The bloody sock that Curt Schilling wore while pitching the Red Sox to a victory over the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series in the Bronx is perhaps the most prized relic amongst the true believers in Red Sox Nation.
The man himself, by virtue of his performances in the curse-reversing '04 World Series run and the ensuing 2007 world championship, also seems likely to be held in high esteem from from Bangor to Waterbury for years to come. He would figure to be a fixture at Old Timers' Days and reunions at Fenway for as long as the hallowed ballpark exists.
Unless, he has anything to say about it.
In a scathing interview with WEEI in Boston, Schilling revealed his immense displeasure with how the franchise has handled its divorce from longtime manager Terry Francona, as well as its historic collapse down the stretch in September.
On Wednesday, the Boston Globe published an article detailing the misbehavior of pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey -- who allegedly drank beer and played video games during games they were not pitching -- and speculated that the team's September swoon was tied to Francona's use of painkillers and his troubled marriage. It should be noted The New York Times Company, which owns the Boston Globe, also holds a minority stake in the Red Sox.
ESPN Boston writer Gordon Edes described the Globe article, based largely on the accounts of anonymous sources, as a smear campaign and wrote, "This is how it's done, Tito, Boston-style. No one ever escapes clean, regardless of what you might have accomplished here."
On Wednesday, Schilling, also an employee of ESPN, spoke on Baseball Tonight and called the treatment of Francona, "character assassination of the worst kind."
He also opined that "there will be some guys who will walk on that field on Opening Day next year and get booed louder than any New York Yankee who ever set foot [on the field]."
But if those statements weren't indication enough of Schilling's feeling on the topic, he expanded on his statements even further Friday morning on WEEI.
Transcript via Sports Radio Interviews:
Listen, the article bothered me and how it was written bothered me. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that the article didn’t lie enough for me. That happens. I know I can picture teammates, I can picture situations where everything talked about in that article, I can see or I’ve done. At the end of the day, that is when someone that’s wealthy, someone that’s powerful gets wronged, this is what happens. They destroy people’s lives because they can.
The former Boston star also talked about former teammates David Ortiz and Jason Varitek. When asked if they provided leadership for the team, Schilling stated, "They’ve never been those guys."
The public declaration, while surprising, was certainly not out of character for the outspoken Schilling, who earned the reputation as a "table for one" guy because of the prickly relations between him and his peers. Never shy when it comes to sharing his opinion, he openly endorsed George W. Bush during his re-election campaign in 2004 and, in 2008, he called out former teammate Manny Ramirez, saying his "level of disrespect to teammates and people was unfathomable."