I had all kinds of fun yesterday watching that gonzo Angels-Tigers game. But really, no one distinguished themselves once it got all ugly. For those who missed it:
- Magglio Ordonez may or may not have shown up Jered Weaver by posing for a home run after he hit it. I actually buy Ordonez’s argument that he was merely watching to see if it went foul — that was my thought as I watched it live — but Weaver obviously felt differently.
- Carlos Guillen then really did pose (and preen and strut and generally act like an ass) after his home run off Weaver.
- Weaver then did the absolutely inexcusable in throwing the next pitch at Alex Avila’s head. Really, no excuse whatsoever. You could end a guy’s career with that kind of crap. Or worse. If I was in charge I’d suspend Weaver 20 games for that.
- Erik Aybar bunted in an effort to break up Verlander’s no-hitter. This is a fun one. On the one hand, yes, it’s an alleged violation of the unwritten rules to do this. And maybe I agree if it’s a 9-0 game, but this was a close game and Aybar came around to score, so no worries. Except, isn’t it possible that the play can both be defensible against charges of an unwritten rule violation but also be kind of a dick move? I bet the Angels wanted to mess with Verlander and get a guy on base and were content to do both at the same time. So while I don’t care if he bunted, let’s not pretend that it was a purely tactical move.
- Oh, and Aybar’s “reached on an error” should have been a single. Only a hometown official scorer gives Verlander a throwing error in that situation. Didn’t matter given that the no-hitter was broken up on a clean single, but it’s still worth noting.
- And of course Aybar threw an elbow at Verlander as he crossed home plate.
Add in all of the in-game and post-game beefing from these guys — I counted at least three F-bombs yelled from players during the game — and we have a game in which everyone came off badly.
The worst thing of all, though? These two teams don’t play each other again until next year. Sigh.
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.