Mike Trout
Getty Images

Mike Trout is now on TikTok

1 Comment

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.

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!

Follow @StelliniTweets

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

Getty Images

Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.