When April rolls around, it means one thing: Baseball!
Each April, thirty-two teams begin their quest for the Commissioner’s Trophy. Awarded to the World Series Champions since 1967, it represents the end of the marathon season a team must survive in order to be crowned champions.
As a Phillies fan, I catch a lot of flak from the Yankees and Mets fans in New York. But what I want to discuss goes beyond team allegiance; it’s about the love of the game and what is being done to bring fans more of what they love!
Professional baseball has survived world wars, recessions, several strikes and lockouts and a still lingering steroid scandal. Yet, it keeps on evolving and its popularity waxes more than it wanes. Fans used to be able to catch a game for less than 50 cents. That is now a fraction of what a fan pays for a pretzel at Yankee Stadium! Fans used to huddle around radios or the television set to enjoy a game, but the internet has given fans the ability to experience baseball in a whole new way.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has played a significant role in this transition, finding new ways for every fan to enjoy America’s game – and it’s all because of social media!
- In 2011, MLB introduced the MLB Fan Cave: Two fans were chosen from a pool of 10,000 and given the chance to watch all 2,430 regular season games and the postseason, and provide unique insights on their experience through Facebook and Twitter.
- This year, a “Starting 9” was chosen to vie for a spot in the cave and fans will decide who stays and who goes, ending with a champion being crowned to report on the World Series. This takes the concept to the next level and creates celebrities and brand journalists out of everyday fans.
- In the early life of professional baseball, fans used to be close enough to the players to touch them. Social media brings that closeness back to the sport, and Major League Baseball has taken recent steps to ensure that players, coaches and front office executives can use social media in a fun, exciting and responsible manner.
Bravo, Major League Baseball, thank you for thinking about the fans first – it is my hope that professional sports leagues and other brands follow suit. And of course, let’s play ball!