In light of this morning’s news, that moderately panicked sound you hear is Scott Boras working the phones, desperately trying to find someone that will pay Johnny Damon $2,000,001, thereby saying Boras the indignity of being totally, completely, utterly and publicly pwned by the Yankees. Two candidates: The Reds and Tigers, according to Jerry Crasnick.
The Tigers laughed out loud when Heyman and Boras tried to prop them up as a stalking horse earlier this month. They don’t want any part of him. But what about the Reds?
On paper it makes some sense. Cincinnati is stuck with, what, Chris Dickerson as their left fielder? And as was the case in Yankee Stadium, the cozy dimensions of Great American Ballpark may play to Mr. Damon’s strengths.
But can the Reds afford it? They had to have Scott Rolen rejigger his contract in order to make 2010 work already, and that was before they added the Aroldis Chapman dollars. What’s more, I don’t think Walt Jocketty is deluded about his club’s chance to compete this year (i.e. they don’t have much of one). Adding Damon may clearly separate the Reds from the Pirates and rocket them past the Astros, but isn’t that fourth place really the top end here? I’ll even go with third if the Cubs or Brewers run into some bad luck, but I think we can all agree that even with Damon, the Reds aren’t going to be knocking on the door of the playoffs. This is a team that is building to compete in 2011 or 2012, so why throw the money away on Damon now?
At any rate, Damon texted Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger the other day and told him that he’d have a team by Saturday. It’s Wednesday afternoon. Either Scott had better start dialing faster or else there’s going to be a news conference early next week in which the Yankees re-introduce their supremely humbled bargain basement outfielder.
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.