MLB to allow players to use social media during the All-Star Game

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This just came in:

Building off the social media success of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby – at which MLB players interacted with fans via Twitter and Facebook live from the field during an MLB event for the first time – Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media and the Major League Baseball Players Association today announced an expansion of the initiative that will for the first time include social media activity during the All-Star Game itself.

This time it counts, y’all!

I appreciate that this is not going to truly become a circus because, per the press release, players will only be allowed to update their Twitter feeds and stuff after they are out of the game.  So, while I joked about it on Twitter and expect a million hack columnists to take gratuitous swipes at social media in general,  it’s not like someone is going to strike out because they were uploading pics to Facebook or something.

But this still galls me. Because it is yet another example of baseball wanting to use the All-Star Game as a big marketing showcase and general free-for-all while still having the game determine the truly important matter of who gets home field advantage in the World Series. In a real game, a player would get fined and ostracized if he was caught tweeting during a game, even if he was on the bench. Here? Have it, fellas.

Major League Baseball: either admit that the All-Star Game is nothing but a fun and meaningless exhibition and take the home field advantage aspects of it away or else treat it like a real friggin’ baseball game, both in terms of roster selection and game play experience.  Because trying to make it both is a terrible idea.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.