Say what you want about Curt Schilling. Pundit Jon Keller sure got his digs in last week on WGBH’s “Beat the Press” edition of Greater Boston. (“One of the bigger jerks in a clubhouse where there’s stiff competition for that title . . . makes $13 million a year to waddle around wearing a sympathy pregnancy [and] throw a few strikes.”) But one thing you cannot call him — not ever — is uncommunicative.
Schilling has been sidestepping reporters to chat with fans directly since he first logged on to the members-only area of Sons of Sam Horn in November of 2003. Two weeks ago he upped the ante, launching his blog, 38Pitches.com. Somehow, between his starts in Fort Myers and jetting to Maynard to attend to his new online-gaming company, he’s already managed to write an astonishing 25,000 words.
Reporters like Keller may scoff that “any idiot can have a blog.” If they’re sportswriters, they may even feel a bit threatened. But when it comes to giving fans the straight dope about the game he plays and the life he lives, the Red Sox ace is living up to his verbose reputation, and then some — and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Schilling isn’t the first ball player to do this kind of thing. Pitcher C.J. Nitkowski blogs on his MySpace page about his experiences playing in Japan for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Barry Zito and Curtis Granderson have blogged on MLB.com about the playoffs and spring training, respectively. Even mute, inscrutable Manny Ramirez maintains his own seldom-updated official site.
But this is different. It’s hard to picture Manny logging on, from an airplane, immediately after the game, to expend 1200 words describing — inning by inning, pitch by pitch — a spring training tune-up against a triple-A squad. Or offering thoughtful, detailed advice to a parent wondering if it’s too soon for a six-year-old to start pitching. Or going toe to toe with ALL-CAPS TROLLS.
Answering fans’ questions, sometimes dozens at a time, Schilling talks as frankly about his faith (“I don’t open my Bible nearly as much as I should”) and his politics (“I don’t vote on party lines and never will”) as he does about his contract negotiations, what happens inside the clubhouse (to an extent), and what his starting nine would look like if he could cobble one together from any of today’s players.
In his very first post, Schilling acknowledges that “outspoken” and “blowhard” are not the least-used words to describe him. And he’s right. But the fact that there are typically more than 100 questions and comments appended to each entry indicates that a lot of people want to hear what he has to say.
On the Web
Curt Schilling: http://www.38pitches.com/