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.