It seems unlikely that Cleveland Indians players will be playing “Fortnite” in the clubhouse this season — not after hearing the story that broke Monday morning about an incident involving new first baseman Carlos Santana last season.
Santana, a former Dodgers prospect, played last season for the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that led the National League East in mid-August but fell apart down the stretch and missed the playoffs. He wasn’t happy that some of his teammates were playing video games in the Citizens Bank Park clubhouse during baseball games, and after the Phillies’ ninth straight loss in late September, Santana decided he’d had enough.
So the nine-year veteran took a baseball bat and smashed the TV. No more “Fortnite” during baseball games, or any time for that matter.
“I see a couple players -- I don’t want to say names -- they play video games during the game,” Santana told ESPN, which confirmed the story with the Phillies.
“We come and lose too many games, and I feel like they weren’t worried about it. Weren’t respecting their teammates or coaches or the staff or the [front] office. It’s not my personality. But I’m angry because I want to make it good.”
Veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta told ESPN he wished Santana had come to him with his concerns about their Phillies teammates before taking such drastic measures. But, he added, “if I’d have known people were playing video games during the game, I’d have broken some ... too.”
Going into this season, second-year Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has called on Arrieta and 12 other team leaders to establish a new team policy over such matters. Of course, Santana won’t be part of any of it — he was traded to the Seattle Mariners, who then dealt him to the Indians, during the offseason.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told ESPN that the Santana trade had nothing to do with the “Fortnite” incident. “It was tough to include him in the trade with Seattle, but sometimes you have to trade good players to acquire other good players.”
Santana said he has no hard feelings toward his former team.
“I liked everybody,” Santana said. “Matt Klentak is great. I don’t have a problem with anybody. They’re great. They worry about their players. Everything is fine, positive. I worry about baseball. I worry about playing hard every day and helping my teammates win.”