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Couch: Schilling’s Pitch For Sympathy Is Way Out Of The Zone

Curt Schilling is hurt. The stress is too much on his family, which has serious health concerns. But he wants to express his “gratitude and sincere appreciation’’ and. . .

Hold on a minute. Curt Schilling? Schilling didn’t get into the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday night, and I wrote earlier in the day why I felt he should be in and why voters were unfairly about to leave him out.

But suddenly, his personality changed, and the tough guy who pounds his political beliefs down everyone’s throat and doesn’t care who he steps on along the way — doesn’t care who he makes the butt of his jokes — suddenly made a pitch for sympathy. He has just one shot left at the Hall, next year, before he is handed over to the veterans committee.

“I will not participate in the final year of voting,’’ he wrote in a 1,200-word letter to the Hall of Fame. Schilling shared that letter on Facebook. “I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player.’’

I’m sorry, but no. I mean, yes, Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame. Yes, I’m sorry his family has health issues. Yes, I just wrote to defend him as a player.

But no, I’m not willing to feel sorry for him.

The stress on him and on his family from the Hall of Fame votes is something he is responsible for, not the baseball writers who vote for the Hall of Fame.

Look, Schilling was clearly a good enough player to be in the Hall, surpassing the magic number of 3,000 strikeouts as well as being a dominant big-game pitcher, including the famous bloody-sock game in the AL Championship Series. They had to sew his ankle tendons in place so he could pitch. And he did pitch. Brilliantly. With blood oozing onto his sock. It was a great moment in American sports history.

The writers don’t like him because he likes Donald Trump and because he is so forceful and at times uncaring in the way he displays conservative beliefs. It is not the way the media want their baseball players to think.

Most infamously was his tweet of a t-shirt that said “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.’’ And one comparing Muslims to Nazis. And one making fun of transgender people.

Yet he wrote that he was “Never malicious’’ and that he never “willfully or intentionally hurt another person.’’

He’s entitled to his beliefs, and those personal beliefs shouldn’t keep him out of the Hall of Fame. They didn’t affect the integrity of the game the way the steroid cheats did. He can believe what he wants and say what he wants, but if you’re going to run over people, don’t come back later looking for sympathy.

No way.

“The game has made it clear it does not want me back and that’s fine,’’ Schilling said. “(T)he game owes me exactly nothing. It gave a billion more times than it took and I’ll forever be deeply in debt to it. My desire to work with and teach young men the art of pitching will be tucked away.’’

He talked about the pain of seeing his wife “go through the grueling soul crushing process of chemotherapy and see her hurt every time some idiot writes another hit piece . . .’’

“But to see the hurt I’m causing my wife and to have my children read and hear this stuff and then look at me and try and match a public ‘image’ that in no way aligns with the man their father is has been something I never considered.’’

Schilling got 71.1 percent of the writers’ votes when he needed 75 to get in. He said he wrote that letter to the Hall on Monday when he realized from those votes that had been made public that he wasn’t going to make it.

He is right about being wronged by the writers. And now baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and the sport will be able to celebrate its hero, Derek Jeter, at the next induction ceremony without having to worry about Schilling stomping all over things and creating controversy. 

Jeter was voted in last year, but COVID delayed the ceremony. So now Jeter will be in and Schilling won’t. And neither will suspected steroid cheats Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who also didn’t get in Tuesday.

So I don’t know if the baseball writers will actually allow Schilling to be removed from the ballot next year. They should have voted him in already. He deserves it.

That much I’ll give him.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

46 Comments

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    • Agreed. Trust the science right? Born with a pecker or born without. There are rare circumstances whereby people are born with both. So those folks are the only scientific “gender neutral” people. This other nonsense if for clout and attention. It is a cool and trendy thing to do.

    • You nailed it. He is a Jay mini me. This such a horrible take on what Schilling did. Having fake new journalists determine your hall of fame fate is appalling. Nothing about this was about sympathy. Lazy drama porn journalism learned from the best Jay. Such mini me.

  1. Normal people think that being Trans is weird and should not be glamorized. Many Muslim groups openly talk about exterminating jews. There are only 1000s of terrorist attacks to validate this fact. I am sure that they themselves wouldn’t even deny it.

    Duh, Couch. Schilling is just the messenger.

  2. I am not so sure Couch was a good addition to this platform. Maybe he needed a landing spot before moving on. Not a good fit. The hemming and hawing on just this issue is mind numbing. Either you agree with freedom of speech or you don’t.

  3. I’m not seeing a sympathy request from Schilling. Fact…he’s being kept out of the HOF by woke writers. Apparently comparing Muslims to Nazis is abhorrent and comparing Trump & supporters to Nazis is totally justified.

    • I agree I am confused with the idea that he is trying to garner sympathy? I guess Couch is saying that he is aware Schilling is being treated unfairly and deserves to be in the hall of fame, but he doesn’t care and has no sympathy?

  4. “uncaring in the way he displays conservative beliefs”

    WTF?

    Continue saying he said all Muslims when that was not the case.

    I think your take and writing is pure garbage and shows you lifting your liberal skirt a little too much.

    But I don’t think that should keep you from any writer HOF.

  5. I’ll defend Couch here. I love Schilling, and think it’s ludicrous he isn’t in the HoF, however, I was underwhelmed by his radio interview this morning. Schilling has dished it out, so him saying he’s never been malicious or cruel isn’t true. And people have been very malicious and cruel back to Curt. It goes both ways. Now keeping him out of the HoF is crazy. The character clause is there for people who bet on baseball and steroid cheats. Not assertive conservatives. His numbers are obviously great, but the thing that puts him in the Hall for me is this: if I have to win a Game 7, there is no other pitcher from the last 40 years I want on the mound to start over him.

    • The confusing part is this idea that Schilling is looking for sympathy. These writers are letting personal feelings dictate their vote. So if you were being treated unfairly and it was stressful to your family you would just let it continue? It is a bit of a stretch to suggest that requesting to be removed from the ballot is an attempt to receive sympathy.

  6. Mr. Travis, honestly. Who is this Greg Couch imbecile, and why is he cluttering up the otherwise fine pages of this site with such weak and insipid nonsense?
    If I wanted to know what the Herd Mind of leftard writers thinks, I could easily visit the Usual Suspects. I choose this site because it strives to be a bastion of free-thinking in the otherwise cloistered world of sportswriting. Whitlock, for example, was a true gem in this area, willing to say what he thought about Forbidden Things and tearing at the foundations upon which these shibboleths stood.
    This Greg Couch imbecile has none of that. He is a mere repeater of the Hive Mind. He has, so far IMHO, brought little to this site other than an unattractive portrait, some regurgitated “opinion” seemingly lifted from any other “Big Time” writer, and vain attempts to tear down figures who he finds distasteful as seen above. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. He is not worthy of this site.
    Surely there is a curmudgeonly old ink-stained wretch who still has a rapier-like wit who could grace these pages with things not found elsewhere. Or, perhaps a clever young fellow who doesn’t know he can’t do it yet, waiting to break into The Business, who hasn’t been contaminated by the groupthink evidenced in the rest of the SportsWriting World.
    Oh, and Selma Hayek… Wowza!

    Cordially,

    Brewingfrog

  7. Ouch. I agree with everyone having their own opinion even though I may not always agree with that opinion. The “cancel culture” and “elitist liberal HOF voters” are nothing more than extremist who us every means possible to pedal their influence and “punish” those who do not support their ideologies. I keep wanting to give all sports a chance and start feeling good about watching them again, but darn if they don’t turn around and shit on my parade. What’s do have remaining to follow? News sucks, sports suck. I would rather give them all up rather than support any of them. May ALL sports see and feel financial losses like never before. Shame on you Mr. Couch for not having the respect and decency to Curt Schilling and the readers of Outkick to write such a piece of shit article! I am glad men like Curt Schilling are willing stand up for America in the face of the bigoted left!

  8. The little sportswriters of New York pull their full mean girls act on Shilling ….. Michelle Lupica and Bobbi Costas couldn’t carry Curt’s jockstrap and are known sissies….. greg couch makes me wish for Jason Whitlock ….

  9. Let’s make this very clear, Curt Schilling compared EXTREMIST Muslims to Nazis, not all Muslims. That is a huge difference and it is very unprofessional (but typical) for leftist writers to purposely leave out that distinction.

  10. With Whitlock moving on I was on the fence if I was going to renew my Outkick subscription when it came do. After stomaching just a few paragraphs of this atrocious read, that question has been answered for me. This site is already going downhill with “writers” like this coming on. So much for being an anti-woke website.

  11. I thought this was a fair article by Couch. He said Schilling deserves to be in the HOF based on his actual performance on the field (which is true). He also said Schilling is kind of a dick when it comes how fuckin out there the dude has been with his takes (which is also true). I agree with many of the things Schilling believes but god damn, tone it down some.

    “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.’’

    I think any reasonable person could see that as being totally unprofessional for a public figure. Obviously, it’s hyperbolic and I agree with the sentiment that journalists are hacks but c’mon. People like Schilling undermine the credibility of right/center, conservatives, and libertarians. Hershal Walker is an example of a conservative/republican of what a former player should be. Schilling should be in the HOF but he made the bed he lays in.

  12. I didn’t agree with some of Couch’s points, but so be it, I didn’t expect this to be Newsmax Sports….though it seems that some do. Outkick is a place where viewpoints that were previously ignored are heard. Seems some want views they don’t agree with suppressed, and the writer given his walking papers. Funny, I thought that’s what the left wing Twitter mob did, not Outkick readers. If it keeps up nobody will want to write for this site.

    • Tell me exactly how Couch’s viewpoint is “ignored”? It is literally the mainstream viewpoint. Couch does not talk about Schilling’s character at all, nor his charity work, nor how those who know him generally speak highly of him. Nothing but copy and paste from any bullshit viewpoint from SI, ESPN, FOXSports, CBSSports, The Athletic…..

      Seriously. Tell me how this article is “previously ignored”.

      And while you are at it, please tell me how the quality of this article, absent the viewpoint, is worth paying a subscription fee for. Go on. I am waiting.

      You can’t, because it is lazy and shitty and could have been copied from 20 seconds on Twitter.

      Go and virtue signal elsewhere.

      And if Couch and others do not want to write for this site FINE BY ME and most everyone else here.

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