Baseball will always be considered a kid’s game. But some baseball players apparently believe it’s OK to obsess over kid’s games, even when they are all grown up and making a gazillion dollars.
And because of that, the Boston Red Sox are dealing with an addiction problem that some believe could put the defense of their World Series championship in danger.
Wait until you hear this: The Red Sox have banned the video game ‘Fortnite’ from their clubhouse because some of their players have proven incapable of weening themselves off it.
Can’t say we’ve ever heard of a baseball team going on the injured list because of a video game.
According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, more than a few players have decided the obsession with Fortnite has become counterproductive to playing winning baseball and have ordered the game cast out of their sanctuary.
The excessive playing of video games has long been a problem with the Red Sox. You’ll remember the infamous case of carpal tunnel injury that befell Boston’s $217 million man, David Price, last season. Let’s put it this way, he didn’t get it from excessive data input. The dude wouldn’t put his video game down.
Here’s what Price told The Athletic in 2018 about his infatuation:
“Let’s say we get back at 11 PM from a game, we’ll play until 1 AM, 1:30 AM, 2 AM depending on what time our game is the next day,” Price said. “We have to make sure, ‘All right we’ve got to eat. Let’s take 30 minutes, eat some lunch, and see you back in 30.’ But you can lose track of time whenever you’re playing it.”
Red Sox pitcher Heath Hembree told The Athletic that Carson Smith was the sultan of Fortnite on the team.
“We play teams of four so we just try to make sure Carson’s on our team and we just follow his lead and he’ll win us battles,” Hembree said. “Carson kind of takes over every game.”
Now since the Red Sox won the World Series last year, you really can’t say the fixation had a wholly negative impact on their performance. But apparently, the obsession has now gotten out of hand and club leaders are giving Fortnite their thumbs down.
If you’ve never played Fortnite, some of the Red Sox might think you are the nerd. But we respect your restraint. The game is about a post-apocalyptic world where you are asked to search for survivors and supplies while focusing on slaying your dastardly opponents. The idea is to be the last survivor at the end of each 100-player round.
“I haven’t seen it this year,” said Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. “Usually everybody had it set up in their lockers. But I haven’t seen it.”
The Red Sox aren’t the only team to have come to this conclusion. The Toronto Blue Jays have banned video games from their clubhouse and there was the case of the flat-screen TV clubbed to death last year by an incensed Carlos Santana in the clubhouse of the Philadelphia Phillies because his teammates just wouldn’t stop playing. Some Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins players even had permission to hook their games into stadium jumbrotrons for maximum enjoyment.
“I think there is a time and place for that, too,” Eovaldi said. “Maybe if we were doing a little better maybe we would be doing it, but you can’t be losing and playing Fortnite in the clubhouse.
“I think everybody, in general, understands that rule. When I came over here last year I was surprised because when I was with the Rays you didn’t do that. When I came over here we’re in first-place, everybody is having a good time and getting the job done. Now we have other things we have to focus on and tend to.”
Last year, a number of Red Sox lockers were maxed out with monitors and game controls to feed their habits. Who was guilty of this? Reports say Price, Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Matt Barnes and Eduardo Rodriguez have been known to go over the edge.
How times have changed. In the old days, players killed time in the clubhouse by watching TV, reading the newspaper, bitching about the media or playing cards. Not anymore.
Fortnite is to video games what Fox News and MSNBC are to political television. It has taken control of the landscape. There was a story we read saying at any given time about 150,000 people could be found just watching others play the game on a streaming website. We repeat: Not playing, just watching. And that’s not even as popular as other games like League of Legends and Grand Theft Auto V.
You can imagine how all of this would be a big issue this season. The Red Sox are off to a miserable start in 2019. They are 14-17 and 5 ½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
Put the damn controllers down and start winning some baseball games.