Schilling’s Cruelest Cut

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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.

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A Bad Week For MLB’s Radical Right

Ballparks, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2012 Baseball Guide, Players, Playoffs, Politics, Prospects, Spring Training, Stats, Trade Rumors, Umpires, World Series

Political ideologies aren’t judged on their tenets, but on their representatives. Because we see the front people of their particular positions as extreme and overtly unlikable, the entire platform is poisoned because of personality and presentation.

It’s with that in mind that it makes many self-proclaimed conservatives—in statements and action—in MLB look hypocritical.

Three such individuals have found themselves in the public eye this week for various reasons that run the gamut on the scale from the overreaching, delusional businessman; to the ignorant and mouthy; and to the disturbing.

Here they are.

Curt Schilling’s video game company goes under.

Rhode Island has had a very public shortfall in their pension funds to retired city workers in the municipality of Central Falls, but the state had enough money to guarantee loans worth $75 million to Schilling’s video game company to lure them from Massachusetts.

Schilling, whose right wing politics were fodder for ridicule during his career, was playing the big businessman running a fledgling and hit-or-miss enterprise of creating video games and it collapsed without warning in a most embarrassing fashion.

I’m trying to reconcile how Rhode Island found the money to make that loan guarantee to Schilling and his video game company. Was there a coherent plan that made it a decision with solid foundation that simply failed or was the Republican governor of the state,  Donald Carcieri, trying to use Schilling’s star power to get himself reelected? Was Carcieri himself hypnotized by Schilling’s presence? Or was it bad business?

Possibly all of the above.

Carcieri lost and the business has gone under.

You can read the details here on Boston.com and decide for yourself.

Luke Scott has a lot to say.

Having first come under fire for his insistence that President Obama is not an American citizen, Luke Scott of the Rays is no stranger to controversy for his statements. Earlier this year, he said some none-too-flattering things about Fenway Park calling it a “dump”. Last night in the ninth inning of the Rays’ 7-4 win over the Red Sox in Boston, Franklin Morales drilled Scott. The benches emptied and there was a lot of shouting and shoving but no punches thrown.

Ostensibly the incident was in retaliation for Burke Badenhop hitting Dustin Pedroia in the sixth inning. Naturally Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine couldn’t resist stirring the cauldron by saying, “Maybe it was the Ghost of Fenway Past remembering he bad-mouthed all our fans and our stadium, directing the ball at his leg.”

Did the Red Sox pop Scott because of Pedroia or was it because of what he said about Fenway?

I’m inclined to think that it was a combination of the two and Scott was conveniently (or inconveniently for him) batting in the ninth inning of a game the Red Sox were likely to lose. They had the opening and took it. Morales didn’t throw at Scott’s head, so I don’t think this is that big of a deal; certainly not worth the war of words that’s not going to stop anytime soon as long as the managers are involved.

The Thong Song seems so long ago for Chad Curtis.

The journeyman Curtis had found a home as a useful extra outfielder for the Yankees and contributed many clutch hits to the 1998-1999 World Series winners. But because he made the mistake of choosing to take on Derek Jeter when Jeter was joking with Alex Rodriguez (then of the Mariners) during a bench clearing brawl between the two clubs, he was run out of town following the 1999 season.

Traded to the Rangers, Curtis again found himself talking about things other than baseball when he objected to teammate Royce Clayton playing Sisqó’s Thong Song in the Rangers’ clubhouse.

It doesn’t make much difference now, but Curtis happened to be right in both cases.

It was entirely inappropriate for Jeter to be standing in the middle of the field chatting with A-Rod while Joe Girardi was brawling with Frankie Rodriguez and Don Zimmer was staggering around on the field as if he was having a heart attack. Since it was Jeter, his behavior was sacrosanct even when he was wrong. Curtis called him out publicly and was dealt away.

As far as the Thong Song goes, if children are allowed in the clubhouse or there are religious people who object to certain content, that has to be taken into account for the sake of the group. Curtis didn’t like it and had a right to express that.

But Curtis’s presence in the news today is a typical political scandal as he has been charged with sexual misconduct for inappropriately touching two teenage girls at a Michigan school where he was volunteering.

“Inappropriate touching” could entail any number of things. Who knows if it’s true? If it is, listening to the Thong Song might’ve been a better alternative to the urges that caused Curtis’s behavior and all three of the above cases are prime examples of why athletes might be better served to keep their political affiliations more ambiguous or be quiet about them entirely.

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