On May 8, 2013, I joined fellow Tampa Bay Rays fans at Tropicana Field to participate in “Tweet-Up at the Trop.” I joined Twitter in 2011 to follow the Rays and to promote my blogs. Since I am in college, away from my family (also huge Rays fans) it was nice to talk with other fans about the game online since my roommates aren’t really into sports. During one of the games, I saw an advertisement for “Tweet-Up at the Trop.” The event allowed fans to purchase a $25 ticket, which includes:
- In-game recognition
- Discounted seat in the Lower Level
- Tweet-Up T-shirt with a custom Twitter user name
- Trivia and Prizes (autographs, jerseys, etc)
- Pre-Game Q&A session with Dave Wills (Rays Radio Announcer)
- Early entry to see the Rays’ batting practice
I entered through Gate 4 – the gate that only media and homeplate club members can go through. I picked up my shirt and was deeply impressed with it. I heard the last Twitter event had white shirts; the blue ones are much better.
Once I reached the section, Raymond was there to meet the fans and to take pictures with. At 5, in-game host Rusty Kath and radio announcer Dave Wills arrived to answer question. Wills discussed how he uses Twitter to up-to-date with other sports teams and how great it is to let fans become involved in the sport – the Rays use Twitter to let fans ask the broadcasters questions about the team.
After the question-answer session, I met up with some of my Twitter friends. Thanks to the shirts, I was able to recognize their Twitter names. Once the game began, all the special events took place in section 128 – The first pitch was thrown by the winner of a Twitter question. The Rays also had several trivia questions on Twitter throughout the night – one of the prizes was an autographed picture of Desmond Jennings and another prize was a Roberto Hernandez jersey.
The game ended up being perfect for a Twitter night, expect for the part when the Rays lose. But besides that, us Twitter users spent our time on our phones tweeting. In the beginning of the game, Sean Rodriquez was called out at home, even though replays show that Rodriquez slid across home plate. Coach Joe Maddon argued the call and was ejected after pointing out how there was evidence on the plate that Rodriquez slid across. The next event was when Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ was hit in the eat with a ball. Images showed blood coming out of his ear. (Happ is now on the DL after being treated at Bayfront Hospital). Within minutes, Happ began trending on Twitter since all the fans were praying and thinking about him. After the bullpen gave up the lead (again) fans took to Twitter to vent.
Though the Rays lost, I had a great time at the game meeting other Twitter fans. The seats were great and it was great meeting Rusty and Dave in person – everyone there was friendly. My only recommendation would be having a player answer a few questions. I’m looking forward to next year’s event.
When NBA basketball player Jason Collins announced he was gay on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated magazine, my first thought was “good for him.” Today, history was made – Collins became the first openly gay active player in the four major professional sports in the United States. Though majority of people supported him and his decision, some people decided it was their time to voice their opinions on homosexuality.
While Collins is the first openly gay athlete, Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Mike Wallace became the first athlete to post something stupid about homosexuals in reply to Collins’ coming out. On his Twitter, Wallace wrote “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH (Shakes my head)…” Though the post isn’t homophobic, the post is just plain stupid. If Wallace was never taught in genetics about how homosexuals are born gay, he should have just googled his questions or read a book. Instead, he made an ignorant comment that offended homosexuals. Seriously, what person would choose to love another person of the same sex, knowing that he will be teased, discriminated against, and possibly injured for his choice?
Another person that chose to speak against homosexuals today wasESPN’s Chris Broussard, a sports analyst on Outside the Lines. During the one-hour episode about Collins coming out as a gay man, Broussard decided to quote from the bible about how homosexuality is a sin – “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that you that’s a sin.. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.” Broussard was talking about how being gay, having premarital sex, and adultery are all sins. Even though Broussard believes that being gay is a sin, he should not voice his religious beliefs onto viewers on a sports show. As an analyst, he should realized that anything said on television cannot be taken back and could result in being told “you’re fired.”
Coming from a very open-minded Christian family, I have trouble with people who either think being gay is a choice or a sin. When I was in elementary school, I was making fun of a boy at school during dinner – he was chubby, had a weird face, and walked with a limp (I later learned that he had down syndrome). My parents glared at me in disappointment and then explained to me how he was born like that. Besides my parents, I was taught by both science and religion to be open-minded about homosexuals. Genetics class taught me that homosexuals do not have a choice, they are born gay. My church taught me about Jesus and how he preached “love thy neighbor” and that the church was open to everyone. Though some people follow every line from the Bible, many forget that it was written thousands of years. If we followed every rule in the Bible, we would not be watching football on Sunday.
Mike Wallace and Chris Broussard are examples of people that either don’t understand homosexuality or believe that it is a sin. Though I personally believe they are wrong to follow outdated beliefs, each is entitled to their own opinion; but they are wrong to voice their negative opinions publicly and not expect a public backlash. Within minutes of posting his status, Wallace apologized and took down his status while the Miami Dolphins made an official statement about how Wallace made a mistake and the Dolphins are an open-minded organization. Broussard has yet to apologize or to be punished for his statement, but ESPN is known for firing reporters for making controversial remarks. People like Wallace and Broussard are the reason why being an open gay athlete is still a big deal. Hopefully, Collins is just the first of many more people to “come out” so that being gay will no longer be a news story or a controversial topic.
The game was tied 3-3 in the 7th inning when Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price stepped onto the mound. The Cy Young Winner has yet to win a game this year and he was determined to pitch a scoreless inning. After allowing a single to Conor Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers hit into a double play. After David Price threw a “strike 3” pitch to Dewayne Wise, he and Rays fans were surprised to see the ball was called a “ball” instead. Throughout the game, homeplate umpire Tom Hallion had a strict strike zone – the pitch had to be perfect for it to be called a strike. Though Price was able to get Wise to ground out to him and end the inning, he was not happy.
After the commercial break ended, Rays announcer Todd Kalas announced that Rays pitcher Jeremy was ejected from the game. According to Price and several other players, after the inning was over Price was upset at the umpire, but did not say anything. The umpire, seeing Price was mad at him, told him to “throw the ball over the f-in plate.” This caused the Rays players, especially the pitchers, to get upset so Hallion pointed to Hellickson and ejected him. As fans know, Hellickson is the stereotypical country boy; he’s quiet, polite, and well-behaved so for him to get ejected is really surprising.
After the game, it wasn’t the win that the Rays were talking about first, it was the ejection of Hellickson. Coach Joe Maddon was surprised that of all the players, it was Hellickson that was ejected. When Hellickson was interviewed, he looked as though he couldn’t even harm a fly, much less cuss at an umpire. Hellickson has never been ejected, but less been in any kind of trouble. Price took to Twitter to defend him and Hellickson’s actions – asking his followers “Someone give me the definition of a coward please.”
Meanwhile, Hallion told a reporter, “I’ll come right out bluntly and say he’s a liar… I’m denying what he said I said, pretty strongly…I said ‘Just throw the ball.” That’s all I said to him.” Hallion also claims he ejected Hellickson because “He was told to know if off, him and Moore were at the dugout rail and I told them to knock it off, and he thought it was okay for him to have his final comment, at which time he was ejected.”
Once David Price heard the umpire called him a liar…
Price is not the only Rays player on Twitter upset. Fellow pitchers Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson, plus infielder Sean Rodriquez expressed their disgust at the umpire.
This episode shows that umpires need to be held accountable for their actions. Instead of claiming Price is a liar even though other players and fans at the game heard the “F” word, the umpire should of acknowledge his mistake, apologized to Price, and accepted his punishment. Instead, he called Price a liar and took his anger out on Hellickson. Umpires are supposed to be anonymous, not the antagonist of the show.
- Umps Continue to make Bad Calls Against the Rays (mlblogstbchick2011.wordpress.com)
I mainly use Twitter for the latest sports news, especially Tampa Bay Rays baseball news. Here are the players/coaches to follow on Twitter.
@RaysBaseball Official Twitter of the Tampa Bay Rays
@SunSportsFOXFL Fox Sports Florida Television Station: Covers Florida Teams
@RaysJoeMaddon Rays Coach Joe Maddon
@jamesloney_7 First Baseman James Loney
@TheZobrists Second baseman Ben Zobrist (shares account with his wife)
@Evan3Longoria Third baseman Evan Longoria
@d_jennings8 Center Fielder Desmond Jennings
@sweetswingin20 Right Fielder Matt Joyce
@DAVIDprice14 Cy Young Pitcher David Price
@JHell58 Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson
@mattymoe55 Pitcher Matt Moore
@Acobb53 Pitcher Alex Cobb
@Joeycatch8 Catcher Jose Molina
@SamFuld5 Outfielder Sam Fuld
@Alex21Torres Pitcher Alex Torres
@ChrisArcher42 Pitcher Chris Archer
@wilmyers Outfielder Wil Myers
@SVogt1229 Utility Player Stephen Vogt
@SeanJRodriguez1 Utility Player Sean Rodriguez
@robinson28ch Catcher Robinson Chirinos
@rroberts19 Ryan Roberts Utility Player
@ChrisGimenez5 Catcher Chris Gimenez
@JLobaton21 Catcher Jose Lobaton
@BrandonGuyer Outfielder Brandon Guyer
@Josh_Lueke Pitcher Josh Lueke
Twitter of Past Rays:
@BJUPTON2 Centerfielder BJ Upton
@reidbrignac Shortstop Reid Brignac
@ElliotJohnson9 Utility Player Elliot Johnson
@Gdeuceswild Pitcher Matt Garza
@JKeppinger Third Baseman Jeff Keppinger
@AdamRussell36 Pitcher Adam Russell
@ShopHouse10 Kelly Shoppach