Everyone’s looking for ways to entertain themselves now that we’ve all been strongly encouraged to stay home and away from other people. Baseball players in particular are in a weird headspace, given that Opening Day was supposed to be this Thursday. What’s a ballplayer to do?
Mike Trout decided now was the time to join TikTok.
— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) March 22, 2020
Trout’s first post is about as thoroughly normal as you’d imagine, which is pretty out of character for TikTok. I myself am not a TikTok sort of person, largely because at age 25 I’m secretly 47 or whatever. But despite that I downloaded the app so that I could check out Trout’s content and see what all the hype is about.
I was not prepared to be immediately blasted by full-screen videos of influencers doing influencer things, namely Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez doing that “flip the switch” meme. I accidentally swiped up, and wham, a new video. And then another, and another. I hadn’t even made an account yet, but had only been asked what my interests were (I think I had answered sports, food, humor and animals).
The app is designed to inundate the user with an endless stream of short, snappy content. It’s like Instagram and Snapchat did lines on top of Vine’s corpse and then spent the night together. It is frenetic, glossy and surreal. Do you like dancing? Do you like carefully choreographed skits set to music? Do you like influencers smiling into the camera or trying to be funny while selling you everything from cosmetics to highly questionable wellness products?
Oh hell yeah, you’ve come to the right place. Prepare to be terrified by the completely manufactured and inhuman nature of influencers, who totally aren’t aliens in human skinsuits. And yes, there’s a guide to monetizing the pod people.
Since this is a baseball site and I’m a baseball writer, I couldn’t help but think about how TikTok is distinctly not up baseball’s alley. Baseball is Conway Twitty to TikTok’s Lil Uzi Vert. Baseball is slow, and while it’s slowly allowing more character to seep into the game, you’re still vulnerable to getting thrown at if you pimp your home run a bit too much or strut off the mound. Meanwhile, the NBA had some TikTok dance influencers involved at the dunk contest.
I’m not saying I particularly enjoyed that, or that baseball should be diving headfirst into having Charli D’Amelio appear in commercials for the sport. I’m saying that baseball is in a very weird place. People my age and younger are developing raging TikTok addictions, and baseball is the sports version of MySpace.
Does that mean that baseball needs Francisco Lindor to spend his social distancing time doing the Renegade, or that Nolan Arenado needs to start doing funny voices while using some props? Probably not, no.
I’m just saying that I’m sequestered in my home, Mike Trout joined TikTok, and that the cabin fever I’m currently developing combined with me opening up the weirdest social media app ever to grace you with this blog. You’re welcome, America. Consider this your vibe check.
Anyways, sound off in the comments or in my Twitter mentions if I’m completely off-base in my understanding of TikTok. I probably am. Who knows, maybe by the time this pandemic is over I’ll have blossomed into a full-blown TikTok influencer. Remember to like and subscribe!