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October 26, 2007

There's a new idiot in town!

Let’s all agree on one thing…Eric Byrnes is an idiot.

No, not the happy go lucky 2004 Boston Red Sox-type “idiot”…but a pure bred douchebag. Normally, he’s the type of player that I like…scrappy, plays with a TON of heart, mouths off on occasion, BUT, this post season (much like his 2003 shoving incident with Jason Varitek) he is proving that he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about.

We’ve all heard him say that the Colorado Rockies got some “lucky breaks” while they swept Byrnes and his Arizona Diamondbacks RIGHT out of the playoffs, but then he went on to say that "the nation is going to be SHOCKED how good Colorado is" when they play the Red Sox.

Really? Shocked?!?

Well, I could mention the 13-1 drubbing the other night, the eight days off (of which Byrnes said WOULDN’T affect the Rox) or I could say nothing…the last two nights have spoken for themselves.

Byrnes, on the other hand, was STILL singing the praises of the Rockies prior to Game Two. If you listen to him…Josh Beckett was the LONE factor to the BoSox victory the other night. Matter of fact, AFTER the second game, he warned of the Rockies getting momentum back should they win Game Three in Denver.

What’s with this guy?

He’s right, though. Josh Beckett WAS masterful the other night. And you know what…he should be. The Red Sox gave up plenty to acquire him (and Mike Lowell) before last season and he was brought in to do EXACTLY what he’s been doing. Win the big game.

Now, flash forward to Game Two.

Curt Schilling was scheduled to take the bump. Prior to the 2004 season, Schill was brought in to do EXACTLY what Beckett was brought in to do a couple years later. HOWEVER…the media, for some reason, was pretty much writing him off. Apparently his blood soaked star had fallen.

Memo to newswriters...Schilling was Josh Beckett BEFORE Beckett was Beckett.

He was the NLCS MVP in 1993 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Almost ten years later (in 2001), he followed it up by being named the World Series Co-MVP alongside Randy Johnson. I won’t mention the “bloody sock” (again) or his postseason winning percentage.

Curt is good…DAMN good.

That being said, is he Hall of Fame good?

My buddy E talks about the “smell test”. Does a player pass the Hall of Fame smell test? If so, you look deeper and see whether or not he is worthy. EXAMPLE: a guy like Tim Raines smelled like a Hall of Famer at one point…now he smells of Kenny Lofton. Since we’re talking lead off hitters (for some reason) a Rickey Henderson smells like fine wine aged to perfection.

That being said…Schilling smells like a rose.

216 victories, 3116 strikeouts, FOUR top five finishes in the Cy Young voting, six All-Star games…not too shabby for a kid out of Anchorage, Alaska. When it comes to his strikeout to walk ratio…only one pitcher was better and he last toed the rubber in 1884. He died, ironically enough, in Boston.

All that said…if you look closer, like Raines, Schilling doesn’t smell as good as you would initially think.

True, his postseason stats are phenomenal…but you can’t induct him on that alone. Sure, they warrant mention, but induction based SOLELY on that…um, no. If so…open the doors to Bernie Williams, Cooperstown!

216 wins, while impressive, only ranks him eighth among all active pitchers. Four of the seven ahead of him on the list (Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson) are WAY ahead and certain Hall of Famers. The other three (Mike Mussina, David Wells and Jamie Moyer) couldn’t pass the “smell test” if they carried Pedro Martinez around in a headlock.

Add to the 216 wins that Schilling’s win percentage is .597 and you’ve got, over the span of his career, a very good pitcher…not a great one.

Strikeouts. Schilling’s four years of 290-plus Ks are crazy good. Of the 13 pitchers with MORE than Schilling’s 3116, only Bert Blyleven is not in the Hall, while Clemens and Maddux will surely go in when the time comes. Consider that 1228 of his strikeouts came in the afore mentioned four 290-plus years, and that he’s only got ONE 200 K season outside of that…the 3116 seems kinda suspect.

What I’m saying is this…give me 15 years of 200 or more strikeouts and I’d be MORE impressed than Curt’s five years of 200-plus scattered over a twenty year span.

I liken to Schilling to Sandy Koufax…kinda. Both of their legend has been based on a handful of select years. Koufax, however, did his in consecutive years at the end of his career before he fell victim to an arthritic wing.

Schilling spread his out over a couple of decades.

He was a stud in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2004 (an 83-30 record and 1031 Ks)…but that was about it. You COULD make an argument that outside of the win/loss record (8-9), Schilling was on his way to a GREAT 2003 season before he got injured...which happened WAY too often.

Curt was, undoubtedly, MUCH better over the second half of his career compared to the first. Hell, he’d even agree to that and he doesn’t like ANY of the unfavorable press he gets!

Koufax, over his last four seasons, notched a 97-27 record and 1228 strikeouts. So, yeah, not EXACTLY the same, but Sandy had nearly 200 innings pitched than Curt.

Watching Curt Schilling work, he carries himself like a sure-bet Hall of Famer who is winding down a great career…but so did Jack Morris. Putting him into perspective, he starts to come across like many of the pitchers that have made it into the Hall over the last 20 years…he’s a guy with some longevity, a handful of years of greatness and some postseason success. And that's not a TERRIBLE thing...just ask Don Sutton, Phil Niekro or Gaylord Perry.

Arguably, he wasn’t always the best pitcher on his staff and only a few times would he have been considered one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. He never brought home the hardware that Cooperstown LOVES to look at (a la Robin Yount’s TWO MVP awards), but he was solid. He has a respectable ERA (3.46) a couple of World Series rings and is a great character.

First ballot guy…probably not. He’ll be competing (potentially) with the likes Clemens, Maddux and Glavine as far as starting pitchers go. Take into account that there will be a slew of position players also vying for their enshrinement and it might take Schilling a while to get through the doors.

Let me know what you think…how does Schilling smell? Does he pass the test or just get tossed aside like some bloody, old sweatsock?!?

***Note: The "is Curt Schilling a first ballot Hall of Famer?" poll garnered the following results...Yes-10%, No-90.***

Ballhype: hype it up!


The Hungry Attorney said...

You know, I was asking myself this very question this morning as I was driving to Court. What has Schilling done? Well, he has won two World Series now and is well on his way to a third. His record is actually BETTER than Koufax's in the World Series (4-1 in seven starts compared to Koufax's 4-3 in the same number). Koufax's WS teams were 3-1. Schilling's WS teams will also be 3-1 after this series. You have to give one thing to Koufax though...his WS ERA is 0.95. That is sick. One of his losses was a complete game in which he gave up 1 earned run to the White Sox. Schilling is a Hall of Famer, Shawn, like it or not, the man is in.

What is especially funny about this is the fact that I HATE Curt Schilling.

Your likening him to Bernie Williams is not fair--Bernie IS a prototypical HoF'er: lifetime .297 average (c'mon, that is .300), Five-time all-star, 4 top-five BA finishes in six seasons, four gold gloves, a silver slugger, and, most importantly, Four Rings. Bernie won't get in, neither will Mark Grace, but I cannot think of two guys who belong more...except maybe Cal Ripken and Ricky. Ricky won't get in if he never retires though...

Jesus said...

Oh my, the Bernie Williams reference was kinda tongue-in-cheek...I'm hoping yours was as well. There is NO WAY the guy belongs in Cooperstown! I am curious to see what numbers Grace gets. While he doesn't belong (one can make a MUCH better case for Steve Garvey, Keith Hernandez or Al Oliver)...he was quite the character, played in a big market and was (seemingly) beloved by all.

Rickey can get in since he hasn't been doesn't need to officially "retire". Jose Rijo ('member him) actually was up for the Hall, made a comeback...THEN retired!

Let's just hope Rickey doesn't come back.

E said...

Remember when Schilling was a "filler" player in the Mike Boddicker and Glenn Davis trades?

No? Neither does anyone else, because he wasn't worth remembering back then.

We've had a similar conversation before, and that got jumped all over as "idiocy."

Yet Schilling uses his sock as a napkin after eating a big plate of dinga magoo before a World Series game, and he's the greatest pitcher ever. Suuuuure.

No Jack Morris, no Schilling. Seems fair to me.