As someone who holds very strong opinions about video games despite never really playing them anymore, I have to address the Rays' choice of distraction:
"Got to farm my broccoli," [pitcher David] Price says. "Big crop."
Price starts tapping his screen, and small heads of virtual broccoli turn into points on We Farm, the game that has overtaken the Tampa Bay Rays’ clubhouse.
Yes, We Farm is a Farmville-esque game, and yes, grown adults are playing it. These games are odd, to say the least -- while most video games are meant to be a refuge from real-life obligations, farming games are obligations. It caught on in the Rays' clubhouse, after all, because James Shields was maintaining crops for his kid.
I'm not necessarily being critical of the Rays here, because whatever works is whatever works, but once they get tired of We Farm, or they suffer an e-Dust Bowl, or something, here are some suggestions for other games they can play:
- Light switch madness! Turn the clubhouse light switch on. If the lights turn on, you win! You can reset the game by turning off the light switch.
- Address book mayhem! Open your cell phone's address book and see how quickly -- or slowly -- you can scroll through the names. Alternate game mode: see who has the most obscure Rays baseball player's contact information. If you have Kevin Stocker's fax number, you win by default.
- Super Break-In! This game is similar to Super Breakout, only instead of knocking out bricks with a bouncy ball, you oil a baseball glove, place a baseball inside of it, tie a shoestring around it, and patiently wait in front of it for 18 hours. You win if you feel like you have won!
- John Jaso: The Game. Gently poke John Jaso with a broom handle. You win if he becomes mildly annoyed.