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Title: Wild Pitches - Revenge of the Week

Source: ESPN.com, May 18th, 2001

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Friday, May 18

Wild Pitches
By Jayson Stark

Revenge of the week

When some guys hit two home runs in a game, they say it was because they kept their front shoulder tucked, they just happened to get good wood on the ball or, if they really get creative, it was "just one of those nights." 

Suffice it to say you'll never see a quote like that in Week in Review. Because there are men like Phillies center fielder Doug Glanville. 

Last Friday, he hit two home runs against his former teammate, Curt Schilling, in Schilling's first start against the Phillies since they traded him last July.

Doug Glanville and Travis Lee will remain happy teammates as long as they stay away from the video games.

Now the previous four men to hit two homers in a game off Schilling were Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza and Barry Bonds. So it's not as if just anybody can step up there and do it. 

And how did Doug Glanville explain this performance? This is what he told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover minutes after he and the Phillies had dealt Schilling his first loss of the year: 

"Curt's a friend of mine," Glanville said. "We used to play video games together. He killed one of my characters one time. I never forgot that." 

This, folks, is why Doug Glanville is one of our favorite Americans. But it seemed to us that there clearly was more to this saga -- something deep and painful, something tragic and powerful. We went digging for the full story. 

As Glanville remembers this poignant tale, he and Schilling were playing a computer game called "EverQuest" -- an online version of Dungeons and Dragons. 

"One day," Glanville told Week in Review, "Schill was playing his character, Cylc" -- whom Glanville described as "a dwarven Cleric," whatever that is -- "and he asked me to team up with him in Faydwer, in the zone of the Butcherblock Mountains, to kill Aviaks, which are basically walking birds." 

Hang with us here, friends. There will be a baseball point coming. "My good-natured character, Bingbong," -- whom Glanville described as "a dwarven Paladin," whatever that is -- "was at a little lower level (in status) than his," Glanville said. "So Cylc was better able to withstand the return attacks. Nevertheless, we attack." 

So there they were, battling away against those dastardly Aviaks. Suddenly, Glanville began to hear the sound of bones breaking. He quickly deduced those bones belonged to his beloved Bingbong. He looked around for Schilling's guy, Cylc, for assistance.

Oops. No Cylc anywhere in the neighborhood.

"Somewhere in there," Glanville recalled, "he had sent a message to me, saying, 'RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.' But he typed this as he was already a mile away from danger and standing next to the guards that protect him. Needless to say, my lifeless character was now chicken feed." 

Little did Schilling know this would some day lead to him giving up two home runs to Glanville in a giant airplane hanger in Arizona. But it's true. 

"I vowed revenge on the soul of Bingbong," Glanville said, "for the negligent actions of Cylc." 

And boy, did Schilling ever pay for Cylc's crimes. 

But how do we know this was just an isolated occurrence? Suppose many a big game on the diamond can be explained by isolated acts of violence on a computer screen? This is stuff you never hear about from Miller and Morgan. But it happens, Glanville said. 

"Not enough attention is paid to the off-the-field motivators that create nasty on-field grudges," Glanville revealed. "I believe video atrocities top the list. Curt Schilling assassinated my lovable Dwarf Paladin in EverQuest, happily smiling as his character stood in the safety of the town guards. That can create serious internal friction. 

"I believe we need to analyze some of the video atrocities committed on PlayStation2 or Dreamcasts, or even the Commodore 64, if we need to go back that far. Teammates play each other all the time on these platforms in baseball simulations, football and other head-to-head games. This creates all kinds of bad blood when the winner is not as gracious as he could be." 

Until now, those games may have seemed like just innocent diversions. Now, however, we know different. 

"I'm of the theory," Glanville said, "that this could be a key explanation as to why some players have tremendous success against certain other players. Like Todd Helton against Bobby Jones (10-for-16, 3 HR). Or Mike Redmond against Tom Glavine (16-for-25). 

"Maybe Glavine beat Redmond in Madden Football, 73-0, and poured Gatorade over himself after the victory. Maybe when Bobby Jones was losing to Helton in NBA Live, he 'accidentally' knocked the cord out of the wall, claiming it was a 'power-surge problem.' We don't know these things, do we?" 

No, we have no idea, because until now, we've foolishly confined our baseball analysis to things that happened only in real life. Now we understand that on those computer and video screens, there exists a world within a world. And we'd better investigate that world, too, if we want to continue providing incisive baseball commentary. 

And we know this because of one baseball game in Arizona last weekend and one honest, incisive ballplayer named Doug Glanville. 

We've been unable to get a comment from Schilling on these events. But at this point, Glanville says, that doesn't matter, anyway. All that matters is the on-field ramifications. 

"Schill has to live with what he has done," Glanville said. "He can tell whatever story he wants, but the facts are the facts. Bingbong was set up, led to an untimely death in the prime of his life for no other reason than pure malice. Things like that do not go unavenged. Sometimes it spills out onto the field of play." 

And if it ever does again, you know you can count on Week in Review to be right on the scene -- to thoroughly confuse you more than we already have.

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