Was Curt Schilling the second shooter, stationed on the grassy knoll? Perhaps if Schilling was old enough, that would be Gary Thorne's surmisal about the Kennedy assassination. Conspiracy theorist Thorne, who doubles as a Orioles play-by-play announcer for Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, raised eyebrows during last night's broadcast with his own take on Schilling's bloody sock drama in the 2004 post-season. Gordon Edes recounted the story in today's Boston Globe.
The Orioles were batting in the fifth inning when Thorne said that Doug Mirabelli told him it was paint, and not blood, that adorned Schilling's sock in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS.
"The great story we were talking about the other night was that famous red stocking that he wore when they finally won, the blood on his stocking," Thorne said to broadcast partner Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer.
"Nah," Thorne said. "It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR......"
Palmer: "Yeah, that was the 2004 World Series." Thorne: "Yeah." Apparently, both announcers forgot that the event in question happened in the ALCS.
A few innings later, Thorne reiterated what he said, telling Palmer that Mirabelli told him the story in a conversation "a couple years ago."
"Go ask him," Thorne said about Mirabelli.
When Edes approached Mirabelli and told him about Thorne's comments, the Sox backup catcher was livid.
"What? Are you kidding me? He's [expletive] lying. A straight lie," Mirabelli said. "I never said that. I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood." Mirabelli added that he doesn't even know Thorne.
It is not the first time that the legitimacy of Schilling's bloody sock has been questioned. Citing an anonymous Sox player, GQ Magazine suggested that the bloody sock was staged. Dr. Bill Morgan performed the innovative procedure on Schilling's ankle, which still bears a scar. Schilling threw away the sock from the ALCS, adding more fuel to the conspiracy theory. The shoes and sock from the World Series, when Schilling's ankle continued to bleed and when the pitcher wrote "K-ALS" on the back, are displayed in the Baseball Hall of Fame's World Series exhibit.
"And three years later, the blood stain that once was red is now a hue of brown, which is what happens to blood over time," said Jeff Idelson, vice president of communications and eduction for the Hall of Fame.
Since this story is breaking news today, I felt compelled to write about it here. This is the only time I will mention it, because frankly I am tired about this subject. I highly doubt that Schilling painted his sock. I think that Mirabelli might have joked around with Thorne, and Thorne took him seriously. Regardless, the bottom line is that Schilling was an instrumental reason why the Sox made the greatest comeback in sports history in the 2004 ALCS, and then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Today, Schilling is still one of the top starting pitchers in baseball. I don't care if he paints his face red, white and blue, as long as he leads this rotation.