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Archive for April, 2011


Dear Comissioner Selig and Major League Baseball:

Your social media policy is dumb. Instead of understanding the true power of social media—a place where you could actually GAIN more fans and interest—you hide behind a prehistoric, traditional social media policy takes the fun out of the game.

Before we chastise you for the recent suspension of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for tweeting after being ejected from a baseball game in New York, let’s take a moment and understand the logic on your policy. According to the Associated Press, your policy is as follows:

Baseball has a social media policy covering employees that applies to managers and coaches and prevents them from disparaging umpires.

There also are guidelines that basically prohibit players, managers and coaches from communicating by electronic equipment from 30 minutes before a game until it ends.

True, you are following the same policy as the NFL, the NBA, and the EPL. But guess what? YOU ARE ALL DOING IT WRONG. You are missing a major opportunity to generate more interest, more loyalty, more engagement with the very same fans who are already complaining about juiced-up players, astronomical ticket prices, and declining attendance.

Ok, again, before we get to Ozzie, we have a few questions and comments for you:

  • As much as you don’t want managers to disparage umpires, deep down inside you love it. You loved Earl Weaver. you loved Billy Martin. You loved Lou Piniella. And yes, as much as he drives you crazy, you love Ozzie Guillen. You see, sport is all about passion and competition. It’s about trash talking and getting people into the game. So, if a manager or anyone tweets out: “That umpire sucked,” that is disparaging? We say that is FUN, that is INTERESTING, that will make us WANT TO SEE THAT SAME MANAGER IN ANOTHER GAME.
  • Just to clarify, say Guillen said something like, “Wow, that game was interesting. Still wondering what happened,” 31 minutes AFTER the game (not the 30 as you state), would he not be suspended? Why 30? Why not 34? How about 44? How about 30 minutes and 2 seconds? Would he still be in trouble?
  • Why try to control social media? What is the purpose? Are you afraid of “diluting” your brand? Here’s the rub: OPEN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY and YOU WILL CREATE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF LOYAL AND MORE PASSIONATE FANS. Consider the possibilities: have players use FourSquare to check into stadiums and innings from live games, have players and managers post in-game photos to Flickr accounts, add a YouTube channel with REAL content from the benches and the fields, hold contests, ask fans to second guess managers, HAVE FUN.
  • You guys are too corporate and too serious. Stop listening to your lawyers and start engaging your fan base. Because we guarantee you that is you do, PEOPLE WILL COME. If you don’t, PEOPLE WILL LEAVE. We think that is called supply and demand.
Which leads us to Ozzie Guillen and his “controversial” tweets this week. Let’s look at the evidence. Here is Tweet 1:
And here is Tweet 2:
Ok, MLB, go right ahead and punish Guillen for his spelling and texting errors. But these two tweets are causing a suspension?
Come on, you are the same league that mandates managers to speak on-air during a game to TV, but once you hear TWEET, you are quicker to enforce “justice” over that instead of suspending actual players who were on the juice?
You are sad, MLB. Trust us, continue this traditional media policy concocted by a bunch of lawyers who probably think FACEBOOK is a NY Times Best Seller about cosmetic surgery and TWITTER is what you get when you hang out with too many twits, and people (especially those damn young, social savvy kids) will TUNE YOU OUT.
And when that happens, you will be begging for Ozzie to start tweeting after every pitch.
Take a chance, MLB, open up your social media policy and become the first league in the world to actually think sports can be fun again.
In the meantime, we say: #FREEOZZIE
With love,

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The following review was written by Randy Zahara, manager of the Kelowna Community Theatre in British Columbia, Canada:

On April 19, 2011 something amazing happened at the Kelowna Community Theatre, and although, widely anticipated, the impact on the audience was completely unexpected.

Fernando Varela, one of the world’s most promising young tenors took the stage and moved the audience with a performance that was an emotionally beautiful, completely entertaining and captivating blend of classical opera and classic rock. As the manager of the Kelowna Community Theatre, I have attended many great performances over the past eight years, however, I have never before witnessed such a powerful post-event audience reaction.

Fernando began the concert singing the classic “Granada’, in the wings out of sight of the audience and before he had walked the short distance to the microphone stand at centre stage he had already won the audience over. The person I was sitting beside and I just looked at one another, both mouthing the same words, “Oh, My God!” From the very beginning of the concert, through to the final notes of the encore, which was a brilliantly arranged blending of “O Solo Mio” with “It’s Now or Never” ( where Fernando holds an incredibly powerful note for an unheard of, full thirty seconds), was a span of over two hours, but, under Fernando’s spell, the time seemed to go by in a matter of minutes.

Listening to the audience reaction to the various songs throughout the concert was also a unique experience, as it became very clear that Fernando had attracted a broad spectrum of music lovers, from those who started cheering at the first few notes of Nessun Dorma, to the screams that erupted at the beginning of the Bohemian Rhapsody, to the people singing along to Orbison’s “Pretty Women”, to the women I saw weeping openly at Fernando’s delivery of Elvis’s “American Trilogy”. Although they all may have come with a specific genre of music in mind, they all left united by the brilliance and power of Fernando’s performance and of an evening that was pure magic.
It has taken me three days to write this review, as I have needed the time to truly absorb what I had witnessed the evening Fernando performed at the Kelowna Community Theatre, and in that time I have had numerous people telephone me, email me, drop into my office and stop me in the street to let me know how moved they had been by Fernando’s performance, and what an unbelievable experience it had been for them. As I have already mentioned, I saw women weeping openly, unable to speak immediately after the concert as they had been moved so emotionally by Fernando’s voice and grace on stage, and, I, myself, at one point, laughed out loud, at the surprise of hearing a sustained note of such purity, power and beauty that it was completely unexpected, and I had no personal reference for witnessing such an amazing musical moment.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the stellar group of musicians who accompanied Fernando Varela on stage, as they were nothing less than absolutely brilliant. Ron Paley on Piano is one of the finest musical arrangers and concert pianists in North America, and his sense of how to exploit the incomparable talent of Fernando Varela was a significant contribution to the success of the evening. On Bass, Gord Maxwell was flawless and his supporting harmonies were pitch perfect. The drummer, Murray Smith was fabulous, with an accurate and crisp style that showed his experience and also a deep understanding and grasp of the arrangements created by Ron Paley. On lead guitar was Mr. Lee Worden who’s solo’s were another one of the many highlights of the evening and who truly showed off his talent when he tackled Bohemian Rhapsody with all the skills of a Brian May.

Judging by the number of people who told us after the performance that it had been the best concert they had ever attended, I think that Fernando’s promise to return to the Kelowna Community Theatre in the not too distant future, will be one event that Packing the House Productions will have no problem selling tickets for.

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Still stinging from his recent arrest for driving drunk and possession marijuana, Rhode Island Republican state representative and Minority House Leader Robert A. Watson is now facing demands that he resign from Rhode Island’s immigrant Guatemalan community. Watson, who offended the state’s Guatemalan community earlier this year with an ill-timed joke he had made, has indicated that he has no intent of resigning.

Mr. Watson stated that smoking marijuana is not a lifestyle for him,” said David Quiroa, spokesperson for the Guatemalan American Alliance. “Well, being undocumented is not a lifestyle for many hard-working Rhode Islanders neither. They’re just trying to make things better and better their families. [Watson] is going to lose his effectiveness. He is not going to be effective any more.

A local Rhode Island television station ran the segment calling for Watson’s resignation. Here is a video of that segment:

Watson issued the following statement as a response to Quiroa’s request:

I represent people of the towns of East Greenwich and West Greenwich. I respect the Guatemalan community and their right to their opinion.

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