This morning, in the the Bob Geren-Brian Fuentes Affair post, resident Athletics expert APBA Guy gave us a thumbnail sketch of what we can expect in Oakland for the next few months, from the front office, to the fans to the San Francisco Chronicle and everyone in between.
It’s scary because it sounds so very plausible. It’s also scary because I could totally see the Braves falling for that Coco-Crisp-is-an-idea-leadoff-man pitch. They don’t seem to care about OBP, after all. And hey: if Atlanta gets Crisp, they’ll be tied for the league lead in DUI defendants at two. Which is something.
Anyway, avert your eyes, A’s fans, because this could be your future:
The sense is that Geren has indeed lost the clubhouse, and that rumors of an impending Crisp trade (“He can too bat lead-off. Ignore that he has a .301 OBP, down 30 points from his career .331. You need CoCo Crisp.”) mean that once again, the Wolfe/Fisher/Beane cabal are throwing in the towel in May.
This endless loop horror show has been too much for even the hard core fans. Right now the Chron is just reporting the unrest, but once they turn it will be all over. And as the fans begin to digest that Fuentes is the highest paid pitcher on the payroll, and if Joey Devine can keep his early form up, Fuentes may disappear too, but that money won’t be reinvested this year, you’re going to see more unrest.
Then ultimately will come the announcement: “Regrettably, we have been unable to make the franchise viable in the Oakland market. Therefore, we have no choice but to relocate to _____ where we hope to succeed under our new manager.”
And very few will care.
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.