The Shelling of Schilling

Part of my job description as writer for The Frappe is to report back to one coast what is going on with the other; sort of like a double agent. So for you New England readers, you might not learn anything new here, except what this spy has derived about you.

Last night, Curt Schilling made his first start following his brief stint in the bullpen, and was shelled . . . by Kansas City. This isn’t all that surprising since Schilling had not been very dependable as a closer for the last month, but no one expected him to take a beating from Kansas City. While I have no doubts that Schilling will eventually be a top of the line starter once again, I do believe that we have seen his best days come and pass; the bloody sock was the beginning of the end. Now I would imagine that most baseball fans from elsewhere on the globe assumed that last season was enough to grant Schilling the honorary key to “Red Sox Nation” where he would be welcomed and worshipped for the rest of his life. After all, he was the staff ace in the fateful 86th year, and the aforementioned bloody-sock game was a gritty performance for the history books.

Nonetheless, the assumption is incorrect, evidenced by this conversation I took part in June of this year. The other participants were two lifetime Red Sox fans, and the topic was Curt Schilling’s poor performance. Both of them wanted Schilling out, gone, kicked to the curb. To top it off, one refused to admit that he ever believed in Schilling! No matter how many passion plays I saw as a child, I never understood how the crowd could have turned on Jesus so quickly, going from Palm Sunday to chanting “Crucify!” within a week; but the Schilling story has brought it a bit closer to reality for me. If the Sox weren’t playing so well without him, I’m quite sure that the request for Schilling’s head would be heard daily on sports radio stations throughout Boston.

But here’s the thing; don’t call these fans fickle. “The Nation” will never turn their collective back on their team. Granted, it sure sucks to be the player underperforming for that team; but somehow in the midst of the giant magnifying glass and the inevitable criticism anyone in a Boston uniform is subject to, there’s a bizarre-unhealthy love for this team at the center of it. Is there a clear distinction between dedication to your team and dedication to the players who fulfill it? It’s not a fun question to ponder; and perhaps material for a different blog.

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