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CES: Schilling makes his pitch to the video game industry

Schilling_pic_2 As a World Series champion pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, Curt Schilling has long used computer analysis as part of his rigorous pregame preparation.

Now he hopes his stellar baseball career has prepared him for a life with computers. Schilling, who is 41 and says the coming season (for the Red Sox) will be his last in baseball, has founded and self-funded a computer game company that has been hiring industry veterans as well as some notable outsiders.

Though the first big game from 38 Studios won't come out until late 2010, the Maynard, Mass., start-up already has 35 employees and is looking for outside investors.

During a small dinner for the media at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Schilling said he had long been an active player of such major multi-user games as "World of Warcraft" and "Everquest."

As a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Lord of the Rings" and other detailed fantasy realms, Schilling hired bestselling novelist R.A. Salvatore to create the world and Todd McFarlane, who won an Emmy for the HBO series "Spawn," as creative art director.

Schilling said his only post-baseball occupation will be serving the company, which he likewise hopes will be the last job for other workers.

The Beantown icon said he was motivated in part by the possibility of changing his employees' lives for the better, especially after learning how debilitating the gaming industry can be for software developers.

"My only two rules are: Show up on time and kick ass," Schilling said, attributing that mantra -- and the rest of his managerial strategy -- to Red Sox Manager Terry Francona.

But he conceded that there were times when his All-Star history made it hard to empathize completely with the staff. Schilling, who is famous for pitching with a bloody sock as a result of having his injured ankle tendon sutured in place, recalled one weekly meeting where an employee complained about being tired.

"Let me tell you how this works: I stitched up my ankle to pitch in the World Series," Schilling remembered telling the man. "Let’s GO!"

-- Joseph Menn

Photo by the Associated Press

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Times editorial writer Jon Healey pens opinion pieces about a variety of business issues, and blogs about technologies that are changing the entertainment industry's business model.

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