Q & A V, and it's a long one.
For any of you newbs that didn’t get it, “The Media Sucks” was tongue in cheek. I assumed that went without saying, but obviously that was a mistaken assumption. While I certainly have issues with some, there are some pretty cool people in the sports media. Like any profession there are bad eggs but there are more good ones than bad ones in my opinion.
Since some people mistakenly thought that the Q&A was me interviewing myself, no idea how that could happen, I have taken to pasting questions instead of trying to paraphrase them.
I’ve been tackling a few questions at a time and after I get a compilation like this I’ll throw it up here.
Where there are many questions on the same subject I have attempted to take the one that covers the topic the best and address it.
I tried to do this in Word and paste but major formatting problems seem to have happened. I’ll try and adjust it but it doesn’t seem to be working well at the moment.
Q-Don’t you feel your chances at the Hall of Fame are better served staying in Boston?
A- I am not sure I could elaborate any more than I have. While I recognize most of the players in the HOF are the greatest to ever wear spikes, I cannot play 20+ years of professional baseball and worry about something that’s completely out of my control. Some, not all, but some, of the members of the media that are voters for the hall have used their ballots as platforms to make points. I think it’s horrifically unfair to a player that IS a HOF caliber player to have his career ‘voted’ on by someone that can’t comprehend how hard it was to do what he did. That being said I am not a HOF player. I know this because I’ve played with actual HOF caliber players. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Dale Murphy, Cal Ripken. When I think of Hall of Fame I think of guys like that.
Q-If you had to pick a prospect the Red Sox have to be a future star, who do you pick? (Lester, Dice K don’t count)
A- I haven’t seen enough of the young guys in camp to talk at length on any of them. Not to mention my insight into what makes a great everyday player is sorely lacking. But if I had to choose right now the kid I think has immense upside is Brandon Moss. I watched this kid hit yesterday for over a half hour and I was pretty blown away. He has immense pop for someone his size. He moves and looks like JD Drew from an athletic perspective. His BP was something to behold. I haven’t seen him play in a game so I can’t comment any further, but his bat is thunderous.
Q-The media sucks? Tell that to your kids when you come home without the puppies you promised them. You sound like ARod, “the media sucks”. “They suck so bad that I’m a quote-machine”… “It’s their fault that I can’t just zip it and play baseball”…”The sky is falling”, said Chicken Little.
A-You’re obviously one of the dolts that didn’t get it, but that’s to be expected after reading the rest of your post. Fact of the matter is if the media never comes to my locker again, and you don’t click on the link to come here, you never hear from me again, nor I you. Deal?
Q-I’m wondering how one might get involved with 38Studios? Are you hiring?
A-At the moment no we are not. We’ve got a stable of designers, artists, animators, engineers and team leaders that’s working in what could be called pre-pre-production! When we begin to look to expand the team and our President Brett Close feels we are ready to look for new hires you will find job postings at www.38studios.com
Q-If only some of the youger players had your outlook on things… you have shown respect and giving 110%.
A-I think a lot of mainstream america has this outlook, and I think it’s incorrect. Most of the guys, a huge majority of them, have my outlook or a better one than I do. This game is comprised of a lot of really great people who do a lot of incredible things.
Q-Does it irritate you at all that the FO keeps making chirpily confident statements about how if they want you at the end of the year, they’re sure they can get you?
Q-Does their “no renewal” stance make you feel like they are, in effect, betting against you having a big year? Does that bother you?
A- As I stated earlier, I think the Sox are taking a wait and see approach. I’d prefer it not be that way, but I am more than ok with it. I can’t and won’t make it something it isn’t. I’m hopeful they’ll change their minds in the next few weeks but it’s not something I think about unless I am fielding a question here about it. There’s just too much to do to get ready to dwell on something that’s been worked through already.
Q-Why, at this point in your career, when you had been planning not to make any money from baseball in 2008, is the size of your contract still important enough to you that you would leave a team and community you enjoy to play elsewhere?
A-You have to understand that if I don’t come back to Boston next year, I will be somewhere that I enjoy. Obviously this is my first choice, but a lot better players than me have had a lot worse things happen. Steve Carlton, arguably the greatest LHP ever, was released. Mike Schmidt, Dale Murphy, a lot of guys were ‘pushed’ out before they wanted to go. It’s not personal beyond what you’d expect it to be, it’s a business. As far as the size of the contract goes, I think there are some things that most people don’t consider when trying to spend my money or negotiate my contract for me. As a member of the players union I understand that my contract is not done in a vacuum. My contract affects other players contracts, and vice versa. I’ve never worried about being in the top X% of players at my position, but at the same time I’ve always felt that I knew where I fit in the scheme of players and salaries and been more than comfortable, blessed actually, to have gotten what I have over the life of my career.
Q-Why should the Sox pay you 13 million dollars for the 08 season?
A-They shouldn’t, it’s what I asked for.
Q-Baseball is incredibly out of sync with the rest of the world.
A-And this is breaking news? The entire entertainment industry is and always has been out of sync with the rest of the world when it comes to finances. You can’t expect a business that generates over 5 billion dollars a year to be in touch with the normal common working person. Is it fair that the average salary for teachers, policeman, fireman is under 90,000 a year? That the MINIMUM salary in MLB is near 400K a year? No it’s not, but what does that mean? Should I feel guilty that the Lord blessed me with a right arm that works differently than just about every other human on the planet? Not only that but I had the fortune of being raised by parents that were good people and taught me the difference between right and wrong early in my life. I’m lucky, blessed and incredibly fortunate to have been able to experience what I have over the course of my life, but not because of the paychecks I can assure you. The people and experiences I’ve met and lived through over the last 21 years are the prize in all this, not the money. Oh I won’t deny that the money is incredible, because it has allowed us to do things for ourselves, and for others that we otherwise could not have done. But my paycheck didn’t stop my wife from getting cancer, it doesn’t stop my children from being sick, it doesn’t make being away from my family easier or funner.
Q-The real world philosophy is don’t bore me with what you have done, but tell me what you are going to do and do it.
A-People get paid for what they are supposed to do, and what they’ve done, not what they tell you they are going to do, otherwise everyone would be millionaires because who’d take a job and tell you “I’m going to suck at this so pay me accordingly”?
Q-It is not your fault baseball is so out of touch with reality, but the average fan doesn’t really connect with the player’s salaries and demands.
A-Why should they? Why should they want to? Do you connect with the movie star that gets 20 million dollars to have you sit through 2 hours of pure agony? Do you ‘connect’ with that? I don’t want you to connect to my salary or ‘demands’, if there was anything I really wanted it would be for people to understand that we are not all that different than the rest of the world off the field. We live the same lives in a lot of cases. Now you can certainly make arguments against that and find news stories to back your arguments up, but I would tell you that we’re more alike than people would have you believe.
Q-What’s the launch date for your game at 38 Studios?
A-I can’t give that date here, but let’s say it’s much more than 2 years from now.
Q-There are no better fans to play in front of than “Sox Nation!” Therefore, why is it necessary that you be paid $15 million dollars to stay in ‘08?
Q-Surely you don’t need the money, especially with a potentially bright future in your endevours post-retirement.
A-Not really sure that’s for you to decide but ok, we can go with that if it works.
Q-That leaves “ego” as the reason why you wouldn’t be willing to stay for less.
A- I can’t respond to this part since it plays out an argument that is wrong to begin with. I never asked for 15 million per year. Q-In other words, you’re as good if not better than “Joe Blow” who’s making $18 million so why should I not make at least what he makes?
A-I’d like you to find a quote, anywhere, in the last 15 years, from me, that said anything even remotely close to this.
Q-It’s this type of thinking that has driven salaries through the roof and has left me and my family unable to attend games because we can no longer afford it.
Q-Let me be clear – I am in no way accusing you of being one of these ballplayers, yet I think if you do leave and go elsewhere for $15 million or more, that’s exactly what it will look like. Don’t you agree?
A-No. If I am not in Boston next year it is because they will choose to not resign me prior to this season for 13 million dollars, or I will enter free agency and they will choose to not seriously pursue resigning me.
Q-Why not set a presedent and make a statement by signing for less and staying with the team you obviously want to pitch for? Wake has done this, and Trotty has as well ( and look where that got him, but that’s another story).
A-Why would I sign for less than I needed to? I know that me signing for the amount discussed was not something that would hinder the Red Sox from completing the roster in a manner that would give us a great chance to win another World Series. The number is a number they are not comfortable committing to someone in my place right now, and that’s ok. Both sides, by not pursuing it further right now, are taking a gamble, I think me more so than them, but either way both sides are comfortable where they are right now and the team is moving along just fine without this muddying the waters. Q-Maybe you can explain to myself and others why this is NOT a good way to go out. It would still be on your terms, and “Sox Nation” would see that you’re more than just a nice guy that enjoys communicating with your fans.
A-So if I do not go to them and offer to take a deal for less than my current salary that makes me something else in your eyes? If I had to worry about that I’d be introducing an entirely new set of concerns into the issue.
Q-You’d be a hero that truly meant what he said when he claimed that he wanted to finish his carreer in Boston.
A-I’d disagree. In this town, much like NY, you’re only a “hero” when you do something, and even then that can die a quick death (see Keith Foulke). This town is about achievement. Sox fans, in my opinion, could care less about the contractual crap that goes on as long as it doesn’t affect the on the field product in a negative way. They get the fact that money isn’t endless, and that spending smart is the real way to create a dynasty.
Q-Do comparable salaries come up in salary negotiations? For instance, would you compare yourself to Gil Meche to make the point that you deserve significantly more than $13 million?
A-Absolutely not. The analogy I would give you is that I know where I ‘fit’ from a contract standpoint. Since 1997 I’ve been comfortable with where I thought I fit. I knew the post 1996 season market was going to be a big one, however I loved Philadelphia and thought that things were going to change. I thought the franchise was going to shift it’s philosophy and things would be different, so I negotiated a deal at around 6m per year. 24 million over 4 was a fantastic contract in my head. That winter Kevin Brown signed for 100+ million. Was I bitter? Hell no, I had guaranteed my family a lifetime of security. I did snicker a little bit AFTER the 1997 season, given what happened that year and how I felt I did, but no, I don’t compare the way you might think a player would.I would also tell you that I am sure some guys do, and more power to them if they do. The game made over 5 billion dollars last year, I have zero problems with players getting as much as they can. I think the problem becomes when players who get the maximum dollar try to present their case as something other than what it actually is.
Q-What do you use for stats in negotiations? What do they use?
A-Stats don’t really enter into my negotiations, at least for my last 2 contracts they haven’t. Stats play a huge role in arbitration, since they are basically the only evidence allowed. Stats play a smaller role in free agency with the exception of Scott Boras’ clients. From what I’ve read and seen the stuff that Scott creates for his clients is astoundingly in depth and convincing. Some agents use them to an enormous advantage.
Q-But are we ever gonna get any MMO posts on this thing? A-Absolutely. As 38 Studios progresses and I get the ‘ok’ to talk more I will. Right now there is an immense amount of detail about the IP that has to remain behind closed doors. As that changes you can expect a lot more discussions about the company and what we are doing.
Q-1) I do see the yanks would be out of the question but who would be your top team choices to play for in 08(the Red Sox are the obvious choice)? A-I won’t go into detail for a lot of reasons. But suffice it to say that if it ends up not being Boston we’ll end up in a place with a team that we are comfortable with and that will have a chance to win it all.Q-2) If you could have a ‘Super’ Team who would be in your lineup?
A- Fun one. Starting 9 with a DH, and SP, from todays players? No payroll limit?
C-Jason Varitek – As good a handler of pitching staffs as anyone I’ve ever been around, coach or player. Not to mention he brings value in the clubhouse as well. I have heard Joe Mauer is this same kind of presence, but he brings some pretty incredible offensive tools that no other catcher in the game possesses. I’ll stick with what I know though and that makes Tek an easy choice.
1B- Albert Pujols – There are some other great ones here, Morneau is a stud, Helton, Ryan Howard. I love Lyle Overbay as well. But Albert is doing things no ones ever done, ever, and when you are doing things that have never been done in a game that’s over 100 years old, that’s something.
2B-Chase Utley- I don’t know a lot about him defensively but his production at a position that doesn’t have a lot of power is huge. If I had to pick this based on defense I’d go with Orlando Hudson hands down.
3B-Scott Rolen-Personal bias here since I had the good fortune of being his teammate. Along with Junior Spivey he’s the best athlete I’ve ever played with. Opening day in 1997, 9th innning, 1 run game, Brett Butler hits a spinning chopper over the 3rd base bag, Scott, running to his right, backhands the ball, falling into foul territory, spins and throws sidearm, perfect chest high strike on the bag. Still one of the better plays I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the guy runs the bases to perfection.
SS-Derek Jeter-Lots of good choices here but Derek may be the only guy in the game that you’d not be able to find someone that had something negative to say. He’s money on the games biggest stage and an often overlooked fact is that he plays every single day. Tejada is another one. He brings an immense amount of energy to the field and he plays to win. For pure defense I’d pick Alex Gonzalez with no one even a close second. I will argue until I die that he’s the best defensive shortstop that ever played. I still think he played the best defensive season in the games history last year. Chuck the range charts or whatever ‘scientific’ method is used, this guy was a stud from pitch one until the end of the season.
LF-Jason Bay-I think he’s a stud. Unfortunately he’s almost invisible in Pittsburgh. I don’t know much about him other than the few times I’ve faced him but he has put up some incredible numbers and I thought he was a pretty good defensive player as well. If it were pure offense I’d pick Manny hands down, twice on Sunday. Manny is still the best pure hitter I’ve ever played with. Matsui is, in my opinion, horrifically underrated as a run producer. The Yankee lineup is drastically different when he’s not in it.
CF-Andruw Jones-I’d pick him just to watch him shag during BP. He’s so incredibly gifted it’s unfair. I had a chance to get to know him when we were on the MLB team that toured Japan after the 1997 season and I was blown away at what a nice and respectful young kid he was, and he was a kid. Didn’t he hit 2 HR in a world series game when he was like 15?
RF-Vladimir Guerrero-Most plate coverage in the game. Can hit a ball a foot off the outside corner down the RF line and deep. Cannon for an arm. The funny thing about Vlad is that if you watch him doing something other than running or hitting he looks like he’s got a broken back. He limps around right up to the point where he beats you. Ichiro would be another great choice, incredible athlete. Bobby Abreu, JD Drew are both in for big years as well I think. Both can run, throw and grind out AB’s.
DH-Who else? David Ortiz-I think he’s in the midst of one of the better offense runs in baseball history. Though I think you could argue that Travis Hafner is every bit as good or at least getting there. Hafner continues to amaze me with his ability to manage the strike zone. He’ll chase every now and then but most times, against me anyway, he chases ‘good’ bad balls. He chases in areas he’s looking, as opposed to guys that chase just because they are swinging.
SP-Johan Santana-True legit ace. To me the earmark of an ace is innings. I think it’s far and away a SP most important stat. If you’re good, and you compile innings, the other numbers all take care of themselves. He’s dominant and he carries that to the mound with his presence. There are others I’d be more than ok with as well. Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets, Josh, John Lackey, healthy Pedro, Carpenter, Halladay, Rich Harden, Sabathia, Verlander, Bonderman. True #1’s are guys who, if you don’t win on the day they start, everyone is stunned, I think every one of these guys brings that in spades. The guy that even on a bad day is going to get you through the 6th inning. That’s what I think about Halladay everytime he pitches.
Q-3) Honestly speaking when is Jacoby Ellsbury moving up in your eyes? I really enjoyed watching him play at OSU and not knocking
Coco but he hasn’t produced like I really thought he would of.
A-I have no idea. Obviously foot speed is not an issue but I don’t know enough about maturing as an offensive player to answer this one honestly. The few times I spoke with him this spring I realized he’s a good kid and driven to be a great player.
Q-For games when you are not on the mound do you watch the batters and try to pick up on things or do you just relax and enjoy the game. A-Depends on who’s pitching. If it’s a guy like Josh, or Daisuke, or Paps then ya I will watch the hitter and how they react to pitches. Same with watching games on TV when we are on the road. I’ll tune in to a game that has a power RH pitching. Otherwise ya, if I am not in the video room watching some stuff for an upcoming game I am most likely doing something I shouldn’t be to someone I shouldn’t be doing it to.
Q-On your days off this year you may enjoy Mass Effect from Bioware. Coming out relatively soon.
A- I will say this. I don’t know much about Mass Effect but I am a HUGE fan of Bioware. They are a top notch company of what seems to be incredibly talented and passionate people.
Q-You’re delusional if you think the Yankees would pay you $20 million! Are you completely out of your mind?
A-No, because they won’t offer it nor will I ask for it. But thanks for asking.
Q-If you’re sincere that you really want to stay in Boston, you should be happy to re-sign with the Sox now at a discount, instead of holding out for the “better all around offer.”
A- Appreciate the expert advice.
Q-After all, since you’re so sure your company will be a “multi-billion dollar behemoth” (give me a break), your 2008 salary is irrelevant, right?
Q-In your negotiations, did Theo & Co. ever propose a smaller guaranteed salary accompanied by a set of reachable incentives (something like Boomer’s last two deals)? Given their legitimate concerns about your age, it seems to me that’s one way for them to mitigate their substantial risk. If they did, did you give it due consideration, or were you firm in your desire for a simple guaranteed extension at your current salary? Were you willing to make any concessions to assuage their concerns?
A-I think it would be safe to assume that we explored a wide variety of ways to structure a 2008 contract.
Q-When you decided to extend your career by another year (or more), were you partly motivated by the need for capital for your startup venture? I’ve read that 38Studios is still actively seeking capital (talking with potential investors, etc.). It certainly takes an awful lot of money to create a company like 38Studios from scratch, and I was just wondering if the chance to self-fund a larger part of the startup and initial operating costs and seek fewer investment dollars was in the back of your mind when you decided to continue playing (and earning).
A-No. 38 Studios was started and is funded by me. We have the luxurious advantage of keeping it that way until we retain partners that can offer us more than money. We are looking to find strategic partnerships as opposed to check writers. That being said the money from a 2008 contract was a nice potential ‘perk’ for 38 Studios as opposed to a motivating factor in me coming back for another year. The only factors that were included in the decision had to do with my desire to continue competing and Shonda and the kids decision that they were ok with me coming back for at least one more year.
Q-If the Red Sox asked you to play for the league minimum next year, would you sign with them.
Q-1. Where do you think The Rocket will pitch in 2007 (if at all)? And how much would it mean to you if he came to Boston?
A-No clue. I haven’t spoken to him about it and most likely won’t. I’d love for it to be here but as of today this 5 man rotation is set. I think, like any other team in this league, that if our rotation stays healthy we can win it all.
Q-2. From my perspective, I think this year’s rotation looks like it is going to be the best one in the majors. Do you agree? I have no doubt that Daisuke will adapt quickly and that J.P. will make the transition successfully. I expect Beckett to have a more consistent year than last year (less long balls), and I never doubt that you are going to have a solid season, even if you are 40. I’m not too sure who the 5th starter will be,
Wakefield? Lester? Either way, I’d be surprised if the top 4 starters didn’t combine for 60 wins.
A-I agree on the perspective. I am assuming that based on what’s happened so far Wake will slot into the 5 hole and Jon will continue to regain his strength. The perfect scenario for the team would be that we all make every one of our starts. That would mean Jon would have to squeeze into the bullpen to get here, but that’s the perfect world. In the real world we’ll probably need some help and the thought of having a kid who’s as good as he is as insurance is something not many teams anywhere can claim.
Q-3. How do you think Varitek will fare this year, coming off some nagging injuries and an off year for him offensively?
A-Tek looks unreal. He feels fantastic which is all I care about. If he’s healthy and his body allows him to do what he can I think we can expect a ‘Tek like season. He’ll hit his 20-30 HR, handle the pitching staff incredibly well and be a major force for us on and off the field all year.
Q-do players, when negotiating contracts, ever consider other players?For example, you’re asking a team for X amount of money, and the team says ‘OK, we’ll give you that but we’ll have to get rid of 3 other guys to afford it.’Would that enter into it at all?
Or is it simply every man for himself?
A- I can only answer that as it pertains to me. It was absolutely something that was talked about in 2003 when I was in discussions with
Boston. They spoke at length about their needs for my AAV and contract length and how that coincided with their plans for other players. It was also something I was very aware of since I didn’t want to get into a position that had my contract negatively impacting the potential of the team. I knew that the numbers I was at, or around, we’re not going to impede their desire or discussions with other players.
Q-As I am on my umpteenth business excursion this year which no one here cares about, it has prompted me to ask, when making the decision to come back in 2008, how does the fact that you’ll be away from your family for another 135 days (counting spring training and the playoffs) in 2008 factor into that decision. Is your family conditioned to this fact as being “par for the course” or normal because it’s the way it’s always been? How do you reconcile the fact you’re going to miss out another year of family and friends’ weddings, baptisms, birthdays, etc.
A-It’s a massive part of the decision we made. In fact next to my physical situation it was the most important part of the decision. I jokingly stated that when the decision was made I realized that maybe I’m not all that fun to be around at home if they were that excited about me playing another season. The difference now is that our kids are getting to the age that I can take them on the road with me individually at times, and that’s huge. It’s one of the parts of this life people either don’t care about or don’t think of when they think what we do is the greatest. I won’t lie, this job doesn’t suck. It’s a dream come true in many aspects but there is always a price to pay and often times the price is paid not by the athlete, but by the people you care about most.
Q-CURT, PLEASE GIVE US ALL A BREAK! IF YOU UNDERSTAND WHY THE RED SOX DON’T WANT TO EXTEND YOUR CONTRACT BEFORE THE END OF SPRING TRAINING, THEN WHY ARE YOU CLOSING THE DOOR DURING THE SEASON FOR AN EXTENTION?
A-I thought we covered this already, or maybe you didn’t read the previous post? Either way no need to yell….
Q-BECAUSE YOUR A MODERN DAY ATHLETE THAT THINKS THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND YOU.
Q-TELL YOUR AGENT WHAT YOU WANT, YOU ALREADY SAID YOUR NOT LOOKING FOR MORE MONEY, AND LET THE AGENT NEGOTIATE WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT.
A-I don’t have an agent.
Q-BUT THAT WOULD MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE, IN THE END YOU WANT THE CONTROL BECAUSE THIS IS 2007 AND THAT IS WHAT ATHLETES DO.
A-Hmm, ok. So Williams and Dimaggio weren’t doing the same thing when they held out? I played the requisite 6 years I was required to play to obtain the rights of a free agent. In a career where the average lifespan of a player is less than three years, that means something. I’ve earned the right to negotiate on even footing and it’s not something players take lightly.
Q- I CAN’T HAVE IT MY MAY SO I’M NOT GOING TO TALK TO YOU. YOU CAN FLOWER IT UP ALL YOU WANT BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS YOUR NO DIFFERENT THEN MOST ATHLETES. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY AND YOUR HUGE EGO.
A-If that’s what you need to believe to feel better about yourself that’s cool.
Q-ATHLETES IN GENERAL AND TOP ATHLETES SPECIFICALLY HAVE BEEN TOLD HOW WONDERFUL THEY ARE SINCE THEY WERE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER. JUST THINK CURT, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE IN THE REAL WORLD. HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
A-Not sure of what you are asking, but I can’t complain. Life has been incredible to me and I thank the Lord everyday at some point.
Q-I was also one of the crazy, screaming fans when you made your first appearance as a closer against the Yanks. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a game that loud. And, even though you didn’t succeed, it took some brass cajones to do what you did. I’ve been a huge fan of yours ever since.
A-I remember that. Jogging on to the field was one of the more memorable experiences I’ve ever had. Right up to the point that
Sheffield and Arod played ping pong with the Monster and Center Field Bleachers and I lost the game. That was one of those ‘more incredible than you can imagine experiences” right up to the point when I actually threw a pitch. I was under the impression I was going to job out, punch out the side and walk off the hero, then real life intervened.
Q-Are you still doing research, etc. with Multiman Publishing? Still playing Squad Leader?
A- I am not. I haven’t been involved day to day with MMP for some time now. (BTW if you are a WWII or Wargamer please check out www.multimanpublishing.com ) Brian and Perry have been doing the yeoman’s share of the work for years now and MMP is doing fantastic.
Q-On Pearl Harbor day (Dec 7) I went from being a healthy 63 year old professional with a successful life stretching before me, to a 63 year old patient with metastatic cancer of the tonsil. My perspective on the future changed in the space of one hour. So far I am doing ok, but believe me , this season is the only one I have an interest in now.
A-I don’t need to tell you that Shonda and I are praying for your recovery. In a much different way that’s exactly what happened when I received the phone call telling me my wife had cancer. Life as you know it changes, forever. Shonda and I had 11 years of living and befriending ALS patients to know we didn’t want to wait for an event like this to truly have perspective. Please drop in and let me know how things are going if you can.
Q-What do you think of Gabe Kapler’s venture into managing? Aside from you, Gabe is my favorite Red Sox member. He speaks so eloquently on many subjects and always has something interesitng and insightful to say. I think that his innate understanding of the “right” way to play and his ability to understand the psyche of young players will serve him well as a manager. I wish for his success and hope that one day he manages the Sox. Any thoughts??
A-Awesome question. I am planning on throwing up a blog about favorite teammates somewhere down the line and Gabe is definitely at the top of that list. In addition to being one of my favorite teammates he’s also one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met. His wife is an incredible person as well. Gabe will manage in the major leagues someday if he wants to. I stopped by the minor league complex the other day to check in on him and say hello and tell him how much we miss him and all I can say is that he’s in his element. Gabe loves making people feel good about themselves, he loves baseball and I think he’s captured that magical feeling of what It means to teach people. I can promise you that the players he manages will be better people in addition to being better players.
Q-Also, do your children like to watch games more when you pitch or when you don’t pitch?? What do they experience as your children during a game when you pitch? Are they nervous, excited?
A-My oldest son Gehrig, has, over the last two years, become incredibly involved in my starts. I always talk to him before starts and he usually gives me advice.
“Dad, watch out for Guerrero, he can crush the fastball”
Things like that. One of the coolest life experiences I’ve ever had was a few years back. I’d pitched a game and stunk it up. I was incredibly upset after the game and we were riding home from the park and he says to me;
“What’s the matter?”
“I stunk tonight, just disappointed in the game”
“Did you do everything you could to win?”
“I did, but that doesn’t always work here bud”
“But dad you told me that if I played as hard as I could, did everything I could to win, that was all that mattered to you”
What could I say? Taught a lesson in 5 seconds by my 11 year old son. Those are the things you take with you for life.
Q-If you wanted the Sox to sign you then why not show up at camp remotely in shape? If you look like you do now then what will you look like at next years spring training? You could pull it off when you were younger, but those times are past by.
A-I’d love to refute it all but I can’t. Now don’t misunderstand that. I was heavier than I should have been when I reported, by at least 8 pounds. But I was not ‘out of shape.” I’d been throwing per my off season program since day 1 and my arm felt great. That being said I allowed some real life stuff to intrude and I didn’t prioritize my time the two weeks prior to camp as I should have. However, as of today I am down 9 pounds and 2 pounds under my end of the season weight from 2006. I feel fantastic. I have worked my ass off to get to where I need to be and I feel awesome that I am where I am. The last time I felt this light was coming into 2004. The amazing thing about both years is that my weight doesn’t match the way I feel. I made that mistake, but I won’t make it again.
Q-Hi Mr. Shilling I am a die hard Red Sox fan and at times I go on message boards and there are always yankee fans that just dont get it. GET THIS. They say that in the 2004 playoffs on your socks was not blood but ketchup. Now I know it sounds stuiped but these yanks fans are idiots. Can you say something to that and please enlighten me?
A-I am planning to throw something up about this subject at some point, but needless to say it was blood, my blood, and it was coming from the sutures in my ankle. You’re either stupid or bitter if you think otherwise.
Q-here’s my question, By now, I’m reply 100 some odd… do you, honestly, read every single comment, I just spent 20 minutes reading some, and gave up…
A-I don’t. I just make sure there are no “f’ bombs or other stuff that I wouldn’t want my kids to read. Otherwise the stuff gets posted in the comments.
Q-also, what about the dipR%@ who use the comment forum as a way to insult/berate/name call… Although, lets be honest, you can afford to not care what some whiny jealous brats with nothing better to do complain about…
A-Hey I’m human. No one likes to be called names or talked down to, but the sooner you realize it happens and that the people doing so have no idea who or what you are, the easier it becomes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, said a lot of things I wish I hadn’t, but at the end of the day I have to live with myself and I know I don’t wish bad things on anyone. I lost the ability to hate anyone or anything when I became a Christian, life’s too short to waste time hating anything. There are only 24 hours in a day and as of now I’m busy for most of them.
Q-1. You’ve said that you feel your newly developed changeup could be a dominating pitch for you at times. Forgive me for being a little skeptical, but for your entire career your bread and butter has been the fastball and the splitter. Ive always felt that the split was your ‘change of pace’ pitch that got batters knees buckling, and for that reason it would be unnecessary for you to use a changeup. It shows them a change in velocity and that last second unexpected movement. When the count is 2-2 with a runner on 3rd with a tie game, and you and tek dont think a fastball is gonna get it done, i dont see him calling for anything but the split. Is the changeup just kind of an insurance policy for days when your splitter might not be quite as effective? What kind of counts and situations do you see yourself using your changeup, and why would you use that over the splitter?
A- I can’t/won’t get into specifics about selection of pitches here, not now anyway. Let’s just say the overall strategy is to reduce my pitch count and get outs faster, and the change up will allow both of those to happen.
Q-2. You also said that your change is about 15mph slower than your fastball, and that is an ideal difference in velocity. Do you think you could share this wisdom with Josh Beckett? His fastball is normally a blazing 96-97mph but his change is usually around 89-90. A 6mph difference doesnt seem like it does much to fool batters, rather it just gives them more chance to catch up to the pitch. Last year his changeup was largely ineffective and usually got crushed. Is this something that Farrell and Josh are working on or do they think that with alittle more control his current style will be effective?
A-Josh is a different animal. Josh has power in spades. Would it be ideal if he could throw a change up at 80mph? Maybe. Having said that Josh is, and always will be about command. If and when he gains total command of his fastball he’s going to dominate. I will tell you it’s coming too. Regardless of what people write about his Curveball or his Change up, like every other pitcher on the planet he will live and flourish on his fastball command. He’s gotten better this spring and I’ve already stated earlier I think he’s going to ruin a lot of fantasy leagues this year for people that pass on him. He’s getting ready to take that next step and I think this year it’s going to start happening.
Q-Also… can you teach Josh the split??? Look what it did for Papelbon!! A-He already throws it. He threw it last year and started to have a pretty effective one towards the end of the season.
Q-1) You posted about “depth” in your pitches… and I’ve seen or heard this term used by scouts/GM’s etc. Could you give a quick definition of this for us layman?
A-Depth, to me, is a word that could be called ‘tilt’ as well. A slider that breaks right to left on a horizontal plane, has no depth. A slider that breaks right to left AND down has depth. The ability to get movement horizontally AND vertically is depth. Same thing with a sinker. If my sinker cuts in on RHH AND goes down, it has depth, otherwise it’s merely a left handed cutter.
Q-2) What makes a pitcher successful at the major league level? I know this is a fairly broad question, but what were the things you figured out after you had been in the league for a few years? The two major things I can think of are command and movement, but what are the things we may not know about? A-The ability to repeat a consistent energy efficient delivery 125 times every five days. The other is command. There is a difference in ‘command’ and ‘control’. Control is the ability to throw strikes, You need to learn that in A, or AA. Command is the ability to control the ball WITHIN the strike zone. Most people think home plate is 17 inches wide. It’s not. Home plate, for me, is 12 inches wide. 6 inches on the inner half, 6 inches on the outer half. Using the middle 5 inches is the easiest way to get a ticket to Pawtucket. I think that’s the hardest thing for young pitchers to grasp, The big leagues is not about throwing strikes, it’s about throwing quality strikes. Learn that and then you move on to ‘throwing strikes that aren’t strikes’, which is a whole other lesson.
Q-1. What incentive would “the media” have to distort the truth on an issue like this? (not much)
A-Really? I’d disagree. I’ll ask you this. Does something news worthy happen everyday in your life? It doesn’t in ours either. However the media has to talk and write every single day, whether there is news worthy material or not. So ya, some distortion or omission of relevant material is necessary to make something ‘worth’ writing on some days.
Q-2. What incentive would a player in this situation have for distorting the truth to bend public opinion to his side? (make a lot of money)
A-Huh? So by lying I am going to make more money? How exactly does that work?
Q-Players say things like “the media sucks” because they know you like them better than you like the media, and that helps them get their message out unfiltered. But sometimes it makes sense to take a step back remember by the filter was there in the first place. It’s for the benefit of the readers.
A-We can agree to disagree. I happen to think the media has gotten to the point of talking down to fans. While we are on this topic let me once again say that this is not the majority, far from it, there are a ton of good people in the media, but the bad eggs can really screw things up for the people who actually do take pride in what they do and aren’t actually interested in being part of the stories they write.
Q-Without “the media,” players, teams, government officials can lie to you whenever they want, for their own benefit.
A-So you are saying that the media keeps people honest? I think I’d agree and disagree with that.
Q-My question: I feel your faith and honesty would allow me to ask this tricky one. It is in regards to baseball being “entertainment” primarily, and always referred to as entertainment by the players and anyone involved in the game and by all means I do not intend this to be insulting or to call the integrity of the sport into question. Nor do I mean to say it’s anything like Pro Wrestling Is there ever a script? or some sort of baseball etiquette that is improvised during the course of a game or series? For example, a team / manager / player has to make a decision to ease up on another team, let another team have more of a chance to win or in an important series take into question that ratings matter and if the series were to extend for more games everyone has more fun? or is what you see, the total reality??
Q-Felger was ripping you, your blog and those of us who like to get the scoop from you without his and his buddies’ filtering last night on TV.
Q-What are your thoughts on the media now using your blog as a way to get more information from you? I have seen many shows bring up your blog and your thoughts either the day you make a new post or the day after.
A-If it means the story gets printed and I don’t have to talk then all the better.
Q-Would you prefer that they get their information in person?
A-I think that’s going to be more story dependant really. I can tell you that the post game stuff this year will be interesting. I would imagine I’ll be able to give a more thorough in depth review and discussion of the games I pitch than the main stream media, for those that are interested in that kind of thing.
Q-Curt, with the new defense behind you with Lugo, and Pedroia being the starters at SS and 2nd base. How do you feel this defense behind you stacks up with last year and Gonzalez and Loretta?
A-I think they’ll be fine. I certainly don’t think they will cost us games. I think Dustin has a chance to be an outstanding defender. One of the things Coach Murphy (Dustin’s coach at ASU) told me a few years back was that Dustin was the kind of defender that if ‘he gets his glove on it, it’s an out”. I think Julio will be a lot better than people think. The main problem will be that anytime he makes an error the ghost of Gonzalez will come up in post game interviews. I think Alex Gonzalez is the best SS I’ve ever played with, or seen, so those comparisons are unfair to anyone.