January 28, 2013

Curt Schilling's Latest Money-Maker

A few months ago, I was asked to take part in the Out of the Park Laundry League.  The game is incredibly fun and my team made the postseason.  Hooray!

But, it seems, the game also has its claws in those who played baseball for real as well.  And, no, I'm not just talking about the former big leaguers that took part in the inaugural Seamheads Laundry League.

I'm talking about Curt Schilling.

Turns out the one-time hurler-turned-failed businessman can be found posting almost daily updates on his fictitious "Chicago Iron Pigs" over at the Out of the Park Forums. And, yes, that really is him posting as Gehrig38.

Hall contributor E takes a look at another example of where Schilling's on field world and online obsessions collide.

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I think every Hall of Very Good visitor is familiar with Curt Schilling, as his career and stats perfectly meet the criteria for enshrinement as a "Very Good" player. And, based upon his 38% showing in the voting for that other “Hall" a few weeks ago, the HOVG may be the only Hall that will have him.

While you're all well aware of Schilling’s on-the-field career, some of you might not be as familiar with his off-the-field one. And, based upon recent events, the two appear to be coming together in a most unpleasant way. Let’s travel back in time a couple of years and catch up on how Schilling decided to spend his retirement.

One of the things that Schilling was known for throughout his career was his love of MMORGing. (I don’t actually believe anyone knew that, but sometimes hyperbole or outright lies make for the best segues.) And, much as anyone else would do when he has a lot of money and suddenly nothing to do, he decided the best way to spend his retirement and career savings was to develop and release an MMORG that had nothing to do with baseball, and founded 38 Studios (get it? after his uniform number?) to do so.

Because developing a video game is a massive monetary undertaking, 38 Studios took out a $75 million loan from the State of Rhode Island, with the promise of bringing new jobs to the state. This enabled 38 Studios to produce and release its debut/final game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning last year.

And, this being a non-sports endeavor by a former player, it turned out to be a smashing success, right? Of course it wasn’t.

The game was a critical and financial flop, selling an estimated 400,000-plus copies in the United States. By comparison, COD: Black Ops 2 has sold nearly 10 million copies in the U.S. That’s not a flop. This contributed to 38 Studios defaulting on its loan and led the company to file for bankruptcy, hanging a $75 million IOU around Curt Schilling’s neck.

Late last year, Rhode Island filed suit against Schilling and 38 Studios, seeking to collect on that IOU.  And this is where the Curt’s two worlds collide.

The defining moment of Schilling’s baseball career was leading the Boston Red Sox to victory in the 2004 World Series.  You'll recall, the pitcher played with a bum ankle that wept blood into his socks. The "bloody sock" was talked about more than the broken "Curse of the Bambino". 

The sock was such a memorable representation of the Series that it was promptly enshrined in the Hall of Fame. At least it was until Curt needed money.

He has removed the sock from the HOF and is putting his sock from Game Two of the World Series up for sale in order to pay down some of the incredible debt that his disastrous foray into computer gaming has incurred.

And it’s not just a sale to a private buyer; it’s a public auction that anyone who wants to own a filthy tube sock can bid on (you can check out Heritage Auctions’ listing HERE). Heritage's press releases claim they expect to fetch at least $100,000 for the sock, and, considering they sold the infamous Bill Buckner ball for over $400,000, this particular piece of Red Sox memorabilia may achieve a decent price.

Not that it will matter. Even if some sock fetishist pays $1 million for this particular piece of biohazard, that’s still $74 million Schilling will have to come up with. That’s a lot of socks.

At least Schilling won't have to be bummed out anymore that his blood, sweat and athlete’s foot spent more time in the Hall of Fame than he ever will.

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