Players tweeted live from the field during the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby, the first time that ever happened during an MLB event. They'll be taking it a step further this year.
At this year's Midsummer Classic, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on July 10, Major League All-Stars will be using such Twitter hashtags as #ASG and #HRDerby as they interact with fans through social media from the All-Star Game for the first time.
Computer stations will be set up adjacent to each clubhouse on July 10, allowing players to use social media while completing media obligations after they leave the game.
During the State Farm Home Run Derby, on July 9, stations will again be set up near the dugouts. Players will be able to log on to their own accounts and upload photos and videos taken on their personal devices. ESPN and FOX, which will broadcast the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, respectively, will also heavily incorporate social media into their broadcasts.
"At its core, baseball is a social activity, so it's natural that social media has become such a huge part of how fans enjoy the game today," said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of business, in a statement. "The social media activity at the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby was both fun and successful for all involved, so we're thrilled to expand this effort to include the All-Star Game. This initiative will bring fans closer than ever to their favorite players, resulting in what will no doubt be the most 'social' events in baseball history."
"Expanding upon our social media efforts is a must," Tom Slavin, the MLBPA's director of business affairs, said in a statement. "Major League Baseball fans are the most dedicated fans in all of sports. They follow their favorite players and teams not only during the season but throughout the year. And today's technology serves to develop the player-fan relationship well. Social media outlets allow for unprecedented levels of instantaneous communication, which contributes to the ever-growing popularity of our great game, both domestically and internationally."
Last year's "Social Media Derby" in Phoenix created a great deal of online activity and boosted the amount of Twitter followers of the All-Stars who participated by an average of 17 percent. There were nearly 5,000 tweets per second during the Derby's final round, between Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez, which at the time ranked seventh all-time in the history of Twitter.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.