Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem. ~Saul Steinberg*
I will be very disappointed in anyone who is prepared to make sweeping predictions and dire assumptions based on Curt Schilling's performance (indeed, the entire team's performance) tonight. In many instances, the defense failed Curt (Manny in left would have helped the cause considerably in the early innings when the Royals fired up the merry-go-round--this is one case in which I think perhaps some raised eyebrows would be appropriate for Manny).
Really, there's anything I'm worried about at the moment, it's the offense. I disagree with Randy (although, it always seems I disagree with Randy) that our offense can carry us--its attempt to do just that failed spectacularly in 2003. Still, it's not a welcome sight for them to all but disappear, as they seem to have done this series.
In many instances, however, Curt simply failed. So it goes.
As for Curt, think of it this way: Humans and pigs have 80% of their DNA in common. Humans and baboons have about 97% in common. A closer and a starter appear only to have about 50%. Trying to first be one, then the other, can't lead to great work in either.
Or this way: if, after I suffered an extended illness and absence from work, I was asked on my return to do another coworker's job for two months while they, in turn, were ill, I would probably suck at it. I might always suck at it no matter how hard or how long I worked at it, depending on the job--even if we all work for the same company and have many of the same essential skills.
And if, after those two months, they told me to go back and start doing my own job again, you know, I'd probably suck at that, too, on the first day.
If that's still not enough, it was his first start. It's going to take more than that to convince me Curt's really done in. In fact, if he'd come out and thrown up a ridiculously good line, it would probably take more than tonight's game to convince me that he was going to do well, either.
Ultimately (really scrounging, here, for the Curt Defense--JUST LEAVE ME TO MY DELUSIONS), perhaps the problem is our expectations. Perhaps he set the bar too high last year--perhaps it was not in his best interest for this season to make us think he was God and win us a World Series. Because after that, most things are going to be a disappointment.
To wit: "You think he's used up all his favors from Jesus?" I remarked to Steve tonight, watching Curt struggle. "You think the Lord stopped returning his calls?"
"Curt," Steve said to the TV, "Jesus is just not that into you anymore."
*In case you haven't noticed, I've rediscovered the baseball quotes page at the Quote Garden.