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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.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.