Giants 6, Phillies 5: Buster. Posey. Just a 4 for 5 night with a key defensive play behind the plate. Thank God he fixed all of those shortcomings that kept him in the minors back in April and May. Juan Uribe had a walkoff sac fly. Thank God his wrist was well enough to play. And what happened to Charlie Manuel and Bruce Bochy? Bochy had been pretty solid in this playoffs so far, but I felt like pulling Bumgarner as early as he did was strange. Manuel too seemed to be all antsy, pulling Jose Contreras after he faced only one hitter and using Oswalt in the ninth when he has a closer in Brad Lidge who has been pitching well. But ultimately those are quibbles. This may not have been the best-played or best-managed game of the playoffs — indeed, it may have been far from it — but it may have been the playoffs’ most entertaining game. Now all that stands between the Giants and the World Series is Roy Halladay.
Yankees 7, Rangers 2: The Bombers finally found their boomsticks. And the Rangers — who told fans yesterday afternoon that they could meet the team back at the airport in Dallas after they arrive following the game — were maybe caught looking ahead. Worse, Nelson Cruz had to leave the game early with a tight hamstring. It’s still their series to lose, I think — they have Cliff Lee in their back pocket after all — but if they drop Game 6 on Friday, you have to wonder if there will be enough crowbars in all of Texas to pry loose the clenched orifices of the Rangers and their fans.
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.