Francona upset about players' comments on Bonds

Updated: May 9, 2007, 11:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Everyone has an opinion about Barry Bonds. Curt Schilling apologized after expressing his, the same day he was reprimanded by Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

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Jayson Stark
Stark
Appearing on Mike and Mike in the Morning, Jayson Stark said that he admires Curt Schilling for speaking his mind but saying things that are factually wrong is a problem. Listen Insider

"Everyone has days and events in life they'd love to push the rewind button on, yesterday was one of those days," Schilling wrote on his Web site, 38pitches.com. "Regardless of my opinions, thoughts and beliefs on anything Barry Bonds it was absolutely irresponsible and wrong to say what I did. I don't think it's within anyone's right to say the things I said yesterday and affect other peoples [sic] lives in that way.

"... As someone who's made it very clear I have major issues with members of the media that take little or no pride in their work it's the height of hypocrisy for me to say what I did, in any forum," he wrote. "I started this blog to give people a look into the life we live on and off the field, not to get into back and forths with people I don't like or have issues with. Doing that will only make this a rant filled no content bunch of words.

"... It was a callous, wreckless [sic] and irresponsible thing to say, and for that I apologize to Barry, Barry's family, Barry's friends and the Giants organization, my teammates and the Red Sox organization as well as anyone else that may have been offended by the comments I made," he wrote.

Schilling said during an appearance on sports radio WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan" show on Tuesday that Bonds doesn't deserve to break Hank Aaron's home run record.

"I mean, he admitted that he used steroids," Schilling said Tuesday. "I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think. Hank Aaron not being there. The commissioner [Bud Selig] trying to figure out where to be. It's sad.

"And I don't care that he's black, or green, or purple, or yellow, or whatever. It's unfortunate … there's good people and bad people. It's unfortunate that it's happening the way it's happening," he said.

Although Schilling wrote Wednesday that he had no excuse, he said the interview's early hour contributed to what he said.

"I'd love to tell you I was ambushed, misquoted, misinterpreted, something other than what it was, but I wasn't," he wrote. "I'm thinking that waking up at 8:30 a.m. to do the weekly interview we do with WEEI is probably not the greatest format and if you heard the interview it's not hard to realize that I'm usually awake about 30-45 seconds before it begins.

"That's still no excuse or reason to say what I did, or even answer the question that was asked. The question I was asked and the answer I gave yesterday affected a lot more people than just he and I. His wife, his children, his friends and his family were all affected by that, as were mine and my teammates," he wrote.

Schilling's Web site entry comes hours after Francona discussed both Schilling's remarks and an interview in which David Ortiz also talked about the San Francisco Giants slugger.

"When I got my 11th e-mail, my buzzer was going off on my phone, and I finally got on and checked it and realized that for a guy that doesn't talk much to the media, he sure does talk to the media," Francona said about Schilling during his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holly" show Wednesday.

When asked if he would suggest his players "just kind of dance around" the subject of Bonds, Francona said: "Or shut up."

"Yeah, I actually talked to Schill yesterday about it, and you know again, he's never been short on opinions, and so many of them are insightful, I just thought this was an area where you're better off just leaving it alone," Francona said. "And he didn't. And you know again, the problem is, it makes it tough for me, is that he comes to the ballpark and doesn't talk to the media so I'm left to kind of clean up the mess which I really don't feel like, but, again, I've been with Schill a long time. Nobody's more crazy about Schill than me. I just ask him to kind of zip it a little bit, and I think he will."

Ortiz had spoken supportively of Bonds to the Boston Herald, and Francona had a different take on his designated hitter's comments.

"I thought that was really different, in a different context," Francona said. "If a writer comes up and asks you a question and you go 'yeah,' all of a sudden it's big news. I felt bad yesterday 'cause after I saw the article, and then I saw the headline, which didn't even come close to being the article, and I thought that was very unprofessional on the paper's part. Then, we go through the whole day, and I've got a writer running in here from Toronto that comes in, and he's going to make a story. He goes, 'Yeah, Ortiz 'fessed up to taking steroids.' Well, that's ... David was kind of poking fun at himself and trying to be a good guy. That wasn't even remotely where that story was going, and I heard some things on TV today. Again, there's got to be some professionalism or things like this happen.

"It's a shame, and it makes our job a little more uncomfortable, and it paints David as not the person he is," Francona said. "And again, it's a guy that will give you a quote because he's good to the media, but I think when these things happen, it makes a guy step back and go, 'Hey, wait a minute, maybe I'm better not talking.' "

Ortiz had told the Herald that no one has proven Bonds knowingly used steroids or other performance-enhancing substances -- and even if it were proven, Ortiz isn't sure it has made a difference.

"To hit the ball, the guy makes it look easy, but it ain't. I don't know how you can have that swing, consistently. I don't know how steroids can do that," Ortiz told the Herald. "There are supposed to be guys using steroids in the game, and there's nobody close to Barry Bonds. What's that mean? He was using the best [stuff]? Know what I'm saying?

"... I don't look at it like that. I look at it hitting-wise, because I don't know what steroids can do to you as a baseball player. You've still got to swing the bat, man," Ortiz said. "If I ever use steroids, and then I know what the difference can be and I'm using them, I'll tell you, 'Yeah, whatever,' but I don't know what the feelings are when you use the steroids. But I can tell you how it feels to pull yourself together to swing the bat."

Ortiz also said that he isn't 100 percent certain he hasn't taken steroids himself. He told the Herald that when he was a young player in the Dominican Republic, he used to drink protein shakes for sale there but no longer does so because he can't be sure they don't include banned substances.

"I tell you, I don't know too much about steroids, but I started listening about steroids when they started to bring that [stuff] up, and I started realizing and getting to know a little bit about it," Ortiz told the Herald. "You've got to be careful. ... I used to buy a protein shake in my country. I don't do that any more because they don't have the approval for that here, so I know that, so I'm off of buying things at the GNC back in the Dominican. But it can happen anytime, it can happen. I don't know. I don't know if I drank something in my youth, not knowing it."

Bonds and the Giants are scheduled to visit Fenway Park for a June 15-17 interleague series. Ortiz told the Herald that Selig should commit to being on hand whereever and whenever Bonds breaks Aaron's major-league record of 755 home runs.

"He's just making things worse," Ortiz told the Herald. "He's the commissioner, there's nothing you can do about it. You can't be saying that. What are people going to think about the game? They'll be like, 'This game is a joke.' He should come, even if he doesn't want to."

Schilling wants no part of Bonds making history. If Bonds is at home run No. 754 and Schilling is pitching during the Giants' visit to Fenway, he won't be giving the slugger a pitch to hit.

"Not on purpose," he said, according to The Boston Globe. "Hell no. I don't want to be Al Downing [the pitcher who gave up Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run in 1974].

"I'm guessing they're going to try to make sure [the record-breaking home run] happens in San Francisco," Schilling said, according to the Globe.

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