Usually when a guy gets traded just a year after signing a multi-year free agent deal there's a story there. This anecdote about Indians-turned-Phillies-turned-Indians-again slugger Carlos Santana is no exception.
According to a long-form article posted by ESPN on Monday, Santana momentarily lost his cool when he smashed a TV during the waning moments of Philadelphia's 2018 season. While that would usually be a sign of complete insanity, Santana's move seems justifiable when you consider that his teammates were playing Fortnite in the midst of a losing streak while Phillies games were actually being played (like, literally, being played).
"I see a couple players — I don’t want to say names — they play video games during the game,” Santana said to ESPN. “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.”
The Phillies had been only 2.5 games out of first place in the NL East on September 7 but fell to 12 back by the 28th thanks, in part, to a nine-game losing streak. While the final games of the season were rendered meaningless, it's still probably not advisable to play video games on the clock, especially if you want to stick in the Majors and/or keep your TV set in one piece.
“I don’t know what happened,” Santana added, “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.”
Other veterans on the team agreed that the club had their issues, but stopped shy of pinning it on Epic's addictive-ass shooter.
"You have to set certain rules and boundaries,” said veteran pitcher Jake Arrieta to ESPN. “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.”
Arrieta added that he was aware of Fortnite being played during the team's games, but said it only happened "a couple of times."
Philadelphia traded Santana on December 3, 2018. He had previously signed a three-year deal with the club in November 2017.