Outspoken Hurler Takes Aim at Ace Under Fire

He sounds convoluted talking about steroid whistle blower Jose Canseco, respectful of fellow pitcher Andy Pettitte's admission of HGH use and he always thought Barry Bonds is the same guy we all see in the media, for better or worse.

But when outspoken Boston Red Sox pitcher and blogger Curt Schilling set his sights on pitching legend Roger Clemens and allegations he injected steroids, the sports world got a real personal "insider's" analysis of the Mitchell Report on the use of steroids in baseball.

Wednesday, Schilling, an outstanding pitcher in his own right, wrote a 3,600-word cyberslam on his blog insisting that Clemens, his friend and former mentor, should mount an all-out attack to clear his name of the allegations or give up four of his seven coveted Cy Young pitching awards.

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And as anyone familiar with Schilling's "38 Pitches" blog — or his support for President Bush's 2004 presidential campaign — knows, the candid righty is as fearless in expressing popular and unpopular opinion as he is pitching in the postseason.

Schilling, after all, was the lone player subpoenaed to testify before Congress in the spring about steroids in the national pastime who was not a suspected user. He was an outspoken critic of the practice.

"Roger had a profound effect on my career from a very early point," Schilling, who broke into the bigs just a few years after Clemens, wrote as his jump-off on the man many have considered until now to be the most dominant pitcher in the history of the game — a camp Schilling once counted himself a part of.

"His 'undressing' of me and lecture were a major turning point," Schilling confessed about an early encounter with Clemens where he got the "Roger treatment."

But then the pitcher, replacing his baseball hat with a legal one, wondered why Brian McNamee, the trainer who followed Clemens from Toronto to New York and who implicated Clemens and Pettitte in the Mitchell Report, would lie about such a thing, when doing so could open him up to legal action by Clemens. This week in a statement released by his agent, Clemens publicly denied ever using steroids during his 25-year career.

"So as a fan my thought is that Roger will find a way in short order to organize a legal team to guarantee a retraction of the allegations made, a public apology is made and his name is completely cleared," Schilling posits. "If he doesn't do that there there aren't many options as a fan for me other than to believe his career 192 wins and 3 Cy Youngs he won prior to 1997 were the end."

It was around that time, 1997, according to the report, when Clemens' alleged doping involvement began when he pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the decade since, Clemens, now 45, has amassed 162 additional wins and four more Cy Young awards for a record-setting total of seven.

And to Schilling, who has been a Cy Young award runner-up and has "only" collected 216 career wins, if Clemens fails to clear his name legally, the four runners-up should step forward to rightfully claim Clemens' hardware. Schilling was not a runner-up on any of the last four awards Clemens won.

Schilling's blog has generated more than 400 comments in less than 24 hours since it was posted and the opinions, needless to say, vary widely. Flattering words and phrases like "wow," "thank you" and "guts" mingle with snipes like "ego," "blowhard" and "ketchup-stained sock."

The pitcher, who shares with Clemens an uncertainty about his place in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, predicted the firestorm of reaction in the second paragraph of the post.

"If you plan on writing some idiotic off the cuff rant slanted one way or another feel free to close the page now, it will be deleted," Schilling promised. "The opinion I am offering is mine and mine alone. Regardless of whether you view it as right or wrong it's my opinion from what some might call an insiders (sic) perspective."

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