Twitter's potential effect on who wins the World Series this year appears to now be a moot point, but the micro-blogging site had its shot today. Major League Baseball let fans vote with tweets during a four-hour period on Thursday in order to determine the final two players in the All Star Game, an eight-decade-old midsummer event pitting the National League vs. American League that will be held in Kansas City on Tuesday. The winning league gains home field advantage for the seven-game World Series in October.
Baseball fans were already able to vote for potential All Star Game edtion over the past few days. And between noon and 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, MLB allowed fans on Twitter to help decide who plays versus who doesn’t among nine possibilities. But ultimately, the two leading vote getters, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and St. Louis Cardinal third baseman David Freese, held on for the win, regardless of the surge in Twitter voting.
During Thursday afternoon, Twitter-savvy baseball fans spent the afternoon focused on two close races: Darvish vs. Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy; and Freese vs. Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Bourn. Fans could vote as many times as they wanted for those players by tweeting the following hash-tags: #VoteYu; #TakeJake; #FreesePlease; and #VoteBourn.
While both winners had Twitter audiences bigger than their main competitors—Darvish has 675,000 followers and Freese 148,000 followers—it’s virtually impossible to tell whether or not those numbers were the difference in the end between them and Peavy and Bourn, respectively.
But Bourn’s fans at least made things interesting via Twitter. The speedy outfielder started the day in third place for National League votes, but during the afternoon zoomed into second place—despite not having a personal account.
His team, the Braves, though, has the most Twitter followers of any team in serious contention today with 194,000 followers. The Braves social media team pumped out messaging all day via Twitter, Facebook (1.1 million fans) and email. So did all of the other ball clubs.
Indeed, the All Star Game is not just another game to these teams—it’s a branding moment. The more players they have donning their uniforms and ball caps materially equates into merchandising sales.
And on a baseball level, Bourn, who can go from first to home as well as any player in the MLB, won’t be scoring the winning run for the National League. You never know, the absence of his legs may cost the NL home field advantage.
Hey Michael, time to get on Twitter.