HBT Weekend Wrapup

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I feel like I’ve been in the house too much lately. Indeed, I realized on Saturday morning that I hadn’t left the house once in the previous five days. I’m a hermit by nature, but this was extreme, so I made a point to go out into the world on Saturday, mix with people and generally act like a social human being.

I really enjoy interacting with people on the Internet, but it turns out that people are rather overrated in person. After some moderate socializing which kind of gave me the heebie jeebies, I ended up getting a yogurt and going to a book store and reading all three bound volumes of the Batman “Knightfall” series in those cushy chairs that seem to invite freeloaders like me.  I’m back in my fortified compound on the outskirts of town now, happy to retreat again into the little virtual reality I’ve created for myself, and happy to be catching up on what I missed during my ill-advised social adventure:

  • Jayson Werth expressed remorse for yelling at that fan who got in his way. Which, contrary to what some of you commenters were saying, doesn’t change the fact that the fan should have gotten the hell out of the way. The fan screwed up and Werth overreacted. These are not mutually-exclusive occurrences;
  • Dodgers’ reliever Ronald Bellisario is on the restricted list for a drug problem. He was originally referred to as suffering from “anxiety” issues. Many around baseball suspect that “anxiety” is trotted out as a cover for problems such as a player’s ineffectiveness. I hope using the term to cover for a drug problem is unique to Bellisario’s case.
  • HBT’s own Bob Harkins is in Anaheim this week, grokking the All-Star Game Zeitgeist. I just woke up and haven’t read his first post yet, but it has Erin Andrews and bacon listed in the headline, so it’s probably the best post in the history of the Internet.

In the absence of real baseball, I’ll be spending some time and some posts over the next couple of days trying to figure out what, exactly, the All-Star Game is all about these days, whether it means anything anymore and, frankly, whether it really ever did.

And if you think that no baseball means that there will be no “And That Happened” recaps to greet you when you wake up tomorrow, well, then you don’t know me very well, do you.

Trevor May joins eSports team Luminosity

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 04: Trevor May #65 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning at Progressive Field on August 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Twins 9-2.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
David Maxwell/Getty Images
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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.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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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.