Unable to find a job this spring after hitting just .181 in 80 games for the Dodgers last season, Garret Anderson has decided to call it a career after 17 years in the majors.
Fifteen of those years were spent with the Angels and Anderson is the franchise’s all-time leader in games (2,013), plate appearances (8,480), runs (1,024), RBIs (1,292), hits (2,368), and total bases (3,743).
At his peak he was a .300 hitter with 25-homer power whose spot in the middle of the lineup and low walk rate helped him pile up big RBI totals, knocking in more than 115 runs each year from 2000-2003.
His overall production wasn’t quite as impressive as the batting average and RBIs suggested, as Anderson failed to crack an .800 OPS in 10 seasons and finishes with a career mark of .785 that ranks just 106th among the 158 players to log at least 5,000 plate appearances since his debut in 1994.
He was a very solid hitter and underrated defensive left fielder who rarely missed games and was a big part of some very good Angels teams, including the World Series winners in 2002. That season he batted .306 with a .332 on-base percentage and .539 slugging percentage, homering 29 times and leading the league with 56 doubles while knocking in a career-high 123 runs to finish fourth in the MVP balloting.
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.