Schilling Throws Wild Pitch

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

Schilling Throws Wild Pitch


Byline: Dick Heller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Reports out of Boston indicate that former Red Sox hero Curt Schilling has some interest in running for the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, which would appear at first glance to be a losing proposition all around.

For one thing, haven't we had more than enough ex-jocks who confuse physical strength with statesmanship? For another, Schilling would be running as an avowed political conservative in one of the nation's most liberal states.

Maybe you should forget the idea, Curt baby. In other words, stick a (bloody) sock in it.

Don't think about Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame flinger who plans to retire after two terms as a Republican senator from Kentucky. Think about Walter Johnson, the old Washington Senators icon who was talked into running for the House as a Republican from Maryland in 1940, got himself clobbered and wondered for the rest of his days why he ever tossed a political pitch.

Or maybe Tom McMillen, the dandy Maryland Terrapins basketball player of the early 1970s, who spent three terms on the Democratic side of the House without unduly distinguishing himself. (Maybe he needed Terps co-star Len Elmore at his side here, too.)

This is not to suggest that former athletes lack enough brainpower to succeed in the political game, only that mere fame is not enough by itself to guarantee success. For better or worse, not everybody can be Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura.

The possibility that Schilling might join the Back Bay crowd panting to succeed Kennedy arose a few days ago when he told a TV reporter: "I've been contacted by people whose opinion I give credence to and listen to, and I listened. .. To get to there from where I am today, many, many

things would have to align themselves .. I am not going to comment further on the matter"

Say what? Ya gotta admit the guy already sounds like a pol.

Yet there's reasonable doubt, despite this snippet, that Schilling could master the art of saying nothing and making it sound like something - a skill every successful campaigner requires. Throughout his long and illustrious baseball career (216-146 record, 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts with five clubs from 1988 to 2007), he usually said what was on his mind no matter the consequences. And as we all know, forthrightness is no way to win at the ballot box. …

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