It's time to go behind the scenes with MLB.com's social media manager
The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Cut4Cast podcast. To hear more of the Cut4 staff's weekly banterings about which position player is the best at pitching or how baseball would work in outer space, subscribe to the Cut4Cast by clicking here.
Have you ever wanted to know who's behind MLB's social media presence? Well, you're in luck. This week on the Cut4Cast, Matthew Stein, the senior manager for social media for MLB.com, joined Dakota Gardner and Gemma Kaneko to pull back the curtain on who really decides what tweets to tweet and which At Bat notifications to send.
Matthew Stein: We kind of pick and choose what we're going to look in on. OK, Beltre's coming up on 3,000, we're going to look in on every at-bat. That's kind of obvious.
[What's not obvious is something like] Nolan Arenado having a big game. He's got a chance at a third home run. Do we want to look in on that and send it out just to Rockies fans and not even globally to everybody? [Or,] "This play was just OK, but it was Amed Rosario, who just came up for the Mets. Let's alert this to Mets fans, who might not be watching the game." They're watching the game, and now they'll see this Rosario play. It's really about who might be watching and send what should be sent to them.
Dakota Gardner: So, you said that you grew up a Yankees fan. I feel like doing this job, you have to be thinking in the brains of fans of all 30 teams. How has that changed the way you watch baseball? Do you watch each team as though you're a fan of that team?
Matt: No, but you learn to appreciate the intricacies of the game a lot more. Watching 15 games a night for as long as I did -- I'm not on the night grind right now, but I was for a long time -- you start having your favorite players around the league. You start having broadcasters you prefer listening to, broadcasts that do a better job than others … you start appreciating certain pitches, or how [teams] are shifting people. You become a bigger fan of the game and less a fan of your team. I'm a bigger Yankee fan now, again because they are young and exciting compared to a few years ago, but that's just part of the job.
Dakota: That's the thing that I think people have a hard time understanding, who don't actually work in baseball, and that's one of the things that I try to talk to people about. You don't lose fandom; that never really happens. It just changes it fundamentally in your mind, what it is that actually appeals to you about the sport, about athletes. You've probably interacted with a lot of the players individually, and that sort of thing also totally changes the way you perceive these guys and what they're doing.
Matt: Look, if I've had a night where it's 1:30 in the morning in the eighth inning of a Padres-D-backs game on the West Coast, it's a blowout game, and I'm sitting there, watching, trying to predict what pitch they're going to throw next. Thinking about the strategy, the evolution of an at-bat, you can't do that at 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock when there's actually 15 games going on at the same time. But when you're actually focused on a game or two, and it's not one where a team you're a fan of is playing, yeah, that's the way I kind of start to think about it.
Not everybody does. I know way too much about the sport, the stats, and all that stuff. We have people in the room right now that grew up on Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs, and they know way more than I do. I'm just getting knowledge from being around them. And I do enjoy that. I enjoy that type of setting and that kind of camaraderie, but it's a totally different experience watching a game now.
Gemma Kaneko: So, who are your top five favorite players to watch now?
Matt: That's hard, because my fantasy team dictates it. Beltre is one of them.
Gemma: Think about it in terms of, "oh, I'm excited for people to see this highlight. People may not see it, but I'm bringing this out to the world because I pay attention about it."
Matt: Let's do it a little differently: What situations are the best things to watch? Pitchers who rake: No. 1 across the board. When Bartolo Colon homered -- and I'm so sad I wasn't in the office that night -- I was at a birthday party with one of my friends who works here who is a Mets fan. We got the At Bat notification and we started freaking out. We must have watched it 15 times in the first 20 minutes just because we couldn't believe it had happened.
And you saw [Tuesday], Jon Lester and Max Scherzer both homered on the same night. What? You have position players who can't homer that many times.
Gemma: We got the At Bat notification for both of those home runs at the game that we were at, and, yes there's a live baseball game going on, but also wanted to watch these home run on our phones.