Chipper Jones is filling his retirement with activities. Like getting involved in a Twitter battle. The short version:
- A former Deadspin writer named Pete Gaines tweeted some insults at Jones, telling him to “go do some adultery and steroids.” It doesn’t seem to have been a situation where Jones did anything to instigate it. He just tweeted some stuff about a college basketball game and Gaines, by his own admission, may have been “miffed that Jones’ mere presence happened across my Twitter timeline.” Thus the insult.
- Jones tweeted stuff back at Gaines, calling him “an ignorant, balding, overweight dumbass,” and taking a cheap shot at Gaines’ fiancee, who appears in his avatar. Because Jones has over a quarter of a million twitter followers, many of his followers went after Gaines too. It’s a tale as old as, well, at least as old as Twitter.
- Yesterday, Gaines wrote a column in The Classical, explaining the situation and accusing Jones of “cyberbullying.” Jones saw the column today, retweeted it, and then let loose a bit on Gaines once again.
No one looks great here. Gaines likely never would have taken a gratuitous shot at Jones if he wasn’t famous and, like a lot of internet commenters and folks on Twitter, likely felt, on some level, like his words don’t matter as long as the target is big enough or there remained a fair chance they wouldn’t be read. At least Gaines’ admits in his column that he behaved poorly.
But Jones’ stuff — particularly the shot at Gaines’ fiancee — was low rent, uncalled for and, above all else, inexplicable. You’re a big famous ballplayer. If someone is being immature and rude, how about ignoring them? You took jeers from the worst of the worst for 20 years and you decide to go off on some guy on Twitter? Really? And even Jones’ defense — that he was just dishing back what was given him — rings hollow given that Gaines was just being an ass to Jones while Jones — after returning the favor to Gaines — decided to escalate by picking on the guy’s fiancee.
The Internet: yes it’s newish to some. And yes it has changed a lot. But it doesn’t, as far as I know, trump the “don’t be a jerk to people” rule. Amazing how many people forget that.
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.