For years, baseball clubhouses were full of card players. These days, the Orioles’ clubhouse is full of chess players.
Instead of the electric card shuffler once heard, there are several chess boards, and before games and sometimes after games, eager players and coaches play.
The chess craze started with Dylan Bundy, and he often faces off with Kevin Gausman. Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop and first base coach Wayne Kirby are chess regulars, too. Pedro Alvarez and Tyler Wilson play sometimes, too.
“We’re all very competitive people,” Gausman said. “It can kill time, and we have a lot of time to kill, too. You get a couple of other guys who start to play it and get interested in it. They buy their own boards. Now we’ve got five or six boards in the clubhouse back home.”
Gausman plays chess on his phone, but he’s yet to beat Bundy.
“It’s a new game. I like to learn everything,” Schoop said. “I see them play. I started watching, and now I’m one of the best.”
Schoop had played checkers before, but never chess. He and his friend Machado take the game seriously.
“We’re competitive at everything. He wants to beat me. I want to beat him,” Schoop said. “You’ve got to think.”
An informal clubhouse survey finds that Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson is the team’s best chess player.
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