The Kansas City Royals are playing in the World Series, but things weren't looking so rosy in mid-July, back when the club had more losses than wins — partly because of an obsession with Supercell's Clash of Clans, reports the Kansas City Star.
Jarrod Dyson had introduced the addictive free-to-play game to fellow outfielder Lorenzo Cain early in the season. Cain has been an avid gamer for years — according to the Kansas City Star, he "barely paused" a game of Madden when he got the call in 2004 that he'd been drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers — and he helped spread the Clash of Clans habit among his teammates.
Following a loss on July 20 that dropped the team's win percentage below .500, first-base coach Rusty Kuntz was dismayed to find a number of Royals tapping away on their iPads in Clash of Clans in the locker room.
"At that time, in that situation, it's really disappointing," Kuntz told the Kansas City Star. "You just got to a point where you go, 'What's the priority here? Is [a baseball game] just three hours out of your time, spent away from what you're actually being interested in? We've got to find a way to get this changed.'"
Luckily for the Royals and their fans, the frustrated coaching staff and the players themselves figured things out. After meetings between the coaches and athletes, as well as players-only sessions, the club turned its fortunes around. Players put down their iPads and put in more work in practice and in watching game film, and regarding his Clash of Clans play, Dyson said, "I'm trying to tone it down. It's going to be hard, but I'm trying to tone it down."
Following those days of meetings, the Royals won 16 of their next 19 games. They've won all eight of their playoff games en route to a matchup with the San Francisco Giants in the Fall Classic, which begins tonight.