Tony La Russa is happy that his star slugger has decided to skip this year’s Home Run Derby and minces no words when it comes to criticizing the event itself:
“I’m just irritated by how much attention the (Derby) gets. It’s like a big show, and the game is an afterthought,
which is totally ESPN.”
My love-hate relationship with La Russa continues. I’m in total agreement with him on this kind of stuff, yet I hate his managerial style. I admire his activism on behalf of animals yet I disagree with his position on the Arizona immigration law. I respect his considerable accomplishments as a manager yet I find his personal style, personal habits and selective myopia to be profoundly troubling.
Maybe on balance, though, I have to say I like the guy. Not because of what he says and does, really, but because whether I agree with him or not he plays less of that p.r. game than anyone else.
What other managers are going to call out ESPN like that? What other managers are going to speak their mind like La Russa does, even if his mind is often totally whack? Ozzie Guillen does. Bobby Cox will on some very narrow topics. Charlie Manuel does in my mind. Not too many others will. Obviously that’s a function of job security — La Russa has the closest thing to a job for life as any manager — but it probably has to do with temperament too. I don’t necessarily care for La Russa, but I’m glad he’s around.
No point to this, really. Twitter has been down for almost two hours now, and I don’t have anyone else with whom to share my lame musings, so you all get it.
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.