MLB All-Star Voting and Twitter

Every year the National League and American League form teams to compete in the mid-summer classic at a predetermined baseball park. Those teams are comprised of the best of the best players to represent their respective league. As well as a formal nine inning game, a home run derby is played the night before. As time has gone on, the fans have had more of an impact on the selection process of teams. This blog will focus on the Twitter campaigns and processes that revolve around the MLB All-Star final votes that take place every year.

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Tweet from Tigers fan Sarah Kijek during the campaign process.
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Vote Yo t-shirt.

Starting in 2012, the MLB teamed up with Twitter to allow fans to cast the final votes for the last spot on each respective roster. Since then, they have continued to do so (Here are some quick stats about the 2013 MLB All-Star game) Usually there are 5 candidates that lobby for the last spot on each All Star team. The team and fans wear custom T-shirts created by the communication department to promote the voting of players. I was able to snag a shirt this year to show off around campus and help campaign for Yoenis Cespedes.

 

Each player has a catchy tag on Twitter like #VoteYo for Yoenis Cespedes

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Final vote player emojis.

of the Detroit Tigers had last year. Furthermore, there are emojis that resemble the players that fans can tweet alongside the hashtags. The Twitter campaign is led by the Detroit Tigers organization and members like Mac Slavin, the digital and social media specialist, who I had the privilege of interviewing. He was unable to meet in person, however we engaged in an e-mail exchange. Mac was able to provide insight on how the whole process works.

Mac explained that online voting can get millions of voters, rather than the few hundred thousand from people voting at the ballpark, the traditional voting scheme. Furthermore, he explained that Twitter helps the team reach out to Tigers fans that do not live in Michigan or reach out to general baseball fans and persuade them to vote for Tigers players. Mac went on to explain that “social media in general forces media professionals to always be on.” As for the future of social media and the MLB, he believes that social media will continue to move away from news and turn into entertainment. I found it interesting that he stated they “have to produce content that stands out from ESPN, FOX Sports, and even the local news outlets.” In order to stand out, social media specialists for baseball teams are turning into mini entertainment studios as well by producing GIFs and Vines to differentiate from formal sports news outlets.

The final vote is an intense campaign that requires a different approach. Since the All-Star balloting runs for three months, it is important to change the final vote strategy so it doesn’t emulate the former campaign. Mac explained “It needs to standout to convince fans who have already

voted to vote again. The last day of the final vote is the only day in which hashtags on Twitter count as votes, so the idea is to get as many retweets.” During the campaign, the Tigers Twitter account only refers to Yoenis Cespedes as #VoteYo. The Tigers social media approach is to create engaging sweepstakes and fun videos and graphics. The top strategy is to get local and national celebrities involved.

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Bobblehead giveaway for people who vote Yo.
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Coach Harbaugh supporting Yoenis Cespedes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As mentioned the voting process was relatively simple: using the hashtag meant one vote for the player. Below is a photo story to illustrate the process of reaching out to others on Twitter and having them participate in the vote as well.

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Across the leagues, teams would team up and support each other. For example, The Detroit Tigers, of the American League supported their own Yoenis Cespedes and the Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, of the National League. The Twitter campaigns encouraged fans of both teams to expand their fandoms and support each other. It was smart of the Detroit Tigers to team up with a Cincinnati Reds player because the All-Star game was in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, neither Cueto or Cespedes won the final vote. According to an SBNation article , The 2015 Final Vote saw Twitter voting peak at 25,000 tweets in the final minute. I think that number will rise in the future for Twitter voting.

Journalistic implications of this could lead to more serious things like political offices being voted on Twitter. Although I do not think this will happen any time soon, there is potential for some sort of online voting for public officials. I think it would allow for more people to vote at their own convenience. People would be able to vote on their own time in the comfort of their own home. There would be no need to drive to a polling center and cast a vote. It could especially be helpful for college students or adults who are outside of their precinct on the designated voting day. I understand this would call for strict regulation for the online voting system, but it might be a political implication stemming from All-Star voting in the MLB. The campaign and voting process would be easier to cover for journalists as well. The polling results would be instantaneously presented on the internet and social media. Throughout the final vote process, fans could track what position their favorite player was in. The same could be done for other types of polls, votes, and competitions.

Below are images of the e-mail interview conducted with Mac Slavin.

 

 

Debate-Online Comment Sections

Online comment sections can lead to incivility online. Incivility refers to unnecessary, negative comments towards other people involved in an online comment section. That could include swearing, name calling, or talking down at other people. I recognize that this happens online; however, I argue against the motion that online comment sections do more harm than good.

I think online comment sections provide a forum for people to take place in the public sphere. Habermas believed the public sphere should allow citizens to express attitudes without retribution. He believed that their should be use of reason to analyze and discuss politics that are focused on the public good. Although that does not always happen; I believe for the most part, online comment sections are a place for people to go and express their thoughts and opinions on certain topics. Other commenters can engage with posts and possible be persuaded one way or another. I think providing unique perspectives online can help lead people to the right decisions in a democratic way.

Comment sections are an innovative way for people to engage in two-way communication. Before the implementation of online comment sections, readers read articles and could not really react to it. However, comment sections allow for people to communicate in the comfort of their own home and at their own pace. Readers can choose to comment or engage at whatever extent they wish to. Online interaction makes it possible for readers to have the chance of connecting with authors or other readers. By connecting, readers may listen to different perspectives and resolve problems.

Sadly, blog comments have been declining while blog visits have increased.

Furthermore, people have the right to free speech, and that should not be prohibited from online discussions. People have their right to voice their concerns online and offline. Participating in online comment sections might be the best way for some people to interact with issues. As previously mentioned, the internet has made it much easier for people to collaborate with others.

There is actually a “Don’t Read the Comments” movement that encourages people to avoid reading the comment sections because people believe it to be harmful. I think there can be some improvements made to online comment sections. Perhaps they should be moderated in order to keep the comments relevant and safe. Eliminating online comment sections seems to be an extreme measure for addressing an issue that still has a lot of upside. Allowing people to engage in thoughtful deliberation in a public space can benefit society.

Final Project Proposal

-Twitter voting and twitter campaigns for MLB All-Star Game.

-Text, photo, and audio interview

-Interview Chad Crunk, Eli Bayless, and Ron Colangelo (Tigers Media and Communication personnel.

-How does twitter voting change the process of all star voting in the MLB?

-How has social media impacted the role of media personnel in the MLB?

-What do you think a potential use of social media will be in the future for the MLB?

Additional info: 2013 All Star Game-

  • In total, more than 1 million Tweets were sent about the game, showing how MLB’s multi-pronged attempts to engage baseball fans paid off
  • Tweets about the All-Star Game reached a peak of 23,000 posts per minute during New York Yankee Mariano Rivera’s relief appearance
  • Rivera was the night’s MVP on Twitter, garnering 350,000 mentions during and after the game
  • The starter of the game (Matt Harvey) found out he was starting via Twitter

Curt Menefee Profile

Curt Menefee’s plan for success is simple: “you have to work hard, be passionate and enjoy life.” He is mostly known for hosting Fox NFL

Curt Menefee on set of Fox NFL Sunday.

Sunday, which happens to be an award-winning and most-watched pregame/halftime show in sports. Along with hosting Fox NFL Sunday, he also hosts “The OT,” UFC on Fox, and UEFA Champions League on Fox. I chose to profile him because of his diverse sports background and prominence in the field. As previously mentioned, he covers football, ultimate fighting, baseball, boxing, and soccer. It is relatively uncommon for an analyst, let alone a host, to appear on panels for multiple sports. That is why I admire his work and decided to investigate him further. In an email exchange, I asked Curt about the impact the age of digital disruption has had on him; in particular, the effect it has had on his work.

My questions were intended to gain insight on the impact technology like the internet and social media has had for a host and sports analyst. I thought Curt Menefee would be a perfect example because he has been a sportscaster since the late 1990s, so he has experienced the rise of technology in the workplace.

I formulated three quick questions to e-mail Curt about the internet and

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Menefee’s Twitter picture

social media. I was not sure what to expect when asking him about digital disruption, but it is pretty apparent that he dislikes social media. In our e-mail exchange, Curt Menefee explained that he is “fortunate enough position to make [his] own call on social media. [He dabbles] in it when [he] wants to, and if [he doesn’t] want to, [he ignores] it.” However, he recognizes the importance of social media, and most people have to engage if they wish to advance their careers.

The most interesting was his admittance that social media makes finding information much easier. He no longer has to sift through almanacs or newspapers to find records and information. Finding up to date statistics are essential to sportscasting, and the internet and social media has made that easily accessible.

Overall, he believes that in the end, sports is all about the games. He does not believe that technology and platforms make much of a difference. He explained that people used to listen to the radio, then television, and now there is live streaming; but, “in the end it’s all about the games.”

I respect Curt for his wealth of knowledge and diligent work ethic. His sports opinion is one that I have always valued and respected. Below is the entire e-mail from Curt Menefee answering a few of my questions.