The Phillies are making some much-needed changes to the clubhouse this season.
A report from ESPN on Monday said that Phillies players were playing the video game Fortnite during games last year, which caused now-departed first baseman Carlos Santana to smash TVs in the clubhouse.
As part of his report, ESPN’s Jeff Passan talked with Phillies manager Gabe Kapler about the incident that occurred during the team’s significant struggles late last season.
Kapler, who Passan described as a manager who let players police the clubhouse, said that the addition of veterans will help manage a very young team.
“Our clubhouse chemistry was great when we were winning,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told ESPN. “When we were losing and fading out of the playoff race, everyone was frustrated and searching for answers. This is common, in my experience.”
One thing Kapler is implementing this year is something the Philadelphia Eagles have done for years under Andy Reid and Doug Pederson; create a “player council” that created guidelines for the clubhouse and each other.
Part of the guidelines established by the 13 players Kapler assembled includes all players coming out for the national anthem and pitchers remaining in the dugout during games, according to Passan.
It’s not known when Kapler assembled this group of players, but it would be a safe assumption to believe Rhys Hoskins, Jake Arrieta, Aaron Nola, Andrew McCutchen, and J.T. Realmuto were among the players consulted given their veteran status and leadership history.
Arrieta is one of the few players quoted in the article, and he said the Fortnite games may have been an isolated situation.
“If I’d have known people were playing video games during the game, I’d have broken some s— too,” said the veteran starter.
Keeping the pitchers in the dugout possibly infers who was responsible for the Fortnite games, but regardless it’s a good policy to have. It builds comradery within the team and allows players to coach each other up during the game.
The Passan article doesn’t tell me that Kapler didn’t have a handle on the clubhouse, but it did show he’s willing to adjust, something he constantly preaches. Everyone changes how they do things as they learn, whether it be at their job, in a relationship, or managing a baseball team.
Santana even said in the article that he liked Kapler, dispelling the notion that players didn’t like Kapler. For all we know, Kalper had no idea the Fortnite games were being played since he was on the dugout step managing pennant race games.
I don’t expect to hear of or see a lot of these changes, but hopefully they’re all for the better. Adding veterans to one of the youngest clubhouses in baseball will only be beneficial both on and off the field for the Phillies.