Did ESPN Purposely Cut Curt Schilling From The Red Sox ’30 For 30′ Documentary?

Curt Schilling took to Twitter to question his disappearance from the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the 2004 MLB American League Championship Series that aired yesterday on the worldwide leader in sports.

The “Four Days in October” program, which was broadcast on ESPN2 after a college softball game, chronicled the Boston Red Sox’s stunning and unprecedented comeback from an 0-3 deficit to beat the New York Yankees 4-3 and then go on to win the World Series.

In eliminating 12 minutes from the re-airing of the documentary, ESPN left out Schilling’s famous “bloody sock” outing in Game 6, in which despite an ankle injury, he pitched seven innings and gave up only one run, culminating in a win-or-go-home 4-2 victory over the Bronx Bombers.

Schilling, 49, was fired fired about two weeks ago from the sports network, where he was part of the Monday Night Baseball crew, after posting an anti-transgender meme to his Facebook page in connection with the North Carolina bathroom law. Former Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden was tapped to replace Schilling in the booth. Last year, Schilling was benched from ESPN’s marquee Sunday Night Baseball as well as Baseball Tonight after a controversial tweet comparing Muslim extremists to Nazis, for which he apologized.

Coincidentally, the Red Sox last night completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees in Fenway Park in a game broadcast on Sunday Night Baseball, Curt Schilling’s former platform. The team has now moved into first place in the American League East.

The right-leaning righty pitcher suggested on Twitter that the 30 for 30 editing decision was suspicious. “Not surprisingly, Schilling didn’t take kindly to his former employer’s latest slap in the face, and he used the network’s slanted coverage of the Patriots’ Deflategate controversy and Tom Brady to make his point,” WEEI.com noted.

In a statement, ESPN offered this explanation about the omission of the Schilling game, the Washington Post reported.

“When a live event runs long, it’s standard procedure to shorten a taped program that follows. 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.”

Bad blood, as it were, exists between Schilling and his former employer, at least on the Schilling end.

After he was terminated, Curt Schilling gave a series of radio interviews in which he claimed that the network is a hotbed of racism and accused ESPN executives of a double standard when applying their corporate no-politics policy. “I think a lot of what happened was very discriminatory. Like I said, if I had made a liberal point of view, I don’t think this would have ever happened,” he insisted about his dismissal.

A post-season hero and possible MLB Hall of Fame candidate, Schilling retired from professional baseball with a win-loss record of 216-146 with more than 3,000 strikeouts and a career 3.46 ERA. The former member of the Philadelphia Phillies is a three-time World Series champion (2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox), before joining ESPN as a baseball commentator in 2010. He is also a throat cancer survivor as well as the owner of a now-bankrupt video game company.

“It was a glaring absence for sure. Schilling’s performance in Game 6 – delivered with a surgically altered tendon in his ankle that led to him bleeding through the stitches and his sock – is iconic. But was there more to it than puzzling editing?…It was a glaring omission, but one that probably – probably — came from practicality rather than any pettiness and desire undermine a recently fired employee,” Boston.com observed.

“Schilling has a lot of critics, but it’s tough to argue with him here. How can you air a documentary about the Red Sox’s performance in the 2004 ALCS and leave out ‘the bloody sock game?’ That may have been the most memorable game in the series,” Yahoo! Sports added.

Do you think that time constraints as a result of its coverage of a live softball game was the reason why ESPN edited out the Curt Schilling “bloody sock” sequence from the 30 for 30 documentary about the Red Sox-Yankees 2004 ALCS?

[Photo by Winslow Townson/AP]