Apparently I'm the only moron who takes Schilling at face value. In the entire country. Possibly on the planet. I'm the only boob naive enough to sucked in by him, I guess.
Even Red, whom I called around the fourth inning when Something I Will Not Speak Of happened so he could make me laugh because I was losing my shit, elaborated on a tinfoil-hat idea that Schilling had been dogging it so he could come up big today, because he has a "flair for the dramatic".
I don't know. Maybe I'm the idiot. But even going on the assumption that Schilling is a self-aggrandizing, megalomaniacal asshole--even granting you that he's conceited to the point of sociopathy, which I don't really believe, but, for the purposes of our discussion, conceding that point--it still makes no sense. If he were a megalomaniacal, deceitful, self-absorbed lout, he'd want more to come off the DL guns blazing, dominating from the very beginning, hell, doing that back in April. Even if we're basing our rationale on egotism here, dogging it as an athlete still makes no sense. He's always going to look better, be more the center of attention, get more of what he wants if he performs.
That said, I just don't understand why people can't accept at face value that the guy is just a great pitcher who has done amazing things. I don't understand what's so hard to fathom about the possibility that he is genuine, at least when it comes to his on-field aspirations. I have no idea, seriously, I'm being sincere here, why it can't just be that Curt Schilling was hurt because of last year's postseason, the guy's 39 years old and he's not going to just bounce back, he was out for months then playing out of position for more months? What is it that makes people actually believe that the guy would be "acting" as if he was rusty given those circumstances? This isn't the fucking WWE, people. It's not like the other guys are playing along.
Even people who say it makes no sense that he'd come back and be this strong for today's game if he was really in bad shape...is it impossible that the same guy who pitched six brilliant innings of postseason ball in Yankee Stadium with a tendon flapping around in his ankle is just capable of coming up big? Why is it not acceptable that he's been doing the best he can the whole time, and considering it's only his third start off the DL, he's been honestly, genuinely doing pretty goddamn well?
Don't you dare say shit about his politics or his religion or any of that "character" crap you think you can judge from here. Just don't. Even if you were right, it has nothing to do with how he plays, so save it. I want, if you're going to offer a dissenting opinion here, for you to focus on his on-field play only. What brings you to that conclusion?
Because it seems like absolutely everyone I know, even those who support Schilling just because he's on our team, has reached the conclusion that Schilling, essentially, is a liar. But I can't see it. It's like those fucking Magic Eye things. I never saw the goddamn sailboat, and I just don't see what's wrong with accepting Curt as he appears.
I can't help it. I'm well aware I might just be a sucker, but that's the way it is.
That said, I lost count at about a baker's dozen heart attacks by the fifth inning of this game. If we'd lost today, given the fact that I'm the official Curt binky-person, I was going to take it very personally. It would have cast a pall for me over the rest of the season in general. Silly, maybe, irrational, totally, but it would have. It was a must-win game. End of story.
I'm not going to lie. When that Something I Will Not Speak Of happened, I had to get up and leave the room and go do something else for a while. My anxiety level was set to "Nuclear Holocaust". Today was the first time I broke out the Official Postseason Paper Bag and Official Postseason Portable Defibrillator Unit since last October.
It was what I have described before as "Apocalyptic Baseball"--nothing else exists but this game. Maybe there's a yesterday to provide a heady context, but there's certainly no tomorrow. No other teams, no standings. The kind of ballgame where you forget that your team losing will not actually physically put you in danger. The kind of game where, despite the fact that you are not only not playing in it but not even actually attending it in person, you have butterflies from the time you wake up until The Eck comes on to rant and rave and give you the recap.
If you didn't find this game riveting, you're just not a fan. Period. That's it. I'm not saying it makes you a bad person, but either you are, or you aren't. Either you appreciate the rich underplots, the undercurrents, the sociological pretexts, the story of a game like this, or you don't.
In the end, I'm glad I do. Even if it took a few years off my life.