Back in 1994, during the days of MLB players’ strike, there was no social media.
News didn’t travel as fast as it does today.
Right now, in our era, any relevant development is known the minute it happens.
Additionally, platforms such as Twitter allow fans not only to get news faster, but to react to those pieces of news in a way that their opinion can be seen by their peers immediately.
Those people or entities who represent the story have the option to interact with fans, creating a really interesting digital universe.
In this information matrix, MLB fans are able to follow the news instantly, hearing both sides and then forming their own opinion.
An MLB Work Stoppage In The Social Media Age
As Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated said, “this is MLB’s first work stoppage in the social media age, and players having the opportunity to directly connect with fans and shape the framing of that dialogue is a real shift.”
It's been said before, but probably bears repeating… This is MLB's first work stoppage in the social media age, and players having the opportunity to directly connect with fans and shape the framing of that dialogue is a real shift! pic.twitter.com/rNP7NZ4CA0
— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) February 4, 2022
In 2020, MLB had some tense conversations with the Players Association to plan for the season, which started in July because of the pandemic.
By then, we had a glimpse of the power of social media as a driver of public opinion in a conflict.
This one, however, is a labor dispute, a work stoppage by virtue of not being able to renew the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
With that being the case, the players know that, no matter what PR strategy the owners implement, the vast majority of fans are on their side.
Many fans dream about meeting, talking, and interacting with their favorite players, no matter the platform.
Players want to voice their displeasure about the current state of negotiations.
Players Are Winning The Social Media Showdown By A Mile
It’s a perfect recipe: thousands of fans have replied to Max Scherzer, Trevor May, Marcus Stroman, Mitch Haniger, Whit Merrifield, James Paxton, and dozens of other players, showing them their support.
And players have certainly made it clear who is to blame in bargaining negotiations.
Manclown and his boys need to figure it out and stop ruining the game of baseball. https://t.co/gfQz4ctQas
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) February 6, 2022
On the other hand, fans don’t get the chance to interact with owners.
Social media allows fans to hear both sides of the story, but players have been far more vocal in defending themselves than owners.
That’s because players are probably right in most of their demands, and owners are seen as the enemy, the entity that goes against the game.
Players also use social media as a tool to pressure owners and the league.
In recent days, especially since MLB asked for a federal mediator to intervene in the talks, players have stated that they are ready to bargain, and accuse owners of not wanting to do the same.
It’s probably safe to say that the social media battle is being won by players, and it’s really a blowout.
Will the union have a fair CBA to show for their efforts?
That remains the storyline as we enter the spring without a deal.
If the lockout extends much longer, spring training (and probably the regular season) will likely have to be delayed, and games could be lost.