Bud Selig just got done with his annual All-Star Game news conference. I don’t have a transcript yet, but enough reporters there on the scene are tweeting about it to give us a few gems:
- Selig said that it is still his plan is to retire after the 2012
season. Which he has to reiterate, because he has already blown through a multiple putative retirement dates in the past, only to stay on longer. He says this one is legit, however, unless there is “an emergency.” Query: if baseball finds itself in an emergency in 2012, won’t it be because Bud steered the ship in that direction? If things are terrible then, it’s an even bigger reason for Bud to go.
- Selig wants to tighten up the schedule. He said “I live in fear of November.” I’m assuming he means the weather. I know it will cost some money, but schedule a handful of doubleheaders during the season and cut out postseason days off and we’re in October every year.
- Selig predicts that baseball’s revenue will be up around $7 billion for 2010, up from $6.5 billion in 2009. Silly bald bloggers can make all the cracks we, er, I mean they want to at Selig’s expense, but the man has delivered in the one job he is truly tasked with doing: making money for the owners and keeping the game on a sound financial footing.
- He dodged a question about the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona. I’m not sure this is really an issue for anyone anymore. Suit has been filed over the immigration law, and an injunction will likely follow. It was a different story before then because people were concerned about the law being active, but now Selig should just say as much, defer to the legal and political process and be done with it.
Overall not much to report from the Commissioner, I guess. Which in the business of baseball is a pretty good thing.
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.