Dominating fantasy baseball with Twitter

Today we’ve got a special guest article for you written by Kevin Orris of FantasyPros911. He and I had been talking a bit recently about the potential advantages a fantasy baseball owner can gain by using Twitter, so here he is with his thoughts on the matter. At the end, you can find some of my follow-up thoughts.

Kevin Orris

With the development of new technologies, the way fantasy baseball owners manage their teams has changed a great deal in recent years. For example, we now have live scoring rather than doing it by hand once a week, but my focus today is on Twitter.

For those uninformed, Twitter is a social networking site similar to Facebook and MySpace, but what’s special about Twitter is that it only allows people to post 140 character messages that are broadcast to all of your “followers.” In the changing fantasy baseball world, where people are scrounging for the quickest news, Twitter is a fantastic resource.

Not only is it free to sign up, but there are not any costs involved. How great is free entertainment in a time when the world is in a recession? The reason that I’m writing about Twitter today, though, has nothing to do with cost. It’s all about dominating your fantasy baseball league.

As most fantasy owners know, during the season, navigating the waiver wire is vital to success. Sure, drafting is a big part of it, but once you draft a team, you can’t expect it to manage itself. You’ve got to pick up and drop players and make trades along the way as well.

Anyone that has played fantasy baseball before knows that it’s fun to make transactions, especially when they pay off for you in a big way. It’s a simple fact that injuries happen in baseball, and in order to adjust to this in fantasy, you’ve got to stay on top of things.

By using Twitter as a fantasy owner, not only are you able to chat about your feelings and learn about those of actual baseball players, you’re able to find out the latest news in no time. I’m not sure about you, but being able to see what Nick Swisher, CC Sabathia, Coco Crisp, Brian Wilson, etc. have to say on a regular basis is entertaining.

Now, they are never going to tell you about their latest injury, but from a fantasy perspective, there are hundreds of fantasy baseball owners and writers on Twitter that regularly “tweet” about their teams, statistics of hot and cold players, and anything else on their mind. (For all of the Twitter “lingo” go here: http://whyfacebook.com/2008/09/11/twitter-lingo-demystified/)

This is where Twitter comes in handy; anyone is able to follow any public profile (very few profiles are set to private). Therefore, you can follow anyone from ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser (@PTIshow) to Fanball.com writer Jason Collette (@jasoncollette) or even myself (@kevinorris). By doing this, you are able to see what hundreds, thousands, or in Ashton Kutcher’s case, millions of people have to say. If you follow the right people, this can be used to your advantage to dominate your fantasy league.

For example, according to RotoWorld.com, a popular site for the latest player news, at 4:53 PM ET on April 21, they reported that Boston Red Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli was headed to the DL. On Twitter, I found out about that about 15-20 minutes before hand.

This past Saturday, news broke that pitcher Nelson Figueroa was headed back to the Mets, when original reports stated that he would become a free agent. @TheRopolitans broke the news at 9:34 AM, and almost an hour later (10:27 AM to be exact) RotoWorld.com broke the news. MLB.com reported the news a whopping three hours later at 12:49 PM.

There are a few possible reasons behind this that I’m going to take a stab at:

1) Many Twitter members can tweet from their phones, which means while listening to the radio if they hear some breaking news, they can tweet it to everyone.

2) The people at RotoWorld don’t find their info from direct sources too often; rather it’s typically from other sources reporting it first.

3) There are people on Twitter, like myself, who are connected to people in professional baseball and they sometimes find out news bits before some news sources. I do have a few connections, and just this past week I was one of the first to find out that Brian McCann would not require a second Lasik surgery after talking to his agent on my live radio show.

4) There are live tweets from multiple sports media outlets, including ESPN, which get out pretty quickly. Although Twitter members have some connections, more often than not, main media sources will be the ones breaking the news. Twitter however, allows the news to spread faster, and more often than not, local newspapers and radio stations break stories about their teams before national outlets. The passing of Harry Kalas was first brought up by Philly.com, and was posted on Twitter within minutes.

Now that you’re excited to start an account of your own, I would recommend “following” a number of people which include: @espn, @vegasman2000, @fp911, @babeslovebaseball, @rotoadvice, @joelhenard, @dsportsdaily, @rotoinfo, @JoseCanseco, @MarkBradleyAJC, @rotoprofessor, @theropolitans, @jintman, @glundeen, @JerseyHitman, @bigjonwilliams, @invisibleman79, @johnnyarchive, @FriedBaseballATL, @coryh64, @robertreed, @FBTM_Chris, @crookedpitch, @stanhayes, @troypatterson, @seanroto, and @rhettoldham.

Be sure to sign up for an account today and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Derek Carty

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m very behind on Twitter. I’ve just recently created an account, and I’ve yet to use it. Still, I recognize the power Twitter can have for fantasy owners.

Thirty to 40 percent of closers lose their jobs every year, meaning there can be as many as 12 new closers wracking up saves. Anyone who has played in a league with daily transactions knows what it’s like to dash to the waiver wire upon hearing of a changing of the guard. How often, though, have you made that dash only to realize that someone beat you to the punch? With Twitter, you could find out this news as much as two hours earlier. And this doesn’t just go for closers. Great for injuries, minor league call-ups, playing time changes, or really anything else of note.

I remember Kevin telling me a couple of weeks ago that Lastings Milledge had been demoted. I had yet to hear of it, and he said that he heard on Twitter. Sure enough, a half-hour later it appeared at MLB.com or ESPN (or one of the major sites), and what seemed like an hour or two later, it appeared as RotoWorld headline (this isn’t an exact time-frame, just my recollection of it).

While the tone of this article might seem to be anti-RotoWorld, RotoWire, RotoTimes, etc, let me assure you it’s not. I actually think RotoWorld is a fantastic resource. RotoWorld is great to catch up on the day’s news in a short amount of time, but for news that needs to be acted upon immediately after it breaks, Twitter seems like the ticket. In a game where seconds and minutes matter, it would be foolish not to grab any advantage we can.

Why is Twitter so much faster? I have a couple suspicions. When news breaks and the first beat writer gets a hold of it, it probably takes 10 or 20 minutes to pump an article out. Then, unless you’ve got an immediate RSS feed to every single newspaper and website on the internet, you’re going to have to wait until a major site like ESPN runs with it or until a site like RotoWorld picks it up. Then, you’ll still have to be in the right place to read about it at one of these sites before your opponents do. Whatever the case, we’re often getting news third-hand and dealing with the associated lag time.

With Twitter, you can get instant updates sent to your computer or phone, sometimes by the people breaking the news in the first place. At the very least, you’re receiving access to the omnipresence of thousands of people surfing the web, and all it takes is one to be in the right place at the right time.

People on Twitter don’t need to take the time to write a full article. They can shoot off a Tweet in five seconds and from anywhere since it can be done via cell phone. I can easily foresee every last beat writer in the country jumping on the Twitter bandwagon in the near future. They’re in an extremely competitive business themselves, and Twitter seems like the quickest way of getting the news out.

Again, I’m behind on this stuff, so I could wrong, but to me this makes sense.

Readers turn

Any of you guys using Twitter? Have you found reliable news sources? Have we missed an advantage of it? Disagree completely? Whatever the case, drop us a comment.

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Comments

  1. Mark said...

    Great article. This is something I’ve been wondering about and asked Derek about.

    I signed up today and am now “following” most of that list—thanks Kevin (I could not find babeslovebaseball, FriedBaseballATL, or FBTM_Chris, however). As I added them, and glanced at the descriptions of each, I realized that my initial impression is probably correct: to fully realize the advantage of Twitter, you also have to suffer the biggest disadvantage of Twitter. Which is to say—I’m going to have to wade through a lot of unnecessary/uninteresting material just for the advantage of getting the interesting bit of news first.

    Perhaps calling that a disadvantage isn’t fair—it’s not a flaw, really, just the nature of the medium. I know I can go to Rotoworld for condensed news, and obviously if someone is going to try condensing the Twitter stuff, that’s going to take time, and then we’re right back where we began.

    Anyway, great primer guys, thanks for bringing guys like me up to speed on this.

  2. Mark said...

    This is only tangentially related to fantasy baseball, but it’s so surreal I had to share. Does anyone remember the seen from The Jerk when Navin gets the phonebook and goes berserk because his name is finally in print? That is exactly how I feel right now.

    A few minutes after adding the list provided by Kevin to my Twitter, I received an email notification.

    Jose Canseco is now following my updates.

  3. Kevin Orris said...

    One thing that some ‘advanced’ or Twitter ‘addicts’ use are different applications to help send and receive tweets faster.  For example, I use something called TwitterFox (you can google it) and it works with Firefox.  You change the settings on it, but I have it set so that every three minutes it posts all of the latest tweets of the people I’m following.  It also lets you tweet just by the click of a button that brings up a text box.

    It’s not the best idea to install this if your computer is used by multiple people, or if you do a lot of work on your computer because it can get fairly annoying, or side track you, but for baseball addicts like myself it is the quickest way to see what people are saying.

  4. Mark said...

    Does the RSS feed from Twitter work pretty good? I don’t have unlimited texts, so I’m trying to figure out another way to get updates on my Blackberry….I could have the RSS feed in Viigo.

  5. Matt said...

    Twitter is great for getting information quickly, but it gets annoying when you’re following a bunch of people and your screen gets filled with BS updates about what they ate for dinner, the music they’re listening to, or whatever.  I wish there was a way to change the signal-to-noise ratio with it.

  6. Jason Collette said...

    Thanks for the mention guy….your comments really captures the essence of what Twitter is about for me and why I enjoy it so much.

  7. Jason Collette said...

    Mark – get Twitterberry for your Blackberry. That’s what I use when I’m mobile. You have to clear out the cache on it (easy to do from the main menu in Twitterberry) every now and then as it bogs down but it’s a very clean app.

  8. Twitter-Athletes.com said...

    Twitter is pretty amazing at getting information quickly.  Some teams are posting their lineups (baseball) a few hours before game time which helps for managing your lineup for the day.

    Following the professional athletes is interesting as well.  Brian Wilson is (was) the best.

    As for tools, I currently use Tweetdeck and have searches for different sports terms setup.  Really nice.

    Chad
    http://www.Twitter-Athletes.com

  9. Twitter-Athletes.com said...

    Twitter is pretty amazing at getting information quickly.  Some teams are posting their lineups (baseball) a few hours before game time which helps for managing your lineup for the day.

    Following the professional athletes is interesting as well.  Brian Wilson is (was) the best.

    As for tools, I currently use Tweetdeck and have searches for different sports terms setup.  Really nice.

    Chad

  10. Kevin Orris said...

    It’s a lot of fun when you first start, but if you stay focused on baseball, or the sports you follow closely, you’ll remain interested.  Eventually people get tired of informing everyone of their bad pancakes at the local IHOP, but it’s something that you have to deal with from some people.  Most people, like myself, will every once in a while post something outside of baseball (I post about hockey sometimes) but it’s well worth it.

  11. Jon Williams said...

    Thanks for the mention guys. I use Digsby to keep up with tweets, it pops them up like instant messages as they happen. It can get a little annoying when you’re busy but it is easy enough to turn off the alerts.

  12. 新作 正規 said...

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  13. 新作 正規 said...

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