Curt Schilling's 38 Studios failure, big 'I told you so' for some

Paula Duffy's picture

The last of Schilling's 38 Studios employees were given pink slips leading to glee by his detractors and teeth gnashing in Rhode Island. Yet Governor Chaffee is making political hay out of it.

Curt Schilling is taking a beating in Rhode Island among citizens who saw their state lure the video game business, 38 Studios with a guarantee of $75 million in public funds with the potential to contribute tens of millions more.

Less than 24 hours ago, Schilling fired the last of the employees at the company despite a public statement only two days prior in which he praised them, calling the workers, "...determined to stand together as hard and as long as they can."

Governor Lincoln Chaffee was opposed to the grant of public money to the company that Schilling touted as ready to open up 450 new jobs in the state along with a stake in the software game, "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning," that the former Red Sox World Series hero expected to be a blockbuster upon its release.

In truth, while Curt Schilling claims that "Reckoning" sold more than one million units, the actual figure lies somewhere between 400,000 and the larger number, according to

Chaffee won the governorship in 2010, despite his opposition to the loan to 38 Studios and now looks prescient. Nonetheless, he is faced with deciding how to help save the state's investment without use of more public funds.

He told media that the game would have to sell three million units just to break even and at the time he made his comments on Thursday, he seemed unaware that the employees had left the building, despite his staff having met with Curt Schilling the prior day.

Just to twist the knife a bit more for all concerned, Chaffee used an analogy to the sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the N.Y. Yankees, an event that Sox fans believe kicked off the aptly named Curse of the Bambino, depriving them of another World Series win for more than 80 years.

"I think the Red Sox lost Babe Ruth because the owner invested in a play called No No Nannette. And the play failed and he had to sell Babe Ruth. This is very very similar. The game failed. That was integral to the success of the company." Ouch.

For progressives and liberals, the failure of Curt Schilling's business is gives them a better reason than they have ever had to call him a selfish hypocrite. Schilling who never met a topic upon which he failed to have an opinion was a crusader for small government and personal responsibility.

WEEI, the premier sports talk radio station in Boston posted a blog on its site that is scathing. Among the highlights, "As great a pitcher as he was -- and he was great -- he's twice as horrific at running a company. And as true conservatives go, he has shown himself to be a terrific liberal."

It continues, "...and when he couldn't make payments on the $75 million loan he got on his hands and knees and begged the state for more money, as all true advocates of small government should. A real Tea Party moment."

No one thinks that Schilling won't take the bullet for his company's failure, but to Rhode Island taxpayers it is little comfort and will not quiet the critics of his politics.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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