Curt Schilling commented on the conduct of the pitching staff in a conference call for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight this afternoon.
“When you look at that staff, the guy you look to is Josh (Beckett). I thought this was the natural progression for him. He’s at place in that rotation and it’s at the top, on and off the field. From a work-ethic standpoint something changed. And one of the tip-offs for me was sometime in September after a game. Josh made a comment to the effect that that baseball is not the most important thing in life. It caught me off guard in that anyone who plays the game knows that. He had just gotten married, they’re having their first child … but it was almost as if baseball is not the most thing when I’m not doing well and it’s as if I don’t want people to think that its not that big of a deal to me.
“It send the wrong message especially in this market. It was surprising and disappointing.
“I would tell you … if I were go have a beer in the clubhouse it was generally accompanying that I was out of the game. I’ve had a beer in the clubhouse more than once and I’m not a big beer drinker. After I was out of the game icing as a starting pitcher, that’s what you do. You sit around and have a beer, have something to drink and watch the rest of the game. This was clearly more than that. To some degree more than that don’t know how much more more it was than that, but so much more that it became a conversation piece and there wasn’t someone in that clubhouse in uniform to change it. That’s the bigger problem. You can fire the manager and get rid of the general manager, but the players who were responsible for the largest collapse in the history of the game, they’re all coming back next year.”
Why couldn’t Francona stop it?
“He’s always managed that way. He’s always allowed the players to police themselves.
You can do that when you have those players in your clubhouse. If you have a Gabe Kapler, a Mike Lowell, a Doug Mirabelli, a Mike Timlin. When you have those guys they police themselves. I would tell you that any good manager will allow the clubhouse to run on its own. That’s where the culture is created, that’s where the chemistry is created.
There was nobody to do that. if you look at the strong personalities on this team, most of those guys were on the field and the pitching staff didn’t take it upon themselves for whoever was leading that staff to make a change. They didn’t lose those games because of the stuff they were doing, they lost those games because they played like crap and they didn’t have their heads in the game.”
Why couldn’t Francona stop it, part II?
“I think he tried. Terry Francona laying out a schedule from 2 to 7 p.m. this is what you do and how you do it, that’s not how you manage. Nobody manages that way. For him to do that would be to change everything about him and who he is. Before he had the players who could do it and this year it ran away and he couldn’t get control of them. Jon admitted yesterday he stopped listening to him.
“At the end of the day this is 110 percent on the players. They’re grown men. They knew they were doing something wrong. I always knew when I was doing something wrong. Generally you police yourself, but they knew what they were doing.”