“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”
With that Curt Schilling announced his retirement, sending off stage a figure who brought a lot to the game of baseball – including an outspoken persona – at a time when such unvarnished maverickiness was sorely needed.
See, even in his exit from the spotlight he inspired me to invent a new word that is – like the man himself – equal parts nonsense and exquisitely annoying. That’s pretty much how I thought of him over the years and so I applaud his good theatrical instincts for always insisting on being true to himself.
He also, I presume inadvertently, performed yet another public service in his choice of rhetorical device for his announcement, noting that, “To say I’ve been blessed would be like calling Refrigerator Perry ‘a bit overweight.’ ”
The Fridge is, in fact, not a bit overweight at all these days as he struggles with Guillan-Barre syndrome, but I think it's fortuitous that Schilling called attention to the beloved Bruin. He was hospitalized last year for five months and turned up at the recent Sun-Times Show in Chicago with the aid of a wheelchair in order to take part in the reunion of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl Champions.
Back to Curtsie. A week or so ago I raised the discussion point about evaluating players’ careers for Hall-of-Fame consideration and juggling the dual importance of statistics and postseason excellence. Schilling will present yet another strong element in that debate, with career numbers that might have made him iffy or simply a tough call, but mixed in with that sterling 11-2 October log he seems like a much stronger candidate.
Me, even though I was never a huge fan, I’d be inclined to give him the Cooperstown nod based on the fact that he was one of the dominant pitchers of the period in which he performed.
Plus, he was never boring, and I always like that, even if I don't agree with everything.