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Twitter and British Baseball

by Matt Smith

As well as here at BaseballGB, you can now get a British perspective on baseball via Twitter.  Both Joe and I have created accounts.  If you are already on the Twitter network, please feel free to ‘follow’ us.  If you’ve not joined up yet, why not take the plunge?

Joe’s page is: http://twitter.com/gbbsa

My page is: http://twitter.com/mattbaseballgb

There has been a lot of media coverage dedicated to Twitter in recent weeks, not least due to the ‘tweeting’ exploits of celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross.  My natural reaction to the latest social networking phenomenons is to avoid them like the plague, but the more I read about Twitter, the more I thought that it could be a great asset to the British baseball community.   

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a micro-blogging site where you have just 140 characters to get your message across.  The networking side of it allows you to sign up to read (or ‘follow’) other accounts and for other people to follow yours.  You can enter new posts using a variety of methods, such as logging in via a web browser or sending SMS text messages on your mobile.

It can be (and is) used for reading and writing about the mundane chores in life like making a cup of tea or cleaning the bath.  ‘What’s the point in that?’ might well be your response and I wouldn’t blame you.  However, like most things, Twitter is what you make it. 

What can we use it for?

From the BGB side, it’s another way for us to let people know about the latest posts and articles here, as well as giving you an insight into the features that we’re working on right now and our plans for the future.  Yesterday I made reference to our upcoming February feature, for example.

More generally, it can be used to bring together the British baseball community. 

That may mean passing on the latest news about the domestic league directly to the people who want/need to know about it.  For instance, if you’re at a game you could text in the final score mere minutes after the final out has been recorded.  The same news/ game scores could be provided for international competitions as well.  Certainly a lot of Team GB fans would enjoy keeping up to date with the team’s World Cup exploits in Moscow (and hopefully in Italy or Holland) during September.

It could simply mean sharing news relating to your baseball club.  If that long-awaited batting cage has finally arrived, you can let everyone know about it.  Some clubs may be thinking of buying one as well and could have questions to ask (where did you buy it from? etc), while others may simply want to pass on their congratulations for your hard fund-raising work paying off.

If you’re watching a live MLB game, you can share the experience with other baseball fans who may be taking in the game as well (or who may be watching a different, less-exciting game on MLB.tv before switching over at your suggestion).  That could be particularly useful to British fans who are often spread out across the nation and whose local friends may not be quite so glad to hear the excited baseball chatter.

Maybe you want to make a comment about your fantasy team (it doesn’t look as though Jonny Gould has got an account yet, but no doubt he’ll be there in the future!)?  Perhaps a trade has gone badly wrong and you’re seeking sympathy.  Better yet, maybe you can crow about your team being top of the pile.

Have you started reading a baseball book that you think others would enjoy?  Are you looking for recommendations for new books to try?  Is a particular fantasy baseball season preview mag the best one to buy in your opinion?  Have you stumbled across an enlightening article on the web?  Let your fellow British baseball fans know.

The possibilities are endless.

There are some existing channels through which this already takes place to a certain extent, such as the UK MLB Supporters Forum, but Twitter can provide another quick and easy way to do so. 

For more than ten years, the studio element of Five’s MLB coverage has played this role of bringing baseball fans together; reading out viewer’s e-mails and always being happy to promote the latest venture by a British baseball club.  I’m sure nobody took it for granted in any case, but the possible demise of the show only makes it clearer how important this community is. 

Hopefully we will be able to send ‘tweets’ to Jonny and Josh during Sunday and Wednesday night games this season.  At the very least, Twitter could provide another way to get the ‘save the U.S. sports teams on Five’ message out there.

So put any cynicism or doubts to one side.  Let’s support and develop the British baseball community via Twitter.

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1 comment

Joe Gray January 31, 2009 - 6:42 pm

You persuaded me with a convincing argument, and I hope that others who are able to share information on baseball in Britain will also be persuaded.


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