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Fans can share Draft takes on Twitter

Fans can share Draft on Twitter

Twitter: It's the next best thing to being there.

The social networking application that has taken "immediacy" to new heights will be used to its maximum advantage leading up to -- and during -- Major League Baseball's 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

MLB.com has launched the first online "social community" integration of the Draft by integrating Twitter into its expanding live interactive media experience, the Draft Caster, and its searchable Draft database, the Draft Tracker.

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MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft, beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET. The MLB Network will broadcast the first round on Tuesday evening from its Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J., and those 32 selections also will be simulcast live on MLB.com.

Beginning with the 33rd pick, up-to-the-minute on-air coverage from the remaining rounds will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live, where host Vinny Micucci will be joined by MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo and Major League Scouting Bureau director Frank Marcos.

Once the first night is done, the Draft will continue with rounds 4-30, via conference call from MLB Headquarters in New York, at noon ET on Wednesday. Rounds 31-50 will be on Thursday, starting at 11:30 a.m.

As the Draft gets under way on Tuesday -- and even before then, in fact -- fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.

The Draft Caster itself will allow fans to watch the entire first day of the Draft, with direct access to a searchable database of all eligible players, which will include biographical information, stats, scouting reports and, in many cases, video.

It will also, however, feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.

In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft).

Even more revolutionary, though, will be the online Twitter presence of some of the top prospects in the Draft, who will keep fans updated on their own personal experiences. Among the potential first-round picks already registered and "tweeting:"

@Michael_Trout: Mike Trout, a five-tool high school outfield slugging sensation from Millville, N.J., whose stock has steadily risen this spring.

@DrewStoren: Stanford University closer Drew Storen, a Draft-eligible sophomore right-hander viewed as the most Major League-ready reliever in the bunch.

@JacobMarisnick: Jake Marisnick, a toolsy outfield prospect from southern California who is considered one of the best athletes in the Draft.

@Eric_Arnett: A big strong quick-rising right-hander out of Indiana who is making Hoosier waves as a mid-round first rounder.

When asked to participate in the innovative event, Marisnick agreed immediately.

"I thought it would be pretty cool, a neat experience to get out there and let people know what I was going through," said Marisnick, who has been one of the most active participants since the launch, despite being a newcomer to Twitter. "It's pretty simple, you just let everyone know what you're doing, what you're thinking about. It's a good way to keep in touch with others."

Perhaps the biggest "challenge" to Twitter is the need to restrict your "tweets" (comments) to a 140-character maximum, though there is no limit to the number of "tweets" you can post.

"You have to think about how to word what you want to say, to keep it short and to the point," said Marisnick, whose schedule is pretty busy these days with his high school graduation on Monday followed by the Draft on Tuesday.

"It will be cool on Draft day to be able to Twitter and let people know how I'm feeling," Marisnick said.

Anyone with an internet connection and e-mail address can sign up for Twitter (www.twitter.com) at no cost and join the fun immediately.

And if you want to make sure your own "tweets" are displayed on the MLB.com Draft Caster and Tracker over the course of the three-day Draft, all you have to do is include the reference code "#mlbdraft" within your message.

MLB.com's coverage will also include on-demand Draft recap video programs for all 30 clubs, live video look-ins to Draft 'war rooms' of select Major League clubs, interviews with Hall of Famers, club dignitaries and Draftees; scouting video of more than 700 of the Draft-eligible prospects, photo galleries from the Draft and Draft history dating back to its 1965 inception.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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