From Lance Armstrong’s recent cheating admission to Anthony Bosch’s juicing den in Miami to the deer antler spray issue that came up last week at the Super Bowl, discussions surrounding the use of PEDs are once again front and center in the world of sports.
Never one to shy away from controversy, Curt Schilling joined the fray and started his own little firestorm on the Colin Cowherd show today, indicating that former members of the Boston Red Sox organization suggested that he give performance-enhancing drugs a try back in 2008. Schilling was suffering through a shoulder injury at the time, and the thought was that maybe the PEDs could help get him healthy and back on the field. This story isn’t a total shocker – it is well documented that the Red Sox teams of the 2000’s contained some juicers, so perhaps there was a culture in place that fostered this type of environment.
Curt Schilling is many things to many people. Focusing solely on his baseball career, he was the quintessential “workhorse” who went deep into ballgames and gave his team a great chance to win each and every time he took the mound. Sporting a career record of 11-2 in the postseason (with an ERA of 2.23), he was the ultimate big game pitcher who became an October legend following the bloody sock incident versus the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. It kills me to say it, but he owned the Bombers throughout his postseason career, particularly in 2001 when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Schilling is a borderline hall of famer who should ultimately get the nod as a result of his prowess in the playoffs- with the exception of John Smoltz I don’t know if there has been a better money pitcher in my lifetime.
Off the field presents an entirely different story however, as Schilling can be viewed as a bit abrasive and a somewhat of a time bomb. He routinely butted heads with the media during his playing days (I did appreciate the back and forth he engaged in with Dan Shaughnessy) and wouldn’t hesitate to call out teammates (see Manny Ramirez) or opponents (see A-Rod) if and when he saw fit. His post-baseball gaming venture imploded in spectacular fashion with his Providence based 38 Studios filing for bankruptcy this past June. It is believed that Schilling personally invested upwards of $50 million in his company and that the bulk of his baseball earnings is now gone.
Why he chose to release this information about his former employer five years after the fact is anyone’s guess. This allegedly occurred shortly after the publishing of the “Mitchell Report”- wouldn’t have that been a better time to for Schilling to present this little nugget? Is now a better time because of all the recent news about PEDs in baseball following the release of shady dealings of Anthony Bosch? Does he suddenly feel it’s his “duty” as ESPN analyst to provide some transparency on the matter? Is he gearing up for a book deal to help mitigate the crushing financial losses he has endured?
The baseball operations people who ran the Red Sox back in 2008 have flatly denied ever having such as exchange with the big right-hander, and for his part Schilling later tweeted that it “wasn’t anyone in uniform, nor the baseball ops group.” If there is a smoking gun in play, we can only hope that more details emerge as this story gains some traction.
This is just another example of how you never know what Curt Schilling is going to say or do next. Much like when was on the mound in a big game, he is squarely in the spotlight and once again has our full attention.