Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling explains the whole PED thing, says he wasn’t trying to call attention to himself

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Curt Schilling spoke with WEEI’s Rob Bradford last night and gave a thorough explanation of  Someone on the Red Sox Said Schilling Should Take PEDs-gate.

Read the whole thing, but among the key takeaways:

  • Schilling told Red Sox brass after it happened and MLB investigated, but admits he was less-than-forthcoming about it all to MLB because he didn’t want to get anyone in trouble; and
  • When Schilling brought it all up on Wednesday he wasn’t trying to get attention. Rather, he was trying to make a point about how people who take PEDs aren’t necessarily bad people making bad decisions.

Well, OK then. I think his behavior in 2008 — blow a whistle and then not cooperate with the authorities — is curious-at-best for someone who portrays himself as one of the more anti-PED guys. And if he didn’t think his comments on Wednesday were going to cause a stir he hasn’t been paying attention to anything he’s said or done for the past decade or so.  But it is Curt Schilling we’re talking about so anything is possible.

Beyond that: I still feel like there’s a general disconnect in the way all of this has gone down in the past 24 hours. Everyone’s first reaction — Jed Hoyer’s Larry Lucchino’s and Major League Baseball’s — was one of shock, surprise, and lets-get-to-the-bottom-of-this.  Curt Schilling’s first response on Twitter was that he wasn’t going to name names because that wouldn’t do any good.  Then, a few hours later, everyone agrees that, oh yeah, this was all handled back in 2008, nothing to see here.

Just … curious.

UPDATE:  Jed Hoyer, who was the Red Sox’ assistant general manager back in 2008, was asked about Curt Schilling’s comments yesterday afternoon. This is what he said:

“The first I ever heard of that was this morning when I saw it, so clearly, no, it didn’t ring true to me at all,” Hoyer said Thursday on The McNeil & Spiegel Show on 670 The Score. “I can tell you it would be preposterous that Theo or I would be involved in that. So I can comment for the two of us. I obviously wasn’t there. I don’t know the story he’s talking about so I can’t comment on the rest of it. I can tell you certainly it wasn’t Theo or me.”

If there was, as everyone is now saying, a Major League Baseball investigation of the employee telling Schilling to take PEDs, how on Earth does Jed Hoyer not know about it? How is yesterday morning the first time he has ever heard of it? Because Schilling told people about it. From the Bradford interview:

Schilling immediately informed both Francona and Epstein of the incident, telling them, “I had a very uncomfortable conversation.”

So Theo Epstein knew and an investigation happened, but his assistant was kept totally in the dark?  Really?

This stinks.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.