Tino Martinez resigned as the Marlins’ hitting coach in the middle of last season amid allegations that he was physically and verbally abusive to players, later giving his side of the story that painted him in a much more sympathetic light as an authority figure simply trying to get young players to listen.
Eight months later Martinez is still talking about the situation, saying the following today during an interview with WFAN radio in New York:
I was tough on some of the young players I thought needed to be, not disciplined, but they were walking around like they were 10-year veterans and I was trying to teach them the right way to do things. I was trying to teach these guys. These guys had a great opportunity. They didn’t belong in the big leagues. They just happened to be with the right organization that had injuries and got rid of the whole entire team the year before.
They were not taking advantage of their opportunity and it was bothering me that they weren’t working hard enough and weren’t appreciating what they had. I was just trying to get them to understand, take advantage of this and make yourself a better player. They were very soft. They were very soft and that was the disappointing part, but I thought I was doing my job as a coach to try and get the most out of them.
Of course, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel points out, Martinez’s fellow coaches also had an issue with how he behaved as hitting coach. It wasn’t just the players and, beyond that, calling them “soft” doesn’t necessarily excuse his behavior either. When you take the job as a hitting coach for an extremely young, inexperienced, rebuilding team a big part of that job is finding a way to get through to those players. Regardless of whether he was in the right or in the wrong, Martinez definitely failed at 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.