Cubs interim manager Mike Quade benched Starlin Castro yesterday for what he called “lapses in concentration” after the Cubs’ rookie shortstop forgot how many outs there were and got picked off first base Sunday.
Castro also made an error in the field Friday and Quade, who’s gone 9-4 since taking over the 51-74 team from Lou Piniella last month, told Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he’ll be on the bench for at least two games to “reflect” on his various mistakes:
I want the guy to take a step back, take a look at what goes on around here, from a different perspective, sitting with us and his teammates. It’ll give him a chance to clear his head and figure out exactly how he can compartmentalize–if that’s the right word–all the different tasks that go with that position at this level. I think the break will help him.
Look, this kid has a chance to be so incredibly valuable, obviously, to this franchise. And the more he can do to help himself, to clear his mind and be consistent in what he does is going to determine just how good he’s going to be. So you take a moment like this, and you go ahead and do it.
Castro took the benching in stride, which is nice to see given that a 20-year-old rookie hitting .317 could just as easily have scoffed at being reprimanded by a manager who may not even be around after this month. And if Quade does actually get the full-time job in Chicago having Castro on his side will be a huge factor in his success, so the benching potentially has a much bigger impact than just couple days off.
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.