Tim Raines

Pete Abraham’s Hall of Fame ballot

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Like I said yesterday, I’m not going to go over every voter’s Hall of Fame ballot.  But we did touch on Pete Abraham’s Hall of Fame methodology last week, so now that he has released his ballot, it’s worth a look.

Pete has Roberto Almomar, Bert Blyleven, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines.  Damn fine slate if you ask me. I’d vote for every one of them.

Pete leaves off Bagwell. Rather than leave it oblique like some have, he simply discounts home run totals from the 90s due to the offensive inflation of the decade.

I get that, but I think there’s more to Bagwell’s case than home runs.  He was a considerably better hitter than, say, Rafael Palmeiro. And unlike Palmeiro and others, Bagwell played in the toughest hitters’ park in baseball for many, many years in the Houston Astrodome. Pete is not engaged in that “let’s see if he was found to be a PED user” game I wondered about yesterday, as he is quite clear on the subject when he discusses McGwire and Palmeiro.  I take Pete at his word that this is a performance-based vote, not a suspicion-based vote and thus I have no problem with it. He’s not supporting anyone inferior to Bagwell here.

Another omission is Edgar Martinez. Pete’s reasoning: “he was primarily a DH and as such, his offensive numbers had to be overwhelming to a point where you had no choice but to vote for him.”  I’m not sure if we’ll ever see a DH with a case like Martinez’s though, so it may be a defacto ban on DHs for Pete.  He does label it a tough call, however, and it’s possible that he’ll change his mind. Or not.  Either way, he states his standard and explains his vote and that’s all one can ask.

Nice ballot. Nice explanations. Let’s see more.

Trevor May joins eSports team Luminosity

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 04: Trevor May #65 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning at Progressive Field on August 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Twins 9-2.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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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.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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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.