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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

MLB social media policy answers some questions, opens others

In our society, rules are often created to ensure boundaries for extreme behavior are in place before the acts occur. Such is the case with Major League Baseball and social media.

Back in November when the new collective bargaining agreement between players and owners was announced, a miscellaneous line item simply said this:

“All Players will be subject to a policy governing the use of Social Media.”

Like most of the new CBA, the details governing use of Twitter and Facebook would follow. Earlier this week, MLB released their policy to all 40-man roster players.

The opening statement seems simple enough, but of course, the devil is in the details.

“We encourage you to connect with fans through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Along with MLB’s extensive social media activities, we hope your efforts on social media will bring fans closer to the game and have them engaged with baseball, your club and you in a meaningful way.”

Among the policy elements are these common sense-type items.

Players cannot post anything:

  • That condones the use of drugs banned by MLB.
  • Sexually explicit, racist or sexist.
  • Disparaging one’s national origin or disability.
  • Illegal by federal or state law.
  • That threatens or harasses others.

The challenge will be in who and how violations will be interpreted. Club and MLB officials will be even more busy than before monitoring their employees’ social media behavior. Will union officials immediately spring to the defense of players when the inevitable gray areas are entered?

Any appeal process is unclear, but it will certainly be needed – if there are penalties involved in policy violations. This is not spelled out as far as I can tell. MLB already seems to keep a stable of arbiters busy in other elements of their business. Could this become another?

Apparently to protect the owners, this item is also included.

  • Players must have permission before making statements that could be interpreted as “official,” linking to a MLB website, or using copyrighted team logos, names, photos or other material.

It seems odd for players not to be able to link to stories on the official MLB website.

It sort of reminds me of the ever-present warning repeated during every radio and television game for decades now. It is one we can probably all recite by heart, sort of like a perverted MLB pledge of allegiance.

“Any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is strictly prohibited.”

Anyway, back to social media. The items that govern on-field activities are crystal clear in comparison to sex, drugs and harassment. These apply to all officials, including coaches and managers.

They are not allowed to post to social media:

  • 30 minutes before a game
  • During a game
  • Until at least 10 minutes after a game ends

They are also not allowed to question umpires’ calls via social media.

In summary, it is good that MLB accepts reality and encourages players to use social media to interact with fans. Players will continue to have to be smart in their actions to remain clear of the new regulations. For most, that should not be a problem. It is the few outliers for which MLB had to create this policy and about whom they must worry.

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31 Responses to “MLB social media policy answers some questions, opens others”

  1. crdswmn says:

    I don’t see any of our guys having any problems. Logan Morrison, who I follow, may come close to the “sexually explicit” on occasion. :)

  2. blingboy says:

    An article on the main site about Carlos Martinez/Matias got me thinking abot Aroldis Chapman for some reason. I looked into whatever I could find about him this spring. It sounds like the Walts are trying to get something out of their investment by having Chapman back off the velocity and focus on command and control and a secondary pitch. His last outing he was around 92-94. We’ve got several minimum wage pen guys that do better than that. $30M doesn’t buy what it used to I guess.

    Nice job by el Anciano going Ofer for the halos yesterday. I’m sure the two homer game the other day was His swan song and His OPS is probably below 1.600 by now.

  3. crdswmn says:

    I see Beltran is batting in the 2 hole today. If this is going to be the regular spot for him, I am giving notice right now that this issue is going to be my major bitch this year. You all know what that means, so prepare yourselves. :)

    • blingboy says:

      I considered making a comment when I saw it but thought it would just get you started. :)

      • crdswmn says:

        Any days in which Beltran is batting second and Schumaker is playing second, I would advise staying away altogether. :)

        • Brian Walton says:

          I believe Greene is at second today with Skip as the DH.

          If you can answer without it angering you, why do you object to Beltran batting second? His career OBP is .363. Is your concern Beltran at #2, Molina at #6 or something else?

          • crdswmn says:

            I object because he is better served batting 5th or 6th. Berkman has a higher OBP but I don’t see anyone advocating him batting second. Beltran can’t run like he used to so he is wasted in the 2 hole. His power and his ability to hit with runners on says he needs to be in the middle of the order. If Jay or Descalso can improve their OBP either one of them would be a better 2 hole hitter than Beltran. So, every time Beltran gets an extra base hit with 0-1 runners on, I am going to bitch. :)

            • crdswmn says:

              BTW I know I am in the minority here but that has never stopped me before. There are a few others who agree with me, one being my editor at RR who has a master’s degree in Sports Management and is a sabermetrician. I had already decided that I didn’t want Beltran in the 2 hole, but he confirmed my belief and suggested Jay or Descalso instead. So we march on in the minority and I am sure there will be RR posts on the subject down the line if our beliefs turn out to be founded in reality. :)

            • Brian Walton says:

              One weakness in that argument is this:

              “If Jay or Descalso can improve their OBP either one of them would be a better 2 hole hitter than Beltran.”

              So far, they are what they are – bottom of the lineup guys.

        • T8Ball says:

          How did you react when Yadi batted 2nd a few days back? :)

          • crdswmn says:

            I don’t get overly excited about ST. I made my original comment based only on the anticipation that Beltran would be the fixture in the 2 hole once the season starts, as that has been the talk. Where they bat in ST doesn’t bother me.

        • T8Ball says:

          You can breathe easy for a few weeks to a month or two. If Skip’s oblique injury is as bad as he says it feels, then he won’t see 2B or the OF for at least month.

          So, do they replace with another OF or IF? There’s Robinson, Velez, Chambers. Matt Carpenter is more versatile in that he can play the Corner OF and IF positions. I don’t know how well he can play in the OF, but he’s seen a little time there this spring. I’m personally not a fan of Alex Cora, but I think he gets a nod anyways. I didn’t mention Komatsu, b/c I feel he made the team, especially with Craig out for few weeks to a month.

          OR, do they accelerate Craig’s return? Doubtful, but you never know.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Matheny represents a different approach …………… he is struggling to get players to take team AB’s…..
    institutionally sensitive…… realistic assessments of their opportunities ………… the secure Molina is….some of the rookies are ………… Beltran is still tripping ……..as is Jay………….concerned about his long range future ……… hitting Beltran 2nd……saddling him with more easily discernible priorities is just a test….and a reminder……… he is still using his guaranteed starting spot to “preen his ego”….. if Matheny has a noticeable strength, it his catchers eye for evaluating a hitters intension by his setup and swing location priorities …………….. he knows what his players are “thinking” up there ……….. don’t worry about the lineup …………. it will gel around those the produce… unlike those “other years”…………

  5. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    institutionally sensitive???????????????????============== situationally sensitive………..

  6. crdswmn says:

    I leave early tomorrow morning for sunny (and hopefully not too rainy) Florida. I arrive early tomorrow evening and I am staying with my friend who lives in Boynton Beach. I only have a ticket to one game, on March 21, because my friend is not a big baseball fan, so one game was all I could talk her in to. If I can get a decent signal on my phone at Roger Dean, I will tweet from the game and post about it on here after. I assume if the rotation isn’t altered by the return of Carp, I will draw Westbrook for that game. I will be taking pictures, with my digital camera instead of my phone, so I won’t be able to post them until later when I get to my laptop. I want to take good quality pictures and I have a good SLR digital camera. I don’t know where my seats are since my friend bought the tickets and I haven’t seen them yet.

    Looking forward to my first ST game. I will be posting at times while I am in Florida, but I’m sure my friend has my time already planned out.

  7. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Look see the AP game today……………… he is “lording” over baseball in Arizona………… and…………. running too? ……………………… If you watch Tory………you can see where his swing has had a positive effect on Albert’s approach ………………….. If he starts developing an appetite ………………. he will eat the AL………….. wanting desperately to return to SL for the WS ……………… that would be epic …… if you happen by a Cathedral ………… throw a little holy water at that one for me…………………

  8. blingboy says:

    Greene is doing a great job of hitting his way out of a starter job.

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