Schilling asks R.I. for additional help to save video company

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Schilling asks R.I. for additional help to save video company

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling asked Rhode Island for additional help to save his video game company Wednesday, prompting state leaders to consider whether the firm is viable enough to justify further investment.

Schilling, an ESPN baseball analyst, briefed Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the state's Economic Development Corp. board in a closed-door session.

Following the meeting, Chafee would not say what Schilling is seeking from the state. The governor said the question before state economic development officials was, "How do we avoid throwing good money after bad?"

Schilling declined to answer questions, saying only: "My priority right now is to get back to my team."

Concerns about 38 Studios' financial health arose when it failed to make a scheduled 1.1 million payment to the Economic Development Corp. on May 1.

The business was lured from Massachusetts in 2010 after Rhode Island offered a 75 million loan guarantee that state officials said would help bring hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue.

No action was taken on 38 Studios' new request. The board's next scheduled meeting is Monday.

Chafee, an independent, has vowed to do "everything possible" to assist the company, named after Schilling's number as a player, and prevent the state from having to pay the company's debts.

"The most important thing, going forward, is the viability of the company," Chafee said Tuesday. "We're looking at everything."

House Speaker Gordon Fox said he began hearing "inklings" about trouble at the company a few weeks ago, but still doesn't have the necessary information to gauge the company's health.

Under the terms of the loan guarantee agreement, 38 Studios promised to bring a total of 450 jobs to Rhode Island over three years. An outside monitor was to follow the company's progress.

The company released its much-anticipated first game, "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning," to strong reviews in February.

Chafee and others criticized the loan guarantee at the time it was offered, saying it was putting taxpayer money at risk to help a company with no track record of success. During his run for governor, Chafee called it "one of the biggest risks I've ever seen."

Economic Development Corp. executive director Keith Stokes said at the time the board determined the loan agreement was a calculated risk well worth taking. Stokes said the board performed months of due diligence in analyzing the video game sector and 38 Studios and crafted a loan guarantee agreement that included strict performance benchmarks.

He said the agreement went "to great lengths to safeguard taxpayers and ensure economic performance."

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.