Take Me Out to the Hashtag Game
As an avid New York Yankees fan and Millennial, I follow the team on many forms of social media. This season I noticed something peculiar as I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline: interesting/weird hashtags with equally cheesy pictures for certain players on the team. Those players are catcher Brian McCann (#McCannon), first baseman Mark Texiera (#TexMessage), and outfielder Brett Gardner (#BrettTheJet). In the #TexMessage tweets, there’s a picture of Texiera hitting a home run that shows how many home runs he has hit so far this season. #BrettTheJet consists of a picture of Gardner sliding toward what is most likely second base with a Superman-esque cape floating behind him as well as a jet flying below him. For the #McCannon tweets, there is a picture of McCann throwing a runner out, but McCann’s throwing arm is replaced by a cannon with a baseball shooting out. It seems that someone on the Yankees’ social media team was having a little too much fun with PhotoShop.
While these three are a couple of funny (and weird) examples, Twitter hashtags are popular around the league. The hashtags begin before the season even starts. The hashtag “SpringTraining” started trending during baseball’s pre-season training. Then it continued on April 6 with #OpeningDay to mark the start of the season. Fans, players, and teams used the hashtag to document their excitement for the first games of the 2015 season. As the season progresses, teams are hashtagging their team names, players, and special events such as home runs or a spectacular catch. Many of the hashtags are fairly normal; however, I did some digging and found some interesting hashtags from various teams:
- #Thor: The New York Mets use this hashtag when referring to pitcher, Noah Syndergaard. The nickname originated when Syndergaard posted a picture of himself dressed as Thor while weightlifting. His last name also sounds eerily similar to the fictional land of Asgard from the Thor series. The long, blonde mane just adds to it.
- #HappyHandshakes: After a win, the Washington Nationals post a picture of the team high-fiving fellow teammates. Talk about #GoodSportsmanship.
- #GoingGoingKang: With a nice little play on words (“going, going, gone”), the Pittsburgh Pirates recognize shortshop Jung Ho Kang when he hits a home run. Personally, I think #KingKang would be cooler.
- #AllHailFelix: Seattle Mariners fans worship pitcher “King” Felix Hernandez due to his royal pitching skills.
- #NapNation: When referring to first baseman Mike Napoli, the Boston Red Sox use this hashtag. Is it just me, or does anyone else think of actual naps when they see this?
- #Vote…: While not team-specific, teams are using #Vote with either a specific player, the team name, or team color as a means of free advertisement to get fans to vote for players to star in the upcoming All Star Game.
- Custom emojis: Although not entirely hashtag-related, as I was searching various teams’ Twitter accounts, I came across a couple of tweets directing fans to download custom emojis. Many teams around the league created special emojis for their fans to use. As someone who uses emojis in almost every text (sorry not sorry), I thought this was really cool!
The Twitter trend in baseball is a lot of fun and a good source of entertainment for some, but it’s also great from a business perspective. Using hashtags creates an interactive conversation between organizations and their fans. They also allow teams to gauge the popularity of specific hashtags as well as see how fans are using them. Posting special happenings on Twitter also gives fans a quick, digestible sports news source. And for those superfans, hashtags also allow teams and players to directly interact with fans, such as during Twitter Q&A sessions.
What are some of your favorite hashtags (baseball or other!)? Share them in the comments below.