We should probably just call this the T.J. Simers award. But I’m feeling charitable right now and I’m mostly just happy that he’s apparently not lost a single step despite a health scare in spring training. Maybe we’ll name it after him when he retires and gets a little cottage in Misanthropic Acres or wherever he decides to live.
In any event, he takes on Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire today, choosing the most insightful angle possible:
I had never met Mark McGwire before Tuesday night, but I knew of his reputation and the fact he has struck out so far as the Dodgers’ hitting coach. So given the Dodgers’ lack of power, I asked, “Is it time to introduce the players to steroids?” … I remember how much fun it was when Sammy Sosa and McGwire were hitting a lot of home runs. I thanked McGwire for providing those thrills and asked if he could still score some steroids.
I assume some sportswriters will laud Simers for his bravery for that, because the only apparent problem with cheap, low-rent questions among that group is when one doesn’t ask them in person. So good on ya, T.J. Next:
The Dodgers rank third to last in the major leagues in home runs and RBIs, and yet they have a guy who hit 70 home runs as their hitting instructor.
The Tigers lead baseball in offense and Lloyd McClendon is their hitting coach. The Orioles are second with Jim Presley in that job. The Rockies lead the NL and their hitting coach is Dante Bichette. The Reds are second in the NL with Brook Jacoby in charge of the bats. You know, it’s almost as if the hitting coach’s playing career is not a suitable proxy for his success as a coach.
There are interesting insights to be made about the Dodgers’ offensive struggles. Too bad there aren’t any sportswriters in Los Angeles interested in making them.
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.