I recently signed up for Twitter (@grahamdude) to promote this site. Anyone who reads regularly knows I follow Jose Canseco, and sometimes, he apparently reads what I write, too. Canseco is actually fairly entertaining and unhinged on Twitter as is Ozzie Guillen. The famously flippant White Sox manager had several Tweets last Friday slamming actor Sean Penn for supporting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, including a post in Spanish that translated roughly to, “That clown the gringuito that lives chevre in the United States well.” Whatever that means.
Yes, baseball was a simpler game before online media and Guillen’s native country both went socialized.
All things considered, I find Twitter pretty vapid, one of those things that wouldn’t be missed were it to disappear tomorrow from the cultural landscape, like US Magazine or Ke$ha. That being said, Twitter continues to overtake more and more of my time, and I’ve found myself wondering of late who else in baseball history would have made good use of the site. Here are five past baseball figures I would have clicked “Follow” on for sure:
(1) Casey Stengel: The longtime manager was also probably the all-time most quotable baseball personality, known for giving nonsensical interviews to sportswriters — who dubbed his language Stengelese — and Congress alike. In 1958, as noted in Ken Burns’ Baseball, a 67-year-old Stengel testified before a Senate subcommittee hearing and helped kill a bill to formalize baseball’s exemption from anti-trust laws by rambling incoherently for 45 minutes. I have to think Stengelese leads to Twitter at its absolute best. Or worst.
(2) Satchel Paige: Another eminently quotable personality, whose many aphorisms, such as his list on “How to Stay Young,” would make excellent, concise Tweets.
(3) Lou Gehrig: Imagine the heartfelt remarks the fallen Yankee star would have for Lou Gehrig Day on Twitter.
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the
And that’s 140 characters, exactly, which is all Twitter allows for each posting. If that’s not irony, I don’t know what is, perhaps besides saying you’re the luckiest man on the face of the earth when in reality, as Norm MacDonald once said during a parody sketch of Gehrig’s speech on “Saturday Night Live,” you have a disease so rare they named it after you.
If Gehrig had a Twitter account, it probably would have malfunctioned on him.
(4) Dummy Taylor: A deaf pitcher for the New York Giants in the early part of the 20th Century, Taylor would get a new voice through social media, much like @ebertchicago. The film critic lost his ability to speak following cancer surgery a few years ago but Tweets and blogs regularly now.
(5) Babe Ruth: Knowing the Babe, this would probably have no less than three ghostwriters. Still, I have to think it would be pretty entertaining. And I imagine Ruth, the first heavily-marketed athlete would allow the level of scrutiny needed for a Twitter account to take off, seeing as he had a syndicated newspaper box during his career entitled, WHAT BABE RUTH DID TODAY.