Baseball: Schilling’s retired; will Smoltz step up as new Red Sox go-to guy?

Curt Schilling (AP)

RETIRED: Curt Schilling (AP)

As Red Sox Nation mourns the loss of gutsy starting pitcher / World Series winning “Curse” breaker / Bloody Sock legend / fan favorite Curt Schilling (to retirement) at age 42 after 23 years of gritty play on the diamond and blunt, sometimes controversial commentary off it, those of us among the Braves Faithful feel their pain – somewhat.

After all, it was to Boston that we lost our own gritty, gutsy, oft-controversial, play-through-the-pain go-to guy, John Smoltz, this January.

WHY THEY’LL MISS SCHILLING

  • WIN-WIN-WIN SITUATIONS: Schilling won a World Series with Arizona in 2001 and with Boston in 2004 and 2007.
  • THE CURSE REVERSED: In his first year in Boston in 2004, he helped the team win its first World Series in 86 years, pitching Game 2 of a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals after a surgical procedure to suture a loose tendon in his right ankle and with blood seeping through his sock. The sock is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But we here in Atlanta know that the Red Sox and their fans shouldn’t miss a step with Smoltzie wearing No. 29 for Boston.

The guy only went from starter to closer for the Braves in 2001 after coming back from Tommy John surgery and… posted an NL record 55 saves in the process. Then he returned to a starting role four years later. We’re just saying.

John Smoltz (AP)

REVAMPED: John Smoltz (AP)

WHY THEY’LL LOVE SMOLTZ

  • THE K FACTOR: Smoltz is only the third player to record 3,000 strikeouts while pitching for the same team.
  • FLEXIBILITY: After undergoing major arm surgery in 2000, Smoltz made the transition from starting pitcher to closer. He finished the 2002 season with an NL record 55 saves, and followed that with 49 saves in 2003.
  • HARDWARE HISTORY: He won the NL’s 1996 Cy Young Award with a 24-8 record. Plus a World Series ring in 1995.
  • JUST THE STATS: He’s an eight-time All-Star selection with one World Series title (1995) and has pitched in 24 postseason series with a 2.65 overall ERA.
Braves fans AND Sox fans, tell us where you think John Smoltz will fit into the scheme of things for Boston with Curt Schilling retired: Will Smoltzie be able to help carry the BoSox in the same way he did the Braves for so many years or will a younger pitcher need to step up?

43 comments Add your comment

JRM

March 23rd, 2009
12:42 pm

He’ll fit right in, in their pocket that is, he went there for money and that’s what he’ll get. He should quit blaming the Braves and take a little responsibility. He didn’t have to take a deal several months for Spring Training but he chose to so I hope he enjoys the cash and a tarnished legacy.

Eware

March 23rd, 2009
12:42 pm

Who’s John Smoltz?

youandme

March 23rd, 2009
12:51 pm

Are you kidding? Schilling wasn’t under contract with Red Sox for 2009. That’s why he retired. He was never part of their plans this year.
Boy, for a sports blog, this one is lacking in substance and facts.

Derek Lowe Down

March 23rd, 2009
12:52 pm

MOVE ON!!!!!!!!!! SMOLTZ NO LONGER PLAYS IN ATLANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Len

March 23rd, 2009
12:55 pm

Exactly right, Smoltz went for the cash, nobody to blame but himself. Fran Wrens is the Chauncy Gardener of GMs. Smoltz, Fercal and Griffy are all worn out, old players are just not worth what they used to be.

TPM

March 23rd, 2009
12:55 pm

John Smoltz will have plenty of time to talk since he is not ready to pitch. Maybe he can talk about how he fell off the mound and hurt his shoulder in 2007 in Milwaukee and then proceeded to steal money from The Braves last year. Schilling also stole money last year so they both have a lot in common.

Darren

March 23rd, 2009
12:58 pm

As a long time Braves fan I can say that Smoltzie is a the most prolific Brave since Hank Aaron, and Braves fans will miss his class and leadership dearly. Enjoy him Red Sox fans he’s just what you needed to fill the void where Schilling left off…

bushwacker

March 23rd, 2009
12:58 pm

It was not about the money, SMOLTZ wants to pitch in the World Series and he did not see the happening in ATL.

DH Dawg

March 23rd, 2009
1:01 pm

Smoltz gave up tens of millions to stay with the Braves as long as he did. This had to do more with earned respect, and If ANYONE has ever earned the benefit of the doubt from the Braves, it is Smoltz. Seriously, if you’re basing feelings of resentment toward Smoltz based on the word of the Braves laughingstock executives, you’re a fool. If any of you naysayers were in the same position as Smoltz, you probably would’ve bolted solely for the money 10 years ago.

Tara

March 23rd, 2009
1:02 pm

I am really tired of reading about John Smoltz. He is not a brave and I dont really care how he fits into the Red Sox organization. I really with the ATLANTA Journal would report on ATLANTA and stop running articles about the Mets, Cubs, Sox and another other club they can stick out there. How about sticking with our club and report on our BRAVES HUH?

Oh by the way, John Smoltz wont pitch for the Sox. His arm and shoulder are done. He wont help them his year. Hes done and should have retired a Brave. But he wanted something the Braves could not give him. A contract for 1 month of the season in the millions. Sorry Smoltzy, we needed players who would get us to the playoffs, not a player who would be ready for the playoffs.

timthebrave

March 23rd, 2009
1:03 pm

The braves will definitely be in the mix bushwacker, he went after the money….believe it. Not that I blame him but don’t act like it was for anything but money

Bell

March 23rd, 2009
1:09 pm

I really wish Frank would have said see ya to Glavine too. Do we really think Glavine as a 5th starter would be better then Hanson. I dont. Just sticking our future ace back in the minors to do nothing but wait.

TPM

March 23rd, 2009
1:10 pm

Tara – Thank You for telling it like it is. Now please tell hometown discount Tom Glavine and his 4 2/3 innings a start act to take Ga 400 North.

Braves 82

March 23rd, 2009
1:12 pm

Face it, Smoltz gave and gave to the Braves. He took much less a few times to stay here, and would’ve taken less again had the Braves been the least interested. So, anyone questioning his loyalty to the Braves is a moron. Also, anyone doubting his ability to come back from this injury will be proven wrong – again. He is a proven winner and we’ll miss him come the second half of the season.

Spud Webb

March 23rd, 2009
1:16 pm

lol, “smoltz took much less to stay in Atlanta all these years”. Classic, yea, I feel horrible for him & the MILLIONS he’s made. Cry me a freaking river. It was all John and the Braves never took care of him. When he was seeing a shrink in 2001 cause he couldn’t find the strike zone? The years he was hurt, arm injury after arm injury, yea, the braves didn’t support him at all.
I love how John spins it, that the orginazation is at fault. John, you had a choice, you left for more money. Goodbye, thanks for the years, end of story.

TPM

March 23rd, 2009
1:19 pm

Braves82 check back with us in October and tell the world what a mistake Frank Wren made. Don’t check back with us in April or May because Smoltz will not be ready yet.

Tami

March 23rd, 2009
1:24 pm

Love Smoltzie, but he’s part of the Braves’ past now. We Braves’ fans have our own reasons to be excited for this season! Didn’t know about Schill retiring until just now. Not too surprised.

orangesux

March 23rd, 2009
1:25 pm

Everyone is entitled to their opinion – even if you’re wrong.
Smoltz went to the BoSox because the Braves wouldn’t show the loyalty that he has shown the Braves over the years. He’s a winner and wants to win and that is evident in where he landed. He’s taken less to stay here and win in the past – don’t question his loyalty. Every once in a while – you’ve got to bite back on the dog that keeps biting you. The Braves always scream about how they won’t “overpay” for players… They certainly don’t mind underpaying them so they shouldn’t be surprised when they bolt.

timthebrave

March 23rd, 2009
1:34 pm

Don’t get me wrong I like Smoltz and wish he was still a brave. I think he will pitch ok for the Red Sox. I think he left for the money because the red sox offered way more than the braves could offer for the chance that he will be solid the second half of the season

oldmac

March 23rd, 2009
1:35 pm

Revisit this after Smoltz gets past his first 8-9 starts w/o breaking down for the year. Time will tell.

MK

Allyn

March 23rd, 2009
1:36 pm

Smoltz might do okay but with the age the younger generation will need to step up and lead the team.

Hartwell

March 23rd, 2009
1:40 pm

Frank Wren is the real culprit for letting Smoltz go. The Red Sox will love him. He is a gamer that steps up in the clutch.

Spud Webb

March 23rd, 2009
1:50 pm

Not true Hartwell. John Smoltz is the real culprit, he CHOOSE to leave.

Peter

March 23rd, 2009
1:58 pm

Braves in the Mix……….Yes they will fight for 3rd or 4th place…….. Really folks who actually wants to play here ? We are a corporation, not a baseball team.

Ownership care about the dollars, and not the end result. Smoltz got a way better deal then Atlanta would offer, PLUS he actually has a shot at a title !

Give it up Braves fans, this is yet another “rebuilding Year”……… and once Bobby Cox retires, things will change………. for the better ? Who Knows…..

ATLSoxFan

March 23rd, 2009
2:01 pm

I think the saying goes: “hate the game, not the player.” It’s a business folks and who wouldn’t want to play in a consistently sold out temple to baseball (Fenway)? Can you blame Smoltzie? Can’t wait until the Sox come to visit.

Harkle

March 23rd, 2009
2:01 pm

Smoltzie has been a great one for the Braves. There comes a time where you have to move on, and the Braves have a good tract record of knowing when to do that. I’m glad to see them getting a younger team. Oldmac is right, time will tell for Smoltzie!

Big B CH 99

March 23rd, 2009
2:11 pm

U don’t blame Smoltzie for leaving, it’s on Wren. Wren doesn’t believe that Smoltzie can pull another Rabbit out of his Hat one more time. As a Braves & Sox fan I think that he will fit in great in bean-town, the Sox are letting him rest b/c they want him for the playoffs, they don’t’ need him now.

Wren could have kept him, b/c Smoltzie could start this yr & then move back to the pen & spend a couple more yrs as a closer.

Old School

March 23rd, 2009
2:12 pm

I think Smoltz gives the AJC sports department a kick back for every story they have about him.

Hey AJC sportswriters (and I use the term very loosely) – the Braves moved out of Boston over 70 years ago – the team we care about is now in Atlanta. That also means the PLAYERS we care about also are in Atlanta. If you want to be his personal publicity department – MOVE TO THE NEW ENGLAND AREA, maybe the Boston Globe is hiring.

Mike

March 23rd, 2009
2:29 pm

He’ll cash the paychecks and stay on the DL most of the time.

Dave In Tampa

March 23rd, 2009
2:34 pm

Right on the nose DH Dawg. Braves did not show Smoltz any respect and practically handed him his hat and the door. I’ve been a Braves fan for a long time and the way Smoltz was handled was totaly disrespectful. New Executives need to get a clue. Don’t hate on Smoltz because your “feelings” are hurt. Bunch of babies that are on here whinning about Smoltz and taking the money. He will go into the HOF as a Brave the way it should be.

GBRAVE

March 23rd, 2009
2:45 pm

Hank Aaron
Phil Niekro
Dale Murphy
Tom Glavine
John Smoltz

The Braves have never been loyal to their great players, every one of them went someplace else late in their career.

Chipper will be no different, he will retire with another club.

David

March 23rd, 2009
2:46 pm

I think its funny how you all are acting. Smoltzy was the face of the braves for so many years. He dedicated everything he did to go out and try and win the World Series for us. If that entailed him doing bullpen work coming back from injury or teaching the rookie pitchers a thing or two along the way. Also, what about his community work within the state of Georgia?…I think it is rather rude the way most of you are bashing him. I am a diehard braves fan but to hate on him for going to the BoSox is dumb. We aren’t going to compete this year for division crown or wild card for that matter. Smoltzy is getting up there in age he wants one more shot before he calls it quits and does golf tours and tv broadcasting. Yeah, money is a bonus no doubt about it but the man has a good bit of money as it is and he does not seem to be the kind of person to base all of his decisions on the all mighty dollar. Wake up people. Red Sox nation got a great guy. Enjoy!

Chsamp3

March 23rd, 2009
3:07 pm

Interesting comments by all. There is plenty of blame to go around. But no matter the reason for his exit, I think as Braves fans we all agree it STINGS to see him with another team.

He is a surefire HOFer and he was OURS. Think about how many players in the history of the Atlanta Braves you could say that about?!?!

Mike in Savannah

March 23rd, 2009
3:34 pm

Wake up people… Smoltz left for one last chance at another ring. The Braves didn’t sign Lowe, Kawakami, Vasquez, or Anderson until after Smoltz signed with Boston.

BravesFan79

March 23rd, 2009
3:58 pm

Smoltz is still my favorite Brave ever…. and i cant wait to see him dominate in the postseason with the Sox. Go Braves, Go Red Sox!

Reality Time

March 23rd, 2009
4:38 pm

I don’t like or dislike Smoltz. I am just not interested anymore. If you have to fill up space, fill it up with someone in Atlanta.

datominator

March 23rd, 2009
4:46 pm

Sure, Smoltz wanted to make more money, don’t we all (and the guy’s getting divorced or has gotten divorced; alimony sucks – he’ll need the extra cash)? I don’t fault him for that. And Wren made a business decision that gambling on an over-the-hill starter coming back from serious surgery wasn’t a good bet – again, I don’t necessarily see that as a bad decision. You people need to get over the he said/he said crap and get behind the team as it will exist this season, or else figure out how to tune in to the Mets.

Smoltz Fan

March 23rd, 2009
5:33 pm

Schilling is a Big-Game pitcher and all that, be he AIN’T John Smoltz.

We miss you, Smoltzie!

Frank “Wrong Again” Wren = Buffoon

Braves Forever

March 23rd, 2009
10:27 pm

John Smoltz is and always will be a CLASS ACT! I don’t blame him for signing with Boston although I personally wish he would have stayed with our Braves. He certainly deserves more respect and loyalty than he received from Braves management.

varoadrunner

March 24th, 2009
8:31 am

My attitude really sucks when it comes to Smoltz. He coulod have easily retired right here in Atlanta, but as many of you have noted, he went for the money. As far as how he will do, his old joints will determine that. He is still Smoltz and will compete if the body will allow him to.

love and kisses Mr Smoltz.

Blindog

March 24th, 2009
9:30 am

After making what about 10 mil.last year for a hand full of innings, John should have given the Braves a return on last years money. He should have taken what Braves offered and said thank-you!

Rick in Dallas

March 24th, 2009
11:56 am

Really it is not hard to understand. Smoltz got divorced and most likely cost him 50% of his net worth. The stock market then took him down further . He needed a contract more than we want to believe. Also , does anyone know when he will pitch again?

George

March 26th, 2009
6:08 pm

you’ll miss me when I’m gone.