Former baseball star Curt Schilling is probably going to be ushered into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., when the results of voting by baseball writers is revealed on Jan. 18.
But Schilling, a conservative’s conservative, is outraged that some writers are leaving him off their ballot and he thinks it’s because of his support for Donald Trump.
Schilling says the writers are judging his character, not his performance:
“[They] are not hiding the fact that they’ve stopped voting for me because of the thing I’ve said on social media. That’s their prerogative as voters….Fair doesn’t enter into it…My dad told me when you leave home at 18, the word ‘fair’ goes out the window. I’m OK with that…the world’s not going to treat you fair…if they don’t believe my baseball talent merits me getting in the Hall of Fame, so be it.”
Some writers have already revealed their ballots, with some leaving Schilling off.
NJ.com writer Randy Miller went further, calling Schilling “a scumbag,” the same term Schilling used to describe baseball writers. Miller was a beat writer in Philadelphia when Schilling pitched for the Phillies.
Schilling has stated that he believes that his political views are costing him a lot of votes, but I’m not taking this stance because he’s a conservative.
I’m a conservative.
And I’m not punishing him for his stupid comments that got him fired from his ESPN analyst’s job in April 2016.
So why am I not voting for Schilling?
It’s not because I’d be embarrassed by “Cousin Schill” at the next family reunion. It’s because I just won’t allow myself to vote for a guy who’s always been a scumbag.
“This is why I don’t lose sleep over this,” Schilling responded during an interview on Boston’s WEEI. “When you understand human beings like this guy have a control over the Hall of Fame vote … they invoke the character clause randomly. This is why I don’t lose sleep.”
Schilling subsequently explained the tweet was “100 percent sarcasm,” but that hasn’t slowed the movement to punish him. Many voters are now using that language as evidence that Schilling fails the Hall’s character clause.
Schilling has a dark side to his personality, and he clearly he doesn’t like sports writers. But anyone who thinks that tweet was an actual call for lynching should stop hyperventilating. There’s a difference between a guy with a temper and grudge and one who’ll countenance murder. Schilling is one but absolutely not the other.
To my peers, I offer this counsel: get over it. Schilling isn’t the only hater in baseball history, and he won’t be the last. In fact, I’m not even sure he’s the worst. No one worked harder to sabotage reporters than Eddie Murray in the 1992 season at Shea, yet he got my vote for Cooperstown without a second thought.
Steve Buckley, of the Boston Herald, gave Schilling his vote, too, but is clear that he doesn’t care for the guy.
Further, I didn’t even need to think it over this year. Though offended by the lynching photo — and equally offended by an earlier insult to the transgender community that got him fired from his ESPN gig — I don’t believe these acts of boorishness preclude Schilling from being in the Hall of Fame. Schilling has a bloody sock and a tin ear. The former is one of the reasons he should be in the Hall of Fame, but the latter shouldn’t keep him out.
If this is where you expect me to chastise those baseball writers who used the lynching photo as a reason to not vote for Schilling, well, no, sorry. This issue is deeply personal for journalists in that our craft is under fire, its very future in doubt. I see that. I feel that. I agonize over that. And if there are writers who believe a vote against Schilling is a vote for the future of journalism, I’m not going to stop them. It’s just that I don’t connect the two.
Schilling will need 75 percent of the votes cast to go to the Hall of Fame.
“This is Schilling’s mess. This is his world. The real world,” Buckley said.