Tuesday, August 16, 2011
|Angry Twitter Bird is nobody's scapegoat|
On Monday, catcher John Buck told the Miami Herald he and "several" other veterans on the team advised LoMo to spend a little less time coming up with witty remarks on the social media service and more time focusing on baseball.As you might expect, I don't think Twitter is to blame for LoMo's decline at the plate:
"He's an awesome dude, a great teammate and a great person," Buck said, but he had become known too much for his social media presence, and not enough for his baseball skills.
"Just don't let it be the main focus of who you are, because you're a pretty dang good baseball player. That, for him, I think that should be good enough. And the other good stuff coming out of him, being who he is, should be icing on the cake. It shouldn't be flip-flopped, which I think it has become."
But Buck and his teammates (he did not specify to the Herald which teammates had joined him in warning LoMo about the perils of Twitter) seem to be missing an important point when it comes to Twitter: that it is possible to use the service without it becoming a "distraction."
People expect professional athletes to take a monastic approach to their sport. Only complete devotion to improving themselves is enough to satisfy the fans. And athletes, coaches, and front offices for the most part share this belief. If one player struggles (as Morrison has since early June), all of a sudden the hour or so a day he spends on Twitter signifies an unacceptable work ethic.
But when LoMo was tearing the cover off the ball in April and May, no one seemed to think that Twitter was preventing him from becoming a better baseball player.
To put it another way, if instead of tweeting, Morrison spent most of his time learning to speak Spanish and reading the complete works of Hemingway, would his teammates say "don't let it be the main focus of who you are"?
The point is not that Twitter is as worthwhile a hobby as learning another language, but that neither are detrimental to one's skill at baseball. To cite either as a cause of Morrison's declining batting average is beyond ridiculous.