The claws are out between Marlins owner Jeff Loria and Braves manager — and former Marlins manager — Fredi Gonzalez:
Jeffrey Loria is outraged with Fredi Gonzalez’s published comments in which the former Marlins manager said that no manager ever seems to please the owner. Gonzalez, who manages the Atlanta Braves, was quoted in Sunday’s Miami Herald as saying: “There’s not a manager dead or alive that Jeffrey thinks is good enough. Not Connie Mack, not anyone.”
Loria said that if Gonzalez made those comments, “I’m a little surprised because it’s classless — and you can quote me — especially because he was with us for five years and he was a colossal failure. Not nice. Not nice.”
I’m not the biggest Fredi Gonzalez fan in the world, but it’s worth noting that Fredi has somehow been successful since leaving Miami. Even last year’s epic collapse constituted a better overall season than the Marlins have experienced in close to a decade.
And Gonzalez’s basic point — that Loria can’t be happy with anyone — will be borne out if he fires Ozzie Guillen after one season. Because say what you want about Guillen, but he’s not the biggest problem with that team and that organization. The White Sox showed that you can win that guy, just like the Braves have shown they can win with Gonzalez. And the Yankees with Joe Girardi. And on and on.
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.