#FaceOfMLB (Part 2 of 2)

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David_Wright

David Wright is the #FaceOfMLB

Just a quick update to this, because I find all of this quite fascinating, and it offers a lot of good parallels. Then we can put it to bed, because after all, it’s old news.

If you didn’t hear, Sogard lost in the finals to David Wright. Albeit, it was a very close call – 51% to 49%. Sogard was leading by a hefty margin at one point. Sports Illustrated reports that Sogie held a commanding 55% to 45% advantage as of 3am PST on Friday morning. Then, all of sudden, the East Coasters got in gear and catapulted Wright into the winner’s circle. Or did they?

Studies have shown that social media usage has peaks and valleys throughout the day. Trends have developed to capture engagement, and thereby increase response rates. Increased engagement strengthens your brand. To illustrate, Facebook posts are common between 1pm – 4pm, with 3pm Wednesdays being the peak (probably because everyone is bored at work and looking for distractions to get through the day). Meanwhile, Pinterest posts generally peak on Saturday mornings (because that’s when you actually have time to share your new muffin recipe). Research also indicates that Twitter is a beneficial tool when used Monday through Thursday from 11am – 3pm. The worst time to tweet is between the hours of 8pm – 9am. Generally speaking, your tweets will evaporate into the cloud and go unnoticed during this time frame. Fewer individuals are online between 8pm – 9am, so there is less engagement.

The voting ended (strangely) at 8am EST, which is Twitter downtime. Furthermore, this meant it was 5am PST – a time when a large portion of West Coasters (and, in particular – A’s fans) were still under the covers or were focusing on their morning routines. A’s fans weren’t actively voting in the wee hours of the morning, so this presented a slight disadvantage. Furthermore, how can we be so sure that the Mets’ community was, in fact, executing a (legitimate) comeback? More importantly, how did the Mets’ fan base construct such a rapid turnaround?

King of Queens

“What does ‘Met’ stand for, anyway, you know? I mean, what’s a ‘Met?’ What’s the deal with that?”

Granted, the Mets have a devoted fan base – actually very similar to that of the A’s. The people in Queens are a very simple bunch, much like the working class in Oakland. (Hell, both locales could benefit from urban renewal, but that’s another can of worms). You ever watch The King of Queens? Yeah, I know it’s cheesy, but Kevin James’ character is pretty accurate. People from Queens love the Mets. Just mention “Game 6” to anyone in Queens, and I’m sure you’ll have a great conversation.

Meanwhile, the Mets play in the shadows of the New York Yankees and their 27 world championships. Here in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Giants have executed recent championship runs in 2010 and 2012. In turn, they have been able to bring in more business, because they have proved to their fan base that they are a winning team. And, seriously, that’s how you grow a business. Instill confidence in yourselves and your customers. Now, they can easily cater to the tech crowd and the San Francisco elite.

Just this week, the Giants offered the A’s somewhat of a consolation residency should Oakland move forward in their plans to build a new ballpark. Do the A’s take it? I don’t know. There are lots of factors at play – there are legal issues to flesh out, scheduling conflicts to acknowledge, and a bigger issue called pride. Will A’s fans be able to enjoy a home game in an unfamiliar park? This is something A’s management has to digest and sort out.

Trout 3

Mike Trout

Look, MLB wanted to see Trout versus Jeter in the finals. It would have been a story that the mainstream cared about. Everybody loves a story. Trout, the center fielder of the Los Angeles Angels, is the up-and-coming MLB superstar.  He’s the first baseball player ever to sign a $1 million guaranteed deal before he is eligible for free agency and/or arbitration (i.e. a big payday). He’s going to be a rich man, and he deserves it because he’s got the talent to back it up. This kid is 22 years old, and he can play. He’ll hit 30+ HR, drive in 120 RBI, collect 35 doubles, steal 30+ bags, and his defense is superb. Just wait.

The Captain

The Captain

Meanwhile, Jeter is retiring at the end of this season, much like Mariano Rivera did last season. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you know who Derek Jeter is. So, it’s another way for the Yankees to make money. It’s an insurance package, because if the Yanks don’t perform well on the field this season, they can still put asses in the seats, because everyone from all corners of the world wants to see The Captain play one more time.

Is there a Mike Trout in the music scene nowadays? Someone so talented in all facets – recording, live performance, stage presence, general appeal, etc? I’m not talking about the Lady Gagas of the world. I’m talking about music created today that we can still appreciate 50 years down the line. Like The Beatles.

Deon Cole

Deon Cole

Consider this – I recently witnessed Deon Cole’s stand-up routine at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco. It was hilarious. Do you know who he is? He’s a writer (or at least he used to be a writer) on CONAN. He also appears on some of Conan’s sketches. He’s clever, personable, smart, and he has great stage presence. But can he appeal to the mainstream? Does he need to? Or should he simply focus on his own fans?

That said, have you ever heard of the Long Tail Theory, a concept developed by Chris Anderson? To quote, “The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.”

Sogard in the field

This is Nerd Power

To circle back, was the voting process in #FaceOfMLB genuine? Were there other factors at play? I guess we’ll never know for sure. Hey, CSN Bay Area reminds us that David Wright does not even have a Twitter handle! How did he connect with all of his fans the way Sogard and the A’s community did? Furthermore, go ahead and track #DavidWright on the Trendsmap (via CSN Bay Area), and you’ll see a lot of tweets coming from South Korea. Is it possible MLB bought tweets, the same way that Facebook buys “likes” via “click farms” in Southeast Asia, and other pockets around the world? At the end of the day, David Wright received more votes, but were Mets’ fans actually more engaged than A’s fans? Do you follow? To better understand, watch this video, courtesy of Veritasium. It’ll blow your mind. I’d subscribe to the YouTube channel, as well.

That’s all for now. I’m gonna go watch The Oscars.
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#FaceOfMLB (Part 1 of 2)

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Sogard

Are you following this? Do you even know who Eric Sogard is?

It’s okay if you answered “no” to both questions.

He is one of four, five, maybe even six middle infielders (if you count prospects from each affiliate team – that is, A, AA, and AAA) vying for a spot on the Oakland Athletics’ roster this spring.

Granted, he is a major league ballplayer. He’s got a good glove, maybe he’ll bat around .260, hit 5 HR, collect 25 doubles, and drive in 60 RBI over the course of the season. So what sets him apart from every other MLB superstar – Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and so on? Why did he just outduel Buster Posey (yes, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants – a team with a bigger fan base, and better resources) in the semifinals of the #FaceOfMLB contest on Twitter?

Because he’s original. He’s unique. He brings his own style to the ballpark everyday. He wears huge glasses, old-school stirrup socks, he hustles, and the die-hard fans in Oakland have developed a saying – a calling card, if you will, that is attached to Sogie, for better or for worse. It’s called “Nerd Power.” And it’s sweeping the Twittersphere.

So, alas, this proves the point: be weird, don’t be cool. Make music that you want to make. Fuck the gatekeepers. Fuck the critics. Build an AVID following. Record. Tour. Repeat. Constantly work to improve your product/service. Coolness grows organically.

Early adopters get high on innovation. The mainstream gets high on coolness. The critics didn’t believe in the Beatles’ potential, but the kids ate that shit up. Then, by the time the mainstream caught on, the Beatles had disbanded.

Look, everything is a trend – music, tech, film, food, fashion, you name it. That’s just the way America is. Here today, gone tomorrow. Remember the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics? Guess what, no one cares about it this week.

Do what you love, do it well, and, remember, timing is everything. Go out and create something unique – a masterpiece, a true work of art – that will stand the test of time.

Rest assured, you’re playing with house money, because everyone loves an underdog. A 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed during March Madness, but it’s bound to happen in our lifetime. We’re only human.

Much like the Mid-Summer Classic (aka The MLB All-Star Game), #FaceOfMLB began as a popularity contest. In the past few days, it’s transformed into the feel-good story of Spring Training. The underdog prevailed.

That said, make sure to vote for Eric Sogard on Twitter. Tweet or re-tweet (RT) anything with #FaceOfMLB and #EricSogard. The final round is upon us. Sogard is neck and neck with David Wright, third baseman of the New York Mets. You can tweet/RT up to 25 times through 5am PST on Friday, 2/28.