By Nick Tricome
August 2 was a night of celebration at Citizens Bank Park.
Brad Lidge officially retired as a Phillie the night before, then it was Curt Schilling's time to be inducted into the Phillies' Wall of Fame.
It was a chance to reflect on Schilling's tenure in Philadelphia and his role on the 1993 team that won the NL pennant, especially.
But little did anyone in the stadium know, amidst all the joy in the air, that the past couple years have been tough for the former pitcher.
After retiring from baseball, Schilling founded a game development studio that he fittingly named 38 Studios.
The development studio settled in Providence, Rhode Island, thanks to $75 million in bonds issued by the state.
The idea was that Schilling's studio would create jobs and make great games, but it all ended in disaster.
38 Studios went bankrupt in June of last year and it ended up costing Schilling and Rhode Island taxpayers tons of money, according to the Boston Globe's Stan Grossfeld. The studio going under also cost 300 people their jobs.
Taxpayers lost an estimated $100 million, Grossfeld writes, and Schilling lost $50 million of his own money.
Curt and his family lost almost everything after 38 Studios went bankrupt. Even the famous bloody sock from the 2004 World Series is gone, as it was auctioned off for close to $93,000.
“All that stuff bothered me,” Schilling told Grossfeld. “I sold all that stuff to pay the banks back for the note, instead of filing bankruptcy and keeping it all, I sold it all. It sucks.’’
Although it's now over a year after the fall of 38 Studios, it's still something that gets to Schilling.
“It’s still raw for me,” Schilling said. “It’s a tough thing to talk about. There was so much it could’ve been."
Schilling told Grossfeld that it was really his first failure and went as far to say that it was close to the most devastating time in his life, outside of family issues.
“Outside of, like, personal family — losing my dad — it was the most devastating thing I’ve ever gone through,” he says, “and it’s still something I’m trying to bounce back from.”
“It was so hard, because I had pushed and pushed and pushed. I had 300 families [of company employees] I had to take care of, including my own, and it failed.”
“And I’ve lost a lot in my life but I’ve never failed at anything. I was going to [win] but I couldn’t get it done.”
Grossfeld writes that Schilling hit such a low and was under so much stress that his wife Shonda still worries about him to this day.
“I don’t know how somebody would not kill himself, honestly, over what he has had to endure,” she told Grossfeld.
“It was probably the first time he ever failed at anything,” she said. “I never saw him so beaten.”
During the recollection of his recent past, Schilling also revealed to Grossfeld that he suffered a heart attack back in 2011, something that managed to stay out of the spotlight until now.
Schilling said that he was in New York with his wife, while she was running in the New York City Marathon, when he started having chest pains.
The two of them flew back to Boston and went straight to a hospital after the marathon, as Grossfeld reports, where he had surgery and changed his lifestyle thereafter.
Grossfeld writes that Schilling doesn’t pin complete blame on the stress caused by 38 Studios’ demise, but acknowledges that it probably was a factor that led to his close call.
“My doctor made it clear that I was very, very, lucky,” Schilling told Grossfeld in a text message.
It could be a while before Schilling completely bounces back from the trouble he has run into over the past couple years, but things seem to be getting better.
Schilling is a baseball analyst for ESPN and found a good distraction in his life by coaching softball.
“This is a great distraction for him,” Schilling’s wife Shonda told Grossfeld. “It has given him purpose.”