Apr 28, 2010
Oh baseball…we were doing so well! After I went and told all of my friends how cutting edge you were…
…utilizing Twitter for the MLB draft, and actually having fans interact with some of the top picks/prospects
…teamed with Sony to allow the streaming of MLB.tv games on Sony’s Playstation 3
And that’s all after becoming profitable only three years after your advanced media arm, which handled the afore mentioned things, was created, and became profitable.
It’s amazing how one swift action can retard growth.
Tonight it was confirmed that MLB has banned its writers from using Twitter for anything not baseball related and has generally scolded its players for their twitter usage.
Multiple sources have confirmed to me that Major League Baseball is cracking down on Twitter usage, ordering MLB.com writers to cease tweeting about all non-baseball topics and scolding players for their Twitter usage in general.
I’m told a big part of the policy change is due to MLB not wanting non-baseball tweets showing up on the MLB.com Twitter feed/aggregator, but banning every writer from non-baseball talk because of that is like killing a fly with a sledgehammer. (via Aaron Gleeman)
Depending on who you ask (including myself) some believe that one of the catalysts to today’s events was the racially insensitive tweet by former MLB pitcher Mike Bacsik during Sunday’s Dallas Mavericks/San Antonio Spurs game. During a play which led to the ejection of Mavs forward Eduardo Najera, Bacsik tweeted: “Congrats to all the dirty mexicans in San Antonio.”
Bacsik has since been released from his position as producer/host on KTCK, a local Dallas radio station.
You’d be hard-pressed to tell me that at least one MLB representative didn’t hear about Bacsik’s tweets and become a little concerned about an insensitive tweet ending up on the MLB homepage (the homepage has an “insider tweets” section). Does MLB have a right to protect its image? Of course. Does this across the board ban essentially destroy any purpose any MLB writer would have on Twitter? well, yes.
If MLB’s whole purpose with Twitter has been to increase interaction between MLB personalities and fans, and it seemingly has shown this as a strategy, especially during the MLB draft, then how does turning MLB writers into tweeting versions of box scores promote that cause? Simply put, it doesn’t.
It looks like a preemptive move/scare tactic by MLB to prevent a PR disaster, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. But, seriously…I can find out the starting lineups for tonights baseball game from mlb.com or any other website. I’m not going to follow an MLB writer on twitter to obtain that information (which is essentially all they’re allowed to discuss now.) MLB has come so far, and has seemingly put so much work in…doesn’t it just make sense to put the work in on a detailed social media policy that still allows your personalities to exist on twitter and meet your PR concerns as well? (**granted I haven’t seen the policy specifically, but if the info from Gleeman is correct…)
The last time we saw something like this was in August of last year with ESPN’s Twitter memo. It has seemingly been policed very loosely since then, so maybe we’ll see MLB show some leniency in the future?
Update: per Boston Red Sox beat writer Ian Browne, it looks like MLB writers can still use twitter, they just have to create a new account to do so. Still rather counterintuitive, but it is a step up from a complete non-baseball twitter ban.