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The Diamondbacks are trying to nip a Twitter problem in the bud


Social media is scary!  Anyone can say anything at any time!  Personal expression can flourish with no supervision!  This is something with which sports teams don’t typically do very well.

So, there are a couple of ways you can go if you run a sports team and are concerned about players saying inappropriate or otherwise sensitive things on Twitter:

1. You can be a dumb caveman, fight the tide of history and individual freedom and simply ban it; or

2. You can be sensible about it and make sure your players are hip to the sensitivities of the organization.

The Diamondbacks, recently stung by some minor leaguers tweeting about transactions that weren’t yet official and thus not really appropriate for public consumption, are taking the second tack:

Club officials say the faux pas tweets frustrated them more than angered them, and the missteps pale compared to incidents involving other teams.

But the Diamondbacks see it as an opportunity to educate. Farm director Mike Bell personally delivered words of warning to players in Reno when he was there last week and each of the club’s minor league managers told their players to exercise caution when interacting on social media.

Good point in the article: the most heavy Twitter usage, not surprisingly, is among minor leaguers, not major leaguers, so this kind of thing is only going to be more important as time goes on.

Also interesting: no mention at all of Kirk Gibson.  The same Kirk Gibson who, back in spring training, I observed had an almost pathological aversion to people carrying around and messing with smart phones.  Players and media alike. Indeed, the day before I was there he apparently got upset at a reporter texting or tweeting something around the training facility. The Dbacks beat reporters had some fun with Gibson the next day by putting all of their phones on Gibson’s podium before his daily press conference, as if they were surrendering them to him before he could get angry.

So, yeah, I wonder if Gibson will be OK with even a smart use of smart phone and social media technology when all of those kids make their way up to the big club.  Maybe he just goes full-Spurrier on them.

Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga to throw out first pitches in Games 1 and 2

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 05:  Kenny Lofton #7 of the Cleveland Indians runs to first base against the New York Yankees during Game Two of the American League Divisional Series at Jacobs Field on October 5, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Major League Baseball just announced the details for the ceremonial and off-field stuff in connection with Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. The one most people were wondering about was the ceremonial first pitch. Sorry, Charlie Sheen fans. Sorry fans of “Major League” in general. Two real baseball stars are handing first pitch duties: Kenny Lofton before Game 1, Carlos Baerga for Game 2.

Lofton needs no introduction. He should be a Hall of Famer but is criminally overlooked, perhaps because he bounced around to a lot of different clubs. He made his name in Cleveland, however, doing three separate tours with the Indians, leading the AL in stolen bases for five straight years early in his career and putting up a line of .300/.375/.426 in ten seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.

Baerga played for the Tribe between 1990 and 1996 and was, for a time, quite the superstar, even if people don’t talk about him much anymore. His career fell off pretty quickly in that way that often happens for second basemen and/or stars who end up on the Mets, but there was a time when he was perhaps the biggest star on some excellent Indians teams. People had “will Carlos Baerga be a Hall of Famer?” conversations and stuff. The mid-90s were a special time.

Beyond the first pitches, the National Anthem will be sung by Rachel Platten before Game 1 and by the group Locash before Game 2. As I am an old man out of touch with most things, I have no idea who they are, but I am sure their fans are passionate and their renditions of the Anthem will be fine and non-controversial. Fox, MLB and the folks at major record labels are pretty good about that sort of thing and everyone will be especially vigilant in light of what happened with that Canadian tenors group at the All-Star Game. If nothing else, I bet you pick up the check for the Anthem performance after the song, and not before these days.

I guess the White Sox don’t count

CHICAGO - APRIL 04: General Manager Ken Williams of the Chicago White Sox shows off his World Series Championship ring during ceremonies prior to the start of a game against the Cleveland Indians on April 4, 2006 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I realize everyone is super excited about the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, with the chance to win it for the first time since 1908. But you’d think folks would remember that it’s just the Cubs — and not Chicago as a whole — who have been away from the Fall Classic for so long.

I know their recent struggles makes it seem like a long, long time ago, but the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. They were in the World Series in 1959 too. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you looked at some prominent media outlets:





I understand the impulse to tell the “a whole city is coming together!” story every time stuff like this happens, but there are a lot of White Sox fans in Chicago. A good number of them don’t give a crap about the Cubs. Many even resent them for being the glory franchise in the city in the eyes of many. They certainly don’t feel like there’s a championship drought afoot, and I imagine they’re somewhat cranky about having their team’s glory plastered over like this.