Former pitcher Curt Schilling likes to talk, and he likes to make himself the center of attention. Combine that with the current hysteria in Major League Baseball regarding performance-enhancing drugs, and you're going to create some toxic situations for others in the sport.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer felt obligated Thursday to deny that he or Cubs president Theo Epstein were the ones from the Boston Red Sox who encouraged Schilling in 2008 to take PEDs in order to extend his career.
Hoyer was Epstein's top aide in Boston that season. Via CBS in Chicago:
“The first I ever heard of that was this morning when I saw it, so clearly, no, it didn’t ring true to me at all,” Hoyer said Thursday on The McNeil & Spiegel Show on 670 The Score. “I can tell you it would be preposterous that Theo or I would be involved in that. So I can comment for the two of us. I obviously wasn’t there. I don’t know the story he’s talking about so I can’t comment on the rest of it. I can tell you certainly it wasn’t Theo or me.”
The CBS post continued, adding that Hoyer said "he has never been involved in a direct conversation about a player using PEDs." All we can do is take him at his word, right?
Schilling later confirmed (via WEEI) that it wasn't Hoyer or Epstein who suggested he violate baseball's rules or do anything illegal. But he didn't back down from the substance of his comments — that someone in an official capacity with the Red Sox said to take PEDs:
Schilling said the comment was made by a member of the team's medical staff who is no longer employed by the organization, clarifying it wasn't former trainer Paul Lessard, former strength coach Dave Page, former team medical director Thomas Gill or anybody from the front office.
"Call it naive, stupid or say whatever you want, when I said what I said, that it was somebody formerly in the organization, I assumed that would end any legitimate big conversation about it. But it did the opposite because it whittled the list down a select group of people and now everybody is trying to figure out who it was," he said. "That was just stupid on my part, because it wasn't Tito [Francona], it wasn't Theo [Epstein] it wasn't Jed Hoyer, it wasn't a baseball ops person. Think about the clubhouse. Who would I actually be in the clubhouse to talk about something like this?"
Naive would be believing that Schilling thinks he could make an explosive accusation against a major-league front office and then have people just say "OK" and drop it. And then there's this part of the WEEI post:
Schilling immediately informed both Francona and Epstein of the incident, telling them, "I had a very uncomfortable conversation."
So, Schilling says he informed Epstein — and we're to believe Jed Hoyer that this is "the first" he heard of Schilling's PED story? Is this a case of Schilling getting his facts mixed up? Is he embellishing? Making the entire story up? Or is Hoyer not being truthful? These PED stories are driving me bananas. It's all a bunch of half-truths, hypocrisy and misinformation, all regarding drugs that we really don't know much about in the first place.
Let's just close our eyes and make it go away.
I like the angle that Schilling went for — that a major league front office was complicit in the spread of PEDs. That would blow the doors off the "players are the villains" attitude that pervades the sensationalist drug investigators in media and government. But as far as witnesses go, Schilling is iffy at best. But he's also making it hard to say if Jed Hoyer is telling us everything he knows.
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