A few years ago, a late-season Red Sox swoon was widely blamed on beer and chicken wings in the clubhouse. This year, the Boston media has found another clubhouse vice to turn into a bogeyman: Fortnite.
On Thursday, Boston pitcher David Price announced he would no longer play the popular video game after several media members suggested it had caused the carpal tunnel syndrome that cost him a start against the Yankees this week.
Price said he will no longer play Fortnite at the ballpark because he is aware the topic has been a distraction last couple of days.
— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) May 10, 2018
Though he intends to quit playing Fortnite in the clubhouse, Price made clear he does not actually blame his carpal tunnel syndrome on video games. In fact, he thinks the very idea is preposterous. Via ESPN:
“I’ve always played it with my teammates, during the offseason, at the field, at the hotel,” he said. “That’s kind of my generation. That’s what we do. If I need to shut down video games and pick up a new hobby, then so be it. But I do not think that’s the cause.”
“If that was the cause of the problem, it started back in 1997 when I got my first PlayStation when I was 12 years old,” Price said. “I’ve always played video games.”
So how did we get the point where an MLB all-star had to clarify that he did not injure himself playing video games? It started Wednesday, after Price was scratched from a start against the Yankees with hand soreness, when a reporter asked Red Sox manager Alex Cora whether Fortnite had contributed to Price’s issues. (Price’s fondness of video games had been brought to light earlier in the week in a story from Jen McCaffry of The Athletic.) Cora waved away the concern, but the idea of Price’s Fortnite-induced wound proved irresistible. As fans cracked jokes on social media, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe wondered, “Is David Price’s ailment linked to video gaming?” while Richard Silverman of the Boston Herald questioned, “Is Fortnite habit the cause of David Price’s injury?”
When people talk about the intense microscope of the Boston media, this is what they mean. One question at a press conference turns into an angry column or two (plus a few memes), which leads to a national controversy and a 32-year-old man forced to explain his video-game habits to an entire nation.