the posts. The one thing you'll never lay on an East Coast fan is a lack of knowledge. In some cases, they know way too much. Or they think they do.''
By most accounts, Schilling wanted to move back to the East Coast partly because of the passion of the fans. He's a baseball history buff, and wound up online chatting it up with ``about 25 Sox fans'' for the next three hours.
That's 2:30 a.m. Arizona time, 4:30 a.m. Boston time. It's important to also note at this point, Schilling wasn't all that confident the deal would be done, but there he was, getting to know the fans, and trading stories and opinions.
``We were talking baseball,'' he said. ``It was like talking hot-stove baseball. They didn't believe it was me, for an extended period of time, which made it even funnier. Because a couple Yankees fans jumped on and tried to point me to another Web site.''
And no, he didn't cave. He didn't abandon the Sox fans chat room in favor of the Pinstripes. In fact, there's nothing he'd like better than to be a Yankees killer and be ``a part of bringing the first World Series in modern history to Boston.
``I was just blown over by the passion these people have for this team,'' Schilling said of Red Sox Nation. ``It was funny, and very cool.''
Those 25 Sox fans probably came away thinking he was pretty cool, too. It was interesting, also before the deal was finalized, the five-time All-Star pitcher wrote a letter to Sox fans that was printed on ESPN's Web site, trying to separate fact from fiction with respect to the negotiations.
I had heard of Schill being a big net junkie before but this is pretty cool. I'm sure we have some night owls here. Could you imagine being up that late, searching the message boards and you happen to stumble upon a chat with Schilling himself? Nice.
That he would go that far to get fans' perspectives is awesome. I know we sometimes wish GM's and such would happen to wander by here to see how we'd run things. Knowing this now, maybe just maybe Schill will be checking out your next post.
Very cool. This just reinforces for me that this is a great trade for the Sox. Fossum and Lyon aren't anything special (I don't know too much about the other two prospects in the deal), and Schilling sounds more and more like the kind of guy you want in your clubhouse.
Of course, that passion that he's so excited about now can turn around and bite him on the ass too. Of course, I'm sure he's aware of that if he's such a history buff...
"The game has a cleanness. If you do a good job, the numbers say so. You don't have to ask anyone or play politics. You don't have to wait for the reviews." - Sandy Koufax
Schilling really seems like a perfect fit for the Red Sox. Obviously, he's a hard-throwing ace, thereby dramatically improving their rotation. He seems like a great clubhouse presence, fun and outgoing and psychologically well-adjusted (unlike a certain Pedro Martinez).
And, even better from the perspective of the quant-conscious Red Sox management, Schilling himself is a stats addict. He's probably the only pitcher in the league with mammoth Excel files on opposing batters' tendencies (and umpires too). I have a feeling that, if Epstein and Henry were trying to create their ideal pitcher, they'd come up with someone a lot like Schilling (though probably a bit younger).
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Lets relax a little with the "Schilling wouldn't be redirected to another Web site by Yankee fans because he was so engrossed with chatting with Sox fans." Colangelo wasn't going to allow Schilling to go to the Yanks in a million years. Compare asking for Soriano and Johnson to the Fossum and Jetsom that get sent out to the desert. If this was a pure free agent signing to get Schilling, you'd be nuts to think the Boss would be outbid. You'd be even more nuts to think he'd take less money to go to Boston to help take down the evil empire. Why did you think it took Schilling so long to agree to go with the Sox? It wasn't because they were engrossed in a long conversation on sabermetrics. He was squeezing them for every nickel he could get.
I could be wrong in what I'm saying but I'll be dead before I realize it.
In deferring money or waiving his no-trade clause, did he in any way take any money out of his pocket in the long run? The answer is NO and that was my point. On a different note, you may have been the first Sox fan to use the word jealous when describing a Yankees fan.
At least if they read this story, there will be no question in their minds that they were actually talking to the real Curt Schilling.
I think the deal is great for Boston, and it seems like Curt is very excited about it as well.
Now to see how George will retaliate............
Yes doctor, I am sick. Sick of those who are spineless. Sick of those who feel self-entitled. Sick of those who are hypocrites. Yes doctor, an army is forming. Yes doctor, there will be a war. Yes doctor, there will be blood.....