So last night I wrote a blog post about the benefits of Blue Jays being on twitter, which can be found here and I thought about it more today and thought of one more reason twitter participation could be beneficial to the Blue Jays, it’s actually an extension on the point I made about the players being ‘imports’ and fans not really knowing them.
Not only are the players imports, but they’re celebrities. They make big bucks, play a game for a living and are in the public eye. When players are celebrities, fans tend to forget that they are people too and often feel free to be angry and mean when speaking of them, because well the players are celebrities and really what are the odds that an average persons comment is going to get back to a celebrity baseball player and really affect them.
Well previously that could more or less be assumed. Sure you’d have hecklers at the game, but players have learned to more or less tune out the negative in the middle of the game or when dealing with the media.
But now thanks to twitter, not only do the fans have access to the players, but the players are now open to the comments of the fans in a more real way. This became evident today when some individual in the twittersphere attacked a Blue Jays starting pitcher for his rocky performance and fellow starting pitcher Brett Cecil stepped up to the plate to defend his teammate.
It is going to take some time for players and fans to adjust to this new level of accessibility, but I think in the end the Jays presence on twitter can help eliminate some of the ‘Haters’ if you will. If fans get to see more that these players are just regular guys, guys like the ones I went to school with (yes most of them are my age), then they will feel more compassion for them and want to support them. And I have to say I have been guilty of it. While I completely support and cheer on the Blue Jays sI have referred to Encarnacion as E5 a couple of times due to his frequent errors at third, which upon reflection, I now feel bad about. He is a real person, working hard at a job that is a lot harder than it looks and he is a person who is making sacrifices to live his dream and entertain the fans. So for my E5 comments, I apologize. When I played I had my own difficulties at 3rd, after playing 1st most of my years, it is not an easy position.
But yes there will still be the jerks out there who run their mouths, but I think fans will start to realize that these players who have been untouchable for so long are now touchable and can be affected by what is said. Fans will realize that these million dollar athletes are just your average guys.
In the mean time though, I can’t help but wonder if the Toronto Blue Jays organization/marketing team has thought about doing some social media training with their players or if they have. Yes it is the players personal choice to be on twitter (I assume so at least), but they are at all times representing the organization. They need to be aware of trolls and haters and how to handle and deal with those people effectively. Cecil did fairly well today, but you could tell he was getting a bit hot under the collar (which I understand why). But I think some social media training might not hurt for athletes, if they aren’t already getting it (though I am sure there has been some form of orientation on the topic.
Again though I want to commend all of the Blue Jays who are sacrificing things in their lives to reach their goals and commend them for the hard work they put in day in and day out in an attempt to bring a championship back to Toronto and the fans . Further I commend the Blue Jays who are on Twitter and making an effort to interact with players and bring fans back into the fold. You are doing a commendable job and the true Blue Jays fans are behind you and believe that you are going to succeed.