38 Studios

Curt Schilling's dueling priorities

July 3, 2012: 11:19 AM ET

Did Curt Schilling deserve his $13 million in 2007?

FORTUNE -- Ever since Curt Schilling's gaming company collapsed, there has been talk in Boston about how the situation will impact the former Red Sox pitcher's legacy. In most cases, folks have been quick to separate what Schilling did in the boardroom from what he did on the ball field.

But I'm not so sure the separation should be so cut-and-dry. Check out this nugget from the Harvard Business School case study on 38 Studios, referring to Schilling's schedule shortly after the company was launched:

When the Red Sox were at home, a typical day for Schilling started at GMG at 7:30 a.m. He would then rush out to arrive at Fenway Park by 1:30 p.m. for a game or practice. He would finally arrive home around 2:00 a.m. and start over again a few hours later. The packed schedule took an increasing toll on his marriage. Schilling admitted, "I'm at the office every day and I'm only home because otherwise my wife would be mad at me."

The schedule also seemed to take a toll on Schilling's baseball performance. That season, his home stats included a 4.06 ERA and a .285 batting average against. This compares to a 3.65 ERA on the road and a .263 batting average against on the road (when he wasn't spending days at 38 Studios). Or, for more context, his home stats the prior year included a 3.06 ERA and a .264 batting average against (plus several more wins and starts).

I can't imagine the Boston Red Sox were too thrilled that their $13 million-a-year man was only getting five hours of sleep per night. Any more than would be investors in a gaming startup who learn that their CEO is spending half of each day watching baseball.

This all gets forgiven because the Sox won the World Series in 2007 (and Schilling pitched well in the post-season), but imagine if JD Drew hadn't hit that grand slam. Would Schilling's baseball legacy also be ruined by his business activities? Should it have been?

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