This week's I-hate-Barry rant from Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is something everyone needs to get used to as Bonds pounds his way closer to tying and breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record.
We all know that a lot of people out there hate Bonds, and the ramp-up to the record will provide all of them an opportunity to jump onto their soapbox and rail against his perceived evilness.
Some of the vitriol aimed at Bonds will be somewhat justified. And some of it will be articulated or written with level-headed intelligence. Nobody is saying Bonds is beyond reproach, and he’ll get skewered by columnists across the country this month and possibly beyond.
But in spewing a series of fallacies — he said Bonds has admitted to taking steroids, to cheating on his wife and to cheating on his taxes; inaccurate all — during his recent rant, Schilling basically revealed himself to be exactly what he accused the media of being when the whole bloody sock issue resurfaced: Vengeful, jealous, unaccountable and dumb.
Wait. Dumb is unfair. Schilling isn’t dumb. He’s actually fairly smart. But he’s that horrible kind of smart guy — the one who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else and assumes none of the rest of us can seethrough his many transparencies.
Fitting that one of Schilling’s nicknames in his own clubhouse is “Schill.” Because that’s all he does: Shill. And for whom is he shilling? Himself. This is a guy who, rather than spend time with his family after games, sits down to bang out lengthy blog entries breaking down his own performance.
He says it’s for the fans, but that’s inaccurate, too. This is a man who clearly loves the sound of his own voice, loves the spotlight and will do anything to keep it squarely trained on him.
There’s a reason he’s been mostly disliked in every clubhouse he’s worked. But maybe you didn’t know how much he was disliked. That’s because the players who don’t like him are classy enough to keep their thoughts to themselves.
Schilling can’t do that. He can’t help himself. His career is winding down, his glory is fading and others are getting the love he once got so much of. Bonds is one of them, so Schill the Pill is on the attack.
Oh, and did you happen to catch David Ortiz’s spot-on defense of Bonds the day after Schilling went off? It was Big Papi’s subtle way of sending Schilling a message that, unfortunately, probably went over his head:
Put a sock in it. And hold the fake blood.
Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com. He also hosts the weekend edition of “Sportsphone 680” on KNBR (680 AM).