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.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.