By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A Red Sock comeback

Let the DNA testing begin!

The biggest loser in the controversy over whether that was blood or paint on Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame sock may be Tim Wakefield. Why? Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne says it was Doug Mirabelli who told him it was paint. Mirabelli vehemently denies it. But it strikes me as more likely that Mirabelli shot his mouth off and now is horrified by what he said than it is that Thorne simply made it up. Depending on how Thorne handles the aftermath of his on-the-air comments last night, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wakefield’s personal catcher run out of town.

Schilling fans please note: I’m not saying it was paint. Given what we know — that Schilling underwent temporary surgery to hold the tendon in place in his badly damaged ankle so that he could pitch in the 2004 postseason — then the weight of the evidence would suggest that it was, indeed, blood. (If you’ve got a strong stomach, look at this.)

Gordon Edes has the details in today’s Globe, and Edes’ story is currently number one on’s “Most Popular Stories” list. Unfortunately, the hometown Baltimore Sun sheds little light on the subject today (other than to remind us that one of its own then-columnists raised the same question in 2004), running a story that credits the Globe.

This is too big to go away. Thorne and Mirabelli are both going to have to account for themselves. And even if Thorne is telling the truth about Mirabelli, he can’t justify casually passing along such an explosive accusation without making any effort to verify it.

As Bruce Allen writes, “Based on the reaction within the story from Red Sox players and management, this bears watching, and Thorne will likely find himself at the center of attention today.”

More: Why did the great Jim Palmer just sit there and say nothing? Oh, sorry — he said, “Yeah.”

Still more: Thorne now says it was all a “misunderstanding,” according to the Sun. I doubt it. But if that’s what it takes to put an end to this, fine.

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  1. Steve

    Don’t need DNA testing. The sock is in the Hall of Fame. Test it for the presence of blood if you must.My take is that Mirabelli said something in jest, and Thorne took it as serious. BTW, Mirabelli already accounted for himself in the linked Edes article, no? It’s Thorne that hasn’t said anything further on the matter.You say Thorne “can’t justify casually passing along such an explosive accusation without making any effort to verify it.” What, you think he’s an actual journalist? He’s just a sports guy. He makes his living through shoddy reporting. (tongue only half in cheek)

  2. Anonymous

    Dan – Mirabelli run out of town over this? Please! I think Theo’s comment in his email to Edes says it best.

  3. man who's a red sox fan

    Edes’ article says that Mirabelli angrily denies even making a joke; he says Thorne is completely making this up.I just don’t see this being a huge deal, though. The blood is too plausible…most people have had some point in their life when they’ve been bleeding a little and didn’t even realize it. Perhaps while gardening, or doing work around the house.I think Mirabelli needs to worry more about the fact that Wakefield, despite his incredible contributions over the years, is definitely showing his age. With all the young arms the Sox have, I think it’s a real question mark that Wake will still be around next year…and Mirabelli’s numbers don’t justify him as much of anything BUT Wake’s personal catcher.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Sorry, but Mirabelli is going to have to deal with this again once Thorne is heard from. Thorne is going to have to give a detailed explanation — he can’t just fling this out there and walk away from it.

  5. Anonymous

    Dan – Yes he can. Man Who’s a Red Sox Fan – Have you actually watched Wakefield pitch this season????

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Yeah, I saw Wakefield pitch the other night. I thought he looked pretty good … until he didn’t.

  7. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    It is taken on 100 percent faith, by reporters who should know better, that it was a sock bloodied by “leakage” from a suture. I haven’t seem much about whether or not, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, is is likely that the sock did in fact leak in the fashion claimed — Schilling’s stirrup seems to have covered the area of the incision, yet the blood seemed to be more toward the front of the foot. Nobody seems to have compared the sock-stain to the point of incision. I can’t recall seeing photos of the sock by itself, or pictures of the sock as it appears in the Hall of Fame, so it’s hard to say if the blood stain matches the story or of the sock as it appears now is a color consistent with dried blood.Whether the blood is real, fake or enhanced isn’t as important at this point as the simple fact that reporters just swallowed what they were told on blind faith.It is interesting, and perhaps instructive, that Schilling’s response to Thorne is very similar to his response to Linda Vescey who was excoriated for doing her job and asking questions about the sock back in 2004.Of Thorne he said “There are some bad people in your line of work, man.” Of Vescey he said “…she’s a bad person … There are a lot of her in that industry … People with so little skill in their profession that they need to speculate, make up, fabricate, to write something interesting enough to be printed…”A similar vein can be seen in Schilling’s comments on Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe; he doesn’t like what he reads so he attacks: “Putting his inherent ‘toolness’ on display for all the world to see did far more than I could ever hope to do by trying to explain what a dope he is.”I am always wary of anyone who responds to criticism or skepticism by resorting to name-calling, but then I came of age during Watergate and continue to be amazed by the ‘one story fits all’ approach of the modern media.It was good to see the doomed tabloid completely beaten on the story, however.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Amused: “Inherent toolness” is one of the great phrases to be coined in quite some time. Personally, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use it. Schilling’s certainly a better writer than I am a pitcher.In researching this item, I couldn’t find Linda Vescey’s column. But I did find George Vescey’s in the New York Times. He wrote that the stain appeared to be blood or disinfectant, which seems reasonable.

  9. Anonymous

    Wakefield’s last start was his weakest this season, but he still pitched well enough to win (only 3 earned runs). Overall he’s been spectacular. ~ ~ I think the main thing to keep in mind re: the sock is, nobody cares but a bunch of geeks. That’s why Palmer didn’t have much to say about it – he doesn’t care. It’s not about baseball. Schilling pitched remarkably well under the circumstances and endured a lot of pain in helping the Red Sox win. Who cares about the stupid sock?

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 2:11: You’re kidding, right? The bloody sock was one of the great Boston sports stories of all time. No, Schilling wasn’t faking the injury or the surgery, but if he was faking the blood, of course that would take away from the legend. Not that I believe he was.

  11. Anonymous

    No, I’m not kidding about the sock – I couldn’t care less. There’s no story here. He had no reason to fake the blood. The story is in what he did on the mound.I don’t even like the guy that much, frankly. But credit where credit is due.And I’m not kidding about Wakefield, either. Look at his numbers – he has the best ERA of the starters. In both his losses, he pitched amply well enough to win.

  12. Scott Allen Miller

    The blood stain on the sock in the Thorne claimed the fake stain was on the sock Schilling wore during Game 6 of the ALCS. The Hall of Fame sock is from World Series Game 2. It is now a brown color consistent with the color of dried blood on a white medium. (pix and analysis available on my blog). For Thorne not to be utterly full of crap, Schill would have faked the stain the first time but knew ahead of time that he wouldn’t need to fake the stain during the World Series because he knew he really was going to bleed. Ergo, Thorne is utterly full of crap.

  13. Anonymous

    Thorne said this happened “a couple years ago”. Ever think that something like he wandered into the clubhouse at some point, came across Schlling being teased about faking/painting whatever and Mirabelli made some smart ass comment of “of course it was PR” and promptly forgot about it? I mean, do you remember every joke and snarky comment you made years ago? I don’t even remember what jokes I told people last week!

  14. The Ten Angry Men

    Having heard the clip of Thorne, it sounds pretty clear that he never said or even implied he spoke to Mirabelli himself. It sounds exactly like a man repeating a rumor he had heard that he takes to be as fact. If so, how ironic, given the media’s main complaint against blogs is their tendency to spread uncorrorated rumors…

  15. man who's a red sox fan

    Yeah, I saw Wakefield pitch the other night. I thought he looked pretty good … until he didn’t.And that’s the problem with Wakefield. When he’s hot, he’s on fire. If he’s not hot, he’s giving up hits left and right. That’s the curse of the knuckleballer.I could live with that if Wakefield were in his late 20’s…but he’s not. He’s 40 years old and spent half of last season on the DL, and I have no doubt he’ll spend a hunk of this season on the DL, too. I’m sure Tavarez is counting on it. 🙂 (just kidding!)Don’t get me wrong, I think the Sox have a good thing going with Wakefield’s rolling one-year contracts at the moment. And Wakefield is a great presence in the clubhouse as a veteran to help guide the younger arms. But this discussion is about Mirabelli. As much as Wakefield and Mirabelli are joined at the hip, there’s little justification in keeping Mirabelli around if Wakefield is on the DL or retires.Certainly last season showed that Doug’s weak bat is an imperfect substitute for Varitek at best. (although admittedly Varitek’s bat ain’t so great this season either) And I’ve heard that George Kottaras is shaping up to be a good prospect considering he’s, what? 23? Mirabelli starts lookin’ mighty shaky with that.

  16. Anonymous

    yo, scotto, speaking of frauds, don’t you think you should credit Kim Knox Beckius whose copyrighted picture of the bloody sock you used rather than leading everyone to your blog and pretending it’s yours?

  17. Anonymous

    Thorne has backed off his statement, calling it a misunderstanding.,0,3392934.story?coll=bal-sports-baseball

  18. mike_b1

    Would this be a story if Schilling hadn’t pitched well and the Red Sox hadn’t won the game/series?

  19. Dan Kennedy

    No, Mike, it wouldn’t. It also wouldn’t be a story if Schilling had never been born. Welcome back.

  20. mike_b1

    Mr. Sarcastic! I’m not really back yet. Still in China.

  21. Dan Kennedy

    Well, Wily Mo just hit a grand slam in the eighth to put the Sox ahead, 5-2. So good for him.

  22. Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but there was never any story here.

  23. The Arranger

    It all reminds me of the story in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four where an injured player asks the trainer to put plenty of mercurochrome on his cut, because it will look bad on color TV. Bob in Peabody

  24. Don

    2004? Get over it. Get back to grousing about Wily Mo.

  25. O-FISH-L

    The unbridled speculation here that Schilling may have faked a health crisis (or the severity of same) is absolutely disgusting and smacks of gutter politics in its worst form. Would Media Nation foster any speculation about the truthfulness of Elizabeth Edwards and her widely reported health problems, especially if some misinformed commentator originated it?Could it be that because of Schilling’s conservative politics and endorsement of President Bush in 2004, some in Media Nation are salivating at the thought of Boston’s most prominent “Bushie” being taken down? After all, 25+ comments on Media Nation is significant, never mind on a sports story. Dan, it seems that you aren’t a big fan of Mirabelli. Just wondering (in all seriousness) if this has anything to do with reports of his inexcusable treatment of WBZ-AM’s locker room reporter Jon Miller? Also, if you know, what exactly did Mirabelli say or do to Miller? I’ve googled it and only gotten vaguities, but I specifically recall that many of the WEEI boys thought the situation contributed to Mirabelli being bounced out of here the first time.

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