Tim McCarver’s departure from the broadcast booth at Fox was largely celebrated by fans even though we didn’t know who his replacement would be. As they say, be careful what you wish for.
Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead has the big scoop:
Fox Sports executives and baseball broadcasters huddled at the posh, isolated Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes in Southern California this week in preparation for the upcoming season.
It was here that Fox quietly decided to unveil its new “A-Team” that will call the World Series this Fall: Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci will join Joe Buck in the booth, two sources tell The Big Lead. From 1996 to 2013, Buck had been paired with Tim McCarver.
When reached for comment this evening, a Fox spokesman had no comment.
Reynolds, sources say, was offered the role earlier this month, and accepted.
The hiring of Reynolds has been seen as inevitable in some circles, as he was mentioned as frontrunner for the gig in reports from Richard Deitsch of SI.com and Chad Finn of the Boston Globe as far back as last fall. Still, he’s not the fresh new voice many fans have clamored for. Verducci could help balance out what Reynolds lacks from an analysis perspective, but a three-man booth can get a bit crowded when sometimes fans just want the game to breathe in important moments instead of having everyone tell you why something is really important. Sigh. Here’s hoping they find the right balance.
No word on if Reynolds and Verducci will work with Buck at all during the regular season or strictly during the postseason, but there should be an announcement on the situation soon.
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.