Some random thoughts from a busy morning:
- I was on MLB Network’s Hot Stove this morning talking about A-Rod. In a lot of ways I was presented as the heel, in the pro wrestling sense. Or, as host Matt Vasgersian put it, I was the Newman to Ken Rosenthal’s Seinfeld. Which is about right, I think. Not gonna lie: it was a lot of fun;
- Big kudos to Rosenthal for being awesome. He and I fight a lot, most recently yesterday when I accused him of joining in with the “the Yankees and A-Rod should commit insurance fraud” camp. They brought Ken in on the show when I was on and we talked about that. But we also talked about the back and forth he and I have sometimes on Twitter and elsewhere. He gave me credit for being right about things sometimes, I owned up to firing before I aim sometimes. I think it sums up the somewhat adversarial relationship I have with a lot of people in the media pretty well. Funny that Ken understands that when I’m critical I’m not being personal and that he and I can get along just fine despite that dynamic. Funny that others can’t make that distinction.
- That said, I was a bit taken aback seeing Rosenthal in a plaid shirt and no tie. Never seen him without a jacket. Not gonna lie: Bob Villa-Rosenthal was kind of unnerving.
- In the segment after that, Peter Gammons spoke about how many in Major League Baseball are trying to steer their players away from living and hanging around in Miami due to the culture down there as epitomized by the Biogenesis Clinic business. Deep question: which is more harmful to baseball: the Miami Biogenesis Clinic, or the Miami Marlins. I’m gonna go with the Marlins.
OK, back to your regularly scheduled blogging.
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.