Friday, February 06, 2004

Schilling Speaks | Newly arrived in suburban Boston for a weekend with the in-laws, I pick up today's Globe to see what's happening around here. And who do I see on the front page of the sports section but new Red Sox darling Curt Schilling, interviewed at length by the paper's Gordon Edes, who chatted up the pitcher at his Arizona home. It's pretty standard-issue stuff -- career overview, the anticipation of pitching with Pedro, etc. -- but there is also this little nugget that was news to me:

After Schilling signed a long-term deal with the Phillies in the spring of 1997, it seemed as if he was about to be traded in each of the next four years, speculation Schilling admits he helped fuel himself.

With the Phillies in a downward spiral and unlikely to sign Schilling to a long-term deal, he was open to a trade, though he insists he never begged out. Finally, in July 2001, in the midst of a contentious relationship with Phillies GM Ed Wade, Schilling received a call from Wade, informing him he was about to be traded to the Indians. Now, Schilling had put the Indians on a short list of teams to which he'd be willing to be traded, but when the moment arrived, he called his agent in a panic, begging him to stop the deal. Five minutes later, Wade called back.

"He was livid," Schilling said, "and rightfully so. I couldn't apologize more profusely. Eddie hangs up the phone and says they're not going to trade me to Cleveland. He called me back and said, 'Look, you tell me right now a list of teams, and when you're done, I'm going to take that list and trade you.'

"The next day, the Arizona deal was like done."

Man, is this guy, like, a control freak or what? That's the downside to Schilling's mound dominance -- his need to pull the strings even when he's not staring in at his catcher for a sign. I've said it before, and it bears repeating: Sox fans will absolutely love Schilling, but once the honeymoon is over and the vagaries of marriage begin, don't be surprised if makes noises about a quick divorce. He does that. He pitches great, and he wants things the way he wants them, and he'll be as big a pain in the ass as he needs to be to get those things, and if he doesn't get them, he'll want out. Consider yourself warned, Red Sox nation.


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