Carlos Santana is not a fan of Fortnite. More specifically, he’s not a fan of his teammates on a disappointing team playing Fortnite while a professional baseball game is being played, and he showed it last season when he smashed a TV towards the end of his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies.
On the surface, a report early this morning from Jeff Passan might make it sound like Santana overreacted just a bit — breaking property to prove a point is rarely a good idea, especially something electronic and probably expensive. But at least he didn’t use his fists like most annoyed pitchers do; he used a bat because he’s Carlos Santana and that’s what he does, dangit.
He’s also not a fan of losing, as he told ESPN.
I see a couple players -- I don’t want to say names -- they play video games during the game. 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.
Assuming Santana didn’t just do it because he prefers Apex Legends over the mechanics of Fortnite that has your opponents recreating the Taj Mahal out of wood every time you fire at them, he might have had enough of a baseball point to warrant the outburst.
The alleged smashing happened with two games left to go in the season, meaning the Phillies were already well eliminated from postseason contention and the team looked ready to pack it in for the winter. Assuming the smashing happened prior to their September 29 game against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies were on a nine-game losing streak — including five losses by five or more runs — before Santana ended the in-game Fortnite shenanigans. The Phillies won their final two games of the season by a combined score of 6-1.
Passan’s full report goes into detail about how dysfunctional the Phillie clubhouse was last season, and there are several quotes that show how frustrated Santana himself was with some of the younger players and how little control the manager, Gabe Kepler, had over the whole situation.
While Kepler himself stuck to generic public relations answers, Santana laid it all out there.
I like Gabe because he’s a very strong guy. It was tough for him, especially his first year. But sometimes the manager cannot control the clubhouse because everybody [is] doing their thing.
I don’t know what happened, but I’ve never seen that in my life -- during the game, playing video games. It’s not professional. Each team is everybody all together. I understand we’re eliminated for the season, but you have to have pride.
There’s 25 men on the roster. We have to stay on the same page. When I see what happened, I was a little bit frustrated.
Santana’s teammate, fellow veteran and 2018 free agent addition Jake Arrieta, seemed to agree with Santana’s thought process of not playing video games while a game is going on.
As Arrieta told ESPN:
You have to set certain rules and boundaries. At a certain point, your focus needs to shift toward preparing for the game. And some people like to lock in on their phone and watch a show. I’m OK with that. I really don’t care if you want to play Fortnite up to a half-hour before the game. If that’s what locks you in, I don’t mind that. But during the game? That’s a different story.
For the Indians, this should hopefully quell all the talk that they need to pay some veteran to come in ala 2016 Mike Napoli or 2013 to provide veteran leadership. They have that already in Santana, clearly. Not to mention Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis, Leonys Martin, and others already in the clubhouse. Plenty of leadership already exists in that clubhouse. Fortnite during games (probably) does not.
It should also be noted that the Indians are fans of video games, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication that they play them during games. Jose Ramirez’s reign as king of Mario Kart should be safe from Wreck-it-Los’ watchful eye.