ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski can’t see why, if Mark McGwire is allowed to take a job in the game, Pete Rose is not. Indeed, he spends a couple dozen paragraphs making that equivalency, culminating in this:
Yes, Rose betrayed the game by gambling on baseball. There’s no way
around that elephant in the middle of the dugout. But McGwire, Alex
Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte — admitted PED users — betrayed a similar
Look, we can argue all day about whether McGwire’s or Rose’s transgressions were worse in the cosmic sense, but before we do that, don’t the people in Rose’s corner have to at least acknowledge that, with Rose, there was actually a rule in place that specifically banned anyone who violated it for life? Wojciechowski makes no mention of it whatsoever. At the same time, don’t they have to acknowledge that there’s not, nor has there ever been, a rule doing the same for PED use? Wojciechowski likewise fails to mention that.
Blame MLB for having uneven rules in this regard if you must, but there is no injustice being done simply because Pete Rose is being punished pursuant to the rules he violated and Mark McGwire isn’t being banned pursuant to some retroactive rule that a few sportswriters would like to enact.
Oh, and another thing: Wojciechowski repeats a charge I’ve seen over and over again recently:
McGwire issued a statement to The Associated Press and agreed to a
handful of sit-down interviews, but has yet to do a full news
conference (the recent six-minute fiasco in St. Louis doesn’t count).
Put it this way: McGwire hasn’t gone through the full truth car wash.
McGwire sat for an hour with Bob Costas and did interviews with Joe Posnanski, Wojciechowski’s own ESPN colleagues Tim Kurkjian and Bob Ley, every St. Louis writer who matters and several other members of the media. If Wojciechowski is being serious when he says that’s insufficient, isn’t he saying that his colleagues did a crappy job?
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.