Bullington: Thorney situation for Schilling, Red Sock

 By: Bruce Bullington, GreensboroSports.com staff writer
There is an adage in journalism about the reporter never being part of the story. Often, the journalist in question looks without leaping and is the story (see Imus, Don). Other times reporters inadvertently find themselves in the middle with an innocent comment.

The latter situation applies today to Gary Thorne.

For those that don’t know, Thorne is a veteran play-by-play man who has worked for years on ESPN, been the play-by-play man for the New York Mets, New Jersey Devils and recently was hired by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network to handle the same duties for the Baltimore Orioles.

During the fifth inning of the Orioles-Red Sox game on April 25, Thorne and color analyst Jim Palmer, himself a veteran broadcaster and baseball Hall-of-Famer, were discussing Boston starter Curt Schilling’s prickly relationship with the media.

Schilling, who pitched for the Greensboro Hornets in the 1980’s and briefly pitched for the Orioles, prefers to shun the baseball writers in lieu of posting thoughts on his blog (38pitches.com). The conversation then turned to Schilling’s infamous “bloody sock” in the 2004 American League Championship Series.

Thorne:”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. Nah. It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR.”

It’s not news that some have suspected that Schilling painted the sock. In fact GQ quoted a former Schilling teammate who said that it was faked. Schilling is reported to have a flair for the dramatic and a nose for the camera, so much so that former Phillies manager Jim Fergosi dubbed him “Red Light Curt”.

What makes this so different is that Thorne cited a source, backup catcher Doug Mirabelli. Mirabelli spent last season with the San Diego Padres before returning to Boston this past season.

For his part, Mirabelli told the Boston Globe that it’s a “straight lie”. Other Red Sox personnel offered up equally strong denials.

Since baseball beat writers don’t usually cover the games from their television sets, most were not privy to Thorne’s comments. In the Baltimore Sun’s coverage of the story this morning, they had not actually heard the comments themselves and had to qualify Thorne’s comments as “alleged”.

We here at greensborosports.com checked the popular video site youtube.com to see if anyone had uploaded the video. To our surprise, they had not. Most of the talking heads and writers were covering the story without having actually heard the comments.

Fortunately, we were able to help. It so happens we archive several major league games a week for research purposes, and we were rolling on the former Greensboro hurler’s start against the local American League team just in case something historic happened.

We uploaded the video to YouTube and informed the Baltimore Sun of it. However, after a few days, MLB Advanced Media had the video removed for copyright infringement issues. We believe this removal was incorrect and that the uploading the video consituted “fair use” However, we found another host for the footage at Daily Motion, which is located in France. Click here to see the video of the comments in question.

The video is rather telling. Rather than announcing his big scoop, Thorne simply mixes it into casual conversation. He treats this as if its public knowledge rather than the bombshell the rest of the media has portrayed it as.

The Baltimore Sun has since added a link of our video to their coverage and sent us an email thanking us for our contribution.

Thorne is a pros-pro and I’m inclined to believe that he did not simply make this up. It’s possible that it’s some sort of misunderstanding, but either way this continues to add to the lore of the “bloody sock”.

And now greensborosports.com is a small part of that lore.