Back in 2006 the Brewers drafted Georgia high school shortstop Brent Brewer in the second round, but after hitting just .240 with a .650 OPS in 427 minor-league games he’s decided to quit baseball … and play football at the University of Tennessee.
Brewer was a highly recruited football player coming out of high school and originally committed to play for Florida State before opting for a $600,000 bonus from the Brewers. Now he’s headed to Tennessee as a 22-year-old freshman and 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety. Here’s what he told Volquest.com:
It had always been in the back of my mind, I’d always kind of wonder how things might have worked out for me in football. I know it’s going to be hard and I’m sure I’ll have some rust, but I’m ready to come in and work hard and get into it. I’m really excited to have this chance and I’m going to make the most of it.
Brewer certainly isn’t the first player to give baseball an unsuccessful try before heading back to football, but his timetable for doing so was a lot quicker than most. He essentially played three full seasons, plus a half-year in rookie-ball after signing and one-third of a season this year before calling it quits. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because Brewer looked nothing like a future major leaguer, but for a $600,000 investment it seems like Milwaukee deserved more than 427 games before he switched sports.
Of course, maybe I’m just upset because now there’s zero chance of a game named Brewer playing for the Brewers.
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.