“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” -Plato
Curt Schilling reminds me of the generic and requisite Real World stock character: the cantankerous jackass who falsely assumes his “candor” is anything more than pathetic and offensive white noise. The guy whose audition tape sounds something like, “I dont give a $%^& what people think. I just keep it real and say what no one else will say. I’m not afraid to go there.” And while he’s initially embraced by the other housemates, he ultimately alienates himself from the group, leaving him with nothing left to do but self-indulgent confessionals. Curt’s latest talking head piece criticized New Yorkers for reveling in the season-ending injury to New England Patriots MVP Tom Brady. Also mentioned in his radio broadcasted rant were shots at the Yankees and Jets, reminders of his Diamondback glory days circa the turn of the century, a guaranteed win for an NFL team he’s about as integral a part of as Elizabeth Shue is, and a fairly insane claim about the nature of Boston fans.
I swear to God, I’m shocked the guy doesn’t have a Facebook account just so he can update his status every day to reflect a new and fiery conviction. (“Curt…is reasserting his political affiliation. He’s Republican. A big one.” “Curt…damns yet another group of people to Hell.” “Curt…thinks electric toothbrushes are superior to the manual pieces of crap and judges anyone who uses them.”)
Indeed, the sidelined pitcher gives us many things to reflect on.
When Tom Brady went down, my first emotion was actually acute distress, and for absolutely no other reason beyond the fact I had the Patriots winning Week 1 in my suicide pool–a pick 100% based on the fact I wanted to root for them only once and get it over with early on in the season.
Once they scraped out a W, I washed my hands of any “allegiance” to the New England Patriots. Any upset over the golden boy’s injury evaporated. And I was thrilled the potential AFC beast was dealt a second helping of some karmic retribution.
While many people have taken offense to Schilling’s attack on Brady revelers, he’s not wrong. Bars in NY erupted when the star QB limped off the field, but I can unequivocally guarantee that the vast majority of these rabid fans were not thinking of Brady’s physical duress or the medical implications. We’re sports fans before bedside nurses, just as Tom Brady is a professional athlete before he’s a vulnerable mortal.
No one was happy he was hurt. Period. No one actively hopes for an injury. But this is a game. It happens. Brady’s not invincible, and Belichick risked Brady’s health last year by gluing his starters to the field. Maybe a season of “Eff You, NFL” pass-plays guzzled up Brady’s luck.
So it’s awfully convenient for New Englanders to suddenly develop integrity and self-righteous compassion when one of their boys hits the ground. They’re looking down the barrel of a Brady-less season, chins quivering and revenge hopes dashed. And when the tables turned on them, instead of taking their lumps, they resort to categorizing New Yorkers as classless.
I might take such accusations more to heart if they were coming from a fanbase whose moral rubric didn’t advocate drilling baseball players in the head.
Boston’s unerring commitment to human compassion was egregiously absent during the Up-and-In reign of terror Yankees suffered at the hand of Pedro Martinez. Where were these Class Crusaders when the Sox hurler sent Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter to the hospital? And during my trip to Fenway last spring, 35,000 fans weren’t exactly overcome with grief when Dice-K opened his Boston career by beaning Arod. In the words of Schilling, “the euphoria was palpable.”
And of course, nothing will ever reek of more class than Pedro throwing down 72-year Don Zimmerman by the head. Though seemingly indefensible, Sox fans doled out copious and zealous support.
I’m not suggesting we offer a moment of silence whenever the heart of our lineup gets plunked. But good God, don’t make sweeping generalizations about New York’s honor and ethics.
The truth is, we don’t care enough about Tom Brady to celebrate his problems. Tom Brady is the same guy who was carved up by Big Blue’s D this past February. Hell, we love Tom Brady. Why would I want him out of commission? Without Brady, Super Bowl 42 just wouldn’t have been the same.
Brady-less Patriots at the Jets this Sunday
“The sad part is going to be when they beat the Jets next week. Then they are going to come up with something else.”-CS
How do I get in on this? If total lack of team involvement doesn’t preclude eligibility to guarantee a win, I’d like to toss my hat in the ring. I guarantee (aggressively) an Ohio State win over USC on Saturday. Done.
(What’s poor Matt Cassell thinking about all this? This is like some Saved by the Bell episode when Zach makes a bet with Slater or Valley, gets over-confident, and then ups the ante by putting his giant cell phone in the pot. Screech meanwhile is tugging on Zach’s sleeve trying to alert him to some crucial bit of information that will severely hurt his chances of wining. “But Curt! I haven’t started a game since high school!” “Not now, Matt, I’m in the middle of running my mouth off…”)
And then there’s Curt Schilling denouncing the practice of always having something else to complain about.
The New York Yankees
“The Yankees suck this year and they are bitter and mad and making excuses over that. I was front row and center when their dynasty ended. They want us to be as bitter and mad as they are. Unfortunately, it’s not gonna happen.”-CS
Yes, unfortunately, we’ll never hear Curt Schilling bitter and mad. Maybe someday…
I’d be lying if I said the Yankees’ season hasn’t severely deflated me. Of course we’re disappointed. But it’s skewed logic to connect a faltering New York baseball team and a weakened Patriots offense. If New England loses every game, it doesn’t help the Yankees. Bronx-haters may be well-versed in actively delighting in another team’s failure, but Yankee fans are still wrapping our heads around the threat of an empty October. Brady’s fall merely gave us a welcome respite from arrogant taunting. A temporary respite, I’m sure. But still. It was like finally plugging up a wailing infant with a pacifier.
Schilling isn’t false when he reminds us that he was on the winning side of the 2001 World Series, although it is an odd choice of series to wax smug about. I’d have gone with the 2004 ALCS over the ultimately lifting experience of the 2001 Fall Classic. But hey, semantics.
To that end, though, the words of Bill Belichick may prove apposite here: “If you live in the past, you die in the present.”
Which is not to be misinterpreted as a wish for Curt Schilling’s death.
* * *
Maybe Schilling is sloppily trying to lobby support for his return to the Sox, now that he’s on the tail end of his contract. Or maybe he’s getting cabin fever on the DL. Who knows what inspires the Most Judgmental and Opinionated Athlete Ever to update his blog of complaints. I don’t expect him to lionize opposing fans any more than I’d expect either presidential candidate to concede to the other, “Hey, you know, you’re right. I never thought about it that way.”
But it would undoubtedly behoove Schilling to loosen the stranglehold he has on hypocrisy, and to just accept the enjoyable (at best) and insidious (at worst) rivalry between our 2 cities for what it is.
There’s a fable that tells the story of a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across the river. The frog is scared the scorpion will sting him, but the scorpion assures the frog that if it were to sting him, they’d both drown. The frog agrees by this logic, and sure enough, the scorpion stings him mid-river. As they’re both drowning and about to die, the frog asks why.
“I’m a scorpion. It’s my nature.”
I live in New York. I’ve been conditioned to get irrationally furious at slow walkers, to live in an overpriced shoebox of an apartment, and to get territorial when non-native transplanted Yankee-haters forget what city they’re now calling home. I’ve been conditioned to put the Evil Empire on a pedestal and get wildly defensive when they’re constantly subject to contempt. And New Englanders should be able to empathize with this kind of fierce loyalty.
So on Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t celebrating the blow to Brady’s knee…just the blow to the outspoken hubris and arrogant drivel characterizing (much of) Boston’s fanbase.
As a New York sports fan, it’s my nature.