For the past month or so 30 ballplayers have been competing in what, in these insane times, is the closest thing to actual baseball this side of the Pacific Ocean: a video game tournament. Specifically, the “MLB The Show Players League,” which, as the name suggests, involves players playing the game “MLB The Show” against one another.
As of last night, the league has a winner: Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays, who defeated Lucas Giolito of the White Sox in a three-game sweep of their best-of-five championship.
In addition to the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat for those involved, there was a charitable purpose too, as the tournament raised money for the players’ local Boys & Girls Clubs. Thanks to Snell’s win, the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast will receive a $25,000 donation. All of the other Boys & Girls Club affiliates for the 29 other players got $5,000 donations from MLB and Sony.
Congratulations Blake Snell:
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.