The Media Column: How a lifelong Red Sox fan found himself in a stupid and petty feud with World Series hero Curt Schilling

Alex Reimer
April 18, 2019 - 11:52 am
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When I was 10 years old, I spent my Thanksgiving Day refreshing the AOL Red Sox message board for the latest news on Theo Epstein’s meal with the Schilling family. Fresh off the excitement of the Ryan Rupe acquisition, I was anxiously awaiting to see if the Sox would land one of the best big-game pitchers in baseball history. 

They did, and every fifth day the following summer, I watched Curt Schilling slice up hitters with his dastardly split-finger and pitching IQ. I also cheered Schilling on when he called into WEEI, and ripped all of those fat loudmouths to shreds. 

Little did I know that 15 years later, I would find myself on the receiving end of one of Schill’s tirades. Except, instead of scolding me about his relationship with Pedro Martinez, he was yelling and screaming about fake hate crimes

And now this week, he’s attacked my (lack of) athletic prowess. Our own Rob Bradford posted a video Sunday of my ill-fated 40-yard dash with Jermaine Wiggins, prompting Schilling to say I’m not good at sports.

I’ve never felt so hurt since I was selected last for pick-up football at third grade recess.

“What in the holy hell is this little clown doing?,” Schilling wrote. “That’s what he tries to qualify as running? So now we know at least one WEEI host has never competed in any sport over 6th grade field day but somehow is ‘qualified’ to speak in depth on sports? Hey.”

Hey, indeed. 

There have been lots of bizarre experiences in my short-lived broadcasting career, most of which were entirely self-inflicted. But being in the middle of a feud with Curt Schilling is perhaps the strangest –– or at least it would be for that boy who preferred to read message board posts from weirdos tracking Theo’s plane instead of eating Thanksgiving dinner with his family.

Schilling blocked me on Twitter years ago, though I am unsure why. At the time, I was nothing more than a recent college graduate who was working the late shift on the SB Nation NFL news desk. I wrote a few critical columns about Schilling, but nothing out of the ordinary. Like many, I found it distasteful he shared an anti-transgender meme on Facebook, picturing a burly man in drag and insinuating he was now free to harm young girls in bathrooms due to new laws.

Schilling was always outspoken politically, but there is a big difference between telling viewers to “Vote Bush” and retweeting Parkland conspiracy theories. Schilling’s beliefs have seemingly morphed from right-wing to deranged, which is absolutely fine, by the way. I have shared a “Smerlastini” with Gerry Callahan. I do not discriminate against crazy.

If I had to guess, I would trace Schilling’s apparent animus towards me back to an article I wrote last year about his floundering political media career. Fresh off his ESPN dismissal, it seemed as if Schilling was poised for conservative media stardom. He took his grievance tour to Fox News and Breitbart Radio, landing a gig with the latter. But then he fizzled out. Breitbart’s traffic plunged and the radio show got cancelled. Schilling still hosted a podcast on Breitbart through last year, but his last posted episode was on Dec. 14. It features an interview with Sebastian Gorka. 

Nowadays, Schilling hosts a daily sports show with conservative host Steve Deacy on Blaze TV, which was founded by insane person Glenn Beck. He also does lots of webcam videos, such as last night, when he recorded himself watching the Bruins and Red Sox in his basement. Three-thousand people tuned in to watch the World Series hero sniffle and repair his collectables; more than 53,500 people watched my pathetic race with Wiggy. 

I understand why Schilling would detest me for lambasting his second-act and quoting people from Media Matters and Right-Wing Watch to make my point. But I don’t understand his insistence on calling me a coward (as he did repeatedly in his January call-in to “Mut & Callahan”) or barb about hoping my wife “will have balls,” because I don’t. (Spoiler: she will.)

Prior to publishing the aforementioned piece, I asked Curt for an interview on two separate occasions two weeks apart –– he declined the first time and didn’t respond to the second inquiry. I also have never blocked Schilling on Twitter. For once, I am not the snowflake here. 

But in all sincerity, I don’t enjoy feuding with one of my childhood sports idols. Schilling was also my favorite MLB analyst ever, and the “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast misses him.

So I am here to propose a truce, Curt. We can eat lunch at Chick-fil-A or look at your World War 2 memorabilia. It doesn’t make a difference to me.

But let’s end this spat, and preferably soon. Liz Warren needs me on the campaign trail.

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Sean McDonough owns Red Sox Radio: Sean McDonough was so good in his initial return to Red Sox Radio, even Callahan sang his praises. It’s the first time he’s smiled since a certain somebody left. 

As McDonough explained to us on WEEI Sunday, it’s possible to blend humor and opinions into a traditional-sounding baseball broadcast. That’s exactly what he’s done, ribbing partner Will Flemming about criticizing the Red Sox and still being able to call the latest home run hit off the Sox’ staff. It’s quite a skill.

On multiple occasions over the last week, I found myself wishing I could sync up the radio call with the TV. I suspect I was not alone.

Boston Globe erred in deleting Luke O’Neil column: Last Friday, Boston Globe editorial page editor Shirley Leung admitted on WGBH publisher John Henry and Linda Pizzuti nixed O’Neil’s controversial column about shaming Trump officials in restaurants. 

“When the Henrys read the column, they felt that even after changing the column — and I ultimately agree with them on this — this is a kind of piece that should never been published on our website to begin with,” Leung told “Boston Public Radio.”

Talk about kowtowing to the disingenuous mob. O’Neil did not blindly publish his column to the Globe’s website. It received editorial oversight, and was shared by multiple Globe employees, including Leung. 

If the Globe thought O’Neil’s piece “crossed the line,” as Leung mentioned in the interview, then it should’ve never been published. All this move accomplished was throwing a contributor under the bus.

How would Patriots have factored into midweek Boston sports buffet?: The Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox all played Wednesday night. But here’s a question first raised by former Boston.com contributor Mark Dunphy: what if the Patriots were simultaneously broadcasting live from OTAs, with Tom Brady in attendance and Bill Belichick mic’d up? How would their numbers compare?

Conservatively, you would estimate at least triple the next-highest-rated event, right? It speaks to the Patriots’ incredible dominance. 

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