Schilling reacts to Mitchell Report
Sox righty disappointed to see Clemens named
BOSTON -- Given a day to digest the mammoth Mitchell Report, which dissected the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling found himself with mixed emotions, several of which he discussed in a near 20-minute radio interview with WEEI-850 AM in Boston on Friday.
The prevailing emotion?
"Disappointment," Schilling told hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan. "Disappointment, I think."
But Schilling did see a silver lining as it pertained to his team.
"I'm elated that none of my current teammates [were] in the report," said Schilling.
Though Eric Gagne and Brendan Donnelly -- two members of the 2007 Red Sox -- were included in the report, the usage of both players was alleged to be long before they came to Boston. Gagne has already signed with the Brewers while Donnelly is a free agent.
Perhaps the hardest aspect of the report for Schilling to swallow was the detailed inclusion of Roger Clemens. Schilling has long idolized the Rocket. In fact, Schilling often points to a motivational chat from Clemens back in 1991 as the key turning point to his career.
"It's just when you spend, for me, 20 years of my career [were] spent idolizing somebody and seeing that person thrown on to the carpet here, like I said, I'm hoping to hear a very large legal team has been assembled and that Roger is suing everybody," said Schilling. "Short of that, I guess I'm bummed a little bit about the fact that it is what it is."
The way Schilling looks at it, it should soon became very apparent whether Clemens is guilty of the evidence supplied in Mitchell's report.
"I'm sitting here and saying to myself, this is, to me, very black and white, and it's kind of like being pregnant," said Schilling. "You're never just a little bit pregnant. If your name is there, there's two ways to go about this. You legally defend yourself and sue the crap out of everybody involved or you don't."
Schilling hates the message that is sent to youngsters when Barry Bonds and Clemens -- two certified legends of the game -- are being heavily associated with performance-enhancing drugs.
"I think the bigger picture is the one that's getting totally buried in this avalanche, is the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of kids that think this is the way to go," Schilling said. "When you think about the fact that the two greatest players of our generation, arguably of all-time, the greatest hitter and pitcher that ever lived, are potentially the poster boys for cheating, it's a horrible, horrible testament to today's athlete."
The 41-year-old Schilling, who plans on wrapping up his fine career with one more season, takes pride in achieving success by natural means.
"I know there's a lot of guys, and myself included, who have slept pretty good the last couple of weeks and months," said Schilling. "I think Senator Mitchell made a point yesterday that got buried in everything. There's a whole lot more guys doing it right than doing it wrong. As a competitor, the one thing I can't help but think is how different, or if at all different, my career numbers would be if I was playing against a level playing field and in an era that was already offensive-tailored and knowing that a lot of guys, well, everybody that's been named, has done something against me in the past."
Schilling says he never even contemplated steroid use. But he was candid in saying that the prospect of taking human growth hormone at least entered his mind for a quick instant.
"It never crossed my mind to go that [steroid] route," said Schilling. "I will tell you in the last two years, I certainly gave merit to the thought that coming back from all the stuff I had to come back from, that there was opportunities afforded me to go on HGH and to see people that could make that happen. I never thought about it for more than five or 10 seconds for a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with baseball."
While Schilling is gratified to see the use of steroids going way down in baseball, he is concerned that there is still no test for HGH.
Would the players agree to amend the collective bargaining agreement again to improve the drug testing policy? Sure, Schilling says. But only if there is a proper test for HGH. Otherwise, he doesn't see the point.
"We just talked bout the fact that steroid use has gone down immensely since the testing program was changed," Schilling said. "It doesn't change the fact that you still can not test for HGH. What would we have changed? What can we scream any louder about that would change the situation that we're in now?"
Schilling read the e-mail exchange in the Mitchell Report in which Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein received a strong suggestion from a scout that Gagne had some history of steroid use. But the righty also thought it should be kept in context, much like similar internal discussions Boston had before acquiring Donnelly.
"You know what though," said Schilling, "if you read excerpts from both of those, neither one of those was, 'We know for a fact that this guy is a juicer.' I think they felt very strongly that it had merit, but I think it's naïve to think that there's going to be a team in the big leagues that is going to be the only one operating on, 'Well, if this guy is potentially a steroid user, we're not going to touch him.' Everybody is playing on an uneven playing field, we're not going to allow ourselves to get cheated out of potentially trying to win a World Series because we want to be fair and right and just. You feel bad they got painted into that corner.
"But a lot of this is absolving the blame, or giving the blame to people that shouldn't get it. The bottom line is, the guys that use and did it are the ones to blame -- the ones that should be accountable. The owners share some culpability, I think front offices do as well, but ultimately this is all about the players, and the players making stupid, idiotic choices."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.