Curt Schilling to skip Friday’s Fenway bash

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Curt Schilling’s video game responsibilities will prevent him from attending the 100th anniversary ceremonies at Fenway Park on Friday:

To Red Sox Nation,

I apologize that business at 38 Studios has made my participation in the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park impossible. Please understand that should in no way indicate my love and passion for Red Sox Nation. There was no greater feeling than standing on that mound, in that park, in front of you fans. The memories I was honored to be a part of, from David’s walk off HR in the 2004 ALDS, to going 4-0 in World Series games in that park, to the true honor of wearing that uniform every single day is something I am blessed to have, and will never forget.

I was and always have been opinionated, and unafraid to share my opinion, and for that I accept whatever it is you think of me. But please know that when I had the ball in my hand I gave the team, and you, every ounce of everything I had to get a “W”. It was an honor to wear the uniform, and compete with the incredible team and teammates I was allowed to.

Every great memory I have in that uniform is because of the people that paid to watch us play, and I will be forever grateful to you for that.

Thank you and God Bless
Curt Schilling

Some of Schilling’s recent comments have been poorly received by Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine, but this looks more like a simple scheduling conflict than anything else. Despite the dropouts, it still figures to be a star-studded affair tomorrow.

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.