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How Kennedy's Death Might Derail Schilling's 'Quest'

Wednesday, 2 Sep 2009 | 9:20 PM ET

With thanks to our resident stocks and gaming guru Juan Aruego for making this connection, I offer what could be a disappointment to gamers looking forward to a "World of Warcraft" rival.

Follow me here.

Hall of Fame-destined MLB pitcher Curt Schilling is a technophile. I remember interviewing for a TechTV piece a long time ago about the phone-booth-sized piece of equipment he'd schlep on the road to dial in pitching and hand-eye coordination techniques. The guy's an animal. Remember his bloody sock at the World Series ("Red Sox" took on a whole new meaning and it's now safely ensconced at the Hall of Fame.)

Well, Schilling is also a big time gamer and "World of Warcraft" uber-fan. He has vowed to rival the gaming world's hottest title with a game of his own, which is why he created his 38 Studios (named for his old jersey number.) He wants to produce the ultimate MMO, or massively multiplayer, online game. He's in partnership with the creator of Spawn, Todd McFarlane (didn't he spend a lot of scratch for some historic baseball?), and the two -- with fantasy writer RA Salvatore, are creating something called "The World." He recruited Brett Close as CEO to run 38, from gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts .

Fascinating stuff, but today it appears Schilling's eclectic career might be taking a most unexpected turn. When he retired from baseball last year, everyone thought The World would be his world for the foreseeable future. It seems, instead, that his world might be decidedly limited to the State of Massachusetts and inside the beltway in Washington, DC.

The LA Times reports that Schilling is seriously considering a run for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. As a Republican, Schilling would reverse decades of democratic control over that seat, but I digress: what happens to The World?

Make no mistake, Schilling isn't just a name attached to 38 Studios. He's a key member of the development and creative team. It stands to reason that representing the people of Massachusetts might be a big enough distraction to take him away from his day job, which has set out to create nothing less than the world's greatest video game. His departure for Kennedy's seat may put a big wrench in the game's development.

On CNBC.com now:

Ugh. Or woot!, depending on your perspective.

Meantime, Schilling isn't tipping his hand. On his 38pitches blog, he wrote today that, "While my family is obviously the priority, and 38 Studios is a priority, I do have some interest in the possibility." He goes on with something equally non-committal.

Some Massachusetts constituents might be hopeful, but there's probably an even bigger swath of gamers, pleading to Schilling, "Say it ain't so!"

-- Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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