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Tips for Ryan Braun’s upcoming rehabilitation tour

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As I said the other day, I feel like Ryan Braun is in a situation where no matter what he does and no matter what he says he will still be a pariah. Mark McGwire showed us that, as has every other publicly disgraced person who gets in front of a camera in an effort to come clean.

Sometimes they are less than forthcoming, true, but sometimes they say absolutely everything that can conceivably be said about the matter and they’re still slammed for evading or not being remorseful or whatever. The secret here is that most people really don’t want answers or explanations from these people. They’ve made up their minds and won’t listen. They just want the thrill of seeing someone squirm and the satisfaction of saying, after the fact, that the person is still a piece of garbage.  I feel like Braun will get this treatment in spades.

But others aren’t as cynical as me. Bob Wolfley of the Journal-Sentinel spoke with some experts and P.R. professionals about what Braun could say or do to actually get on the road to redemption.  It’s a fascinating and, actually, quite excellent article that covers just about every angle of the matter.

This from former commissioner Fay Vincent was the first insight:

One is, he should see that the problem is a very serious problem for baseball, not think that the Ryan Braun case is about Ryan Braun … secondly he should, in my view, go to somebody like the commissioner and say what can I do to go around and make it clear to fans and to people in baseball that we’ve got to do something to keep these drugs from infecting the rest of the game?”

Nice, but if you don’t think the response to that would be (1) “Braun is not taking personal responsibility, he’s blaming ‘the game'”; and (2) yeah, sure, look at his cynical P.R. efforts, just like A-Rod working for the Hooton Foundation!” you’re crazy, Fay.

The stuff from a P.R. expert is way better: a full confession and apology with no “buts” in the comments, anonymous charity work and an eschewing of the limelight. I feel, however, that a lot of that would be construed as “Braun has gone away to hide.”  Other P.R. people in the column talk about how it’s too late and how Braun can never redeem his reputation.  I suspect they may be right.  Former Mets pitcher Ron Darling is not so pessimistic and believes that there is a chance for Braun.

I know that Braun’s reputation is not the concern of people outside of Braun himself, but I find it a fascinating sidelight to this grand opera.

Trevor May joins eSports team Luminosity

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 04: Trevor May #65 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning at Progressive Field on August 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Twins 9-2.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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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.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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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.