A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Exhibit A, Major League Baseball.
The Mets — the team which in many ways served as the focal point of baseball’s return after 9/11 — had petitioned to allow players to wear NYPD and NYFD tribute caps in honor of the 10th anniversary. Just as they did after 9/11 itself. MLB denied it, however, issuing a league-wide memo on uniforms, saying teams must wear their everyday caps with a small flag on the side instead. A no-go for the Mets. A ruling to which they adhered for tonight’s game (the Mets lost to the Cubs 10-6 in 11 innings). A stupid, stupid ruling to which they adhered.
Yes, Major League Baseball routinely denies the requests of teams to alter their caps in any way and yes, it’s understandable. There was a trend several years ago of players writing messages to injured teammates and friends and stuff, and baseball felt the need to crack down lest caps turn into the next generation of Jim McMahon headbands. I get it.
But this is just idiotic. No one’s sensibilities would have been offended by this. Given that the tribute was to be tied to this, the anniversary of a date set in time, it would not open the door to other unofficial hats or “tributes” to more questionable causes. Baseball’s decision here makes no sense to me. It’s mindless adherence to a rule and, ultimately, it’s heartless in effect.
Bad move, Bud. Bad move.
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.