I’m a tech guy. If you know me, you know I love a good gadget and a good one’s coming. After rumors going on two years, Apple will introduce its VR headset in a couple weeks at its developers conference. Expect a big, flashy spectacle, followed by the backlash about how people aren’t ready for VR, how the battery pack is clunky, how there’s no killer app, and how it’s overpriced. You remember, the same way they did for the iPhone, the iPad, and most recently the Apple Watch.
All of those are billion dollar businesses now.
I’m not sure if people are ready for VR (or “XR” as Apple appears to be calling it), but one of the strongly rumored apps is a virtual IMAX screen. Yes, it will be great for movies, but also for sports. I’ve talked about the NBA’s courtside videos on Meta’s Oculus and with a 4K screen instead of the not-HD that even the new Oculus’s (Oculi?) have, it will be even better. I expect the sound will be too, or we’ll just use the AirPods we all have now.
But Apple doesn’t have NBA content. It could, easily, but the NBA is in the midst of redoing it’s media deals and might not want to poke the bears that pay it billions by saying “Hey, what about VR rights?” What Apple does have is the MLS, including the rights to do “new and innovative” things, and they have a weekly MLB game. MLB has also pulled in all the rights to minor league baseball, while the college game has grown itself to some relevance, though caught up in a collapsing NCAA schematic.
It’s that one game that I’m focused on. It’s going to need to be more, which means more like MLB.tv than a Friday night game of the week. MLB had one of the first apps on the iPhone and I fully expect that not only will there be a game of the week on the new headset, but also an app that does what the phone app does, except in big, IMAX-sized doses. Think that jumbotron looks nice in left? The one in the headset will be bigger (and I bet that’s how they’ll present it.)
I’ve written previously how VR is made for baseball. You can pitch and swing in a video game in a way you can’t drive the lane, hit the quarterback, or put a cross in the box. There’s room for a VR FIFA, a VR Madden, but this time for baseball. (I know some apps like Derby will port over extremely well and I think their concept will explode.)
I won’t go back through all my points about why VR is made for baseball more than any other sport, but if this is VR’s iPhone moment, I hope baseball is ready for it. The confluence of Apple’s societal dominance, the collapse of RSN’s, and the opening of the VR era - no, really this time - is a potential inflection point inside sports. Not just MLB, but at every level, including the fans.
While we wait for the Tim Cook keynote, on to the injuries:
DUSTIN MAY, SP LAD (strained forearm)
Dustin May’s season likely ends in May. He came out of Wednesday’s start in pain and tests quickly showed a significant strain in his forearm. Word is that the strain is significant enough that surgery is possible, but also that it might heal, right on that cut/don’t cut border. In that case, it’s always best to try to avoid it, so May will be shut down and has already been given a PRP injection. The Dodgers will give him a couple weeks rest, treatment, and then check back in a couple weeks to see if there’s any progress.
There’s about an even split - 50/50 - that he’ll need to have surgery and while the Dodgers will give May every chance to avoid it, especially as close as he is to his recovery from Tommy John, they also won’t want to drag it out in hopes of having him back for next season. The decision on that will come no later than a month from now, so mid-June.
As for the Tommy John, the elbow issues are interrelated, but not likely causative in any way. There’s no sign that the elbow ligament is damaged in any way and the team would have surely taken a view of it in the MRI to be sure. This is just the fact that May throws really hard and apparently, his arm can’t do that and hold up. The forearm tendon was the weak link this time, after the UCL was last time.
The Dodgers are down another pitcher and long term, yet are somehow rated #2 in baseball at the same time, via Axios’ Kendall Baker. Michael Grove should be close from his groin strain - late news is that he’s rejoined the team in St Louis - while Gavin Stone might get a quick second look after his rough debut. The Dodgers are simply down a lot of pitchers and have Clayton Kershaw’s known issues hanging over the rotation as well. They may have to get into the early trade market and have the prospects and cash to do it. They could get an older player on a bad team, like a Lance Lynn or Zack Greinke, but how about a bold suggestion of a couple prospects for Jack Flaherty, who’s struggled with the Cards and injuries. Coming back home and working with Mark Prior might be a win-win.
MANNY MACHADO, 3B SDP (fractured hand)