A new poll shows that most Massachusetts residents are unfavorable towards the idea of Curt Schilling taking Ted Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat. The question is “why?” Curt Schilling is a Red Sox hero with a tremendous story about overcoming pain and triumphing in the face of adversity. He has proven himself to be an outspoken and intelligent man with clear political leanings, as evidenced by his actions during the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. He might not make a bad senator. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is probably his best chance at winning the seat, and we don’t seem to be buying what he’s selling.
The argument for Schilling’s candidacy, or at least his electability, is that Red Sox fans will vote for him, and that will be enough in Massachusetts. There are two major flaws with this argument. The first: Red Sox fans aren’t stupid. We’re not going to vote for someone to represent us in Congress merely because he happens to be a sports hero. We’re a Democratic state and have been for many, many years. We’re not going to change colors from blue to red just because a pitcher who did well for us for a couple of years told us to. Would we elect “Spaceman” Lee or Pedro Martinez to congress? Of course not. But because Curt Schilling speaks so intelligently (or at least he thinks he does), we’re so supposed to jump the Democratic ship and join him? No way. Being a baseball player in no way qualifies you to be a senator, and most Red Sox fans know that.
The second reason is that Red Sox fans have very short memories when it comes to their sports heroes. It takes years to build up a reputation in Boston and only seconds to destroy it. You need only look at Johnny Damon and Roger Clemens to get your proof of that. Both were beloved Red Sox fans who left the team and wound up hated for their decisions. Now Curt Schilling hasn’t elected to join the Yankees, which would doom him, but neither has he done enough recently to remain relevant in the eyes of the fans. Schilling’s one good year was 2004. He was up there in the Cy Young voting and was a postseason hero for his actions during game 1 of the ALDS, game 6 of the ALCS, and game two of the World Series. Unfortunately for him, he went on to do very little after that. In 2005 he was hampered by injury and an only semi-successful stint as our closer. 2006 was a lost season, so it doesn’t really matter how well he did. 2007 was more injuries and an unmemorable postseason. In truth, Schilling hasn’t been relevant in 5 years. Red Sox fans can shrug off what happened five years ago without a care, especially after winning a second World Series and a division title.
All in all, Schilling is neither qualified nor relevant enough to get Red Sox fans to vote for him. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s just another shortsighted and slightly insulting tactic from our friends the Republicans.