Red Sox reportedly banned Fortnite from clubhouse

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Update (5/2/19): Price and manager Alex Cora both shot down Bradford’s report, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

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Fortnite is among the most popular video games now. As of this writing, over 148,000 people are watching people play the game on Twitch.tv, a popular streaming website. That ranks third behind Grand Theft Auto V and League of Legends. Fortnite is popular among people in general, but also among Major League Baseball players. Trevor May, for example, pitches for the Twins, but when he’s not doing that, he streams as part of the esports team Luminosity Gaming. The Phillies had a clubhouse issue last season as players were reportedly playing Fortnite in the clubhouse during games, which resulted in Carlos Santana smashing a TV with a bat.

Some members of the Red Sox are big fans of Fortnite, including David Price, Chris Sale, J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts, among others. They were so into it that some players had video gaming monitors installed in their lockers in the Red Sox clubhouse last year. That is no longer the case, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports. There is no more Fortnite in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi said, “I haven’t seen it this year. Usually everybody had it set up in their lockers. But I haven’t seen it.”

The defending World Series champion Red Sox are off to a slow start, currently sitting in fourth place in the AL East with a 13-17 record. Things have gotten better lately, with the club having won seven of its last 11 games. Eovaldi said, “I think there is a time and place for that, too. 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.”

Bradford notes that players are now filling the down time with crossword puzzles, card games, and dominoes.

Though video games are thoroughly mainstream now, they still get a bad rap for causing all kinds of problems. For example, people still mistakenly link video games to violence. In sports, video games are often a scapegoat for a team’s struggles. A winning team won’t have its gaming ways become a narrative, but a bad or collapsing team will, which is why the Phillies’ story from last year was so juicy. They were far from the only team with Fortnite-obsessed players, however. And players can be just as inattentive listening to audiobooks, watching YouTube, binging TV shows on Netflix, or doing Sudoku. On the other hand, video gaming can be wonderful as a team bonding exercise. Gaming is also shown to improve a player’s ability to think creatively and critically. Generally, video games can reduce stress and anxiety as well. Hopefully, teams across the league don’t follow suit and blindly ban video games from the clubhouse while keeping all of the other enticing distractions.

Kinsler back with Rangers as special assistant to GM Young

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Former Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler returned to the team as a special assistant to general manager Chris Young, his teammate in the organization’s minor league system nearly two decades ago.

Young said that Kinsler, who was part of the franchise’s only two World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, will be heavily involved in player development and providing mentorship to both players and staff.

Kinsler, a four-time All-Star, was part of a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, a year before his retirement. Kinsler played 14 seasons in the major leagues and spent the last three years in the front office of the San Diego Padres as a special assistant in baseball operations and player development. The 40-year-old has been living in the Dallas area, as he did throughout his playing career.

Kinsler played for the U.S. in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and Israel in last summer’s Olympics, and he will manage Israel in next month’s WBC.

Young and Kinsler were teammates for several weeks at Double-A Frisco in the summer of 2004, the same year the pitcher made his big league debut. They were in big league spring training together in 2005, then Young was traded after that season.

A 17th-round draft pick by Texas in 2003, Kinsler played 1,066 games for the Rangers from 2006-13, hitting .273 with 156 homers, 539 RBIs and 172 stolen bases. He hit .311 with a .422 on-base percentage in 34 postseason games. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame last summer.

Kinsler hit .269 with 257 homers, 909 RBIs and 243 stolen bases in 1,888 career games overall with Texas, Detroit (2014-17), the Los Angeles Angels (2018), Boston (2018), and San Diego (2019). He is one of only two MLB second baseman with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in multiple seasons, and had the only six-hit cycle in a nine-inning game since 1900 on April 15, 2009.