BBWAA institutes Schilling Rule

When Curt Schilling signed his recent one-year deal for 2008, one clause in particular garnered some attention. The Red Sox have to pay Schilling $1 million if he earns so much as one third-place Cy Young vote. With the cozy relationship between writers and players these days, more than a few writers were dismayed by this contract provision.

So today, in an effort to restore some semblance of objectivity in awards voting, the Baseball Writers Associate of America announced today that, starting in 2013, players with incentive clauses will be automatically disqualified from award voting. This ban covers regular season awards only and will not affect a player’s Hall of Fame chances.

“When we first started giving out these awards it was just to honor somebody. You got a trophy, there was no monetary reward that went with it,” BBWAA Secretary-Treasurer Jack O’Connell said to the Associated Press. “I honestly don’t think people vote with that in mind. But the attachment of a bonus to these awards creates a perception that we’re trying to make these guys rich.”

O’Connell specifically targeted Curt Schilling’s response to his incentive clause as one of the driving forces behind this ban. The Red Sox’s pitched made an off-hand comment about a kickback for a potential voter, and the red flags went up immediately. “The Schilling thing is disturbing because he doesn’t even have to win,” O’Connell said. “That’s something that none of us finds very funny.”

The rule won’t go into effect until 2013 so that players, agents and teams can adapt to it. Personally, I find that to be a rather flimsy excuse. While few players are under contract for 2013, why can’t the BBWAA just grandfather in the rule for next season? Anyone with incentive clauses in pre-existing contracts can still enjoy those benefits, but anyone negotiated a contract following the conclusion of the 2008 season is automatically ineligible. I can’t imagine it will take all that long to get used to this new rule.

Meanwhile, this is a clear-cut victory for those of us who have grown wary of the give-and-take between sportswriters and their subjects. I can’t imagine that the Players’ Association is too thrilled with this one, but as far as I can tell, they have no remedies.

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Francona to Schilling: ‘Shut up’

With David Ortiz and Curt Schilling opining about steroids – always a loaded topic among MLB clubhouses – Terry Francona, the esteemed manager of the Red Sox, has ordered his star players to shut up. I, for one, am very jealous of Francona as I too have longed to tell Curt Schilling to stick a bloody sock in it. This ranks up there among Terry Francona’s best moves as Red Sox manager.

Curt Schilling validates my opinion

I’ve been saying that the cold weather, the bone-chilling cold weather we’ve had, isn’t good for pitching in particular. I think Phil Hughessubpar start tonight had a lot to do with the weather. And words from the keyboard of Curt Schilling, of all people, support my theory. Said Curt earlier this week: “I hate cold weather from a feel standpoint.” As I’ve said, in the cold, pitchers have no feel for their pitches. Don’t judge one bad Phil Hughes start because it was 40 degrees with a threat of snow. Baseball is a warm weather sport for a reason.

Holy crap! Schilling hurt?

In order to cover my ass, I’ll go ahead and say that I think this is a post-April Fool’s joke. But Dave Pinto at Baseball Musings is reporting that Curt Schilling was grazed by a side-view mirror of an SUV. His source is a radio bit. There is no further information. Stay tuned for any developments.

Update: Of course, it’s a hoax. Only a moronic Bostonian would pull an April Fool’s joke the day after.

Curt Schilling reads our blog

As much as we don’t like Curt Schilling for his success against the Yankees, a statement in one of his recent blog posts makes me think he’s reading our site. After I criticized him for seemingly interviewing himself, Schilling wrote, “Since some people mistakenly thought that the Q&A was me interviewing myself, no idea how that could happen, I have taken to pasting questions instead of trying to paraphrase them.” Well, that’s neat. A real live Major Leaguer has read River Ave. Blues!

(Also, I think it was that confusing use of the personal I in the form of the interview, Curt. It wasn’t very clear.)