We are told A-Rod’s Biogenesis discipline is going to come down this week. The New York Daily News reports that today may be the pivotal day in this drama. It’s when Alex Rodriguez must decide if he’s going to take an offer or fight a lifetime ban:
Armed with voluminous evidence they believe would warrant lifetime banishment, Major League Baseball officials hope to know by Monday if Alex Rodriguez will agree to a deal that would effectively end the Yankee third baseman’s career but possibly preserve a big portion of the remaining $100 million on his contract.
If Rodriguez and his representatives reject a deal, the embattled superstar’s suspension could be announced as early as late Monday or Tuesday. A source close to Rodriguez said the player was sticking to his story that he has done nothing wrong and was unwilling to cut a deal.
The offer, the Daily News believes, is a deal for a suspension which would last through the end of 2014. Which is essentially a 200+ game suspension.
I don’t know what A-Rod will do. I doubt anyone does (though his lawyers are telling people they are preparing for an appeal). But I remain skeptical that, if it goes to arbitration, Major League Baseball could actually make a lifetime ban stick in light of the fact that he’s never been disciplined under baseball’s drug rules in the past. And remember: there were reports that MLB was threatening Ryan Braun with at least a 100 game suspension and he ended up getting an offer of 65. Which he accepted.
But for us, that’s just an exercise in speculation. For A-Rod it’s a gamble. A gamble worth, potentially, a hundred million dollars.
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.