I admit it. I had convinced myself that the Big Schill was gone, off to some NL team to pad his career wins and start calling some local sports talk show in Milwaukee as "Curt in the car".
So I was pleasantly surprised when I read online earlier today that he was possibly coming back to Beantown for one more year. As the day went along, ESPN radio was reporting that it was most LIKELY a done deal, then finally getting home and reading that it WAS a done deal.
$8 million in base salary, with anywhere from $2 to $5 million in incentives, depending on where you read it. Either way, it's a win/win for the Schilling family and for the Red Sox.
It's also a win/win for me, as I get some sort of perverse pleasure out of seeing Shilling yammering away during an entire game while Josh Beckett nods, spits, and nods some more, all without saying a word, while the two of them do a fantastic job of making sure the top railing on the dugout is secure. Makes me smile everytime.
Schilling came here 4 years ago with some pretty big talk about winning a World Series, shutting up 50,000 MFY fans, and leaving a legacy: it took him all of one year to accomplish those 3 goals. In the short time he's been a member of RSN, the Sox have won 2 World Series, reached the playoffs 3 times, and he's forever cemented himself as a Boston icon. I'd say he's been a pretty good investment.
Adding to all that, Schill seems like a guy who "gets" what playing in Boston is all about.
How many professional athletes, who have won 3 championships already, do you see walk away from millions of dollars? You could probably count them on both hands and have 3 or 4 fingers left over. Schilling could have earned a boatload of cash from some other team, gotten a multi year deal, and won enough games in a weaker league/division to make himself a slam dunk Hall of Fame player. Instead, he took LESS money, stayed in the toughest division in baseball, and showed some serious bollocks by taking an incentive laden deal.
Because he GETS it: he is leaving a historic mark on one of the most storied franchises in all of sports: 50 years from now little kids will read about the man with the bloody sock who willed himself to win. About the guy who's enormous ego was matched only by his huge heart. A player who dared to say he would never betray the reputation he'd built over 4 seasons to take the money and run to New York: I hope Johnny Damon was taking notes today. THAT is how you become a legend, Johnny. I hope that extra $12 million was worth it.
15 years from now, the name of Curt Schilling will be uttered in a reverent whisper by Red Sox fans, while Johnny Damon, who was invaluable in his own way to finally winning it all, will be just another footnote in the annals of Red Sox lore.
One final time of Curt making his FIRST start in his final year: Curt making his final start in Yankee Stadium: Curt making his final regular season start at Fenway.
Hopefully, Curt making his LAST start in Game 7 of the World Series: Hopefully.
If not, it's been a great run Curt. Thanks for leaving that comfort zone in Arizona to come to Boston. Thank you for embracing this team, city, and it's fans. All of us will be forever grateful for everything you've done since arriving in Boston.
In great part because of what you have done, thousands of children get to grow up without all the angst and agony that so many people before them had to endure: no more "curses", no more "will they ever win it in my lifetime", and hopefully, no more FOX sports pulling every bad thing that has ever happened in Boston out of their nether region in October again.
They will just get to be normal, everyday fans.
For that alone, I'm pretty sure the money you'll make this upcoming year is worth it.