Curt Schilling, who accepted a guaranteed $75 million loan from Rhode Island and will move his game development company 38 Studios to the Ocean state from its current home in Massachusetts, took to the airwaves of WEEI to stand up for his decision.
Schilling, appearing on the Dennis & Callahan Morning Show earlier today, was asked, “In a perfect world, would you have liked Massachusetts to have shown a little bit more love and kept your company here?” Schilling answered, “Absolutely.”
We made every effort to make that happen. It was made very clear to us that it wasn’t going to happen. With the exception of one elected politician, Congresswoman (Nikki) Tsongas who was in multiple times, and a lady running for State Treasurer (Karyn Polito), she was in the office a bunch of different times trying to figure out how she could maneuver something to happen. And then we spoke with (hopefully) future Governor Baker a bunch of different times, but the state’s focus has been on gambling, and they didn’t have the bandwidth and the interest to step in and play.
Schilling indicated that talks had been ongoing with Massachusetts officials for almost two years about keeping 38 Studios in the state, while a couple Canadian provinces and other U.S. states tried to lure the company to their locales as well.
The former pitcher added, “I can remember a discussion around Louisiana, which was very aggressive and has a lot of different programs lined up for new business… and somebody from Massachusetts said ‘Enjoy the Cajun food.’”
Schilling, while noting that the state would be on the hook for the $75 million loan if 38 Studios goes bankrupt or fails, stated that, “The chain of events that would have to happen for $1 of taxpayer money to be spent to repay this loan is pretty staggering.” He continued, “This, from the outset, has been an initiative to build a gaming cluster.”
If things go well, Schilling stated, 38 Studios could eventually hire some 2,000 people, far outreaching the 450 jobs currently being touted by Rhode Island and Schilling.
Meanwhile, in a bit of political grandstanding, Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee (R), and Independent Gubernatorial candidate, criticized his state for gambling on 38 Studios and intimated that he wasn’t sure if he trusted Schilling, claiming that some of his own teammates questioned whether the pitcher had faked a bloody sock donned by Schilling in game six of the American League Championship Series.
Schilling responded to Chafee’s comments by saying, “I’ve said it before, I’ll find a way to come up with a million dollars if somebody wants to go ahead and take the sock down and have the DNA tested and find out that it’s my blood.”
Chafee since apologized for his comments, to which Schilling noted, “It’s an election year.”