Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Twitter Serving as Platform for Athletes

It is not often that a player will reach out publicly to fans and take the full burden for his team's loss. Many times, players will deliver an overly used athlete quote like, "Gotta let that go and get 'em tomorrow," which isn't bad, but it gets quite routine after hearing it dozens upon dozens of times over the years.

Considering that, in the past, quotes from team personnel would normally be delivered to the masses via sports reporters, who could edit out any expletives that might have been uttered, hearing genuine, unedited thoughts from a sports figure is rather uncommon. These days, however, things are considerably different.

With the current state of technology, players are able to bypass the middle man and connect with thousands of people almost instantly. For instance, during Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins' recent trip to the disabled list, the veteran ballplayer was able to scoop reporters by delivering updates on his status directly to the public via his Twitter account.

More recently, another Phillies player has taken to the social networking site to speak out, voicing his displeasure with his own recent performances, squashing the abilities of local media to pass along his thoughts.

Following his outing in game 1 of Tuesday's double header against the Nationals, righty reliever Michael Schwimer (pictured) expressed an extreme level of annoyance with his efforts in his past two appearances. The rookie has allowed 5 earned runs over 2 total innings pitched in those games. Schwimer took a loss against the Cardinals last Friday and ruined a gem by starter Kyle Kendrick when he faced Washington, but did not figure in the decision that day.

In the Twitter post, Schwimer declared, "Back to back horseshit outings cost the team 2 wins." He then added a blurb about the struggles being a tough pill to swallow.

While this sort of openness from players and the availability to the public that comes along with it is not necessarily the norm, the world we live in, where digital and internet technology leave traditional forms of media fearing for their futures, could be progressively leading to a place where players speak their minds on their own time and trim out the third party.

Players have the ability to say as much as they like, as often as they like, to whomever they like via services like Twitter. They can build a fan base and develop a brand all by themselves or with some help. Why would they continue to allow writers to interpret their words or add their personal angle or their employer's spin to happenings pertaining to the athlete, deep into the future? Athletes don't have to do that, so as time goes on and more sports personalities realize this fact, expect to see the list of players handling their own news and postgame vocal offerings on their own.
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