Professional Sports organizations are notoriously cautious when it comes to their players’ interactions with social media. And rightly so, as athletes have continued to fail at social media in various ways and to various degrees since the middle of the last decade. If you need a refresher, think Santonio Holmes’ suicide request of another Twitter user or Larry Johnson’s gay slur problems.
If you need more recent examples, I present to you the genius of Kenny Britt and the 9/11 – Osama Bin Laden fueled rants of Rashard Mendenhall.
In an effort to control what is broadcast by their players, the NFL has implemented a tweet-free environment when it comes to actual league events. The NBA later followed suit. Last week, the NBA further restricted Twitter during the lockout, suggesting that contact between players and teams on the social media platform could result in a million dollar fine.
But Major League Baseball is taking steps to further integrate social media with its players and is not only allowing Facebook and Twitter updates during this year’s All-Star festivities, but encouraging it.
A select group of players will be live-tweeting the Home Run Derby tonight. These players include both participants and spectating players. Here’s the list from MLB.com –[David] Ortiz (@davidortiz), [Jose] Bautista (@JoeyBats19) and [Matt] Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) will be tweeting on their accounts during the course of the event as participants, and so will other gathered All-Stars including Heath Bell (@HeathBell21), Gio Gonzalez (@GioGonzalez47), Hunter Pence (@HunterPence9), Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP), Gaby Sanchez (@GabySanchez215), Justin Upton (@RealJustinUpton), C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer), Howie Kendrick (@HKendrick47) and Joel Hanrahan (@hanrahan4457).
Players that aren’t already heavily involved in Twitter will be participating in the live-tweeting (read: talking smack) via official MLB accounts like @MLB and @MLB_PLAYERS. Participants and spectators are both being encouraged by the MLB to interact with Facebook during the competition.
If players don’t have their own mobile devices to post with during the Derby, they can use designated social media station set up on the field. These stations will have laptops, tablets and cameras. Everyone (including fans) us being asked to use the hashtag #HRDerby when discussing the event on Twitter.
Between batters, some of the live-tweets will be shown on the big screen at Chase Field as they roll in.
The Home Run Derby will air at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. It will also be broadcast as a live stream on mlb.com and espn3.com.[Image Courtesy mlbreports]