Since Sunday, November 4, 2001, Curt Schilling has been my nemesis. That was the day he and Randy Johnson teamed up to beat Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera and the rest of my beloved Yankees in game 7 of what has since been called the best World Series of the modern era.
Since then, Schilling has popped up repeatedly, finding new ways to ruin my life. He was on the 2004 Red Sox, the team that rallied from a 3 games to none deficit in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees (he pitched in and won game 6). The day after that happened, I literally spoke only in disjointed obscenities. And then he went on to help them win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.
So, when the opportunity arose for The Escapist to interview Schilling about his new game company, Green Monster Games, I wasn't exactly Executive Editor Julianne Greer's first choice. But I lobbied ("Hey, name someone else around here who knows what an ERA is") and eventually won, not entirely sure about how well I'd control myself when talking to a guy who makes the sports fan in me tremble every time he takes the mound in the Bronx.
But in the end, talking to Schilling was like talking to a game developer with more business and leadership acumen than the average bear. He didn't hiss; I didn't smell fire and brimstone when the secretary transferred me. And when he told me about his content-based dream team with a fan base 400-million strong, I found myself wondering if it would be OK if he were only my sporting nemesis. Here, then, is Curt Schilling on Green Monster Games.
The Escapist: When did you first have the idea to form a company, and who did you talk to before going forward with it?
Curt Schilling: I had the idea about a decade ago. Probably longer than that, since I've been a gamer my whole life. The genesis of it was maybe 10 years ago but I really started to act on it probably seven or eight years ago, when I started my relationship with the people at Sony. I got into looking inside the industry and started to act on it a few years back and really started to move on it last year.
TE: Do you see this as a pet project or is this something you're going to focus on after you retire?
CS: This is something I will focus on explicitly and completely when I'm retired. Outside of working out for this season and my family right now, it's taking up every minute of my day.
TE: What role do you plan on playing?
CS: I'm founder and CEO of the company. I've hired a president and have leadership in place. [We'll have] a core team over the next six months of about 30 people.
TE: What's Green Monster's philosophy? What's the mission?
CS: Everything we do is intent on being the best, on being innovative and revolutionary, from a product and a company standpoint. We truly have aspirations of being the best in the world at what we do. From top to bottom, this company will operate with a very different mandate in every aspect, from how we treat our employees, how our employees are compensated and their vested interest in the profitability of the company to every ounce of every product we produce.
There's things that I've learned in the 20 years I've played in professional baseball, being part of a team sport, that apply [to business]. You see the real world out there trying to generate and create that team atmosphere, by Hawaiian shirt Fridays or Jelly of the Month Club for the holidays. You don't build teams that way. You build teams by bringing people in who believe in the vision of the company, who understand that the logo on the front of your shirt is a lot more important than the name on the back. That's a sports analogy, but it's applicable.
It's literally about checking egos at the door and being in this for the good of the company, and understanding that if you do your job - and this applies to everyone - if you do your job, at the end of the day, everybody wins.