Back in 2004, someone noticed that Curt Schilling’s right sock was soaked with blood during the second game of the World Series. He had just undergone surgery to repair a ruptured tendon. Something was wrong. As television cameras zoomed in on the blood seeping through his sock, a sportscaster commented that it looked like the Shroud of Turin. And thousands upon thousands of baseball fans wondered what he was talking about.

Back then, journalists usually avoided allusions to the shroud for fear that their readers had never heard of the shroud. Or perhaps, it was, that the journalist had never heard of it. But these days we see allusions almost every day: Rick Perry has wrapped himself in the shroud, one reporter told us. A caddy did not. But would golfing fans have noticed if he had? Yesterday, a reporter wrote, “In a press release that I have scrutinized like the Shroud of Turin to make sure it is not a fake . . . .”

The Shroud is now very famous. It has taken five years for Ray Rogers’ theory about the carbon dating to gain widespread acceptance. It has taken even longer for skeptics to realize that they, like everyone else, can’t explain how the images were formed.  But in trying and looking very foolish they have provided good publicity. We must thank them when we meet them.

Allusion are good – well, almost always.

The picture is from a display in the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.