In the recaps I called the Sox-Yankees game “boring.” Upon reflection that was unfair. It wasn’t a boring game. While not the most crisp affair imaginable, it was close and competitive and I shouldn’t really be complaining. It was long, sometimes unnecessarily so, and that’s really what I was reacting against. “Boring” was not the right choice of words, however.
What was interesting: Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez trying, in his own way, to move things along. On one occasion Derek Jeter asked for time and the ump refused to give it to him. Same with David Ortiz. When Oritz didn’t get time called Jorge Posada and
A.J. Burnett got confused and called time themselves. The announcers then
went on about how Major League Baseball is pushing umpires to move things along — especially in Sox-Yankees games — and that pitchers should just take advantage and just throw the ball there.
I’m sure this was discombobulating for the hitters — and since the game was still nearly four hours long it wasn’t necessarily effective in this instance — but I hope the umps keep it up and impress upon hitters that there is really no need to spit on your batting gloves like Ortiz does or back out of the box and take that big deep breath Jeter does every time or chomp on your gum and squint like A-Rod and all that nonsense.
Get in there and swing, dammit.
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.