Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I wish Twitter had existed when Rod Beck was the closer

We all have learned a little lesson about social networking in the past 24 hours with the Brian Wilson Incident. It's an interesting look at how Twitter and the like can seep into your real life and maybe make things uncomfortable. Let me explain.

Brian Wilson, you may or may not know, is the closer for the San Francisco Giants. What we suspected, from seeing him on TV and hearing things around and whatnot, was that he was your basic ballplayer type - a little arrogant, maybe, possibly not the brightest light in the harbor, etc. When Brian Wilson got a Twitter account and started using it, what we found out is that we were mostly right.

All his Twitter updates are gone now (for reasons explained or maybe not explained below), but he would write generally about stuff he was doing, like eating brunch in the Marina, where it seems he lived (and, for you SF-ers, no big shocker there), and wanting to pick fights with people. Typical ballplayer big-mouth stuff. Naturally, I followed him on Twitter (along with about 3000 other people) because I'm a Giants fan and I thought it was kinda funny.

I first suspected we might have a problem one day during the hot spell when he wrote that he was going to Pier 23, which is basically a restaurant and bar with a big outdoor deck on the bay, and asked if anyone wanted to join him. I don't know how this little experiment in direct communication with the fans turned out, but I mused at the time that maybe it wasn't the smartest idea in the world for a professional ballplayer (or anyone famous, for that matter) to broadcast to any psycho who might be in the group of 3000 followers where he was going to be for the next few hours. I mean, you never know, right?

ANYWAY, the whole thing kind of blew up in the last day or so. It so happens that Wilson's Twitter feed suggested that he was out kinda late on Saturday night in Scottsdale, the night before a Giants day game on Sunday, looking for trouble. His updates went something like this:

he didnt have a blackbelt. he said my hair was stupid and i said his girlfriend liked it. 38 wins. she said she liked it uhhhhhh!1:18 AM Apr 26th from mobile web

i respect fighters. does that mean people who wear affliction are all fighters. you need a blackbelt right? no way this guy next to me has.12:31 AM Apr 26th from mobile web

Scottsdale is fun. The over aggressive males are not. does every dude think they can fight? they sure have some confident mouths out here!11:29 PM Apr 25th from mobile web
So the next day, he goes out and blows the save, basically failing in the one job he has. The Chron picks up the story and writes that, based on his Twitter feed, Wilson might have been out late, implying that may be the reason for the blown save. In the aftermath, Wilson's buddy Barry Zito (who, BTW, is on kind of a tear these days pitching and looks a ton better), who also has a Twitter account, notifies us last night:

Wilson deleted his account as that was the way for him to prove all the media wrong in their assumptions

It's all well and good for Wilson to delete his Twitter account (in fact, it's probably a really good idea), but this doesn't make any sense. Deleting your account doesn't prove the media wrong; it proves them right, because now you can be out drinking Goldschlager out of strippers' belly buttons until 4 am and no one will be the wiser. So I don't get that.

So what's the upshot of all this? I assume ballplayers will be a little more careful in what they write about on Twitter. But I hope not.

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