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Up 2-0 and a mile high.

October 26, 2007

We landed in Denver around 4:45am this morning. Needless to say the flight felt a lot shorter after the win than it otherwise might have.

Papajima, that’s mine. It was that or Okibon. Whatever you want to call it those two guys, along with the HORRIBLY unheralded Mike Lowell, were pretty much completely responsible for the 2-1 game 2 win. If you go back and watch Okie’s 2 1/3 innings I think you’ll agree that it was pretty much as perfect and dominating a relief appearance as you could ever expect or imagine on the October stage. Paps was flat out dominating in finishing it up too.

A huge shout out to our advanced scouts as well. The pickoff of Holliday was on them, completely. Our pre-series scouting reports and meetings are far and away more detailed and in depth than anything else I’ve ever been a part of and things like that pickoff are material we cover. For the most part relievers do not throw over unless the sign comes from the bench. That exact scenario was talked about in detail prior to the series, and look what happens. It changed the game. Regardless of the fact Paps K’d Helton to start the 9th it was huge because he’s as dangerous a hitter as anyone in that 8th inning situation.

Mike Lowell, where to start. Throw away the error totals, the guys a consummate gold glove 3rd baseman. He’s a blend of Matt Williams and Scott Rolen to me. Matt Williams never, and I am not exaggerating when I say I don’t think I ever saw Matt drop a ball that hit his glove. Much like Dustin. He threw like Cal Ripken, always one step ahead of the runner. Scotty was far and away the most athletic 3rd baseman I ever saw. Mike seems to be a mix of the two and it’s a pleasure to be able to watch it from the mound. His clutch hitting this year I think has gotten lost in the mix as well as his heads up baserunning.

I find it continually amazing that given the coverage of our sport and the hype around things players do and say that it never fails to ALWAYS come back to fundamentals in the seasons biggest games. Detroits pitchers fielding their position, players throwing to the wrong base, not covering, etc., and then you have the teams that do it right. Mike going first to third won that game, period. Obviously it took Tek getting the ball deep to the OF as well, but if Mike’s not on third it doesn’t matter.

So here we are, 3 games in Denver, needing to win 2. No matter which side of the fence you’re on I would bet you’ll see two teams playing tomorrow that are playing for their lives. We’ll play this game as if we were down 2-0. We have to because the Rockies are backed into a corner and prior to game 1 of the world series they spent 22 straight games being backed into a corner and won 21 of them.

Much is being made of the altitude here. What I can tell you about it’s affect on pitchers is this. Your stuff changes, it’s different. Nothing breaks as sharply here and you have to work harder to make that happen. Changing speeds and keeping the ball down become much more important. The other side effect, for me anyway, was the extra time needed to recover after pitching here. You have to work harder to do the same things you do at sea level, and that being the case I am always sorer after pitching here, for a longer period of time than normal.

As far as how the game changes, that’s a bit different as well. The outfield here is huge, and I mean huge. There is almost an extra field tacked on here, at least it seems that way. The statistics back up the fact that it’s less of a hitters park than it once was, but it still remains a hitters park. The challenges though, are not what some think.

One of the major things that change, due to the size of the field and the long grass, is that you are always pitching with a runner in scoring position, regardless of where the runners are. The size of the field, the length of the grass and often times the depth the visiting teams play allows the Rockies to almost always take 2 bases on a ground ball hit. They play 81 games here and know that opposing teams often times play too deep and they are almost always going 1st to 3rd on ground balls through the infield.

Opposing teams often times have their OF playing deeper due to the parks reputation, when a lot of times the exact opposite approach is the way to go. Fly balls here that get over your head, most times are home runs, especially here. Playing deep is literally giving away ground that sees short pop ups become hits in this park much more so than any other parks out  there. Those short pop ups here are often doubles too, instead of singles, because of the parks size.

In any case it should be an exciting and cold couple of days. If we can have it our way we’ll fly home World Champions, but I am pretty sure Colorado plans on forcing a return trip to Fenway.

As to the question that’s often asked, and always answered the same way. Yes I have thought about the fact I’ve made my last start as a Boston Red Sox. It might be the case, it might not. Both sides know how the other feels and when the more important matters are taken care of, it will resolve itself. Neither side is worried or concerned and I’ve stated repeatedly why it’s a non-issue for me. My faith in God means that whatever the outcome here, is what is and was meant to be. It’s that easy. If it was the final game, who can complain? The last 4 years have certainly had their share of ups and downs but I can promise you Shonda, my kids, and I, would not trade a second of the experience. Being able to become a member of this 16+ million people family has been an absolute honor and pleasure. Filled with way more unforgettable memories and experiences than we could ever have imagined or deserved.

If it’s over for us here then the only thing we could honestly say is thank you.

78 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2007 3:53 pm

    Curt, good luck in the playoffs. Even though I am not a Red Sox fan, I appreciate seeing you pitch in Game 2 using guts and guile.

    What do you think about Millar taking part in the ALCS festivities? It seems like a sizeable minority of fans in my part of the world are not happy about it.

    As well, I caught something about your gaming company, 38 Pitches.

    How is that coming along and you will be spending more time with that venture once your baseball career winds down?

    I have a litany of photos that I took of you and the Red Sox team, BTW.

    Be well,
    Anthony

  2. 1alberich1 permalink
    October 27, 2007 3:54 pm

    You’re good, Curt, but not a patch on Sandy Koufax!

    Alberich

  3. soxfanpj permalink
    October 27, 2007 5:13 pm

    Curt, I just want to add to everyone else and say thank YOU for coming to Boston. I hope you stay, I think the Yankees/Clemens scenario this year showed us how scarce pitching can be. But beyond the mound, you have brought so much more to this organization. You’ve had a sense of The Moment, a direct engagement with your fans, and an appreciation for Red Sox history that is so rare among players. All you guys end up working for so many different teams, it’s impossible to develop a connection with a city and a fan base. Or at least, I thought it was before you came along.

    Thank you for your part in ending 86 years of misery. I see all the articles about “new” Sox fans and bandwagoners – and I say hop on board. I’d rather deal with annoying newbies than the old bitterness and pain that came with being a fan of the Red Sox.

    Now, just one question – do you think you could convince Fox to broadcast the games a little earlier, so we East Coasters can get some sleep in October? Haha. Kidding – good luck and help our guys bring home another World Championship! Hope to see you in a Duck Boat soon.

  4. October 27, 2007 5:16 pm

    Curt, great game on Thursday. You were great after you settled in. I really hope you play next year with us and retire a Red Sox. It would seem strange seeing you elsewhere. Really hope it works out.

    Lowell’s been great this year. I hope that Tito’s not going to sit Youks out all 3 games. I would sit Youks out tonight, Lowell tomorrow and Papi against Francis, if the game is needed, which I hope it isn’t.

    Peace.

  5. katemckinnon permalink
    October 27, 2007 5:50 pm

    Curt, I enjoy reading your blog. You pitched a great game and although I’m rooting for the Rockies all the way, it was amazing to see you perform, and I especially liked the way you were the first out of the dugout to congratulate Okajima on getting out of the inning.

    I hope you pitch next year, I don’t really care where. I’ve learned a ton about pitching from your blog.

    Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are unimpressive and repetitive as announcers, yes, but at least they aren’t Tony Gwinn. He was AWFUL. And they aren’t Jeanne Zelasco- the way she interrupts people constantly drives me nuts. It’s like she is just waiting for those noises to stop coming out of their mouths so she can talk again. I like Joe Morgan, why isn’t he up there too? He works for Fox.

    And Dane Cook ain’t no Tommy LaSorda, either. Bring back the great “get out of the tree” ads and get rid of that goof.

    Speaking of lousy commentators, aren’t we all glad that Lou is set up with the Cubbies so he isn’t calling games? That commercial of him and the ump at third base is hilarious. More of that!

  6. richard93 permalink
    October 27, 2007 6:53 pm

    Curt,

    You have a lifetime pass in Boston for what you have done on & off the field. Hopefully, the front office can throw away all the science of #’s and just sign you so you can finish your career here. This is the way the story should end!

  7. rollinsox007 permalink
    October 27, 2007 8:31 pm

    Curt, you have been the epitome of class to these fans all the years you’ve been here. You are one of the few players in the game who I can say has gone out there to give his best every single game all for the fans. Sure you say some things sometimes that make people scratch their heads, but you are honest. I’ve been saying since the beginning of the year that no matter how you did this year, we need you back. I love Wakefield, but he has not stayed healthy all year. I’d love to both of you come back and then Wake take over in the pen because with a young rotation we’re gonna need some insurance.

    It was going to be a process to get you from a power pitcher to a finesse guy and your stats at the end of the year prove that. We are going to have an entire rotation under 30 years old and we need your experience. I want to see you in Cooperstown and want to see you end your career as a Red Sock.

    Also Curt if you ever get the chance, bring the World Series trophy (providing you guys get 2 of the next 5) to Raleigh NC. I wrote the Sox front office after ’04 about taking it around to other major cities, but I didn’t get a response.

    GO BIG SCHILL!!

  8. manateepunch permalink
    October 28, 2007 1:14 am

    Hey Curt, congrats on 3-0! I hope you can use a comedy break. Several days ago I made a bet with a Yankees fan that the Red Sox would win the ALCS and go to the World Series. The bet was for $20. Well, as you now know I won that bet, but to make it more interesting I made a special web site for the LOSER to pay me my winnings…. and here is that site!

  9. yankeeinthehub permalink
    October 28, 2007 4:50 am

    you are a class act Curt! It’s been a gift to be able to see you pitch, and an honor that you allowed us into your personal feelings here. Whatever laundry you wear I’ll be a fan.

  10. jbruno51 permalink
    October 28, 2007 6:05 am

    Curt you are by far the best acquistion of player red sox organization has ever picked up to date. You changed the face of Red Sox Nation and our Baseball identity in New England and MLB for the better. I hope Red Sox management, just out of our respect for what you have done for the betterment of your team, your organization and your dedicated fans, lines you up for a multi year deal, or reoccuring one year deals in excess of 10 million extended until you decide to retire from baseball. You have made all of the fans here in Boston and New England very proud! Keep up with the great work. Regardless of how many wins obtained and hard fought losses during the regular season and in the playoffs, Red Sox nation is behind you 100%.Thanks for putting the red sox back on the map for years to come. – JB

  11. redsoxnum7 permalink
    October 28, 2007 7:20 am

    Curt,
    You are an inspiration to those young and old. Thank you for taking the time to blog your thoughts for all to read! I have loved watching you these past years, and if this is the end I’d just like to say Thank-you! Boston will not be the same without you! Good luck and God bless in whatever the future brings to you and your family!!
    Much Love and Luck,
    Erin

  12. sawxblogcom permalink
    October 28, 2007 12:42 pm

    Curt you were a monster in Game 2! So efficient. You’ve been so amazing to us Red Sox fans, and when all is said and done it looks like you’ll be bringing 2 championships to our city. So grateful everything worked out that fateful Thanksgiving day.

    No matter what happens next year I hope you know this Sox fan appreciates everything you’ve done for us.

    GO SOX!!!

  13. bish6364 permalink
    October 28, 2007 1:05 pm

    Curt,
    I want to thank you for an awesome season, for your one hitter, for all you have done on the field and in the clubhouse/dugout – you are a class act and I love every minute of your pitching and watching you give to the team and thus the fans when you guys are in the dugout – you are always watching intently, cheering, firing the guys up, even when you are not on the mound.
    I have learned so much about baseball this year from your blog and I appreciate it. It has a way of making one feel like a personal friend when reading your blog regularly and it has been an experience I treasure…. if you are NOT with the Sox next year, PLEASE keep your blog up so I can follow you… and don’t go to an AL team, because I don’t want to ever pull against you!!
    Best of luck on this Sunday afternoon as you and the guys go face t he Rockies, perhaps for one last time… wow…. didn’t take long to get to a second series and you are a crucial part of both. Beckett, Schilling and Matsuzaka all game winners in the World Series. How cool is that??? And of course YOU with the winningnest post season record….
    It is such a pleasure to be a Sox fan, and you are such a major part of that. Curt, oh, how I hope you are back and can retire a Sox…. still, even if not, thanks for assuring us you will never go to the Yankees, and thank you for everything you have done for the Sox….
    You’ll always be my favorite, Schill, with Lowell a strong second….
    Best of luck on the sweep, take care and my best to you and your family…
    Mary Ann

  14. syphax permalink
    October 28, 2007 11:32 pm

    Curt,

    Thank you for helping to bring another World Series Championship to Boston. We know how much you gave of yourself in 2004, and we appreciate that you did all that you could do this year.

    I hope to see you in a Sox uniform next year, but regardless of what happens, it’s obvious that you belong in the panteon of Red Sox greats.

    You stole the Yankee’s mojo in 2001, brought it to Boston, broke the ‘Curse’, and here we are. Well done!

  15. manderson99 permalink
    October 28, 2007 11:33 pm

    Thank you Mr. Schilling for an excellent outing in Game 2 and for the SWEEP! Mr. Lester is one hell of a pitcher, as is Papelbohn and all the rest of the crew. Congratulations!

    Been a Sox fan since I was around 4 years old and attended my first game in 1980. How sweet it is.

  16. October 28, 2007 11:36 pm

    Congrats to everyone! I’m so happy for the team! You guys rock!! It was great to see Lowell get the MVP. I was so thrilled to see Lester pitch so well. What an amazing year for the Sox. What an amazing year for baseball!!!

    The Rockies were a great team.

    Congrats!!!

    -Diane.

  17. amclane permalink
    October 28, 2007 11:44 pm

    Congrats on the Series, your whole team is a classy bunch!

  18. handyworks57 permalink
    October 29, 2007 12:54 am

    Mr Shilling,
    It is my sincere hope that your time here in Boston is not about to come to a close. I would very much like to offer my thanks to you and your family for accepting ownerships offer and making the journey east. For your part in accomplishing your goal and making one dream for so many come true I believe a simple thank you does not suffice. Especially now in that we are once again champions. What ever the future has in store for you and your family be it in or beyond the sport, I hope you experience the type of fulfillment you and your team mates have provided for the faithful here. I wish I truly knew you and yours Curt that these words would not ring hollow but “all the best” comes from my heart.

    I say one ore year!
    Tom

  19. agentsteel53 permalink
    October 29, 2007 1:28 am

    Mike Lowell: no longer horribly unheralded. Good to see the powers that be recognise his contributions with a World Series MVP trophy.

    congratulations to the world champion 2007 Boston Red Sox!!

  20. manateepunch permalink
    October 29, 2007 1:49 am

    CONGRATS ON YOUR WORLD SERIES WIN!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOO F’ING WOOOOO!!!!!!!!

  21. brynot permalink
    October 29, 2007 2:00 am

    CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. thedsmmaniac permalink
    October 29, 2007 3:37 am

    Curt, what can I say. I am in awe of this incredible moment in history and this incredible team. That finally clicked on ALL cylinders when it mattered most. I have so much more that I know I want to say, especially since this is my first post here. Not to mention I’ve followed this blog since day one.

    But at the moment(3:30am) I am still just too happy, excited. Caught up in the moment, just too many emotions right now. Thank you Curt for everything you’ve done, not just for Boston but for baseball. Thank you for this blog and reaching out to the fans, in your way.

    THANK YOU SOX, 2007 WORLD CHAMPS!

  23. pawsox permalink
    October 29, 2007 10:28 am

    Thank you for the sweep! Finally, my 92 year old mother can go to bed at a decent time.

  24. ctsoxfan permalink
    October 29, 2007 10:46 am

    I guess Mike Lowell is “unheralded” no more! :)

    Here’s hoping that both you and Mr. Lowell are heralded by the Sox in the only way that matters: with new contracts! Would love to see the whole group back to defend (in a way that the ’04 champs, through the departures of so many, were never allowed to do).

  25. October 30, 2007 2:27 pm

    Curt,
    Thank you for helping to make the Red Sox the team that they are. As a central NY red sox fan, well life can get ugly at times. But what the 04 and the 07 teams have done, make it that much more fun to live here.
    I need to thank you for the MLB Premium package this year. I was one of the lucky ones that won your sweepstakes at the beginning of the year. Because of that I was able to watch every game possible. Again, living in central NY they only broadcast the Yankees. I was able to share it with my adult children, my in-laws and of course my wonderful bride.
    I know that God will bless you and your family with whatever plans He has for you.
    Thank you for all you have done for Red Sox Nation and the Red Sox team.

    In Him
    Roger Bayne

  26. mick60a permalink
    October 30, 2007 7:42 pm

    Curt;

    Thank you for all that you for all the great things you have done on and off the field for us the fans.

    I would love to see you back for one more year. I wish you luck with this.

    The first year you did that Dunkin Donuts Commerical where you were learning a Boston accent.

    “Pack the carrr!”

    Best to you and yours always. See you in 2008 back in a Red Sox uniform. I am keeping the faith

    Mick

  27. kenmoresquare permalink
    November 1, 2007 12:07 am

    I grew up in Vermont, too young to catch Babe Ruth and his transition from the smaller financing of Boston to the deeper, more vast pockets of the bigger New York Market. After he left they called it the Curse of the Bambino. It wasn’t any such thing. It was an unlevel playing field caused by deeper pockets that caused so many generations to endure disappointment in Boston as the New York machine enveloped and digested each team on the way to their next crown. We still live with a bit of the after taste, having to listen to Joe Buck, who is immersed and impassioned for and with the Yankees down talk your consistent and well crafted performances on the way to this year’s World Series Championship.

    I was in college when the Sox won the pennant and came downstairs as the crowd emptied out of Fenway Park. They were tipping over a car and the guy in it said “well, at least, let me get out of the car!” Next thing the police show up with German Shepards and one bit the guy next to me in the fanny and I went back up stairs. That was the year of Yaz and so many others and while I love all of them I extend my hand and heart to you to thank you for seeing a need, feeling you could fill it and by golly you surely did in absolute class fashion, crafting every single pitch to match your pregame preparation.

    I had the deep pleasure of rooting for you here in Phoenix too as the Diamondbacks’ version of the Twin Towers (you and Randy Johnson) dismantled what we all call the Evil Empire.

    I hope you stay but like you said, it’s God’s world and whatever happens is the way it’s supposed to be but I can tell you that YOU have truly added to the lustre of this magnificent team that finally could and you and your family have my eternal respect, appreciation and total best wishes.

  28. kenmoresquare permalink
    November 1, 2007 12:10 am

    Over but never out.

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