After missing nearly all of last season with a shoulder injury Glaus signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Braves and batted .281/.372/.496 with 14 homers through 69 games to basically match his career norms.
Because the Braves were atop the division and Glaus was driving in a bunch of runs ESPN went so far as to show a graphic listing him as one of four “MVP candidates” during a Fourth of July broadcast.
It was plenty silly at the time because Glaus ranked just 32nd among NL hitters in OPS, but now it seems downright absurd because he’s gone into an incredible funk. Glaus has hit .159 with zero homers in his last 32 games, including a .540 OPS and just five RBIs in 21 games since ESPN misguidedly deemed him worthy of serious MVP consideration.
Glaus was benched yesterday in favor of Eric Hinske and afterward told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that knee soreness isn’t to blame for his six-week slump:
It’s certainly no worse than it has been at any point in the season. I mean, I feel pretty good. It’s the middle of the season and everybody goes through swoons of some sort. Obviously you want to try to keep them as short as possible. Obviously the swing hasn’t been fantastic over the past couple of weeks, for who knows what reason. It’ll turn around. Work in the cage and try to figure out what’s going on, and apply it to the game situations.
Given that he missed all but 14 games last season it’s possible that Glaus is simply wearing down while playing every day again at age 34, but it’s also worth noting that even after the slump he has a .244 batting average and .344 on-base percentage that are very close to his career marks of .255 and .359. The power outage is more of a concern, because streaky hitter or not Glaus has always smacked the ball over the fence and his current .410 slugging percentage is 80 points off his career average.
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.