One of the biggest appeals of Twitter—something that gives it a leg-up on other social networking sites—is that it is a haven for star-struck fans.
We can “follow” our heroes and people we idolize to see personal aspects of their lives that make us feel like we are experiencing those lives too.
For some, Twitter even offers the opportunity for average users to find fame. For others, it is a means of entertainment or a source of information.
Baseball fans looking to engage with some of the best in the game today need look no further than these players residing in the Twittersphere.
The Atlanta Braves look ready to return to the dominance they enjoyed in the mid-to-late nineties and that is due to youth, like Heyward, on the team.
If you want to follow Atlanta as they make a run at the 2013 playoffs, Heyward is the man to do it. He interacts with the city both in the professional sports world and the surrounding community.
What is the most engaging part of Heyward’s profile is that he tweets and retweets almost daily, even now in the offseason.
It is not all about sports and branding; Heyward gives a shout out to his followers and teammates, but touches on his interests too.
The Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks displaced Kevin Youkilis this season with his #wakeandrake attitude.
That hashtag developed out of Middlebrooks’ daily Twitter activity. Although he was posting regularly, this was the one that stuck out to Red Sox fans and it has stayed with Middlebrooks since.
In comparison to other MLB profiles, Middlebrooks’ is simple. He has not yet reached his ceiling and I think his simple Twitter is consistent with his developing identity as a ballplayer. I expect the glitz in the cyber world to expand in relation with Middlebrooks’ popularity, which is ready to explode in 2013.
Swisher was always the hard-nosed player he is today, but he was never the sort of player-personality he has become with the Yankees. The key to thriving in New York is to reflect the spotlight, and the spotlight loves Swish.
It is not just a cyber-personality, however. At home or on the road, one look at right field before or even during the game and fans can see Swisher engaging the fans with a huge smile.
That energy carries onto his Twitter account. Swisher not only retweets, but responds to fans and posts fairly regularly. He is absolutely a genuine entertainer, even online.
Washington Nationals rookie prodigy Bryce Harper is young—just 20-years-old—and part of the generation in which Twitter is rooted. His age also led to the hashtag #clownquestion.
As a result, you get a youthfully-open profile. Harper is as engaging and self-promoting as any of his contemporaries on this list, but he is also fresh out of high school.
You see photos of him with his friends, visiting high school friends at their colleges and the frivolity that comes with it all. It is a breath of fresh air in the occasional clutter and formality of profiles in an age when a misstep online can be career-changing.
He does not overstep a boundary, as many young players in every sport tend to do. I think that he is the same way on the field. Harper shows the same maturity as a player that he has shown in interacting with fans and media, but still, he is fun to watch in every respect.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has a Twitter reminiscent of a house decorated with one too many family photos.
But it is Twitter, so why not overindulge?
Where others might have one set photo as a background, Phillips’ is a collage of hundreds of photos of himself, while his profile photo is a “haters gonna hate” meme of himself.
Although the profile may be all about him, he still posts about himself and engages his audience. It is absolutely a selfless profile, despite all odds.
C.J. Wilson is a rather casual player on Twitter and his profile is equally simple, but still engaging.
Wilson’s passion for cars is more prevalent than his baseball life, but fans also get a look at his life on the road. He posts plenty of photos, particularly of cars and the sites he finds interesting in the cities the Angels visit.
Wilson is also uncensored in his opinions at times. For example, in early November Wilson tweeted:
“I love watching fans try to negotiate free agent contracts... It also makes me laugh when Ranger fans try to run Josh out of town.”
It is refreshing to see that honesty from major leaguers, and that sort of honesty in posts—which come multiple times daily—makes Wilson’s profile particularly appealing.
As a person—the way he comes off in interviews—Justin Verlander seems like one of the best people in the major leagues, as well as a phenomenal teammate. That goes a long way to building relationships with fans, both in person and on Twitter.
The no-hitters help too.
Verlander has some run-of-the-mill Twitter posts, but mixes it up with photos from the clubhouse, which is where the athletic fourth-wall comes down.
If for no other reason, follow Verlander because he gave away playoff and World Series tickets to random followers this past postseason.
Tampa Bay Rays All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria has developed into a mainstay of the MLB. He is a veteran that has run the gamut from Rookie of the Year to All-Star and Gold-Glover in a matter of five seasons.
Longoria’s profile comes with the same power that he shows on the field and swagger that he has off the field.
His profile incorporates his interests and baseball life, but also his free time and even his dogs. The profile is also that of a power couple. Longoria’s Playmate girlfriend Jaime Edmondson (@jaimeedmondson) makes her share of appearances on Longoria’s page.
All in a day’s work for an MLB star.
Stanton is arguably the most explosive hitter in the MLB today and is a rising superstar. That is what makes his profile so attractive to fans initially.
Once there, Stanton’s profile is a treat, allowing fans the opportunity to view his world as he does. There are the usual tweets about offseason awards and the state of the Miami Marlins, but just as much of his content is his own interest.
Stanton jokes, travels, and offers his opinions and interests. In a recent trip to Europe, Stanton posts no shortage of photos and updates regarding his travels.
His All-Star status certainly affords him the opportunity to travel in a way many fans would be unable to, but Stanton invites them along for the ride.
Texas Rangers’ pitcher Derek Holland operates his Twitter exactly the way you would expect from someone who parodies Harry Caray so well.
Holland’s profile has a Family Guy wallpaper and his profile photo is a candid of himself picking his nose. His handle continues the self-deprecating humor by playing off his last name. It makes his profile humorous and approachable.
It is a bit more genuinely inviting than others. Holland links his Twitter to his personal Facebook page—not fan page—allowing fans and friends alike to access him in the cyber world.