UPDATE: Call off the Pettitte-to-Texas party. Jeff Wilson at the Star-Telegram spoke with Nolan Ryan late last night and said that there is no truth to the report that the Rangers are interested in Andy Pettitte. To the extent Pettitte and Nolan Ryan talked, it was to exchange pleasantries, and to the extent Pettitte talked about pitching next year it was to say that he was pitching for the Yankees or nowhere.
So that’s no fun. But hey, no one said the truth had to be fun.
Monday, 9:31 P.M.: This is fun.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Rangers president Nolan Ryan recently contacted free agent left-hander Andy Pettitte in order to gauge the veteran left-hander’s interest in returning to his home state.
Pettitte, 38, recently said that if he decides to pitch again next season, it will be as a member of the Yankees, but a few extra dollars and the lure of pitching closer to his home in Deer Park, Texas could be enough to change his mind. Hey, he’s done it before, so perhaps they have history on their side. Plus, because the Yankees did not offer Pettitte arbitration, it would not cost the Rangers a draft pick to sign him.
At the very least, the Rangers’ interest could give the 38-year-old left-hander some much needed leverage. Pettitte earned $11.5 million this past season while posting a 3.28 ERA over 21 starts. He figures to be handsomely rewarded in what will likely be his last season.
Who knows if this will go anywhere, but it would be pretty interesting to see the Yankees and Rangers battle it out for both Pettitte and Cliff Lee.
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.