Curt Schilling on M&M: ‘As a player, this is our fault’ that players like David Ortiz face PED questions
|05.10.13 at 12:26 pm ET|
ESPN analyst Curt Schilling joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about Red Sox news, including the controversies surrounding David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz.
Ortiz was the subject of an article by Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy that raised the question of whether the slugger could have used performance-enhancing drugs to help him recover from his Achilles injury and get off to a scorching start this season. Schilling has had a longstanding feud with Shaughnessy, but even he acknowledged that the speculation was understandable.
“I love David. I love him to death. And I think a lot of what Dan has done in his life has been personally driven. But he didn’t ask a question that people aren’t asking themselves,” Schilling said. “And I keep going to back to, as a player, this is our fault. We did this. We let this happen. We had a chance to stop it and we didn’t. I think the way it was done was kind of cheesy. But there are people asking that very question.”
Added Schilling: “We had a chance among multiple collective bargaining agreements — and as a former player rep, I’m one of those guys — we could have stopped this, and we didn’t. And I think a lot of it was naiveté, I think there was some ignorance. But I think at the end of the day, it was out of sight, out of mind. And it’s coming back to haunt us. … I love David Ortiz to death. He’s one of my closest friends, he’s one of my favorite teammates. But again, I’m not sure Dan wasn’t asking the question that other people weren’t asking themselves.”
Shaughnessy asked Ortiz directly if he used PEDs in an uncomfortable exchange in the Red Sox locker room that left Ortiz angry.
“If you’re going to do that [story], I think that’s the only way you can do it and have an ounce of respect,” Schilling said.
However, the former Sox pitcher noted that Shaughnessy’s history of inserting himself into Red Sox controversies has made players question his motives.
“My dad always told me, listen, when there’s a problem, you look around and you figure out the source. When there’s a problem 10 times over and you look around and the only common thread in that problem is you, you need to figure out what the hell you’re doing wrong,” Schilling said. “Every time we talk about articles like this, it’s always about with Dan writing them. And that’s the thing that bothers me. I’m obviously exaggerating a little bit. But that’s why players are frustrated and tired of it. Because it’s as important for him to be a part of the story as it is to write the story. And players have a problem with that.”
Looking back at why baseball did not do a better job of monitoring PEDs two decades ago, Schilling insisted the problem was not as out in the open as many people think.
“I don’t think we had a handle on how big the problem was,” he said. “Listen, I played with guys, now, when I look back, yeah, they were cheating. But at the time, I had my own life to live. We all had our own lives to live. I wasn’t worried about what my center fielder was doing in the offseason or how he was getting ready. I cared that he caught the ball and could hit third. … People have this image I think of the clubhouse of there’s 12 guys in the clubhouse getting dressed and there’s 13 guys in the bathroom shooting up. It was not like that. It was never like that. … I never ever saw it. Not once. I never saw it in liquid form, I never saw it in pill form. Ever. But my teammates were using. I know that now. But I never saw it. It wasn’t something that was out there.”
Baseball now takes blood samples as part of its testing, something Schilling said makes a huge difference.
“I do believe that including bloodwork was a game-changer,” he said. “Here’s what I would say now: Now if you get caught, you’re either Manny Ramirez dumb or you’re going to such extremes to try and cheat and beat a blood test that you deserve whatever they throw at you. It’s obviously not going to stop everybody. But when the players’ association, rightfully so, agreed to include blood testing, that was a game-changer for me. It was something that I never ever thought the players’ association would approve or be OK with. But God bless them, they did.”
Schilling also touched on the Buchholz controversy, admitting that he used BullFrog sunscreen to get a better grip when he pitched.
“Here’s the thing: I did it. And I did it for the same reasons Clay did it,” Schilling said. “I would tell you there is no ballpark harder to grip a baseball in than the SkyDome [Rogers Centre]. It is the hardest and the driest environment — for me it was — in the big leagues. I had no saliva, I had cotton mouth in that stadium all the time. You needed something, and it was to keep a grip. You can’t cheat by getting an extra grip on the ball. That’s not how you cheat. You cheat by getting the ball moist and wet. If that was what Clay was trying to do, he would have been doing the opposite of what he actually did. You want the ball to be slick. You want it to be almost like — not spit, but water. He was actually using that stuff to keep a grip.
“And he says he doesn’t use it. That’s fine, I don’t care. But we all use something. Listen, the rosin bag’s on the mound. The rosin bag’s there for grip. The rosin doesn’t work unless there’s moisture with it. BullFrog guarantees me that I’m going to be able to keep it sticky.”
John Lackey pitched well Thursday night against the Twins but got the loss after his throwing error led to four unearned runs. Schilling was encouraged by Lackey’s performance on the mound.
Said Schilling: “He cost the team that game, and I’m sure he’d admit that. That’s fundamentals. … But from a pitching perspective, you’ve got to be ecstatic about what you saw. … He is lighter than I’ve ever seen him and he looks better than I’ve ever seen him — not just physically, but his stuff. The ball coming out of his hand is different. His breaking ball is sharper. His fastball, he’s got more velocity. All the things you would he’d have, he has.”
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