November 29, 2003

Happy Thankschilling!

Friday was historic day in Red Sox Nation for many reasons, including the fact that it was a day in which the Boston media became totally irrelevant. If you wanted Red Sox news as the Schilling Deadline clicked down, you had to be online. And not at ESPN or MLB. No, the place to be was at Sons of Sam Horn. Schilling himself was at the site chatting with fans until 4:30 am Friday morning (Boston time) and when discussions broke for awhile that afternoon, he was back chatting with a couple of dozen fortunate fans in the cramped chat room. Speculation was rampant, little bits of news leaked out, and it all was being dissected in real time.

When the team's owner and a prized pitching ace both sign up and post on a message board (John Henry has contributed to a thread about the club's finances and 2004 payroll, Theo Epstein had held a chat), it eliminates the media as middle man. How did we find out the deal was done? John Henry logged on and broke the news!

The print media can offer analysis and opinion, but for the most part, their analysis is weak. You can find more common sense analysis online if you know where to look. And because most writers and announcers are ignorant of so many aspects of the sport (and are often afraid of new ideas like sabremetrics), most of their opinions are worthless. Why should a fan bother with an ignorant mediot when she can discuss the Sox with more than 1,400 fans who are obsessive about knowing everything about their team. Art Martone talks about this and the Big Day.

Theo: "[I]f we didn't sign Curt, it would have turned out to be probably the worst holiday of my life. We were blown away on Wednesday night when they ... invited us over for Thanksgiving. We tried to refuse and Curt said it would be a deal breaker. He said he'd be insulted if we didn't go."

Schilling: "After our negotiations Thanksgiving Day, I really believed the trade was not going to happen. But the Red Sox showed flexibility, and so did we. I think what really sealed it was their intense desire to make the trade. They really made me see that they wanted me to be a Red Sox player for the rest of my career."

Schilling: "The one thing you'll never lay on an East Coast fan is a lack of knowledge. In some cases, they know way too much. Or they think they do. ... [At SOSH] We were talking baseball. It was like talking hot-stove baseball. They didn't believe it was me, for an extended period of time, which made it even funnier."

Schilling: "I can't wait to take the ball against the Yankees."

Schilling: "I want to be in a parade going down whatever the Main Street is there, as World Champions. I just want to be part of bringing the first World Championship in modern times to Boston -- hopefully more than one. I'm ecstatic."

Theo: "As an organization, we're aspiring to be the most prepared organization in baseball. We want to help our players be better prepared than the opposition. I think Curt has set the standard for Major League pitchers with the preparation. He created his own video system in 1994 to know opposing hitters better than anyone else in baseball. I think there's a great synergy between what Curt is trying to do to prepare himself to pitch as what we're trying to do as an organization."

Schilling: "Theo and I competed for 72 hours, with a quick break for Thanksgiving. I was impressed because I've been in the room with general managers during negotiations and have never been so bowled over by the preparation."

Tim Wakefield: Schilling "could be the missing piece we need."

There is a $13-million option for 2007 that will kick in "if the Red Sox win the World Series in any of the next three seasons."

Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic: "I think I saw the Red Sox just win a World Series."

Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald: "That plate full of scraps that sits in Steinbrenner's freezer might look like leftovers from the holiday dinner. It is, in fact, what's left of Brian Cashman ... [Schilling] was perfect for the Pinstripes: experienced, clutch, colorful, big and loud like New York City itself. All Cashman had to do was knock on his door, bring his wife some roses, write a big check, and ... hey, what the hell is Theo Epstein doing here? ... Grady Little gave the Yankees the AL pennant six weeks ago. Theo and the trio have been trying to get it back ever since."

During his news conference last night, Schilling mentioned the online chats and how impressed he was with the fans' passion. Epstein then interjected: "If anyone from the Sons of Sam Horn is watching, we put a clause in Curt's contract saying he couldn't stay up past midnight chatting on the internet."

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