In the recently-completed Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league and the union agreed to make several modifications to the Joint Drug Agreement which governs drug testing, suspensions and whatnot in baseball. They just announced that they have reached agreement on the modifications.
They’re all listed below. The ones that seem notable or major to me in bold. Many of them are designed to specifically address the Ryan Braun fiasco from this spring:
- Adding hGH blood testing during Spring Training, during the off-season, and for reasonable cause. The parties also agreed to study expanding hGH testing to the regular season.
- Increasing the number of random tests during the season and off-season.
- Modifying the Collection Procedures of the Program to clarify when collectors must deliver specimens to the courier, and how specimens should be stored prior to delivery to the courier.
- Modifying the Appeals procedures of the Program, including the circumstances under which procedural deviations will result in the invalidation of test results.
- Creating an Expert Panel of recognized ADD/ADHD experts to advise the Independent Program Administrator (“IPA”) on Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) applications for ADD/ADHD medications, and another expert panel of medical professionals to advise the IPA on TUE applications for other medications.
- Strengthening the protocols for addressing use by players of drugs of abuse.
- Permitting public announcement of the specific substance that resulted in a player’s positive test result or discipline.
- Making players who are suspended for violating the Program prior to the All-Star Break (including during Spring Training and the preceding off-season) ineligible to be elected or selected for the All-Star Game.
- Establishing a protocol for evaluating and treating players who may suffer from an alcohol use problem or who have engaged in off-field violent conduct.
- Clarifying the rules for violations for use or possession of prohibited substances based on evidence other than positive test results (“non-analytical positives.”)
- Increasing the penalties for criminal convictions for possession or use of drugs of abuse (including stimulants).
Some of these, such as the no-All-Star Game for those who test positive thing have been long sought-after. I’ll also note, building on yesterday’s post, that while there is now something for evaluating people with alcohol problems, and something about increasing discipline for drug convictions, there is nothing about DUI incidents or convictions. So close, guys!
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.