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Twitter. It is officially the great flattener.

In a response to a tweet where we questioned Baltimore Raven Donté Stallworth’s tweet that the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) will need some time before passing judgment on a new collective bargaining agreement that would effectively end the NFL’s lockout and ensure a 2011-2012 season, Stallworth claimed that we were just falling for the owners’ “propaganda.”

Here is the original tweet sent to him:

Ok, even though we can’t type, within a few minutes, Stallworth posted this to us and our friend @JaimieField:

Ok, first of all, thank you, Donté, for ACTUALLY RESPONDING TO US ON TWITTER. We will give you that.

As for the fact that me and Jaimie are just blind propaganda followers of the NFL owners, we are going to pass on that one.

The fact is the the owners won the PR battle on this one. They went on the attack quickly by announcing that a deal was made (smart move, by the way) and the NFLPA is now backtracking and a bit confused. Your player egos are a bit bruised, and we have no sympathy for it.

This is the problem with the court of public opinion here. THE FANS DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PLAYERS’ INDECISION. THEY WANT FOOTBALL. AND THEY WANT IT NOW.

At a time when people are losing their jobs, having problems paying their mortgage, and trying to stretch their budgets, football gives people comfort and hope.

Instead of sympathizing with your fans — the people who pay the tickets, but the jerseys, buy the concessions, play the fantasy games, and in essence, GIVE NFL PLAYERS THE PRIVILEGE TO PLAY FOR MILLIONS AND MILLIONS — the NFLPA and the player reps like you are trying to equate this labor struggle with any other labor struggle.

Sorry, we aren’t buying it.

You guys are talking about sharing billions and billions of dollars, so you can live in your nicer homes, drive your nicer cars, and live a nicer lifestyle than, say, 99% of the US population.

Charges of “propaganda” won’t fly, Donte. Sorry.

Just say yes and let’s get ready for some football!!!!

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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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Well, here it is, people. Here is the video I had to make by losing my Patriots-Jets bet to Emmy-winning comedian Mike Robles.

 

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You annoy me. It is because of you that I now have to make a video to denounce my hatred of the NY Yankees. My pal Mike Robles, Emmy-wining comedian, won our bet when the Jets won.

I should like you. You are the first true Latino star of the NFL. Millions of Latinos around the United States feel proud of your accomplishments. My Facebook wall was splattered with posts of praise for your feats. It could be because of the ESPN The Magazine article that makes this mention when you were still at USC:

Sanchez chose USC not just because of the program’s star power, but also because it kept him close to his family in Southern California. He didn’t care that it meant he’d likely sit on the bench for two seasons, maybe three. He didn’t care that, for a while, he’d be as faceless to fans of the program as the Trojans water boy.

Or so he thought.

As he click-clacks through the gate and onto the practice field this summer day, Sanchez sees them before they see him: men in Mexican wrestling masks and serapes, flanked by other fans carrying signs of support. For him. When the crowd finally recognizes him, a cry goes out: “¡VIVA SANCHEZ!”

It is at this moment that Sanchez realizes he is playing for not just himself, his family and his team. Whether he likes it or not, he’s playing for people whose names sound like his; for those from south of the border who work thankless jobs for little pay; for those who are reminded daily that they live in a country that does not know what to do with them. These are the fans who once cheered for Valenzuela and Plunkett and now cheer for Garciaparra and De La Hoya. They are his fans too. On this day, Sanchez has arrived in Los Angeles.

So while you broke my heart last Sunday, I will be following your career and hoping that Latino and NFL can become two words that will fit together nicely.

Now about your coach…

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Dear Mike Robles, Emmy-Winning Comedian:

You are still a Crackie Crackhead. Upon advisement of my Twitter lawyer Adrian Dayton, I have concluded that your purported wager is indeed valid and binding. I am confirming that upon timely receipt of an actual and physical New York Yankee baseball cap (I have no such object in my immediate possession and these types of caps are not sold in retail outlets in the metro Boston area), I will agree to the following:

  1. One video recording where I wear said Yankee cap. This video will be posted to my YouTube account. It can be shared and embedded on any blog or website. It can be shared on any social media network. It can be used in any context, but only if the creator of this said video is listed as Julio Ricardo Varela.
  2. This video will be no longer than 1:30 minutes long, since the attention span and intellectual capacity of NY Jets fans could only sustain that much time.
  3. Yes, I am from the Bronx, and I still love the Bronx. I will want you, Mike Robles, Emmy-Winning Comedian, to publicly acknowledge that I am only denouncing my hatred of the Yankees and not my love of the Boogie Down.
  4. I will read a prepared statement vetted by my attorney that will express such denouncement of my hatred of said Yankees team.
  5. This video will be delivered by me, no later than by January 30, 2011. If some reason, I do not receive a Yankee cap before then, the agreement will be extended.

Thank you for the attention to this matter. I do hope that your NY Jets get smoked in Pittsburgh. I mean, you are from The Bronx and you rooted for a team from Queens? You weren’t even a Giants fan. So sad, but I make that opinion with all the respect in the world.

Sincerely,

Julio Ricardo Varela

Jaded Patriots Fan Already Looking Forward to Spring Training

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I love Mike Robles, an Emmy-winning stand-up comedian originally from the Boogie Down Bronx. I love his comedy (this one is our favorite: Mike’s New Dating Philosophy, over 188k views on YouTube) and I love his vibe on Twitter and Facebook. Mike is the real deal, and a great friend.

Only problem is that ever since we met two years ago, Mike has given me grief about my love for the Red Sox and the Patriots (he calls me the Bronx Judas). And tonight, he laid it all down on the line by challenging me to a bet on YouTube. Here is what he said:

Wow, Mike, you really want to go there? Ok, we will go there. You win and I will wear a Yankee cap and praise all that is Yankee (BTW, I have NEVER denounced the Bronx, I LOVE the Bronx, so there). I win and you wear a Red Sox cap and write a poem about my brilliance. Just in case you need a video record of that, here you go:

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Twitter Night Football


So, we took at stab at trying to “twittercast” the exciting Patriots/Bills game. Yes, it was me and @AdrianDayton who went to the game tonight. Adrian had some business in the Boston area, and he was able to get two tickets. Our highlights and lowlights here:

1. We were in the upper section, also known as Nosebleed Heaven. We were with a lot of Bills fans, which made Adrian happy, but not me.

2. Before the game, we took pictures, posted tweets, and set the atmosphere. We were ready.

3. It started off well. Yes, we offered play-by-play and even though we were expecting that most of our stream would be like, “Yo, stop tweeting every 30 seconds about the game,” we were pleasantly surprised to get tweets like these:

“@julito77 haha, bueno. you and @adriandayton did an awesome job tonight with the play by play.”
“catching up on football updates thanks to @julito77. obrigado meu caro! (:” (I think that is something good in Portuguese.)
“@julito77 thank you for the tweets, DVR is not letting me watch live mode, so your play by play is very helpful :)”
“@julito77 I am so very proud of you tweetcasting #NFL! You are wonderful guy!!”
“@julito77 what’s the score!?”
“@julito77 Tempted to share these updates with me neighbors on the plane. I’m sure the NFL would love that.”

I know Adrian got other tweets in this stream that basically said that people appreciated the value we brought to them. And also, we actually LOVED the fact that there were several TV timeouts, so it gave us time to pause and organize some of our tweets.

4. All of a sudden, and this happened two times, we lost cell phone service. We thought that it was a bit weird, I mean, we were in a packed stadium with several towers and satellites. But for 15 minutes in the first half and about 30 minutes in the second half, when the Patriots came back, we couldn’t tweet. Hmmh… But we thank ALL our Twitter friends for letting others know, especially major thanks to @justinthesouth.

5. We had fun, and we don’t think we killed the machine that is the NFL. We might have offered some value to about 20 people on Twitter, while the NFL broadcast reached millions. Our point, we enjoyed doing this, we joked around, made comments about some very annoying Bills fans, noticed some crazy guy wearing a New England shirt AND a Yankee cap (hello?), and tried to give a little color to our Twitter streams.

The night was a blast. And isn’t that what Twitter is all about? Just connecting with your friends online and sharing things? We think so.

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