has never been shy about sharing his opinions, so there was little doubt last
week that the 40-year-old Red Sox righthander would have something to say about
Orioles play-by-play man Gary Thorne. During the April 25 Baltimore-Boston
broadcast, Thorne said that the iconic bloody sock Schilling wore during the
2004 postseason—he pitched with sutures in his right ankle and beat the Yankees
in the ALCS and the Cardinals in the World Series—was a fake. Thorne supposedly
had it on good authority ( Boston catcher Doug Mirabelli) that the sock was
soaked with red paint, not blood.
the claim and excoriated Thorne, but not through newspaper or TV reporters, the
channels athletes used to depend on to communicate with fans. Instead Schilling
pounded out a 1,549-word post for his blog, 38pitches.com. "It was
blood," he wrote. "The people that need to believe otherwise are people
with their own insecurities and issues." ( Thorne apologized and retracted
his comments the day after he made them, saying he misinterpreted something
launched his forum in March, and he has quickly become the highest-profile
player among a growing number of athletes—including the Wizards' Gilbert Arenas
and the Tigers' Curtis Granderson—with personal blogs. Schilling posts a few
times a week, answering fan questions and providing batter-by-batter recaps of
his outings within hours of their end. The posts are often insightful (he
explained why he likes to start some hitters out with a changeup) and candid.
"I thought Tim [Timmons, the home plate umpire] had a tough game," he
wrote after one outing.
training, Schilling even confirmed that Jonathan Papelbon was moving from the
rotation back to the bullpen before the Red Sox could announce it, scooping the
local media. And his online discourses on strategy and pitch selection could
become must-reads for opposing hitters. "That's his prerogative,"
Boston catcher Jason Varitek says. "I don't divulge that, but I'm a
heard criticism that the blog is self-aggrandizing and self-promotional. (He
does use the forum to promote his charities and a video game company he is
launching.) One critic, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, wrote a parody
of a Schilling Q&A session depicting his fans as uninformed and
sycophantic. But for better or worse, the blog allows Schilling (who declined
to comment on his online work to SI) to avoid contact with media types whom he
feels might not give him a fair shake. "The best part," he wrote about
Thorne, "was that instead of having to sit through a litany of interviews
to 'defend' myself or my teammates, I got to do that here."