Greg Hanlon has a story about former major leaguer Chad Curtis over at SportsOnEarth today, and it’s a must-read.
Curtis, who was convicted on six counts of sexual assault arising out of his inappropriate touching of teenage girls at a Michigan high school where he was a volunteer strength trainer, is serving 7-15 years in prison. Despite the fact his appeal is pending, he spoke to Hanlon on the record about his case and his accusers. And he sounds like an absolutely deluded monster:
Curtis tells me that the first accusation against him broke on his 3-year-old’s birthday. The second came on his 11-year-old’s. He was arrested on the day of his 19-year-old’s graduation.
“Now, is that coincidental? Or is that someone looking at your personal file and deciding to mess with you?” he says to me.
Looked at one way, it’s a laughably grandiose delusion of a man whose persecution complex is in proportion to his Jesus complex. But in person, in real time, Curtis is more compelling than he is after the fact. Like any charismatic person, he pulls you in and makes you want to go along with what he’s saying. He has the convincingness of someone who has thoroughly convinced himself of his own innocence.
He blames his victims and he believes that they will recant their stories one day. He even believes that one of them will write a book with him one day that, ultimately, will benefit people. He’s that right, you see, and they’re all wrong and he has God on his side.
Based on Curtis’ sociopathy and sickness, 15 years doesn’t sound like nearly enough.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉