Yankee fans who have spent the first month of this season hating Javier Vazquez, prepare to feel very, very dirty.
Curt Schilling shares your opinion that there's no chance Vazquez will be a major contributor to the team this season. Since your average Yankee fan would be more likely to throw gasoline than water on Schilling if he was on fire, it's probably a good bet that they don't like finding themselves sharing a bed with Mr. Bloody Sock when it comes to disliking the work turned in by a guy wearing pinstripes.
He went public with his belief during a radio interview on Monday when he called Vazquez "a phenomenal National League pitcher."
That might sound like a compliment, but it's actually the baseball equivalent of saying that a high school senior really knows his multiplication tables.
It's a bit funny that Schilling would slag a guy for pitching well in the NL since it is the league where he did most of his best work as a big league pitcher. That said, it's hard to argue with the disparity between the two leagues or with the impression that Vazquez is pitching like he's intimidated by the hitters in the AL. There are plenty of arguments to be made for why Vazquez could still turn in a respectable season, from his peripheral numbers to his history, but they are a waste of time at this point. He has to pitch better to stop the chorus of voices telling him he can't survive.
Schilling also touched on the other popular trope being trotted around these days, the one about Vazquez not being mentally capable of handling New York.
"Vazquez thrived in Montreal and he thrived in Atlanta, and those are both second-tier cities from a baseball passion perspective. He's not a guy that I've ever felt was comfortable in the glow."
If there's one thing Schilling is certainly familiar with it is how to be comfortable in the glow. One imagines he spends every second he's not in the glow desperately trying to find it lest he actually feel or think something that doesn't get shared with the entire world. Or, at least, with the entire state of Massachusetts.
After all, why would a guy trying to carve out a role for himself as a baseball talking head choose to talk trash about a Yankee pitcher when the entire Red Sox pitching staff has been turning in Vazquez-esque performances this season. Vazquez might cost the Yankees a chance at a 100-win season, but having one bad starter is a much nicer problem to deal with than having one decent starter. Schilling's thoughts would be interesting on this front, but much easier to rip a guy from the Yankees than do anything that might make anyone in the Commonwealth spit out their chowder and question Schilling's wisdom on all things.
Anyway, back to the Yankee fans who may be traumatized by this experience. Learn from it, grow from it and the next time Vazquez takes the mound in the Bronx give him a lusty cheer. You might not believe he can do it, but do you really want to be in lockstep with Curt Schilling? Look deep inside yourself and find the right answer to that question.