In life, there are very few things you can rely on. Fortunately, Curt Schilling offering a strong opinion in mezzo voce on any major controversy in the world of baseball is one of them.
Over the weekend, Curt took the time to blog about the Manny situation. An excoriating piece -- one in which no one gets off easy. For starters, Curt is none too pleased with some of the fan reaction to the most recent development in the exciting world of PEDs. He writes:
Oh and before going any further, please spare me the "That taints your two World Series with the Sox!!!" emails. A larger load of crap I have yet to hear.
Because if you honestly think that in the last 10 years one team for even one season had NO PLAYERS using Steroids or HGH you're kidding yourself. As horrifying and pathetic as it sounds, players cheated their way to a level playing field of a different sort.
That said, Curt doesn't excuse the phenomenon. Far from it. Nor does he excuse the excuses people come up with to absolve themselves once they've been busted. He writes:
I was never a fitness freak or gym rat -- those are the guys that measured every milligram, count every tablet in their regimen. Yet somehow we're hearing these same people talk about being struck momentarily stupid when West African bullfrog semen is found in their blood. "What? How'd that get there????" Their routines, from reps to nutrition are as mapped out as scouting reports. They eat a certain way, train a certain way, and they play a certain way. There is no 'black hole' or 'hidden formula' happening in these instances. So you get up at 5am? You eat at 6am? Thirty minutes of cardio, upper body, lower on alternate days, whirlpool for x minutes, maintain x calories of protein and carb intake? You do all that, and at some point you let someone stick a needle in your ass, or throw a 'protein shake' or rub a 'crème' on you, and for that 30 seconds to 5 minutes you have absolutely no thought, care or concern about the product? A step recognized as vital to strength gain, or recovery, a step to setup the acceleration of your recovery or magnification of gains from your hours of work and you just go dumb?
As for Manny, Curt says he heard the news and was "not surprised." But it doesn't mean he was happy either. He writes:
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Who wishes that on people? Why? I have no respect for the guy for a laundry list of reasons that have to do with actually playing the game and being a teammate, but further ruining the image of the game is certainly not what I'd call anything close to consolation.
While Curt doesn't justify the behavior of his fellow players -- not by any stretch of the imagination -- he comes down pretty hard on fans for having expectations that are too high for professional athletes:
So stop making athletes your icons, they're supremely gifted, extraordinarily talented human beings, period. After that they're no different than you, not one bit. They endure the same hardships at home, divorce, drugs, domestic violence, DUI, and every other thing you can read about on page A1 of any newspaper. Don't make the mistake of thinking the size of the paycheck is relevant to the core of the man. Don't place more responsibility on them, or accountability, because life doesn't work that way.
Relish in the Halladays, Rolens, Sabathias, Lowells, Counsells, Variteks, Garnetts, Jameses, Bruschis, Vrabels, the Jason Bays of the world. Relish in men of supreme character and tireless work ethic who respect the game and their teammates and suit up every day to leave it all on the field. If 100 more names come out I can still give you my word there are a lot more great men and phenomenal people in the game than not....
Then go home and raise your own damn kids with your own set of values, integrity and morals. Be accountable to them and responsible for them and stop blaming video games or the 25-year-old kid from the Dominican who can hit a baseball 455 feet but you don't know and never will, for the 'problems of today's youth." It starts and ends under your own roof. Your kids idolize the people you allow them to, and believe things you don't refute or discuss, and that's no one's fault but your own.
Dang, Curt. Them's fightin' words.