This Spring Training, baseball teams have been flooding Twitter with all manner of banal, meaningless tweets and photos. This is the grim tale of a man who was forced to read them all.
These diary entries were collected from Test Subject 174-F. They are to remain entirely confidential.
Hello! I suppose I should start off this diary with an introduction. My name's Brad, and I LOVE baseball! I feel so lucky to be a baseball fan at this point in history. Thanks to the Internet, fans like me have unprecedented access to players and teams. Reporters can tweet analysis, quotes from players, photos ... you name it, Diary! You name it! Just kidding, you cannot name it because you are a diary. Haha!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Recently, I answered a call for participants in a behavioral study that's being conducted by Harvard. They've asked me to spend 10 days in this room with nothing but a strictly firewalled computer terminal. All I'll have access to is a Twitter feed of Spring Training tweets that are posted by official Major League Baseball accounts, and the stories they link to.
And boy howdy, that's fine by me! I love Spring Training -- it means that baseball is just right around the corner! By the time this experiment is over, I ought to know everything there is to know about baseball. Can't wait!
Check out photos from today's #SpringTraining workout ... http://atmlb.com/A7K8C4
They took all kinds of pictures! Here's one:
Ty Wigginton stretches for a ground ball during Spring Training workouts Wednesday in Clearwater.
Ha! Good ol' Tyminator! These photographers sure are a thorough bunch, I guess. I don't find it terribly interesting that Ty Wigginton fielded a grounder, but I'm sure some folks out there think it's neat!
Aoki addresses reporters after today's workout.
Hmm. I'm not really sure why they posted this photo. Like, I can't imagine Aoki actually saying anything interesting about a workout to begin with. And I don't really see how a photograph of an interview benefits anybody.
What's better: listening to a boring Q&A session, or viewing a boring photo of a boring Q&A session, so at least you don't have to listen to the boring Q&A session?
Minestrone seemed to be the more popular selection today. That is what I went with.
I didn't know they had soup at Spring Training! What a world! I wonder which soup I have no personal investment in was chosen by the reporter I also have no investment in at a facility I am not currently at so therefore it is not particularly valuable information! Oh wow! Minestrone soup! I'd better go add that to baseball-reporter-soup-decisions.txt!
Goodness. I don't mean to be snarky, Diary. This isn't like me at all. I just wish reporting would be a little more substantial. Maybe things will get better as Spring Training goes on.
When you see this @DHuddy41 interview on @espn this season, you'll never know he was wearing shorts & flip flops http://pic.twitter.com/9WkKvoPt
I'm not going to know he's wearing shorts and flip-flops? I guess this means that by then I'll forget this tweet ever existed, then? THANK GOD.
#YuMania continues with the media circus as @faridyu walks by. #SpringTraining #Rangers pic.twitter.com/xoOLCtPs
A circus, everyone! People gather from all across the land to behold the exotic spectacle of A Dozen Meandering People, Player Walking Around In Distant Background, Completely Obscured Subject Of Photograph and Photographer Who Thinks This Will Be A Neat Photo!
I wonder whether they'll let me end the experiment early. I don't like what this is doing to me. I'm beginning to hate baseball.
Today's #WhiteSox Photo of the Day! http://twitpic.com/8nslps
The photo of the day! THE PHOTO OF THE DAY, EVERYONE. This photographer followed the White Sox for the entire day and the best, most exciting thing that happened was f***ing Dan Pasqua sitting on a trainer's bench. I remember when the White Sox had Frank Thomas and Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan and were really awesome and exciting. Now it's just, "Brent Morel grounds to second over and over for 162 cloudy days and then The King of Queens is on." What a horrible --
-- wait one moment, Diary. Something shook the building a little. I'm hearing things from outside the room. An alarm or something.
DAY 5: UPDATE.
I'm scared. I looked through the little window on my door. People are running through the siren-lit hallways. Everyone's yelling about something.
I pounded on the door in the hope that one of the frantic passersby would let me out. Finally, someone stopped.
"I'm from geology," he said. "I don't have the keys for the behaviorial studies department. I'll find Dr. Richmond and tell him you're in here. I'm sorry!"
As he turned to leave, I pounded on the door again and asked him what was happening.
"There's ... I don't know, young man. The magnetic properties of the Earth are shifting. It just started happening. No one knows why. Everything's going ... sideways. I don't know. I'll find help."
I don't know what to do. I'm scared. Sitting now, and I can feel the ground tilting. Or am I sensing something that isn't there? Is this part of the experiment? Are they screwing with me?
Will update tomorrow.
I sat in the corner, back to the wall. The computer station, you see, it's on this wheeled cart. If it didn't roll across the room, then surely gravity was not shifting. Surely, it was all in my head.
I stared at it for hours. It didn't move, and I began to feel waves of relief. And I kept staring.
The desk began to float away from the wall. Faster. Faster, and then it hit the opposite wall, and the sharp crash of metal and plastic against the cinder blocks produced the loudest noise I had heard in a week. I stared a little longer, and was startled a second time when I found myself sobbing, violently. I had not wept in years.
I am confused, horrified. How is this possible? How can the gravity of the planet suddenly shift like this? It seems absolutely ludicrous. Impossible.
I am still suspicious. I can't see what is happening outside. Tomorrow, when the next wave of Spring Training tweets are sent to my station, I will know for sure.
If the photos they tweet are sideways, I will know for sure.
OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
#Royals manager Ned Yost taping a segment with Joel Goldberg for FOX Sports Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/L3qbuCNP
Bubba Startling in the batting cage. Video coming a little later. #Royals http://pic.twitter.com/BVmXfKzg
Haha, "Bubba Startling." p.s. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHGHGHGHGGH
MLBPA is in Surprise to shoot head scans for future video games like MLB2K13, etc. @teaparty61 is first victim. http://pic.twitter.com/ayp5SuD9
AVAKBVGNDO;AREBVGORUEBVUOAEBVRABVGLABVLADSB VREUVI D
This study, the purpose of which was to determine a person's susceptibility to believe in implausible phenomena in isolation, was terminated after test subject 174-F, identified within the diaries as "Brad," was found a half-mile away from the research facility.
After Day 7, Brad ceased to provide diary entries. At some point during Day 8, Brad scrawled a number of notes on the walls, such as "SIDEWAYS," and "PAUL GIAMATTI WAS RIGHT," before escaping through an air duct. He was found in a wooded area, holding a tree for dear life, and shrieking, "No more tweets, no more tweets," until subdued.
The "Spring Training tweets" element of the study was meant only as a means of misdirection. We certainly did not anticipate that baseball teams would start tweeting sideways photos because seriously, it isn't hard at all to a) take a right-side-up photo, or b) rotate a photo. Seriously, come on, y'all.
It was not our intention to place a test subject under undue duress or agony. However, we will be submitting the results of this test to the ethics board.
VERDICT FROM ETHICS BOARD:
We hereby find that to force someone to read banal Spring Training tweets and view meaningless photos is grossly unethical, and order that such a study shall never again be performed at this university.
We also intend to work with the behavioral studies department to issue a public press release warning against the psychological dangers associated with such tweets, and advise the public to not, under any circumstances, follow official baseball team accounts during Spring Training, unless 400 million billion photos of Gavin Floyd doing stretches is your idea of a good time.