Curt Schilling was recently fired by ESPN in large part because of his frequent social-media activity, specifically controversial memes and comments shared by the former pitcher. So when reports circulated online that ESPN had cut Schilling’s memorable “bloody sock” performance in the 2004 ALCS from its Sunday airing of a “30 for 30” documentary about that Red Sox-Yankees showdown, it was no surprise to see him weigh in quickly, and strongly.
Apparently Schilling also thinks that ESPN counts among the reasons Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game suspension reinstated by a federal court. But what set him off Sunday was hearing that the evening’s telecast of “Four Days in October,” ESPN’s 2010 documentary about Boston’s stunning comeback from a 3-0 deficit against New York to reach, and eventually win, the World Series, was missing his crucial Game 6 performance.
“Four Days in October” zeroes in on the four games in which the Red Sox stormed back from 3-0 down, the first MLB team to ever do so. Schilling was slated to start Game 6, despite suffering a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle that required an unusual medical procedure to patch up enough to let him play.
As the game wore on, Schilling’s white sock became noticeably stained with blood just above his shoe, and he had some visible trouble moving fluidly, but he pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one run and helping Boston to a season-saving 4-2 win. Along with Dave Roberts’s stolen base in Game 4 and David Ortiz’s two walk-off hits, Schilling authored one of the most memorable moments of that, or any, postseason series.
The recounting of that performance, and Game 6 in general (including Alex Rodriguez knocking a ball out of reliever Bronson Arroyo’s glove), takes up about 17 minutes of the original version of the hour-and-five-minute-long documentary. ESPN apparently wanted to trim “Four Days in October,” which aired on ESPN2 after an Arizona-Oregon softball game and was likely timed to precede a live Red Sox-Yankees telecast on the main channel, down to fit into an hour-long time slot, with commercials.
“When a live event runs long, it’s standard procedure to shorten a taped program that follows,” an ESPN spokesman told The Post. “In this case, we needed to edit out one of the film’s four segments to account for the extra length of the softball game.”
Was it just a coincidence, though, that the segment taken out happened to feature a player-turned-analyst who just parted ways with ESPN under acrimonious circumstances? At the very least, the optics of that don’t look great for the network.
Schilling, meanwhile, was more than ready to let ESPN, and his 152,000 Twitter followers, know of his disdain for the editing choice.