Anti-List: Phillies Cutting Down on Baseball to Focus More on Fortnite

On Monday night, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that they would be reducing the amount of time they spend on baseball and instead focus on doing what they actually love: playing the popular video game Fortnite.

“We had a team meeting and discussed our priorities, and it turned out what we really want to be doing in 2019 is owning noobs online,” manager Gabe Kapler said at a press conference. “So I think that’s going to be our goal for the upcoming year. Just absolutely demolishing as many pre-teens as possible, battle-royale style.”

In lieu of batting practice and pre-game warm-ups, the team announced that it will instead be in the clubhouse playing Fortnite up until five minutes before game time. As part of this decision, the team will be firing its entire medical staff and converting their old offices into a gaming center, complete with flat-screen 4K HDTVs, bean bag chairs, a Mountain Dew Code Red soda fountain, and a Flipz chocolate-covered pretzel dispenser.

“We’ll also be hiring new staff that will be responsible for feeding and dressing the players while they play Fortnite,” said team president Andy MacPhail. “We don’t want the players being distracted by their contractual obligations as athletes when they’re just about to spawn into a match. And we certainly don’t want them worrying about attending to their basic human need for sustenance when they’re ‘in the zone’ and about to blow a weakened enemy’s face off. Our priority, from this day forward, is to ensure all our players are 100% committed to becoming skilled digital assassins.”

MacPhail went on to explain that all non-essential players and coaches will be encouraged to get in as much Fortnite as possible in the clubhouse during games, regardless of who they’re playing that day and what the potential playoff ramifications may be. And when games go to extra innings?

“We’ll forfeit,” said Kapler. “Immediately forfeit. We can’t be wasting time on any of this ‘extra innings’ garbage. There are already too many innings, as far as we’re concerned.”

The Phillies have recently come under fire after reports surfaced from former Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana that the team had been playing Fortnite in the clubhouse during games. Santana was apparently so enraged by the behavior that he smashed one of the clubhouse televisions with a baseball bat after observing teammates playing the game during a September showdown against the rival Atlanta Braves.

Asked about the incident, Phillies ace Aaron Nola said, “Oh, is that why he did that? I just assumed he was trying to remember what it felt like to swing and actually make contact with something.”

The announcement is sure to draw a fair bit of criticism from the team’s fanbase. After a flurry of offseason moves, including the signing of superstar Bryce Harper to a record-setting $330-million contract, Philadelphia had become a World Series favorite for the 2019 season. Now questions abound on how prepared they’ll be to compete in games with their focus shifting primarily towards Fortnite.

“I don’t think it’ll be an issue,” said Philadelphia first baseman Rhys Hoskins. “I mean I’ve been playing baseball since I was five years old. I can square up a fastball in my sleep. Squaring up a headshot on an enemy and then doing the floss over his lifeless corpse—now that’s something I really need to spend my time improving at.”

This certainly isn’t the first time Fortnite has come up in connection with baseball. Last season Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price blamed his struggles on his addiction to the competitive online game. After making an effort to quit the game, his performance on the mound seemed to improve.

“Yeah, quitting Fortnite last year was the best decision I ever made,” said Price. “Fortnite’s not an issue for me anymore. Once I switched over to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, everything started looking up.”

Several Phillies fans were asked for comment on the announcement, but were too preoccupied flipping over a police car to go on record.

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer and content manager with Pitcher List, and co-host of the On the Barrel podcast. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

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