The Twitterverse got word tonight in a tweet by Aaron Gleeman that MLB has told their beat writers that they are to no longer tweet about anything non-baseball related with their MLB-related accounts. If you are a user of Twitter, then you know this is how Bill Chastain has already conducted himself when he actually manages to tweet, but some other beat writers have done a tremendous job embracing the social media and I would but Alyson Footer of the Houston Astros and Jordan Bastian of the Toronto Blue Jays at the top of that list. MLB has decided it wants more Chastain and less Footer/Bastian and that is yet another ass-backward move by a league that has a collection of missteps large enough to merit an additional wing be added on in Cooperstown.
It is rather painfully obvious that this is a complete over-reaction to former major league pitcher Mike Bacsik going off on Twitter the other night congratulating certain San Antonio fans on the Spurs victory. I would even add in they probably were not too keen on Jose Canseco’s Twitter meltdown earlier this month. If I were a MLB beat writer, I would take offense at this most-restrictive approach by my bosses because it would tell me they have no faith in me being able to maintain my professionalism. I follow all of the beat writers on Twitter, religiously, and I cannot recall ever reading something from them that made me cringe. The writers put the lineups out there quickly, put out injury updates quickly, and even give solid food and travel related information for fans that might be coming out to the game. If social media fans wanted a Joe Friday approach to news, we would sign up for RSS newsfeeds or the text alert service that most teams offer. That’s not what we want! The great thing about Twitter is it gives fans access to people that they normally would not have access to and vice-versa. I have seen beat writers turn fan tweets into stories and get twitter-submitted questions into chats. Hell, MLB encourages fans to use the hashtag when we tweet about our team so it can be used within the Twitter feed on the MLB Online Applications. Guess what – I won’t be doing that anymore. If you want a stale social media, you’ve got it.
MLB had a chance here to distance themselves from the No Fun League and how horribly the NFL has embraced social media and rather than differentiate the two leagues, they moved closer together with this move today. Shame on them.