Curt Schilling: "I want to come home"

While Curt Schilling ponders his fate in the Arizona desert, nobody knows for sure where his future will lead. For now, a move to Boston to battle the Green Monster and the Curse of the Bambino seems likely. Still, Schilling may be hoping for a last minute call from his friends in Philadelphia, inviting him to spend his summers where his career truly took off.

Grover Cleveland Alexander – Robin Roberts – Jim Bunning - Steve Carlton – Curt Schilling… These could be the names of the Phillies Hall of Fame Pitchers that hang on the walls of Citizens Bank Park, the Park after that, and every Park after that. There for all History. This is exactly what Philadelphia area homeowner and resident Curt Schilling wants for himself, his wife, and his children, and for his children's children. Ever Proud, and Ever Mindful of the weaknesses of the organization for which he wishes to be a part of again, Curt Schilling, the man who sacrificed his arm and risked his family's future to pitch us right through the Atlanta Braves in 1993 NLCS wants something.

 

He wants to be acknowledged by the city who fathered his career, as all prodigal sons must be -before they can return home.  

 

Curt Schilling wants the Phillies to step up and re-acquire him. Ed Wade and the entire organization from Montgomery on down, need to stand up and tell the baseball world in no uncertain terms that  - "He is our son and no one else's". "We are making all the arrangements". "We are sorry what happened in the past, and we are glad to have him back where he belongs".

"And By The Way, Curt? Your light is on in your room, and your mother has left your favorite meat loaf out in the refrigerator".

Schilling is on the top of the mound, not wanting to be controlled by a bad market place. He is orchestrating his own return home; his intensions are so clear that having to read subtly between the lines is no longer needed. The message he is sending is that he needs to return and it is as clear for us to see as watching a guy walk up Broad Street wearing a sandwich board.

"There's bait to all three of them, and challenges to all three of them," Schilling said. His stated that if he were to wave his no trade clause that his preferences in order in were the Philadelphia Phillies, followed by the New York Yankees and finally the Boston Red Sox (with their small left field and the Green Monster). Schilling has made it clear that he'd come to Philadelphia, provided he got at least a one-year contract extension. Schilling is looking for a two-three-year extension at huge dollars to OK a deal to either New York or Boston.

He cannot be any clearer that he wants to return to Philadelphia than that. This is a 10-20 million dollar risk of guaranteed dollars on his part. The same risk he took, when he pitched his heart out for us against Atlanta in 1993 and risked his career. Schilling is a winner, and Winners take calculated risks.

He told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jim Salisbury this week that the Phillies would be his first choice, "because that's home, and it's comfortable. That team has a chance to win the World Series. There's a new park. I love the fans there. The chance to pitch in that environment would be cool."

"I'm making money, on top of money I'll never get to spend. Money is not going to determine where I'm going to finish my career. I'll get what I feel I'm worth. And the length of time in the contract will have a lot to do with it. But the contract value itself will not be a deal-breaker."

If money is not the reason that is going to determine where he is going to finish his career, just what is? Schilling knows his place in history, he quotes it all the time. He is aware that if he returns to Philly that he is an odds on favorite to join Alexander, Roberts, Bunning, and Carlton as a Phillies Hall of Fame Pitcher. 

Why is he not in the fold already? There are two reasons. First, Arizona was way out of line in first asking for three players (reportedly CF Marlon Byrd, SS Jimmy Rollins, and P Brett Myers). Later it was rumored to be reduced to two players Rollins and Myers (still way to high), and now it is presumably just Myers and prospects. It was reported that they requested 1B Nick Johnson (Larry Bowa's nephew) and Alfonso Soriano from the Yankees when they were playing them against the Phillies. The Arizona Diamondbacks goal was to try to get the Yankees to bite, so they could acquire Richie Sexson from Milwaukee in a three-way trade. The Phillies and Wade were right to step back and wait for the asking price to come down.

Now, guess who they are playing against the Yankees? The Boston Red Sox. The team that one week ago Schilling reportedly said he would never go to - because "I am a power right handed fly ball pitcher" and there is no left field to place fly balls within Boston's Fenway Park.  Back to history again – Schilling knows he needs at least two more good years to assure him a place in Baseball's Hall of Fame and going to Boston could backfire. Clemens - a power right handed fly ball pitcher as well, extended his career after leaving Boston when he ended up in Yankee Stadium whose left field is so large it is called "Death Valley". 

"Boston was obsessively proactive on this," he said. "And that impresses me."

What is he Curt really saying? He is saying - "dad. Dad. DAD!!!  Do you care about me?" he is dying inside waiting for the Phillies to be proactive as well as he keeps hoping for their call for him to return.

 "I'm dealing with this situation exactly how I would if I were a free agent and Boston was a city I was interested in," Schilling told ESPN.com Monday night. "And I'm going to assess things just the way a free agent would who was thinking about going somewhere." "I won't leave here without an extension."  "I will get a contract extension before I leave Arizona." These words are hardly a slam-dunk for Boston. They are more in line with the words of Pete Rose as he toured the country talking to teams before finally signing with the Phillies.

Meanwhile in Arizona, if they fail at having Steinbrenner and the Yankees come back to the table with their Boston ploy, they have now become suddenly reasonable with their request for talent in the trade.

 

It is rumored that Boston would give up left-hander Casey Fossum, Reliever Brandon Lyon (who was sent back by the Pirates last year as being damaged goods), as well as minor league pitcher Jorge De La Rosa and outfielder Michael Goss. Fossum was 6-5 with a 5.47 ERA for Boston in '03 and also pitched in eight games at Double- and Triple-A. Aside from Fossum these are all just interesting bodies.

 

Speaking only of the available Phillies pitchers, we have Ryan Madson, Carlos Silva, Eric Junge, Josh Hancock, Keith Bucktrot, Valerio De Los Santos, David Coggin, Alfredo Simon, and Elizardo Ramirez. They are all more valuable than Fossum and bodies when a few are selected and tailored into a deal.  So it is really not about the talent any longer, unless the Yankees rise to take the bait and are hooked.

 

What is really happening? What do Curt Schilling and his wife really want for their kids? Here he tells us…

"I'm concerned about a lot of things -- and many of them are not just in the clubhouse and on the field. They're personal, family issues. And they're things I have to think about in a very condensed time frame, because by Friday at 5 o'clock, somebody has to have a decision."

"In a sense, I'm still standing on the mound with the ball in my hand," he said, "because nothing has been determined. And nothing will be determined without my wife and I saying yes."

These are the words of a son asking to return. This is where the second and more important reason lies - for why Schilling is not a Phillie as we speak. Curt Schilling as all sons do (as they are setting out and leaving home), did not go quietly. He was head strong. He hit below the belt, even though he was right about many things at the time. He must be forgiven.

 

We are all getting older. Our sons are showing us up. Schilling is aging as well, just think of what Curt Schilling will do if he returns to become a father to Brett Myers and places his legacy of his no holds barred competitiveness into our organization when he joins Bowa and Schmidt after his playing days are ended? 

 

This is so much bigger than all of us. This is about every working father and mother in Philadelphia. There is a chance to make history and connect Curt Schilling's spirit to ours. Benjamin Franklin and William Penn are watching over us as we speak.

 

He is waiting to be acknowledged by the city who fathered his career. Step up Phillies Management and let this prodigal son come home. Help him join Alexander and Roberts and Bunning and Carlton in our hearts, and in our homes, and let him pitch his heart out for a chance to hang his banner upon our walls…

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