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

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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.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrate. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.