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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.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.