King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Curt Schilling makes his pitch as a blogger. Plus: This column turns 5.


Salon Staff
March 8, 2007 10:00PM (UTC)

Curt Schilling has a blog.

Hey, who'da thunk it? Schilling always seemed like a guy who had nothing to say, didn't he?

Well, one day into the life of 38Pitches.com Wednesday, Schilling had posted twice and written 2,600 words. Let's see if he can keep up that pace. If he does, he'll hit the disabled list faster than Joel Zumaya on a five-day "Guitar Hero" bender.

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It's pretty good so far. In his first post, he introduced the blog, but later in the day he posted about the beginning of spring training, and if 38 Pitches continues to be anything like that second post, you might want to bookmark it.

After a short assessment of the Red Sox, Schilling gets into the nitty-gritty of pitching, one of the things he really ought to know a lot about. He writes that Daisuke Matsuzaka is "legit" -- not that he'd say the opposite if he thought it -- and gives a short primer on early-spring command. "Misses tell you as much as strikes do about command," he writes. "Does the pitcher miss on the side of the plate where he's throwing? These are always good misses."

Schilling writes about trying to master a change-up -- he says he got his first swing and a miss on one in his second outing, against the Minnesota Twins -- and about how he should have shaken off catcher Jason Varitek before throwing a fastball to Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer:

"I start Cuddyer off with a curve ball -- strike one," he writes. "My thought as the pitch is being called is, 'OK, anything but a fastball here.' Tek puts down fastball in, I shake no. Tek puts it down again, which means he feels great about the pitch. At this point the ONLY thing to do is commit to the pitch and throw it as I called it or step off. I do neither. Mentally I think no, but physically I nod yes. In the middle of my windup I'm thinking, 'OK, you idiot, why the hell are you throwing this pitch?' About ten seconds later, when the ball lands over the left-field wall, I'm dropping words I'd put soap in my kids' mouths for saying."

As far as I know, the only other big-leaguer's blog that offers up that kind of life-on-the-field insight is that of Twins reliever Pat Neshek, though Neshek writes more about memorabilia and autographs than he does about pitching. But he's good too when he turns his thoughts to the mound or to life as a major leaguer. Neshek's entering what figures to be his first full year in the bigs.

You know what we need around here? The view from the batter's box. What goes through Manny Ramirez's mind as he digs in? Manny has an official, impersonal, corporate Web site at mannyramirez.com, manram.com is a church thing and mannybeingmanny.com is a fan site. But thatsjustmannybeingmanny.com is wide open.

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Manny?

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They said this wouldn't last either [PERMALINK]

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I'd hit my 10th anniversary with Salon, and if I can just have another moment here, this column marks the fifth birthday of this column.

I'd been writing about sports on and off over my first five years at Salon, and the Sports Daily wouldn't debut for 15 more months. But when I reviewed ESPN's first original movie, "A Season on the Brink," on March 8, 2002, it was my first piece after the boss had said, "How about just writing sports?"

That is: Quit writing about other stuff.

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My last non-sports piece had been a feature about a Web site that presented furniture porn. Like, photos of chairs and tables appearing to get it on. I can't imagine what David Talbot might have been thinking when he took me off that beat, but when the boss says write sports, you write sports.

I've been thinking lately, because of the time of year, that two of the ideas prominent in my columns five years ago have become a lot more mainstream. One is that college basketball teams from so-called mid-major conferences are able to play on the same level as the big-conference powers.

The tide was just starting to turn five years ago, thanks to Gonzaga, but it was still routine for good teams from smaller conferences, teams like Southern Illinois, to get seeded around 12th in the NCAA Tournament while lesser teams from the big conferences were pulling down 4- and 5-seeds. That doesn't happen anymore, and Cinderella runs by the likes of Vermont, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and George Mason have taught the most casual of bracket fillers that winners can come from anywhere in March.

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The other idea is sabermetrics, the rise of which in baseball has been well documented. I was late to this party, just coming to embrace some of the ideas spelled out by Bill James in the '80s when I began this column. But even I was ahead of the curve by a bit. Five years ago, it was unusual to see on-base percentage on a TV graphic. Not anymore. Good.

The world hasn't caught up to my brilliant ideas to remove timeouts from basketball and place-kicking from football, but I'm willing to give you people five more years.

Or until the boss says, "How about just working maintenance?"

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Previous column: Conference tournament madness

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