BOSTON - No paint, no ink, no ketchup.
Nothing but Curt Schilling's blood was seeping through his socks in the 2004 postseason, current and former Red Sox players said yesterday after the resurfacing of a rumor that the pitcher milked his injury for drama while helping Boston end its 86-year title drought.
On Wednesday, Baltimore announcer Gary Thorne said during his broadcast of the Red Sox-Orioles game that Boston backup catcher Doug Mirabelli admitted that the drama had been a hoax.
"It was painted," Thorne said. "Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR."
Thorne backed off yesterday after talking to Mirabelli before the Red Sox played the Orioles. Thorne said Mirabelli had been joking.
"He said one thing, and I heard something else," Thorne said. "I reported what I heard and what I honestly felt was said.
"Having talked with him today, there's no doubt in my mind that's not what he said, that's not what he meant. He explained that it was in the context of the sarcasm and the jabbing that goes on in the clubhouse. I took it as something serious, and it wasn't."
Mirabelli confirmed the story, saying: "He knows that I believe 100 percent that I thought the sock had blood on it. It never crossed my mind that there wasn't blood on that sock. If he misinterpreted something said inside the clubhouse, it's unfortunate."
Mirabelli said he spoke with Thorne in the Boston clubhouse about six months after the 2004 playoffs.
"As he was walking away," Mirabelli said, "he asked, 'How about the bloody sock?' I said, 'Yeah, we got a lot of publicity out of that,' and that was all he can recall me saying," Mirabelli said. "He said he assumed what I meant was that the sock was fake and that it was just a publicity stunt. That by no means is what I meant. There was never a doubt in mind there was blood on the sock."
After an ankle injury hampered Schilling in Game 1 of the '04 American League Championship Series against New York, team doctors jury-rigged a tendon in his right ankle to keep it from flopping around. With blood seeping through his sock, the pitcher came back in Game 6 to beat the Yankees.
The Red Sox completed an unprecedented comeback from a deficit of three games to none to reach the World Series, and team doctor Bill Morgan repeated the procedure before Schilling's Game 2 start against St. Louis. The Red Sox beat the Cardinals en route to a four-game sweep and their first world championship since 1918.
The suggestion that Schilling faked the injury to get attention has cropped up before, including in a GQ magazine article that cited an anonymous Red Sox player as its source.