We’ve been tracking the notion of Ozzie Guillen getting out of his White Sox contract to the Florida Marlins for some time now. Ken Rosenthal has too, and this morning he’s reporting that Ozzie has a plan to do so: He’ll ask the White Sox for a contract extension beyond 2011 (when his current deal expires) and if and when the White Sox balk, he’ll ask to be released and be allowed to take the Marlins gig:
Guillen wants assurances that the White Sox would like him to remain
manager long-term, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.
The source even outlined a scenario that could lead to Guillen’s departure from the club:
• Guillen asks for a contract extension, one that goes beyond the team simply exercising his club option for 2012.
• The White Sox balk, and Guillen asks owner Jerry Reinsdorf to allow him to pursue the Marlins’ opening.
It’s genius, really, as is Ozzie getting out in front of this thing with some choice quotes Rosenthal runs in his article. The “I want them to extend me because they want me to stay, not because I’m Ozzie” thing is clever in that it (a) signals his intentions; while (b) signaling to Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams that if they let him go, he won’t spin it as some kind of personal slight or anything. That could help defuse the controversy.
We all like to have a laugh at how politically incorrect Ozzie Guillen can be, but really, the guy is a master of politics. He wouldn’t have survived so long in this game if he wasn’t.
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.