I’ve often said that there is only one thing that Curt Schilling ever said or did that I agreed with. When he was negotiating with the Red Sox prior to agreeing to a trade bringing him to Boston, he sat down with Theo at his house. He made sure that he set the chairs up so that Theo could see his World Series trophy over his shoulder, and basically said “You want one of those? I’m the guy to get it for you.”
I had never heard anyone say that before. It was in contrast to someone like, say, Mike Mussina who chose to join the defending World Champion Yankees instead of the Red Sox. He didn’t look and say, “boy…add me to the rotation behind Pedro and the Sox would be unstoppable.” Instead he went to the team that already “unstoppable” and wanted to go along for the ride.
Without getting into the argument over which approach is “better”, I’m surprised that the Schilling approach isn’t used more often.
After all, these superstar athletes have been stars for a long time. They were probably the best player on their team since they were six. Everyone has been calling them the best for a decade, if not two. How do they not have the attitude that they can do anything? How did Mussina not look and say, “whichever team I go to will immediately be the favorite to win. So, I’ll just pick one.” How has that attitude not been burned into his brain for years? Johnny Damon talked about having been introduced over the loudspeaker as the best player in the state during high school games. How did he not think he was invincible?
So, why wasn’t Schilling the opposite? He was terrible for so many years. Bouncing from team to team. How did he have that attitude? Why on earth would he assume that he could bring a title to Boston? Was it simply because he had just done it? Like a bandwagon fan pumping his chest with a newfound sense of success?
Maybe he’s just always been full of himself?
Or, maybe I’ve been giving Schilling too much credit. It’s not like he went to a last place team with the intention of turning them around. The Sox had a lead in game seven of the ALCS the season before Schilling decided to come. He wasn’t suggesting he would be a monumental improvement. But just enough.
Is that what Kevin Durant did? Did he decide that he couldn’t bring OKC all the way up…but could bring Golden State up just enough?
But, boy, Durant is about 100 times the player Schilling was. Durant has been the chosen one. Durant actually did bring Oklahoma City up from nothing to the finals. He of all people should have assumed that he was superman. That he could bring any team wherever it wanted to go. But, even he decided it wasn’t enough. He just slid into the best team he could find. He didn’t see himself as the missing piece to the next Celtics dynasty. He wasn’t the next Larry Bird. He was just the next Ray Allen.
How on earth did he get that idea in his head?