Rivals are humans too

Schilling’s Bloody Sock
2004 ALCS, Game 6, Red Sox vs. Yankees
via washingtonpost.com

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling announced today that he is battling cancer. Yankees fans will remember Schilling from the infamous Red Sox-Yankees 2004 ALCS games. Schilling had the infamous “bloody sock” incident during Game 6. A torn tendon sheath in his right ankle was sutured in three places to not interfere with his pitching, but after 7 innings, the white sock was partially soaked in blood because the sutures hadn’t healed in time, since his Game 1 outing. Schilling’s pitching in Game 6 certainly paid off for the Red Sox as the cobbled together a winning team that season to “Reverse the Curse” and win the Series. Schilling was part of the 2007 Red Sox championship team as well, playing his last major league game that year, officially retiring in 2009 after spending the entire 2008 season on the DL. In addition to his charity work and political involvement, Schilling has been a color commentator for ESPN.

Now, Yankee fans still may not have very happy thoughts toward Schilling, but Schilling’s cancer announcement today has brought a reminder of the frailty of simply being a human, despite surviving some really devastating injuries and surgeries. His wife Shonda battled skin cancer in 2001, and now she and their four kids are supporting him in his fight.

In a statement released to ESPN, Schilling said:

“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges. We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer. Shonda and I want to send a sincere thank you and our appreciation to those who have called and sent prayers, and we ask that if you are so inclined, to keep the Schilling family in your prayers. My father left me with a saying that I’ve carried my entire life and tried to pass on to our kids: ‘Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.’ Over the years in Boston, the kids at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown us what that means. With my incredibly talented medical team, I’m ready to try and win another big game. I’ve been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I’ll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on.”

We are praying for Curt and his family as they continue to fight this battle.

In other news, former Yankees pitcher David Cone and current outfielder Brett Gardner were presented with the 2014 Thurman Munson Award at the Awards Dinner last night for their charity and philanthropy work. The dinner honored the late Yankees captain and benefited the AHRC NYC Foundation, raising more than $12 million to help children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Both Cone and Gardner had a lot to say about the new roster. Cone, of course, raved about Tanaka’s potential to mold the starting rotation, and Gardner discussed his future sharing the outfield with Ellsbury and Beltran. Both expressed hope for 2014, seeing change as a potentially good thing, something that could shape the future of the Yankees for years to come.

And speaking of years and Yankee, Derek Jeter has been setting the example, as only a captain can, getting in early warm-ups and practice at the Yankees minor league facility in Tampa. Reporters, escaping the frozen tundra and feet of snow smothering two-thirds of the country, are beginning the camping out outside the facility, tweeting distant and blurry pictures of Jeter and others preparing for Spring. The Sidewalk Crew are often the most envied and most bored reporters in the industry; they get to hang out and chat with each other and hope for a fun story somewhere, but they have to hang out and chat with each other and hope for a fun story somewhere. (Yet another reason I’m glad I’m not a journalist.)

Go Yankees!

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