Twitter Jays – Arencibia Under Attack #jays

I just read an interesting/infuriating comment on Facebook regarding the Blue Jays rookie catcher JP Arencibia. There was a post from the Blue Jays organization regarding the auctioning of one of JP Arencibia’s game used broken bats (a bit odd, but hey someone will pay good money). One of the comments (not that different from some others I have seen) said ” … [Arencibia] blocks followers on Twitter whose comments he doesn’t like. The young man is childish and immature.”

I’m sorry, but that comment is ridiculous. I’ve followed a lot of the chatter towards Blue Jays players and the people who have been blocked, aren’t really innocent, so I don’t blame Arencibia for his actions.

One, there’s probably a mandate about that kind of situation in the league’s social media policy. The whole act in the best interest of the team and of the league, do nothing to negatively represent the MLB … so on and so forth.

Two, I think that Arencibia’s actions are completely respectable. Let’s think about this, say you’re on your twitter account and someone follows you only to mention or message you talking trash about you or your family, what exactly are you going to do? Personally I would block the person, wouldn’t most people? I would not bother engaging with them, because honestly that would do me no good. Engaging would only feed the troll and bring me down to its level. Now some people would bite back at someone who is taking pot shots at them or their family, but based on what I’ve seen I think JP Arencibia is a pretty classy guy. Also Arencibia is a professional and a role model. There is a time and place to defend yourself and there is a time to walk away, and Arencibia blocking trash talkers to me is the same as walking away, which I respect. Engaging could do serious damage to his career and his personal brand, not to mention the team, league and charitable brands he’s a part of.

Three, Arencibia is a professional baseball player, with huge expectations on his shoulders. It is his job to come to the ballpark everyday and do his very best. Again lets look at this in a different context. If you got up and went to work everyday and were berated by people (who really have no first hand understanding of your job) telling you that you’re no good at your job and are worthless as a person, how do you think that would make you feel? How do you think those comments would impact your attitude or your ability to do your job? Now you can sit there and say you wouldn’t let it affect you, or argue that JP Arencibia is a public figure and a professional athlete making millions of dollars a year, but the heart of the matter is that he is still just a man not impervious to the sticks and stones people throw at him. I don’t care who you are, if people are telling you day in and day out that you’re a screw up and not worth it, it’s going to start affecting you. As a professional athlete things happen; professional athletes make errors and go through slumps and they beat themselves up about it, more than anyone else possibly could. Athletes have to work hard to keep their confidence, because if they go on the field without it, their opponents will capitalize. The best way for anyone to keep their confidence is to block out all of the negative comments, only leaving room for the positive ones.

So people can sit there and call Arencibia immature for blocking the negative nellies out in the twittersphere, or he can be commended for having the maturity to do his job and have some class while doing it.

As fans we tend to think we have the right to complain when our team or a player screws up and Twitter has made it easy for us to take our complaints directly to the players. Players like Arencibia are CHOOSING to be on twitter, are choosing to give fans access, are choosing to engage. Players don’t have to be on twitter with clearly identifiable verified accounts, but they choose to do that for their fans and for the sport. I applaud players like Arencibia for putting themselves out there in that way and I give them credit for handling the naysayers in a mature and professional manner. Furthermore I thank Arencibia for not letting the actions of a few ruin it for the many. He could have easily said ‘screw it’ and cancelled his twitter account when hundreds of people laid into him over a base running error, but he didn’t.

Fans forget that these professional athletes are still only humans. Humans who make mistakes, humans who have emotions and humans who are making huge sacrifices. These players are hard enough on themselves when they aren’t living up to their potential. Anyone who’s been watching this season has seen how hard this year’s team is on itself. I don’t know that I have seen this much passion in a Jays team in a long time and it is something I can’t help but respect. I feel bad for the players when they are so hard on themselves, but I am so proud of them for caring that much about the game, about the team and about the fans.

I will continue to watch all of the Jays games and support the Blue Jays til the bitter end. Sure I will be frustrated at times over bad plays or missed opportunities, but I will always support my team and believe that they will triumph. I will continue to follow them on twitter, and make them trend nationwide whenever possible. I will continue to hope that people will realize that their idolized players are only human and that words hurt and they make an impact. We are fans and we are here to pick up our team when they are down. We are here to have faith in our boys of summer, when they have lost faith in themselves. We are here to talk trash of the Yankees and Red Sox in honour of our boys in blue.

So with that, LETS GO BLUE JAYS! Time to get the Rays back on their losing streak and give die-hard Jays fans something to really cheer about!

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Twitter Blue Birds are really Blue Jays #jays #mlb

So if anyone reading this is following me on twitter (@Sadie_Liz) you will already know that I am a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan. You may also know that I am a communications consultant, who is big into social media.

This season many professional athletes have taken to twitter, creating accounts, interacting with other players and even fans. You can follow a list of professional MLB Players or follow a number of individual players like Toronto Blue Jays JP Arencibia (@jparencibia9), Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19), Travis Snider (@Lunchboxhero45), Ricky Romero (@RickyRo24), Jesse Litsch (@JesseLitsch), Brett Cecil (@CEC0208) and soon to be reactivated Brandon Morrow (@2Morrow23). Turns out the Twitter Blue Bird is really a Blue Jay.

Last week JP Arencibia and Ricky Romero (I think it was) asked if they should try to get 2nd baseman Aaron Hill and utility man John McDonald on twitter. My answer was “Absolutely, Yes!”

Of course I would love to see veterans Hill and McDonald on twitter just because well, they are Hill and McDonald, what Jays fan doesn’t love those two, especially Johnny Mac, a fan favourite.

I’ve thought about this from a marketing and communications perspective though. I believe twitter can be hugely beneficial to a team like Toronto.

  • Blue Jays are not just a Toronto team, they are a Canadian team. The fan base for the Blue Jays is from coast to coast and twitter helps to overcome the geographical distance for fans
  • The Blue Jays organization is built on ‘imports’. Meaning that with the exception of a few (Stairs, Richmond, Lawrie) all of the players are coming from outside of Canada. Even if there were players from inside Canada, it wouldn’t be like Hockey where the Canadians come up through the CHL and World Juniors and are highly familiar to the Canadian Public. Twitter will give fans access and insight into who the Toronto Blue Jays players really are, it will humanize them beyond their celebrity status. And this is even more important for the guys who are just coming up, or who were acquired through trades. Fans got to know Doc and Vernon Wells and invested years into them and now they’re gone. Fans need to find new favourite players and Twitter will help speed and intensify that process.
  • Over the years a number of fans have disengaged due to the fact that Jays haven’t seen the top of the AL East since their back to back World Series Wins. This has caused a decrease in game attendance and likely merchandising. By having Blue Jays players on twitter engaging with fans or participating in ‘Twitter Parties’ on off days  (not something that has yet happened) Toronto will be cultivating a new group of fans or re-engaging fans who have long since disconnected from the Toronto team.I was a huge Blue Jays fan as a kid, and while I’ve always been a big fan, I’ve been more engaged this year than any other year because of the players who are on Twitter. I’m getting to know the players that make up the teams. I almost feel like they’re guys from down the street, or someone I know from somewhere, instead of celebrity athletes. I’m invested in this team, their wins and their losses, how they handle the wins and losses and in the personal details that they share through their Twitter accounts. I feel connected to these players and I want to see them succeed. I wish I could go to their games and give them the support that people always gave me when I was playing. If I am feeling this way, I can’t imagine others aren’t feeling the same.If people are more connected to the team and engaged by the players they are going to watch more games, buy tickets and go to more games, spend more money at the ball park or online in the Jays store, or contribute more to the Jays Care foundation because it is something their ‘friends’ value  and therefore they value.
  • John McDonald is probably the most popular player on the Blue Jays team, at least I would contend that he is because last season when a little boy could choose any player he wanted to throw the opening pitch to, he chose Johnny Mac and the crowd roared. Johnny Mac has been one of my favourite players since he arrived. I’ve always cheered for him and been thrilled when he gets to see playing time. There is just something about him that is endearing. He is the underdog, the average Joe. Last season some sports analysts said that he didn’t deserve his spot on the roster, but fans disagreed and so thankfully did Cito. Johnny Mac by everything the fans know, is the hardest working person on the Blue Jays team. He doesn’t play every day, but he works hard everyday to be sure that if he is on the field he is ready. When he is on the field it is amazing to watch him work and succeed. To see him excel when he gets a day on the field is like a win for the little guy, even though he is probably the best utility player in the league. Now take that and think of him from a Marketing Perspective. He is the Jerome “JYD” Williams of the Blue Jays. He might not be as outlandish as JYD is, but he is just as, if not more beloved by the Blue Jay fans across the country. John McDonald has more ‘star power’ within the Toronto fan base than probably any other Blue Jay, though JP Arencibia may be taking over the young female demographic, so having a beloved veteran like him on Twitter would be HUGE. He feels like a guy you’ve known forever for some reason. If he got on Twitter, he would have droves of followers in no time. Twitter would connect people that much more to the already most relatable guy on the team. Honestly how many Blue Jays fans wouldn’t want to find a way to make it to a game if Johnny Mac tweeted a plea to fans to come out and support the team. Or if Johnny Mac tweeted about Jays Care, who wouldn’t try to scrounge up some spare change or canned goods to help? Johnny Mac is a fan favourite already, I have a feeling that would translate to Twitter and fans would just be on cloud nine, and if marketing decided to use that to their advantage, well they’d probably end up pretty happy.Even if marketing didn’t jump on that, all of the players are invested in the team and the work the team does. They want the team to succeed, the want the causes they support to succeed. The players are passionate about their team and they want to see fans return to their former glory of the World Series Years, who wouldn’t. I know when I played baseball not only did I want to win, I wanted to have the crowd energized, it makes the game that much more exciting as a player. Every player they get on Twitter, especially the fan favourites like Johnny Mac, Hill and rising stars like JP Arencibia, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow, the more fans are going to invest in the team emotionally and probably more importantly invest with bums in the seats, increased ticket sales and merchandise sales.

From my perspective the Jays already on Twitter absolutely need to be getting some of the other Jays on Twitter as well, especially fan favourite veterans like Hill and McDonald. It’s time to get this nation excited about the boys of summer and it has to start somewhere. If the players are pumped and have a never die attitude that is evident to the fans how can the fans not follow suit?

It’s time for the Blue Jays Nation 2.0!  Let’s go! Blue Jays! Let’s Go!