MESA, Ariz.-- Twitter can be both a blessing and a curse for professional athletes. On one hand, it gives them the opportunity to interact directly with fans. On the other, it opens themselves up to negative comments from some users.For some A's players, the negative tweets are half the fun."One
MESA, Ariz.-- Twitter can be both a blessing and a curse for professional athletes. On one hand, it gives them the opportunity to interact directly with fans. On the other, it opens themselves up to negative comments from some users.
For some A's players, the negative tweets are half the fun.
"One fun thing that people don't realize is when they try to come at me or another athlete, whether or not we respond, you become the butt of a joke for at least a few days in the clubhouse," closer Sean Doolittle said. "We just let you have it."
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With more than 55,000 followers, Doolittle has one of the team's most popular Twitter accounts. He's been making his followers laugh for years, and that's all thanks to the nudging of teammate Sonny Gray.
"I just used it to interact with the fans and make some jokes," Doolittle said. "I didn't try to make it anything too serious. I just like to have fun with it."
Doolittle is known for his sense of humor on Twitter and even his handle -- @whatwouldDOOdo -- is a joke in itself. Other active Oakland Twitter users include right fielder Josh Reddick and his parade of WWE tweets, and right-hander John Axford with his now-famous Oscar predictions.
And while Doolittle started an account on Twitter to have a good time, the teammate who got him there in the first place had a whole different reason for signing up. While at Vanderbilt in 2009, Gray competed for Team USA in the USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Championship in Japan and needed a way to connect back home.
"I didn't have a way to keep in touch with my family," Gray said. "My mom wanted me to put stuff on there and how things were going. So I did, and it started that way."
When Doolittle gets a negative tweet, he loves to show it to his teammates and they get a good laugh.
"They just get really mad online, it's hilarious," Doolittle said. "I can't relate to being so mad that I'm screaming at someone online. You're yelling into a void. No one's going to do anything about it."
Twitter gives the public access to celebrities and athletes in a way nothing else can. Just don't squander that opportunity, Doolittle suggests.
"My thing is, you have a platform or a chance to interact with a professional athlete or a Major League Baseball player," Doolittle said. "You're going to go on there and troll and be an idiot? I'll never understand that."
And if you do, the A's will get a laugh at your expense in the clubhouse.
Justin Emerson is a graduate student pursuing a masters degree in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.