Amid reports that his employees have not been paid since April and that the state of Rhode Island wants their money back, Curt Schilling pulled the plug on his hundreds of employees by laying them off on the same day. Schilling's 38 Studios was supposed to be the coolest thing a former player had ever been associated with and made Schilling's larger-than-life persona all that much larger. Now it has all come crashing down and even for one of his harshest critics, there is no joy in the news.
As someone whose own business just folded and has also been part of the surprise layoff reality, there is no glee in this news. As an entrepreneur, Schilling had the opportunity to provide meaningful jobs in a country that no longer makes things. That dream is now dashed. For those hundreds of employees, there might be little hope to getting paid for the last month of their labor and now they are unemployed. In other words, this is a terrible story for them.
There was a lot of mud thrown at the state of Rhode Island in recent days and public opinion revolved around thoughts like, "If Rhode Island doesn't want Schilling's business, we do." But the state...the taxpayers...lent Schilling $75 million dollars. There might be little hope of getting that money back, more bad news for everyone involved. Schilling used payroll to make his last payment. That is what prompted the cryptic news stories we've been hearing lately and the anger toward the state itself. But, gosh, the state made a good faith loan and it needs to get its money back. You can question the sanity of the state in making that kind of speculative arrangement, but not the state's desire to get paid back.
As for Schilling, this is one of those cases were perhaps karma is bringing down one of the larger egos the game of baseball has produced. Schilling was all about the bombast and his strong opinions since he left the game have been oft reported. The game company he started was yet another feather in his famous cap that included championships in Arizona and Boston. Now, he is just another foundering business owner trying to avoid disaster. But disaster has already arrived.
No, there is no humor in this story. For sure, some will paint it that way because it is Schilling who is such a controversial figure. But hundreds of people and families are affected and taxpayers are left holding the bill for a dream that has seemingly died like a character in one of Studio 38's role-playing games. This is sad, folks. Very, very sad.