Friday, June 22, 2012
CURT SCHILLING'S BIGGEST TEST
In a Los Angeles Times article back in February, Curt Schilling recalled a meeting
with his financial advisor who told him to find a post-season career that he could be
"Short of my baseball and my family, it was gaming," said Schilling. "And
gaming is a $20-million to $200-million effort. It's insane, stupid, and an
utterly irresponsible act. But I did it."
Just over three months and one spectacular business implosion later, those words by
Schilling are enough to make Bernie Madoff cringe. On Friday, during an interview on
WEEI in Boston, the Red Sox legend said he's financially "tapped out." Gone is
the fortune he amassed during a brilliant 19-year career. $50 million vaporized
quicker than you can say Antoine Walker or Mike Tyson.
Schilling's gaming company, 38 Studios, went belly-up. It laid off nearly 400 workers
and filed for bankruptcy. Audits and investigations will come, Rhode Island and its
taxpayers remain on the hook for the $75 million they loaned Schilling's company
for moving to their cash-strapped little state. Forget about the politics, this is a colossal
failure by an athlete who never experienced anything close to this as a major league
Schilling was one of those athletes who lived by the motto, "Failure is not an option."
Perhaps, it was that same ego and bravado that turned him into one of the best pitchers
in playoff history that also blinded him to the dangers of investing so much in a project
that had the same chance of succeeding as a Little Leaguer does in making it all the
way to the Major Leagues.
I can almost hear Allan Iverson responding to a question about someone blowing $50
million on video games, "We're talking about video games, man. Not real estate or
blue-chip stocks, but video games. We're talking video games, not municipal bonds,
but video games!
There are a lot of people who seem delighted with Schilling's demise. Take a look at
the message boards and the comment sections below the articles about Schilling's
crash and burn. It's not pretty and many suggest that Schilling got what he deserved.
Nobody deserves this kind of pain, pressure, and stress, the kind that's made Schilling
lose almost 40 pounds in about two months. Try telling your family that life as they
once knew it, is over.
"I sat down with my family and explained about a month ago to them that 38 Studios
was probably going to fail and go bankrupt," Schilling said during the interview. "And that
the money I earned and saved from baseball was probably all gone, and that it was my
"It's insane, stupid, and an utterly irresponsible act. But I did it."
Schilling went all-in with a gaming venture and, in many ways, went for broke when he
certainly didn't have to. The three-time World Series champion has done a lot of great
things besides helping the Red Sox and Diamondbacks get fitted for rings. He's raised
and donated millions of dollars to help find a cure for ALS or Lou Gerhig's disease. His
wife, Shonda, has done the same in the fight against and the prevention of skin cancer.
Schilling and I were in the Red Sox minor-league system for a brief time during the late
80's. He was a star and I was a scrub, but he didn't treat me as such. I had the opportunity
to cover him as a sportscaster in both Arizona and Boston and saw first hand the strength, character, and desire that helped him become a champion. Schilling is now facing the biggest
challenge of his life and I'm betting that he'll use those same qualities he exhibited on the
diamond to become successful once again.