MLB Network’s Brian Kenny on Sports Blogs, Trolls and Why He Quit—Then Rejoined—Twitter

And how he feels about Reddit


Specs
Who Brian Kenny
Age 52
Claim to fame Host of MLB Now on MLB Network; author of Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution (available July 5)
Base Montclair, N.J.
Twitter @MrBrianKenny

Adweek: What's the first information you consume in the morning?
Brian Kenny: I check emails from producers, then I get to my baseball reading. I like Baseball Think Factory, FanGraphs, Trends Journal and the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, and I'll go to MLB.com to go over every box score and see what the baseball news is. I also get The Slurve, which is a baseball newsletter that aggregates all the wonky baseball people out there. I get a very sabermetrically inclined view of the world.

You quit Twitter a couple of years ago and just recently rejoined it. What made you leave?
It was consuming, and it just occupied a lot of my space. At that point, I was doing MLB Now and MLB Tonight and a three-hour daily radio show for NBC and, along with Twitter, I found myself constantly spouting off and I just got tired of my own opining. I figured I already had enough to satiate my own ego from being on the air all the time. But now I'm back on it, and it's good to be connected with baseball people. I also have a new book coming out, so I wanted to get the word out about that. But Twitter can consume you. You have to properly utilize it, and that's what I'm trying to do now.

Sports fans can be pretty vicious on Twitter. How do you deal with that?
My problem is that I'm very good at it [laughs]. I will go after people and I will get into it, and I don't want to be that guy! But at the same time, I want to get my opinions out there. You're more successful these days when you can create your own echo chamber.

Do you use any other social media platforms?
I've done Reddit AMAs, does that count? When I got on there, I expected that people would be snarky, but they're not. They're like a computer group from the mid-'90s that just wants to ask nerdy baseball questions.

What TV shows do you watch?
The only shows I've watched recently are ones that my kids have gotten me into, House of Cards and Veep. I binge-watched those. Otherwise, my live TV watching is MLB Network or ball games on the At Bat app, or I will flip around and find a movie. My kids tell me I watch a lot of '80s action movies, and they're probably right.

What's on your reading list?
I read a book about Muhammad Ali's relationship with Malcolm X [Blood Brothers by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith] and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which I actually read while I was writing my book and looking for more information on cognitive bias and that sort of thing.

Do you think that the proliferation of sports bloggers and social media has helped the public become more aware of advanced baseball statistics? 
I think it's taken over. It's so much more of a meritocracy now. It wasn't so long ago now that unless you got a job at your local paper and worked your way up, your voice would just not be heard. Now, if you're a good writer, your work can be found. It's not easier by any means to climb up and be successful, but it is more open at the floor level.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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