While you are following the path of crushed baseballs, be sure you are following the right accounts.
MLB, MLB Advanced Media and the MLB Players Association announced the integration of Twitter and Facebook interaction into the Home Run Derby, which will be televised from Chase Field at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Video and picture content shot by players during the event will be distributed across social media and posted to MLB.com, marking one of the most immersive social media events in MLB history.
The news comes on the heels of notable changes. League captains were instituted for the first time, with National League captain Prince Fielder choosing Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp and Rickie Weeks for his team, and American League captain David Ortiz choosing Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez for his team. The winning league will be crowned as well as the individual winner. ESPN will show ball tracking and feature instant-distance for the first time, with John Kruk and Nomar Garciaparra aboard as new analysts.
Ortiz (@davidortiz), Bautista (@JoeyBats19) and Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) will be tweeting on their accounts during the course of the event as participants, and so will other gathered All-Stars including Heath Bell (@HeathBell21), Gio Gonzalez (@GioGonzalez47), Hunter Pence (@HunterPence9), Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP), Gaby Sanchez (@GabySanchez15), Justin Upton (@RealJustinUpton), C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer), Howie Kendrick (@HKendrick47) and Joel Hanrahan (@hanrahan4457).
Wilson, the first MLB player on Twitter, said it best in a tweet earlier in the week to his roughly 68,000 followers: "Just got off the phone -- apparently I'll be shooting HD video and sick photos during the Home Run Derby! And tweet live about it!" Indeed, he will.
In addition to the aforementioned All-Stars who have already agreed to participate, look for a lot more interaction. The live updates will not be limited to players with existing accounts. Other All-Stars will have the opportunity to share their personalized live commentary, photos and video through MLB and MLBPA social media accounts, including @MLB and @MLB_PLAYERS on Twitter, as well as Facebook.com/MLB and Facebook.com/MLBPlayersAssoc.
MLB All-Stars will be able to tweet and post to their Facebook fan pages during the Home Run Derby using their personal handheld device. For players who don't have their device or don't have a Twitter account, they will be able to interact with fans from social media stations set up on the field. The tables will feature laptops, tablets, video cameras and MLB representatives to facilitate their use. All players as well as fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #HRDerby again this year in order to be part of the live conversation about the event. In addition, the video board at Chase Field will show tweets using the #HRDerby hashtag between batters -- as the D-backs did during their FanFest before the season.
Fans at Chase Field for the Home Run Derby also will be able to use the check-in functionality with the best-selling MLB.com At Bat 11 app, to further personalize their event experience on their iPhone and Android mobile phones, including the ability to post messages across Twitter and Facebook from within the app, see aggregated tweets from other fans at Chase Field and view the interactive ballpark maps and menus. A home run tracker and live video stream of the Home Run Derby will be available within MLB.com At Bat 11 as well as MLB.com.
ESPN will show the Twitter handles of the Derby participants and some of the All-Stars who are engaging in social media during the telecast. Fans can follow several ESPN commentators contributing to the Derby telecast including @JohnKruk_ESPN, @karlravechespn, @BLarkin_ESPN, @BobbyV_ESPN, @Buster_ESPN, @kurkjian_ESPN and @pedrogomezESPN.
The Home Run Derby also will be broadcast live on ESPN HD, ESPN 3D, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, ESPN Mobile TV, and ESPN Radio in the U.S. as well as ESPN International.
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.