Tweets from fans cheering on the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays and National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers will be selected by the league and laser-engraved on baseballs to be used during the two teams’ workouts today, as well as during batting practice prior to Game 1 on Tuesday night.
Photos of those baseballs will be shared via the @MLB and @TwitterSports accounts from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, home of the Texas Rangers, where the 2020 World Series is being played due to the pandemic.
Fans who are lucky enough to have their tweets chosen will receive the baseballs engraved with their tweets. Some of those balls will even be autographed by players, explaining the league’s hashtag for the initiative, #FreeBaseball.
“It’s been an exciting postseason, an exciting October, and the tone was set early with our postseason creative campaign, October: The Remix,” MLB senior vice president of marketing Barbara McHugh told Adweek.
She said the league set out to focus on engagement with fans—new, casual and die-hard—with a particular eye toward capturing live content via additional camera angles and perspectives, as well as highlighting players off the field.
Over 840 players are now part of MLB’s social program, which helps support their social efforts with media including graphics, photos and highlights.
The league will hold two social-first photo shoots—one with both teams today, and one with the eventual World Series winner—where players can create media including portraits, boomerangs and movements to be shared via their social accounts as well as those of their teams and the league.
McHugh said the shoots will feature a versatile backdrop aimed at hyping up the World Series.
It’s raining baseballs on Instagram Stories, as MLB’s Cut4 social team added a Baseball Bonanza filter for the postseason, which creates the effects of baseballs raining down.
The league is even extending its social reach into the video game arena, specifically Nintendo’s summer hit Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
“It’s extremely important to be culturally relevant and creative, and Generation Z is extremely interested in Animal Crossing,” McHugh said, adding that QR codes shared by Cut4 accounts at the start of the League Championship Series enabled game players to download artwork created by other players and use it on various items they created in-game.
Twitter also rolled out hashtag-triggered emojis for tweets containing #Dodgers, #Postseason, #RaysUp or #WorldSeries.
According to the social network, the Rays players with the most Twitter mentions during the 2020 MLB postseason were:
- Randy Arozarena
- Manuel Margot
- Tyler Glasnow
And the Dodgers players with the most mentions were:
- Clayton Kershaw
- Corey Seager
- Cody Bellinger
The most tweeted-about playoff games thus far were:
- Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves, NLCS, Game 7, Oct. 18
- Rays vs. New York Yankees, AL Division Series, Game 5, Oct. 9
- Rays vs. Houston Astros, ALCS, Game 7, Oct. 17
“2020 has given us a unique opportunity to try new things with longtime sports partners, and #FreeBaseball is no exception,” Twitter head of sports partnerships T.J. Adeshola said in an email, continuing, “We’re committed to bringing fans closer to the biggest moments in sports, and printing fan tweets on actual World Series baseballs does just that.”