Opinion: Curt Schilling readies a new pitch for Red Sox nation
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In his day, Curt Schilling was one of those pitchers with a reputation for competitiveness. Helping the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series championship, their first in 86 years, Schilling ignored a bloodstain on his sock to pitch his team to victory in Game 6 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees.
Now, the 42-year-old Boston resident -- who won his first World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks -- has his eye on a new prize: the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for almost 50 years.
“I do have some interest in the possibility,” Schilling wrote Wednesday on his blog, 38 Pitches (named after his uniform number with the Red Sox). “That being said, to get there from where I am today, many, many things would have to align themselves.”
A registered Independent, Schilling campaigned for George W. Bush in 2004 and for John McCain last year, and often vents, in populist voice, against Washington insiders who have lost touch with constituents.
Approached by Republican insiders to consider the idea, Schilling quipped to one journalist that his famous feuding with reporters might disqualify him. ‘My first press conference could probably be my last as someone on the political scene, which probably wouldn’t be a bad thing,’ he told New England Cable News.
Lots of other names have been floated for the Senate seat, including Democratic Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley, who announced her candidacy this morning, saying, ‘We have lost our distinguished and tenacious senator Ted Kennedy.... No one can fill his shoes, but we must strive to follow in his footsteps.’
Charley Manning, a political strategist and friend of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, said news of Schilling’s interest in the seat was creating a lot of buzz among Republicans. “I think it’s the most exciting part of the Senate race so far,’’ he said.Of course, being a popular baseball pitcher does not a great senator make. Just ask Jim Bunning, the Kentucky Republican and former major league pitcher for Detroit and Philadelphia, who was asked by GOP colleagues not to run for office next year.
Bunning was so controversial -- he infamously predicted last February that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would die of pancreatic cancer within nine months -- that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentucky conservative, feared Republicans would lose the seat if Bunning stayed.
But hey, maybe baseball pitchers are well-trained for the rigors of politics. After all, they’re used to the sound of cheers. And boos.
-- Johanna Neuman
Schilling pitching against the Yankees Oct. 19, 2004. Credit: Associated Press
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