Joe Lavin

March 2007

From Boston Sports Review

Schilling for Senate

Partly because he's a well respected athlete with strong opinions and partly because the other seven Republicans in Massachusetts are busy, Curt Schilling of the Red Sox may possibly end up running for the United States Senate. Or at least that was the story on the Boston talk radio station WRKO during one particularly slow news day this off season.

Essentially, this was a story entirely manufactured by the talk station. During "The Todd Feinburg Show" a caller suggested that Schilling should run against John Kerry in 2008, and the whole thing just took off from there, with more and more callers getting excited about the concept. The station even put up a poll on their web site. (Schilling was winning with 96% of the WRKO electorate at one point.) The story gathered even more momentum when Schilling didn't completely dismiss the idea. "I couldn’t rule it out because it’s not something I ever thought about in a serious capacity," he later told The Boston Herald.

Of course, he didn't rule it out. If somehow a radio station decided that you would be the perfect Senate candidate and some reporter called you up to talk about it, would you tell them that you had ruled it out? Of course not, you'd play along. Chances are, you'd do what Schilling did and announce all your plans should you be elected to public office. Schilling's first act, he said, would be to "fire everybody and anybody who had anything to do with the Big Dig."

The excitement died down slightly once he announced that he had decided to pitch in 2008 and wanted a new contract with the Red Sox. Many assume that this means he won't run in 2008, but it doesn't have to. After all, there are basically two lines of thought here.

1. In order to give a Senatorial run the attention it deserves, Schilling would not possibly have the time to play for the Red Sox and also run for political office, or

2.He'd be a freakin' Red Sox player on the ballot. Whatever else he does or doesn't do wouldn’t matter. Frankly, I think the Republicans could have put the maligned Carl Everett on the ballot a few years back and still gotten a significant number of votes. "Sure, he's a hothead who doesn't believe in dinosaurs, but he does play for the Sox!"

I don't necessarily agree with Schilling's politics (except for the part about firing all the Big Dig people), but I think it would be great if he ran for Senate. Imagine how entertaining it would be to have an active Red Sox player running for office, although I would need to be convinced that he wasn't just doing it for the filibustering. I would need to know he really cared about being a Senator.

A whole year of Schilling running for political office would also make the Red Sox clubhouse a much more interesting place. Maybe the politics would rub off on other players. I don't care what players think about the lineup. I want to see how they stand on the issues.

"Manny, great game today. Could you explain the details of your plan to create a viable single-payer health care system, and how it compares with Varitek's hybrid health care model? And also was that a fastball you hit the home run on?"

The only potential downside is the equal time law. If Schilling were on the mound for two-and-a-half hours of a game, would John Kerry then be entitled to two-and-a-half hours of airtime. Let's hope not. Who knows? Maybe NESN could get him to do a fishing show while he talked about arcane tax law.

Actually, you really have to feel for Kerry in all this. He's not a bad guy. He doesn't deserve having to face a Red Sox hero, but just think of the possibilities. Here's my fantasy. On one day in September 2008, Schilling pitches a shut-out against the Yankees during the day. Immediately after the game, he rushes to Faneuil Hall for his first debate against Kerry. Because the game runs long, he doesn’t even have time to change out of his uniform. And poor Kerry just stands there awkwardly, looking like he's some Yankee fan.

"You know, Senator Kerry, why don't you take this first question? My ankle still seems to be bleeding from the game, and I just want to make sure my sock doesn't get too bloody."

At that point, even Ted Kennedy would be supporting Schilling. At last, we could see once and for all which was stronger – party loyalty or team loyalty. Is the typical Massachusetts voter a bigger Sox fan or a bigger Democrat? We might just discover the answer in 2008. I'm sure John Kerry can't wait.

©2007 Joe Lavin
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