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Curt Schilling on Big Show: ‘Personal accountability … unbelievably lacking’ on Red Sox

11.04.11 at 4:07 pm ET
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Curt Schilling

Former Red Sox pitcher and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling called into The Big Show to discuss the conditioning issues that impacted the 2011 Red Sox and that ultimately contributed to the firing of strength and conditioning coach Dave Page this week. Schilling suggested that the issue had little to do with Page.

“He is as honorable and as hard-working a man as I have ever been around in sports,” Schilling said of Page. “He’s absolutely a casualty of what these players did.

“This was a guy who would lose sleep at night when we lost games,” Schilling, whose working relationship with Page dates to when both were with the Diamondbacks. “Dave Page has absolutely zero responsibility for this.”

Instead, the former All-Star said, the issue was one that reflected directly upon Red Sox players.

“You can’t instill pride and integrity in people. It’s something you’re born with. You have to have it,” said Schilling. “The thing that sickens me is we’re talking about grown men. They have a responsibility and an accountability first of all to their families, to the team, to the organization and to the fans. It clearly didn’t motivate these guys when they were going through the worst collapse in the history of the game last year to change anything. … There’s a personal accountability piece that is unbelievably lacking.”

Schilling suggested that it is critical for the Sox to bring in another player who will force his teammates to remain accountable. He cited the influence of Orlando Cabrera, who was able to get through to teammate Manny Ramirez in 2004 after the Sox acquired Cabrera at the trade deadline.

Asked if the Sox could address the conditioning issues without getting rid of the players who were responsible for them, Schilling said, “Only if you bring in a game-changing presence in that clubhouse. It’s a player.

“It’s the Oralndo Cabrera guy who walks in and says, ‘Manny, you’re not taking yourself out of the lineup. I don’t care. You’re playing.’ Physically, you’ll get into a physical confrontation if another player is not giving everything that they can give,” he added. “It’s the player that makes other players uncomfortable not doing their parts. It’s got to be the verbal guy who says, ‘Are you not doing drills with the pitchers? You hurt? Well then, OK, get better and do them.’ That guy who makes other players uncomfortable if they’re not working off the field. That guy does not exist in that clubhouse.”

Schilling said that members of the Sox are virtually certain to arrive in spring training in “the best shape in the world.” However, he also suggested that without something to change the clubhouse culture, the Sox run the risk of a repeat of the same conditioning issues that afflicted them down the stretch.

“If the team falls out of contention or players aren’t having great seasons, they’ll quit,” said Schilling. “They will quit. There’s nothing the strength coach can do about it.”

To listen to the complete interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

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