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Thursday BP, 4/26/18

Don’t @ me.

Seattle Mariners v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk about Bruce Bochy’s new Twitter account lately, so I wanted to weigh in.

When I first saw that he had gotten an account, I was horrified. I see the things people say about him, and I see the things people say TO baseball players, their family members, and other public or semi-public figures on social media. And though I may disagree with Bochy on many things in terms of the game of baseball, I like the man. I don’t want him to be subjected to that. It’s like someone sending your grandpa hate mail. Not cool.

I’m reminded of a topic I’ve written about before - don’t @ (or tag) baseball players or any public figures on social media. Unless it’s to say something nice, constructive, or funny (that they will laugh at). And even then, really think about it first and think of how they might react if they were to see it. Even if you think it’s positive. Do you really think your advice about their batting stance is going to really change their game or do you think you’re offering unsolicited advice that they don’t want or need?

So often we forget that the people on the other end of the internet are actual people. Among ourselves, and especially with regards to public figures. The internet, while great in many ways, has removed a level of basic humanity from a lot of people and I think that’s something we need to strive to get back.

There are so many people that either assume the other person won’t read it because they have a lot of followers, or they just don’t care because they can hide behind the semi-anonymity of social media. It doesn’t take long to spot these people - just pull up any post by an athlete or any person of note and scroll down through the comments. Almost assuredly, you find someone saying something they would never say to that person’s face. Many times it will be something incredibly insulting.

Yelling at a baseball player on Twitter and telling them to pitch better is not a sure fire way to get that player to pitch better. Tagging a player and complaining about what they are doing to your fantasy team is ridiculous. And yelling about how bad a baseball player is doesn’t count as the usual screaming into the void that encompasses the Twitter experience if you are actually sending it to them. It counts as harassment.

So, for the love of all that is good, don’t @ Bruce Bochy. Don’t @ any baseball players. Don’t @ anyone unless you are contributing to the conversation in a manner in which you would conduct yourself in person.

I won’t say we’re better than that as a society, considering the current state of discourse in this country, but we should certainly strive to be.