While the failure of Curt Schilling’s ill-conceived video game business has presumably damaged his financial circumstances beyond all repair, it’s been a multiple-pronged stabbing to Schilling’s persona and supposed beliefs to not only have his reputation damaged, but to have ostensibly been abandoned by the same conservative coalition for which he donated his time, name, fame, and presumably money.
You can read the tipping point here in the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard as the reality behind Schilling’s collapsed business hits home as it’s compared to a larger scale disaster as the Obama administration’s support of Solyndra.
I’ve said before that I don’t think Schilling meant any harm with his poorly planned and doomed to fail attempts to build a business post-baseball career, but it’s indicative of his insanely high opinion of himself that he chose to take his vast fortune and sink it into such a risky venture amid the hopes that he’d turn himself into a corporate titan and, presumably, become a wealthy man at an endeavor using something other than the gift of a 95-98 mph fastball. What people are missing when they try to adhere to what’s misinterpreted and bastardized as “conservative” principles is that not everyone is able to handle a business; not everyone can create a product; not everyone can transfer success from one narrow market to another market. Bill Gates couldn’t strike out 300 batters in a season and Schilling, as evidenced by the disaster for himself and the people of Rhode Island, can’t run a video game startup. It’s not a remote experience for athletes to try their hand at outside ventures and cost themselves the fortune they accrued as players, an amount of money they could easily have lived on had they not been convinced by others that they should diversify and invest. It’s greed, arrogance, and ignorance.
Schilling was a “believer”. He really felt that the politicians and causes he supported were on the side of right. However, as evidenced by his self-involved behaviors as a player such as when he was unhappy with the new tool known as QuesTec designed to make sure the umpires were adhering more closely to the rulebook strike zone rather than relying on their own interpretation, walked over to the expensive piece of equipment and smashed it like an impulsive, tantrum-throwing child who, unhappy that he’s not getting his way, will make a scene and break things. Presumably, Schilling had to pay for the machine he damaged, but that’s beside the point. If you’re for conservative causes, then you’re for law and order and adhering to the edicts of those in charge. Breaking that with which you disagree is a form of anarchy—the antithesis of what Schilling espoused.
The video game business and its shift to Rhode Island was a means to an end. Schilling’s mandate when he received the $75 million in loan guarantees to move the business from Massachusetts to Rhode Island was contingent on creating jobs in the state. And he did. The problem was that they weren’t bringing any money into the company because their product wasn’t finished and, according to The Weekly Standard piece, they were hiring people to meet the quota. In running a viable business, meeting the quota is secondary to having multiple people doing a job that one could do adequately. It’s circular and stupid.
What’s most ironic is that Schilling, the radical right winger who believes in small government, self-reliance, and a principled core of beliefs, exemplifies that which he rails against when he cost the taxpayers of Rhode Island an immense amount of money and ravaged his own personal finances, then blamed others and implied that it’s not his fault while hinting that he needs a bailout.
But the party that might be willing to bail him out isn’t because he’s not one of them; and the party to which he was inextricably aligned dispatched him because he was no longer of use.
If he were smarter, I’d say maybe he learned a lesson. But he’s not. So he probably didn’t.