Friday, June 22, 2012

No Pity for Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling had been uncharacteristically quiet after the demise of 38 Studios, even taking a leave of absence from appearing on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. This morning, he decided to give his side of the story.

Of course, he did so with two people who are big admirers of his. I'd even go so far as to call WEEI's Dennis & Callahan shills for Curt Schilling.

I do have to give Dennis & Callahan credit. Their knees must be scraped, their jaws sore, and their tongues dry after washing Curt Schilling's balls for over an hour. They really worked their mouths off this morning.

And give credit to Curt Schilling for being willing to take on members of the media who would ask him tough questions such as "You didn't walk away with anything, did you?" or "How much of your own money did you lose?" or "Did the comment about solvency change the landscape?"

These weren't softball questions. It was tee-ball.

When asked why his video game company failed, Schilling blamed a "lack of capital." In other words, not enough people were investing in it. Schilling then blamed Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee for scaring off an investor that would have helped keep the company afloat with a $35 million investment.

But if the company wasn't making sufficient money on its own and was supported by a combination of private investments and public tax credits, then there was something already wrong with the company.

Imagine if a restaurant is struggling to pay its bills. It looks for investors, but nobody wants to buy into it. Then it shuts down. The cause of death isn't lack of capital, it's lack of sufficient profit. The capital could have staved off death, but a lack of it didn't cause death.

Schilling refused to admit this. And Dennis & Callahan refused to call him on it. They still love Curt in the Car.

Schilling claims he lost about $50 million investing in this company, and is now "tapped-out." I feel no sympathy for him. Only an idiot would risk everything he had on a business without putting a little bit away. He's made his bed.

Schilling accused Governor Chaffee of deliberately undermining the venture by making public remarks about the company's solvency and ability to pay bills. But the Governor spoke the truth. 38 Studios was dependent on tax credits and needed more capital just to survive.

And when you get involved with Government funds, you have to deal with the Government. That's the deal you make when you deal with the Government.

And that's why conservatives who have a brain don't like Government programs such as the one Schilling took advantage of. They don't help businesses that much, and any potentially successful business should be able to attract private investment based on its own merits. If a business needs Government money to survive, it's much less likely to be a successful one.

Schilling feels as though he fell prey to a politician's agenda. But he put himself in that position. The Government and the Mafia are the same (that's not a joke abour Rhode Island). You ask them for a favor, and then you're in their pocket.

Speaking of politics, Dennis & Callahan asked this hard-hitting question:

"Did you know that loan guarantees were just for liberals?"

Schilling responded with "I'm not sure where my stance and opinion in that we need a smaller government, I don't know how that correlates to this."

How does advocating for less Government spending correlate with taking advantage of Government spending? Does he really not see the connection?

Schilling argued that he just took advantage of an opportunity. And if he didn't take the tax credit offer, it would have just gone to waste. Nobody else had applied for it.

As an actual conservative, this logic pisses me off. I'd probably take some Government cash if it were offered to me, but if I were starting a business, I'd try to avoid getting involved with the Government. Especially if it were a high profile business. Government money is conditional money, and that money is controlled by politicians who are very conditional people.

Actual conservatives know this. But Schilling is just a loudmouth, opinionated collection of uneducated thoughts.

Schilling did say that he is mostly responsible for the failure of 38 Studios. But that statement was always qualified. As I mentioned earlier, he blamed Governor Chaffee for scaring an investor away. He blamed lack of capital for the company's downfall. He blamed people with an "agenda" for initiating that downfall.

Maybe it was just a poorly managed company. They sold a decent amount of their first game (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning), but EA got a sizable chunk of the money from that. And their business model seems antiquated, very cartridge-era for a gaming company. They sold copies of their game to people. Very basic. Too basic. So many games are available for free out there. Then companies make money off subscriptions, or sell stuff in the game that opens new levels or characters or weapons. And then that way the keep spending as they're playing.

And Schilling admittedly spent very freely. He created an impressive office, and paid his young employees $86,000 plus full benefits.

That's one thing true conservatives hate about Government funded companies. So long as the money is flowing, the company spends freely. It doesn't seem like Schilling ever asked "could I get a programmer 90% as good for 50% the pay?" It doesn't seem like he was worried with spending at all.

Baseball has no salary cap and neither did Schilling.

He tried very hard in the interview to sound like he knew what he was talking about. He injected business-speak jargon at every opportunity. "Senior position of debt," "Transient companies," "Payables," "A staff ramp," "A neutral burn," "domiciled."

He even said "things" when referring to Government programs, then corrected himself with the word "mechanisms."

He explained what this jargon meant as he went along. But the point of jargon is to be understood by fellow speakers of the language. If you have to explain it, you shouldn't use it.

Just say "First to get paid back" instead of "Senior position of debt." Say "located" instead of "domiciled."

Curt Schilling wanted to sound like he knows what he's talking about. But it seemed like he'd taken a 30 minute course on how to sound like a businessman, and that's it.

Throughout the interview, Schilling never apologized to the people of Rhode Island who paid for his failure. He frequently mentioned his own family's troubles, usually at the prodding of Dennis & Callahan.

A caller stated to him that she would never try to do business in Rhode Island because the politicians make it so difficult.

"That would have been good advice three years ago, hun," Schilling quipped. He then became serious and almost sincere "I also understand the anger. The anger, though... it's as much about... the misinformation that people believe to be true than about the actual facts that happened."

So there you have it. Curt Schilling is blameless for what he did. The anti-Government spending, so-called conservative who took advantage of government spending, is merely a victim of misinformation and political agendas. The spending on facilities, the high salaries, and the mediocre products weren't to blame for 38 Studios' downfall, it was a lack of investment and a politician scaring investors away.

With all this complaining, all this passing the buck, Schilling would fit in nicely with the 2011 Red Sox.

Portugal 1, Czech Republic 0*

Portugal hadn't won an elimination game in a major tournament since the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup. Part of the reason for that had been the disappointing play of star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Ronaldo has caught fire. He scored twice against the Dutch to secure a spot for Portugal in the quarterfinals, and he scored in the 79th minute yesterday to send Portugal to the semifinals.

Portugal have never won a major tournament, but they're only two wins away.

They'll have to play the winner of the match between Spain and France. That winner will probably be Spain. And the Spaniards will not want to lose to their Iberian neighbor.

Germany faces Greece this afternoon. Germany has looked fast, although they've also had defensive lapses. Greece advanced to this stage dramatically and has the support of a struggling nation that probably took the day off from "work" to drink Ouzo, watch the game, and count the money that the Greek government pays them to be lazy.

Coping With LeBron Being a Champion

It's tough. For several years now, we've all been able to dismiss LeBron James as a choker, a failure, a joke. Not anymore.

It's very tough.

This isn't like A-Rod winning with the Yankees. This isn't an athlete we hated hitch-hiking his way to a title. LeBron led the Heat to this victory. And last night's triple-double was the icing on the cake of a very respectable postseason.

But just because the performance was respectable, doesn't mean the man is. We all hate LeBron for reasons other than his choking. The choking was just something funny to laugh at him about. He has a ring now, but he's still a douchebag.

Let's look at the facts. He couldn't carry Cleveland to a title. It wasn't until the Heat became a fantasy team that he made it all the way, and only after a few tries. And it's not as if the refs, and the way the NBA is structured didn't help him along the way. The NBA is designed for people like LeBron James to be successful, and it still took him 9 seasons to achieve success.

He won, though. Fair and square. You can give him that and still hate him. He's still a douchebag. And I doubt after this title that the value of his shares in the Douchebag Stock Exchange will go down. If anything, he'll be cockier now.

We've enjoyed some fun Schadenfreude moments thanks to LeBron. The Celtics only won 1 title in the 2000s, but every time LeBron was knocked out of the playoffs, it was almost as good.

But all good things come to an end. A-Rod has a World Series ring. Peyton Manning has a Super Bowl MVP. LeBron James has his ring. But you never know what will occur down the road to allow you to once again mock the athletes you hate. We discovered that A-Rod took roids. And now Peyton is inferior to Eli. It all works out. People never fail to find ways to mock those they hate.

ESPN will be insufferable for some time. But when is ESPN not insufferable?

And as Jason Segel's character points out in the video clip, Jordan has 6 rings. LeBron is on 1, and he got it just barely. Bird has 3. Kobe has 5. Bill Russell has 11.

LeBron might not be a choker or a loser anymore. But until winning becomes more persistent for him, he's not a true winner. Winners win more than just once in a lifetime. He's shed the loser label, but he's not among the NBA's winners. Not until winning becomes more regular.

Red Sox Complete Sweep of Marlins

If Daisuke Matsuzaka could pitch a simulated inning out on Yawkey Way, then come into the ballpark at the start of the real game, his stat lines would look a lot better. He once again struggled at the outset last night, but finished strong. And it's more promising for a starter returning from injury to have difficulty getting warmed up, then to fade away as the game progresses.

Although predictably, he did get that pitch-count up there. And he did allow a homerun in the 6th that gave Miami the lead.

Will Middlebrooks saved the day for Daisuke and the Sox. He had an RBI double in 4th. An RBI single in the 5th. And he tied the game with a 2 run homer in the 8th. He's 6th on the Sox with 31 RBI, but he's also about 30 games behind everyone else. His RBIs are coming at a slightly faster rate than David Ortiz's.

It's still too early to tell with Matsuzaka. He's not a complete mess, which is a good sign. And he's able to throw 100 pitches. As always, the problem is that he reaches 100 pitches very early. How do you gauge the recovery of a guy who was difficult to gauge even when healthy?

He pitched good enough for the Sox to have a chance, though. And thanks to Middlebrooks, the Sox took advantage of the opportunity.

Speaking of opportunities, I wrote a post a few days ago about the Sox playing 16 straight games against teams hovering around .500, and how much of an opportunity it was for them to win before the schedule toughened. So far, so good. 3-0 against the floundering Marlins.

The Sox host the Braves next. Jon Lester faces Jair Jurrjens. This guy is destined to wind up with the Sox one day so people can mispronounce his name. He's 0-2 in 4 starts with a 9.37 ERA. He's gone 5 innings in only 1 of those starts. No excuse to not knock this Netherlands Antilles kid around.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo