Pokémon Go is sweeping the globe. Naturally, it has found its way into the Yankees’ clubhouse.
The craze surrounding the new mobile app has caused Nintendo stock to skyrocket as kids and young adults search their communities to “capture” Pokémon.
A handful of Yankees do the same.
“It’s fun,” Nick Goody said. “My sisters play. When I went home for the All-Star break, I downloaded it and found out there were a ton of hot spots right near my apartment.”
Goody is considered the resident expert of the game, which uses GPS tracking to determine a player’s location. Players find Pokémon by walking to new places and interacting with the environment.
“The thing about Pokémon Go is the fact that it makes you go outside,” said Aaron Hicks, who also plays. “It makes you go enjoy the things that people don’t enjoy that often anymore, like going to parks and stuff.”
Hicks said there isn’t much playing done in the clubhouse. But Austin Romine — who said he doesn’t participate — hears the guys talking about it a few lockers over.
The older players sometimes laugh when they hear the talk, Goody said. Of course, differing opinions are expected, especially for a game that primarily caters to those who grew up in the 1990s.
Chasen Shreve said he “dabbles” in the game. Nathan Eovaldi downloaded it but prefers games that require less effort.
“I don’t like the thought process of having to walk around and play it,” he said. “I like to sit down and play games like Clash of Clans, stuff like that.”
Several Yankees play Clash of Clans and its spinoff, Clash Royale, because it allows them to interact and play against each other. The best in the clubhouse? It’s not who you might expect.
“Masahiro [Tanaka] plays,” Goody said. “He’s legit.”
Clash of Clans isn’t new to MLB clubhouses. The Royals were infamously addicted to the game in 2014 in the midst of a tight division race with the Tigers.
With precious time dedicated to the app, some veterans reportedly felt there wasn’t enough focus on baseball. After a players’ meeting, the Royals decided to ease off the game. They eventually reached the World Series.
Video games are so entrenched in today’s society that it’s not surprising to hear about a few Yankees spending their free time participating in the latest trend.
Of course, there’s a playoff race at hand. Entering Monday night’s series opener against the Orioles, the Yankees were 45-46 and trailing the Blue Jays by 5 ½ games in the battle for the second wild card.
The object of Pokémon since its inception has been to “catch ’em all.” But right now, the Yankees might be better off trying to catch Toronto.