• Off-Base Percentage is a weekly post about the lighter side of sports, mainly baseball. Whether it occurs on the field, in the locker room, or in the media, if it is a little ‘off-base’ then it is fair game. If you are looking for analysis of a player, team, or sport it won’t be found in this post. This is for the sports fan that wants to take a step back and look at sports from a ‘different’ angle. Enjoy.

    Hard Loss to Swallow

    On Tuesday it was announced that Curt Schilling may suffer a huge loss. And I don’t think he’ll redeem this one with a bloody sock, pitching performance. The retired MLB pitcher went public saying the video game franchise, 38 Studios’ failure will cost him a sum of $50 million. The Rhode Island company is seeking refuge from the governor and Schilling does not seem impressed with the governor’s eagerness to help the company and its employees.

    Speaking of employees, 38 Studios laid off all of theirs last week without warning. This sad situation is even worse for Schilling. He has invested much of his money and not taken out any in return in the video game organization. So if it fails he will stand to lose all that he invested. The stress has led him to lose over thirty pounds in the last month and half. It’s amazing the toll that stress can have when money is involved.

    I am not here to speak about economics and what company to invest with. I am merely just showing a case where those who make millions may not always be better off than us. Bad things happen to them too. Not to mention the three-hundred seventy-nine employees that are now unemployed. I am not knocking Schilling for investing his money poorly. At least he tried to do something with his cash instead of some athletes that spend it before they even step on the playing surface.

    The fate of the company will be decided soon enough and for the working class employees, I hope that the governor and the state of Rhode Island can find a way to keep 38 Studios running while not putting the rest of the state in trouble.

    Need Help Spelling?

    Which letter would you want?

     

    On Monday, the Miami Heat kicked off the Eastern Conference Finals with a promotion featuring t-shirts that had one letter on each shirt spelling out H-E-A-T. While I applaud the originality, as a fan what use does that t-shirt have after that game? Yeah, you can tell everyone you were at Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, but why not have a clever saying or something involving your team’s entire nickname- the Heat? I am not trying to be biased, but I would rarely wear that shirt other than around the house or to workout. When I go to a game I want to leave with a great memory and something that I can show off that memory with. Now maybe some fans were cunning enough to get the remaining three letters from others around them and spell the word out on the wall or something, but over all I think Miami wasted a bunch of money with that investment. When else have I said that about Miami? That’s for another day.

    Also, last night they decided to spell a whole word on the shirts. It was ‘Wade’. That is a bold move when you have another superstar on your roster, but I’m sure LeBron will play it off like it is Dwyane’s city and that he is just here to win a ring. I am sure it will eat him up inside. Maybe, no hopefully, we can look back on Game 2 and say tt was when the Heat officially fell apart in the NBA Playoffs. Time can only tell, right? But for now, if you need help spelling four-letter words just tune into E-S-P-N for the Heat/Celtics Series.

    What should Curt Schilling do? How would you handle your money if you were a professional athlete? What will the Heat promotions office do next? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.

    Also, don’t forget to like More Than A Fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @MTAFSports.

    Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for the MTAF Podcast too. It’s on iTunes!

     

    Mark Mazzone (145 Posts)


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    • Darryl

      Oh please. Apparently you don’t know Schilling very well. He does nothing for others. Even the charity stuff is to feed his ego. He fancied himself a genius in all becuase he can throw a ball real good and he wanted his own game company becuase he love to play. You seem to be missing the main point–in addition to the way he fired his employees by EMAIL–it’s the hypocricy!

      So, Curt baby, whatever happened to all that “free market” stuff you were preaching about awhile back? What happened to all that “small government” stuff you were preaching while stumping, as an “independent” no less, for GOP candidates like G.W. Bush, John McCain and Scott Brown?

      America’s a free country, and it allows private enterprise to flourish, but that’s all you have a right to expect from the limited government created by the Constitution, right? Isn’t that what you believe? Just let you do your own thing without all that job-killing, “big government” meddling, the taxes, the regulations and blah, blah, blah. Isn’t that what you went out of your way to tell us as a sports “hero” endorsing all those GOP candidates?

      So, here’s how that’s supposed to work, Curt. You start up a company and if you can’t get investors or put your own millions into it, you need to borrow money from the bankers. You get to spend the money to follow your privatized free market dream, and they get to charge interest on your repayments which must be made on schedule. This is all privatized, though, just between you and the bankers, right? Isn’t that what you were preaching when you were out there stumping for Republican candidates a few years ago?

      So what happened? If you really believe in all that “free market” nonsense, what’s with the deal you made with the Rhode Island state government, to have your loans guaranteed with the taxpayer’s money? Is that what you meant about “heart, character and integrity” when you were making campaign speeches for John McCain?

      Remember, Curt, the basic paradigm in your hallowed “free market” game, like baseball, is that somebody wins and somebody loses. It’s only in those bad socialist and communist countries where everyone is supposed to win. With American capitalism, it’s like Casey Stengel said. You win some and you lose some, which means somebody else loses when you win and you lose when somebody else wins. That’s fair, isn’t it Curt?

      In MLB, you were pitching fastballs, and you usually won because you were damned good at it. But in the supposedly “free market” you were pitching soft-ware, and now you just walked the side into corporate bankruptcy. You weren’t playing for numbers on a scoreboard in a glorified child’s game, either. You were playing for market share, and you lost to the grownups in your vaunted “free market.”

      So what’s all this whining about Curt? You know, blaming Governor Chafee for not wanting to risk even more taxpayer money on your “free market” soft-ware game? Somebody might get the impression that your idea of private enterprise in a free market is really a place where you privatize all the gain while you socialize the risk. If that’s not what you’re trying to do with 38 Studios, Curt, what else?

      I mean, what else are you doing when you keep going back to the Governor for more and more bailout money? It’s just like Wall Street did after the crash they caused in 2008 by playing big boy games with other people’s mortgage debt, and cheating to boot. The only difference is that the consequences of the national financial market collapsing are a lot more serious to a lot more people than the failure of a start up video-game company.

      In baseball, throwing spitballs is against the rules, and the umpire will check the ball every once in awhile for evidence of a foreign substance. That’s basically what federal regulators at the SEC are suppoed to do when they examine public investment offerings, and that’s exactly what the SEC failed to do when your “free market” champion G.W. Bush was calling the shots as President.

      The “free market” in securitized mortgage debt was rotten from the start with deregulated mortgage lenders writing fraudulent subprime mortgages and then immediately selling them to the Wall Street bankers to be sold to the public as investment “products” called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs. Those securities were supposed to be tranched with loans having high, moderate and low risk values, to then be rated as to overall risk by purportedly “independent” agencies like S&P or Moody’s.

      The problem, Curt, was that the deregulated “free market” in those CDOs based on mortgage debt was really being driven by demand for the investment “product”, not for housing in general. That, in turn, became an artificial driver for the housing market, creating a bubble that inevitably popped in 2008.

      The problem was compounded by the fact that more and more high risk mortgages were being packaged into the CDOs while the ratings agencies, for handsome fees, were issuing fraudulent “see-no-evil” AAA ratings. All that was the direct result of Bush administration deregulation, including the reassignment of 1,500 FBI agents from financial crimes to Homeland Security, along with slashing budgets and putting industry foxes into every regulatory henhouse, including the SEC.

      The result of that particular “free market”, Curt, was massive losses for investors, including many public and quasi-public entities like municipalities and public school districts, as well as private and public sector labor unions. Another result, as the housing market began to crumble, is that millions of homes started going “underwater”, with fair market value falling below the amount the owners had been induced to borrow by the false promises of the mortgage originators and investment bankers.

      Those problems, of course, were then compounded when the housing market failure brought the whole economy crashing down in 2008. That was the direct result of your vaunted “free market” principles, small-government tax cuts and deregulation, having been put into effect by your boy W.

      Bush inherited an unemployment rate under 4 percent and a 258 billion dollar surplus from Bill Clinton. Clinton achieved those result over eight years, along with an unprecedented eight year growth in median household income and significant GDP growth, all with a 39.6 top tax rate and fully funded “big government” federal regulators. It took Bush just under eight years to reverse all that through tax cutting and deregulation, plus borrowing trillions of dollars to fight intractable overseas oil wars. That turned Clinton’s 258 billion dollar surplus into the massive deficit we are facing today.

      Now we still hear an awful lot from your GOP political homeboys about Bill Clinton’s lack of “character and integrity” because he schtupped Ms. Lewinski and then lied about it. But just what do you think Bush and Cheney did to the rest of us when they were pimping for Big Oil and Wall street, lying about the reasons for getting into two wars costing a couple of trillion borrowed dollars, cutting taxes for the folks who were supposed to create jobs but didn’t, and deregulating the financial industry into the worst economic debacle since the crash of 1929.

      You think the long term consequences from the crash of 2008 are just a harmless peck on the cheek, Curt? Most people with even a modicum of good sense are far more concerned about the size of the mortgages on their homes than how much spunk Clinton dropped onto Monica Lewinski’s blue dress. I mean, who really got schtupped here, Curt? Do you theink it was Ms. Lewinski who got a book deal out of her affair with Clinton, or several million Americans who got a raw deal after dealing with the deregulated subprime mortgage originators and Wall Street in the “free market”, enabled by your good ol’ boy George W. Bush.

      The truth is, Curt, there is no such thing as a “free market,” never was and never will be. There are well-regulated open markets, where everyone gets to compete on an even basis protected by “big government” with regulations and anti-trust laws, and there are deregulated oligopolies where the very few are indulged by political cronies in high office, as with the Bush administration’s deregulation of the financial industry and it’s massive borrowing to fight his failed overseas oil wars.

      Without an aggressive, tax supported regulatory apparatus to keep the investment bankers honest, they have no “heart, character and integrity”, Curt. They act solely out of self-interest and greed, which is exactly “HOW” the so-called “free market” always “WORKS,” to the sole advantage of the greedy speculators while bringing economic disaster and chaos to the rest of us.

      In your stump speech for John McCain in November 2008, you said that you needed to know that your President was going to make the right decisions. You wanted a President who would: “make the decisions that matter the most to the the American people and their best interest.” Well, Curt, I think the taxpayers of Rhode Island have the right to expect the same from Governor Chafee, to do what works best for them and not for Curt Schilling, even if that has to mean cutting the State’s losses and letting you go down as just another failed loser in the American game of “free market” capitalism.

      Your problem, Curt, isn’t that the state won’t pony up any more taxpayer money to keep 38 Studios afloat. It is, rather, that 38 Studios couldn’t keep itself afloat with all that masssive taxpayer support in your vaunted “free market”, which isn’t actually all that free at the top, given the dominance of a few mega corporations in the video games market -companies like Sony, Nintendo and Atari. Small start-ups can succeed, Curt, but they have to start small and earn their way up, not buy it with millions of borrowed taxpayer dollars.

      The Wall Street banks became “too big to fail” under Bush administration tax-cutting and deregulation, so they went crying to “big government” for a bailout after they failed big-time under “free market” principles, while the rest of us were going underwater. The big boys in video games are simply too big to beat by a puny company like 38 Studios, by simply extorting money from the taxpayers of Rhode Island. So you lost the game, Curt, because you couldn’t compete at the level you bought into, and that’s exactly how capitalism is supposed to work.

      In this one, Curt, it’s Governor Lincoln Chafee who’s the real hero. He’s the one wearing the bloody sock this time, not you. and if you had even a shred of “heart, character and integrity”, you’d just take your lumps and walk quietly into the oblivion of corporate bankruptcy instead of whining because you’re not being bailed out like the too-big-to-fail investment bankers on Wall Street.
      http://www.capecodtoday.com/blogs/index.php/2012/06/04/no-bloody-sock-heroics-in-the-free-marke?blog=214


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