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Two of a kind

Posted by Bob Lobel November 13, 2008 05:58 AM

There's only one Curt Schilling. Only one. And we had him when we needed him. But now, I canít seeJoe the Plumber without seeing Curt Schilling. And guess what? I canít see our Curt without seeing Joe the Plumber. Have they ever been seen together? What makes them so much alike, at least in my eyes? Is it their ability to show up anywhere?

Curt always showed up to pitch. Joe? Always there. Pitching. Even if it was for himself. Schilling was unique. Such a great fund-raiser. Between him and Mike Timlin, few did more to advance a potential cure for ALS. Few did more to advance the cause of Red Sox Nation.

Now, Joe the Plumber, aka Curt the Pitcher, will no doubt become a holiday action figure, with a wrench in one hand and a plunger in the other and no knowledge of how to use either.

Joe showed up and always had an opinion. Kind of like Curt the Pitcher. They were both always available for causes they believed in.

They were not camera-shy, and they exhibited no reluctance to talk about anything, regardless of whether they knew anything about the subject they were talking about. At least Curt and/or Joe wasnít asked if Africa is a country or a continent.

Joe got his 15 minutes of fame. Curt might actually get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Joe may end up as a holiday gift, like a safe, non-action figure, maybe even packaged with a flight attendant on Alaska Airlines.

Why do I say that? Well, I swear, four or five years ago on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle on Alaska Air, Sarah Palin was our flight attendant. At the very least, it sure did look like her. In fact, Iíve heard the rumor. Itís unsubstantiated but reliable (believe me, I have gone on the air with less), and it says that the huge Eskimo man emblazoned on the tail of every Alaska Air plane will be replaced by the current governor of Alaska. Sarah Air.

One more thing about Curt. Thank you, Curt. Thank you for coming here and doing what you did and being you. That includes the frequent Curt vs. Dan Shaughnessy sideshows. I hope you guys donít hate each other. Each of you brought something to the table the other couldnít. Curt could pitch. Because he could pitch, he attained rock-star status. As a result, he held all of the power in that relationship. Dan, who can write like hell, despite taking unpopular positions about various regional folk heroes, kept that cartoon-like relationship alive.

Come on, guys: group hug!

Note to The Player: Worship is not an entitlement.

Note to The Writer: Acceptance is not a requirement.

I loved the back-and-forth between them. I would hope they could each appreciate it for what it was.

Time for Sox to give back to the fans
In this economy, this disaster of hedge-fund collapses and foreclosures more prevalent than ticket-scalping, the Red Sox have an opportunity beyond belief.

First of all, the true Red Sox season is under way. The day after the last game is played, the last hot dog sold, the real season starts. Kick out the millionaires in uniforms, the fans, and the vendors. Bring in the construction crews with screwdrivers, hammers, and bulldozers to do the heavy lifting. This is the true season. That irritating interval when the games are played, the cheering and booing heard and games won and lost ó that part of the year is irrelevant. What happens now inside Fenway Park is what really counts.

Hard hats replace baseball caps. Tito Francona? Forget it. Janet Marie Smith, suit up! Itís your show, and you are on a pretty remarkable streak.

Here is the way the franchise needs to go. John Henry and his staff havenít asked me, of course, but Iím gonna tell íem.

Recession, depression, and economic disaster are in the air. The Sox need an answer. You, the ownership team, can never forget the most important asset the franchise has. Itís not a $70 million right fielder. Itís certainly not an overpaid shortstop you are trying to dump. Itís not a veteran catcher and captain. The most important asset for this franchise is the fans.

So here it is: Forget the multimillion-dollar off-season pursuit of some questionable talent that may or may not produce. Put your money into your fans, Boston Red Sox. Invest in your fans, at least for one year. How do you that? You cut and slash ticket prices, say 10 percent, for this disastrous financial year, and make sure the ballpark vendor, Aramark, does the same.

Give the money back. Itís a tax break. Goodwill can only solidify what you have already built with bricks and mortar. Give the fans a tax cut that is unprecedented in all of sports. Like most of the things you have already done, this will be the coup de gr‚ce. Take the same leadership stance you have shown in the past. But this year, itís fans first.

You can pretend you didnít read it here. You can make it your own idea. You already own the town, so add this to your legacy. You can thank me later.

Veteran TV personality Bob Lobel is an OT columnist and can be reached at otfeedback@globe.com

2 comments so far...
  1. Nice job Bob.....

    Posted by Chip November 15, 08 09:39 AM
  1. Good job Bob....nice piece KEEP IT UHP

    AND THANKS CURT!!

    Posted by LGRS November 19, 08 08:11 PM
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Charles P. Pierce writes for the Boston Globe Magazine. A long-time sportswriter and columnist, Pierce is a frequent guest on national TV and radio.
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Bob Lobel was a WBZ-TV sportscaster for 29 years, anchoring more than 10,000 sports reports.
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