While watching the O’s lose to Oakland on Tuesday afternoon, I marveled at Gary Thorne’s description of Roberto Alomar’s tenure in Flushing. “He was just terrible…he could neither hit nor catch the ball,” complained Thorne, in one of the more startling putdowns I’ve heard a broadcaster deliver to a probable Hall Of Famer. Not that it wasn’t true, for the most part, but Thorne’s tone was awfully dismissive. Anyhow, it turns out Gary was just getting started taking shots at the high and mighty, as the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes explains.
MASN’s Gary Thorne said on the air, while the Orioles were batting in the fifth, that he’d been told by Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli that was not blood, but paint, on the sock Schilling wore during Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. It was done for the public relations effect, Thorne said.
“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,” Thorne said to broadcast partner Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame pitcher, in a conversation that had begun with a discussion of Schilling’s blog.
“Nah,” Thorne said. “It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR. Two-ball, two-strike count.”
Palmer: “Yeah, that was the 2004 World Series [sic].” Thorne: “Yeah.”
During a break two innings later, Thorne confirmed that’s what he said, and that Mirabelli had told him so in a conversation “a couple of years ago.”
“Go ask him [Mirabelli],” Thorne said.
Mirabelli was shocked, then angry, when relayed Thorne’s comments.
“What? Are you kidding me? He’s [expletive] lying. A straight lie,” Mirabelli said. “I never said that. I know it was blood. Everybody knows it was blood.”
Sox manager Terry Francona, when first told of Thorne’s remarks, thought that perhaps Mirabelli had been having some fun with Thorne, that it was all a joke. But after Mirabelli angrily denied ever discussing the subject with Thorne — “I honestly don’t know who Gary Thorne is, that’s a straight lie” — Francona became agitated.
“What we’re going through today as a nation, you hate to use a word like heroic on the field, but what Schill did that night on the sports field was one of the most incredible feats I ever witnessed,” Francona said. “[Thorne’s remarks] go so far past disappointing. Disrespectful to Schill, to his vocation. I’m stunned.”
Keep in mind, this might not be the first time Doug Mirabelli said something in confidence that was made public.