The Mariners now sit a season-worst 23 games under .500, but that wasn’t the ugliest part of Friday’s loss to the Red Sox.
An intense confrontation broke out in the Mariners dugout after manager Don Wakamatsu told Chone Figgins he was being removed from the game for failing to backup a throw at second base in the fifth inning. You can watch the play in question and the subsequent fracas here.
Several players and coaches attempted to separate the two, including Russell Branyan, who can be seen lunging over the confrontation, and Jose Lopez, who had his jersey ripped clean off his body by an M’s coach.
Figgins watched the rest of the game in the clubhouse, but left before speaking to the media. After the game, Wakamatsu told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he was justified to remove Figgins from the game, despite numerous instances of poor baserunning in the past week.
“I think you’re talking about base running plays and not all of those
are cut and dried,” Wakamatsu said of the prior gaffes that went
unpunished. “I thought this was cut and dried.”
As Baker mentions, Figgins previously criticized Wakamatsu last month for dropping him to the ninth spot in the batting order. While that decision didn’t make a lot of sense, since Figgins was actually hitting pretty well at the time, many managers probably would have made the same decision Wakamatsu did on Friday night. But that doesn’t mean that he has the rest of the M’s locker room on his side. According to Baker, several players believe Wakamatsu forced Ken Griffey Jr. out of Seattle, something the skipper has denied. Fortunately, if the Mariners keep losing, he won’t have to worry about any more awkward Q and A’s with the press.
According to the Associated Press, Wakamatsu said Figgins will not be suspended for his actions, however he refused to say whether he will be in the lineup for Saturday’s game.
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.