Logan Morrison of the Florida Marlins heads to third base during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Under the new labor agreement, players will be subject to a new Social Media Policy. It's an opportunity to encourage players to use social media to advance the interests of baseball.
Tucked at the end of the outline of MLB's new labor agreement is section X "Other," subsection b, which reads: "All players will be subject to a policy governing the use of Social Media." That's it. It doesn't say what the policy is, whether it already exists, is yet to be drafted, or how it will be enforced.
Let's hope the players' social media policy is something other than the policy already in place for team employees.
That policy is essentially a list of "don'ts": don't put out official MLB or team information unless authorized to do so; don't violate any MLB trademarks or copyrights; don't say anything that might be seen as adversely affecting MLB or its teams. According to Maury Brown's Biz of Baseball, MLB amended the policy at some point to prohibit the use of any electronic equipment within 30 minutes of the start or finish of a game. You may recall that former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen ran afoul of the policy in April by tweeting after being ejected from a game and was fined an undisclosed amount.
It's easy to point to Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) and Nyjer Morgan (@TheRealTPlush) as the poster children for a players' social media policy. Both players have out-sized personalities that are frequently on display via Twitter. Sure, they push the envelope and sometimes that backfires. But policies shouldn't be written with one or two players in mind.
More than 350 major-leaguers have twitter accounts, counting verified and unverified ones. Most players use Twitter to engage with other players and fans, providing a level of familiarity and insight not available from other media. Some players, like Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32), use twitter to engage with analysts on the theories and metrics of pitching. Others like Sam Fuld (@samfuld5) raise awareness about diseases.
These are good things and they should be encouraged.
So instead of a Social Media Policy for players that's simply a list of "don'ts," MLB should put together a list of "dos" to guide players on how to use social media in a positive, productive and engaging way.