The Joy and Teachings of José Fernández

I watched this video over and over this morning. So many thoughts ran through my head. One minute it’s “why”. The next minute is “I can’t imagine what is going through Dee’s mind”. Then it’s, “of all the sports teams, baseball teams truly become family”.

From parts of February through September and maybe, if they are lucky, into October, baseball players are together. The spring training grind is repetitive – fundamental work, pitching sessions, batting sessions. It’s all the same.

Good preparation for the season when the only difference is the scenery. A 6-game homestand here, a 10-game road trip there and all the while the faces are mostly the same, day in and day out. You either embrace it and come together as a family or you manage it all as a dysfunctional one.

Either way, baseball is family.

Giancarlo Stanton on Instagram

Giancarlo Stanton on Instagram

José Fernández was part of the Miami Marlins family, but he was also a part of the Major League Baseball family. The Marlins and baseball world are mourning the loss of this young man today. Killed in a boating accident on the waters around Miami, Fernández was only 24-years old with a bright, joyful future. His girlfriend, Carla Mendoza, is pregnant with their first child – an event that Fernández was looking forward to.

José Fernández on Instagram

José Fernández on Instagram

I say joyful because joy is the word that many have used to describe Fernández today. “I see such a little boy in him,” said an emotional Miami Marlins manager, Don Mattingly. “There was just joy with him when he played.”

Fernández would have told you that it wasn’t always joyful. After previous failed attempts at defecting from Cuba, some that resulted in jail time, Fernández finally defected in 2008 with his mother and stepsister. They made their way through Mexico to Florida where they joined his stepfather in Tampa.

I thought about that while watching the video. What his life must have been like in Cuba as a kid, going to jail, dreaming of the big leagues, wondering if life would ever be different. Baseball isn’t just a sport in Cuba. It’s life. It’s identity and Fernández wanted to be the best of himself he could be.

To be the best, you have to play with the best. Fernández knew that would be in the United States. It was his dream to play in the majors. After being drafted in 2011 by the then-Florida Marlins, Fernández got that shot in 2013. Despite a setback with Tommy John surgery in 2014 and subsequent recovery for part of the 2015 season, Fernández was still the Marlins top pitcher and one of the best young arms in the game.

There are a myriad of stories about his games. When Fernández was on, he was electric. Those days were worth writing about. He embraced them to the fullest:

Now that he is gone, there will be more stories like this one that will be told about the other side of Fernández:

What does it say about a young man that comes to this country and embraces it as his own? I think about that now while watching the video again – where we are at in this country right now. I see a young African-American man, alone in his thoughts on the death of his teammate, a naturalized American citizen of Cuban descent.

That’s right. Fernández became an American citizen in 2015. He is…was…an American citizen as me, mi familia y mis vecinos. He was, as Yahoo’s Jeff Passan put it, “He was also the best of us, the pure, smiling embodiment of the American Dream.”

Baseball, for all of its challenges with connecting with today’s sports fan, still brought people together like no other. All races, colors, countries, ethnicities. More so than the NFL. More so than the NBA. They all came together on the baseball diamond.

Perhaps that’s why I watched that video over and over again. It reminded me of what this country can be, even what it already is in some parts of this country. There can be a joining, a union, a coming together of people if there is a common goal.

In baseball, the players on the team come together for a common goal: to win the World Series. Through that process, they have to put aside some of their own selfishness, build each other up, help one another through struggles, cheer in both small victories and large. It will either bring them together, closer to the common goal. Or, it will tear them apart.

Whatever the American dream means to you, José Fernández has to be a representation of it. No matter how you define it, he overcame obstacles and challenges in his path to reach for the dream.

As I watch the video of Dee Gordon one more time, I think about the words of Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates manager, today. 

“Be where your feet are. Enjoy the moment. There’ll be a day when there won’t be another day.”

In other words, life is too short to let circumstances and challenges stop us from being in the moment. If the moments aren’t what we want out of life, then it’s time to change. 

José Fernández did. For his short time on earth, he enjoyed the moment. 

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CadChica Sports

MLB Unveils 2017 All-Star Logo for Miami

2017 All-Star Logo Revealed for Game in Miami

   MIAMI – Major League Baseball, the Miami Marlins and local officials from Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami today unveiled the official logo of the 2017 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, which will be played at Marlins Park on Tuesday, July 11th.

Description: 2017 ASG Logo     Those in attendance for this morning’s unveiling before Miami’s afternoon game against the Philadelphia Phillies included Marlins owner Jeffrey H. Loria and President David Samson; Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.; two-time National League All-Star and the event’s 1995 Most Valuable Player, Jeff Conine; Mayor Carlos A. Giménez of Miami-Dade County; and Mayor Tomás P. Regalado of the City of Miami.

     The official logo of the 2017 All-Star Game is sleek and modern, echoing the stunning, contemporary feeling of the façade and interior of Marlins Park.  A metallic star incorporates the Club’s Marlin and their vibrant team colors, including red-orange, symbolic of Miami’s sunsets and the citrus industry; yellow, highlighting the region’s sunshine; and blue, representing the sky and the sea surrounding Miami.

     Commissioner Manfred said: “Major League Baseball is very pleased to bring the All-Star Game to Miami for the first time in 2017.  We look forward to celebrating our global sport in a true gateway to Latin America and at one of our game’s most unique ballparks.”

     “It’s a tremendous honor to host the 2017 All-Star Game and welcome the game’s most exciting talent to Miami,” said Marlins team owner, Jeffrey H. Loria.  “This city represents the new mainstream of America which mirrors the future of our sport: young, diverse and dynamic.”

     “The 2017 All Star Game in Miami will be a special experience for fans and guests,” said Javier Alberto Soto, President and CEO of the Miami Foundation, representing the host communities of South Florida.  “We are proud of the partnership with Miami Dade County, the City of Miami, Miami Beach, and the State of Florida.  Alongside Major League Baseball, our entire community stands ready to showcase the best of Miami.”

     Fans can register for the opportunity to purchase full ticket strips for 2017 MLB All-Star events beginning today by visiting AllStarGame.com or Marlins.com.  Winners will be randomly selected as available tickets will be limited.  Date, time and instructions for purchase will be communicated via email to each selected applicant in late April.  A full strip includes a ticket to all three days of ballpark events at Marlins Park, tickets to MLB All-Star FanFest and a commemorative All-Star program.

     Miami Marlins season ticket holders will be among the first fans to receive the opportunity to secure tickets for the 2017 MLB All-Star events.  For information on Marlins season ticket memberships that include All-Star ticket options, fans should visit marlins.com/seasontickets or call (305) 480-2521.

     The City of Miami will become a first-time host of the All-Star Game when the 88th Midsummer Classic will be held next July 11th at Marlins Park, which opened in 2012.  The 2017 season will mark the Marlins franchise’s 25thseason of play.

2017 All-Star Game Logo

MIAMI FACT SHEET

 

  • Major League Baseball and the Miami Marlins will hold the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. The 2017 All-Star Game will be the 88th Midsummer Classic.
  • It will mark the 1st time that the Marlins have hosted the All-Star Game. Miami will become the 28th different city to host the Midsummer Classic, and the first to do so for the first time since Phoenix, Arizona in 2011.
  • The Marlins have had 48 All-Star selections in franchise history and have had two managers lead an NL squad [Jim Leyland – 1998; and Jack McKeon – 2004].
  • The Marlins have produced one All-Star Game Most Valuable Player. Jeff Conine won the award at the 1995 Midsummer Classic in Texas after connecting for a pinch-hit solo home run in the top of the eighth inning that gave the National League a 3-2 victory.
  • The Marlins have never had a pitcher start the Midsummer Classic.
  • The Marlins have had three rookies named to the NL All-Star Team: pitcher Dontrelle Willis in 2003; infielder Dan Uggla in 2006; and pitcher Jose Fernandez in 2013.
  • Miguel Cabrera owns the most All-Star selections in Marlins history with four selections (2004-07)

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CadChica Sports

Game 161 – ONE GAME AT A TIME

One game at a time. 

Game 161 and your team is in the playoff hunt in a must-win situation, it’s not a cliche – it’s ONE GAME AT A TIME!

One converted opportunity after multiple squandered ones and the Seattle Mariners are playing one last game for their playoff lives on Sunday. They’ll send their ace, Cy Young candidate, Felix Hernandez to the mound. Hernandez last faced the Angels on September 18th, going 7 innings, allowing 3 hits and 2 walks in the 3-1 Mariners victory. They’ll need that Felix as opposed to Hernandez’ last outing against Toronto: 4.2 innings, 7 hits, 8 earned runs. 

“We’re playing a meaningful game. 162.” said Mariners Manager, Lloyd McClendon after seeing his team finally pull out the 2-1 11-inning victory.  The M’s stranded 12 runners on base while going 1-11 with runners in scoring position. Three of those were in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded, 0 outs – the M’s failed to convert. 

But, they did prove their resilience earlier –  a staple for them throughout this entire year – when Logan Morrison ripped an RBI-double to center in the bottom of the 7th, scoring Kyle Seager from first to tie the game. Right about that same time, the Texas Rangers were finishing off the Oakland A’s, 5-4. It was the opening the M’s needed. 

Even on tv, the atmosphere at Safeco Field had a heightened electricity. The crowd were living with every pitch, every crack of the bat. They were waiting…waiting to explode. For this moment:

And so, tomorrow brings greater meaning to ONE GAME AT A TIME. If the M’s take care of business and the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland A’s again, there will be a #163.

MLB Wild Card Standings 2014   ESPN

 

It will be another #HappyFelixDay. The “King’s Court” will be in full voice. 

They’ll need every single one of them – to get to the next 

ONE GAME AT A TIME! 

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How crazy was this game? Let’s ask the media covering this game:

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CadChica Sports

Tuesday Ten: Russ Cohen

Add text

 What is Tuesday Ten?

Tuesday Ten is a quick 10-minute chat with leaders and up-and-comers in the world of sports. On Tuesday, May 13, I was  honored to have sportswriter, author and radio host Russ Cohen joining me on the show. 

  • Russ Cohen is an accomplished writer for www.sportsology.info and radio host for the Sportsology Radio Network and covers multiple sports including writing specifically about the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. He has numerous articles published on NHL.com and other team websites as well as Slam, CSNPhilly.com and FoxSports.com. Some of his articles have appeared in Canadian Sports Collector, Goalie News, New England Hockey Journal, The Hockey News, Beckett Hockey, Blueshirt Bulletin, NHL Publications and he has a monthly column in Center Ice Magazine that is distributed to every amateur hockey rink in Pennsylvania. Russ has been asked to be a guest on several radio shows as a respected and valued expert on sports and has extensive AM radio experience including Hockey Prospect Radio on NHL Network Radio for the last 8 years, plus TSN 1050 and Sportstalkny WLIE 540 AM. He also contributes to the Cardboard Connection radio show every week including road shows. His articles have been syndicated in newspapers across the country in Metro and the Bucks County Courier Times. His first book 100 Ranger Greats was released in 2009 anStrike Three” a baseball book was released in April 2010. His third book “The Winter Classic: the NHL’s Savior” was released in November 2012. “Baseball’s Best Rookies” was released October 2013 on Motivational Press. 100 Things New York Rangers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die; Raider/Cohen (Triumph Books; scheduled for 2014) is my next book.

The Show

After connecting with Russ on Twitter, it was enjoyable to connect with him face-to-face via Google+ Hangout. Hockey, baseball, social media and more was on the agenda tonight. And, we squeezed it all into 10 minutes. Here are the highlights:

  • 1:16 – Introduction to Russ Cohen
  • 2:23 – Keys to the success of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • 3:08 – Russ discusses the genesis of his book “The Winter Classic – The NHL’s Savior”
  • 4:41 – Switching gears: Learning about Mike Trout and other MLB rookies in “Baseball’s Best Rookies”
  • 5:24 – A few of Russ’ favorite teams
  • 6:36 – Utilizing social media to help build Sportsology and connect with fans

And yes, my #PredictionsDoomedToFail jinx was passed on to Russ tonight as he made his prediction for Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers (8:45 mark). Sorry, Russ.

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Coming Up

Join me next Tuesday, May 20, at the regular time (5pm PT/8pm ET) when I’ll be joined by Social Media Strategist, Joe Scott. Joe works with some high profile clients, including the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald.

To stay in the loop on all of the latest Tuesday Ten shows, SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel here

CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Welcome Back, MLB

MLB   Google    Tweet your  OpeningDaySelfies  and there may be a special…

#OpeningDaySelfies

Welcome back, baseball.

 

Many a tweet contained those exact words yesterday and today. No, we’re not considering the Diamondbacks-Dodgers Austrailian series here.

Major League Baseball begins its season in earnest today. Nearly every team will be in action today after the stateside opener last night between the Dodgers-Padres. For me, it’s all about this:

Despite the turmoil off-the-field in the front office the last several years, I’m still a Seattle Mariners fan. Star pitcher, Felix Hernandez, starts for the Mariners today. A Hernandez start means another welcome back of sorts: #HappyFelixDay.

Hey, when you’re a Mariners fan, it’s the little pleasures…

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Whether it’s a simple hashtag on Twitter, Google+, Instagram or Facebook or a reply, social media is very integral to teams and MLB in their connection with fans. A crucial time of connection is always at the start of a season. Every team has a chance. Optimism is at its peak. No better time than the present for the league and teams to connect. Connecting like the Chicago White Sox did with this is a good place to start.

https://twitter.com/whitesox/status/450621636945801219

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Even better? A crowd-sourcing “campaign” – asking for fan content is usually a sure-fire way to make a connection. Not unique to any one team, this appears to be a league mandated campaign:

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Teams that aren’t in action today are using social media to help build the anticipation:

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Today’s season opener also happen to fall on a work day for many fans. No problem say the Rays:

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Good to see teams taking advantage of the new Twitter update allowing for multiple photos in a tweet:

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And, the season opener brings us back to a popular way to share behind-the-scenes content from all sports teams. The Vine:

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One return I am happy to see is the return of the #Whiff hashtag:

In that clickable link in the tweet, the Milwaukee Brewers announced the return of the #Whiff campaign to Major League Baseball. According to this Brand Channel 2013 article, the #Whiff campaign “…P&G will give $1 for each strikeout (whiff) to Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program, leveraging social media to give the MLB club whose fans rack up the most #Whiff tweets monthly an additional $10,000 for local chapters”.That program will continue, with a bit extra for 2014.

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So, yes…welcome back, MLB. If this ball girl snag is any indication, can’t wait to see what other “Web Gems” show up this season:

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

2013 SSM Digest

Kobe Bryant and Maria Sharapova.

No, they’re not a new sports power-couple. Bryant and Sharapova were the subjects in my very first SSM Digest back in January. I started the SSM Digest to track the hottest topics in the social media-sports (#SMsports) world. Nobody that I knew of was doing anything of the sort. I set out to catalogue the latest happenings in #SMsports each month.

It all started with Kobe and Maria.

Note: Each month listed below is a hyperlink to that month’s SSM Digest

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January 2013

I said back then:

Time will tell if this proves to be a winning strategy for either Sharapova or Bryant.  I am, by no means, not one who focuses solely on Twitter followers. The fact that you can “buy followers” proves that those numbers can be skewed. Add in the fact that there are people who follow others just to “gain followers” (think people with relatively equal numbers of followers and following), numbers can be deceiving. But the way Bryant has used Twitter to engage, proves that he’s well on his way to “getting it”.

That first tweet from Bryant has been retweeted over 50 thousand times. Sharapova’s, 2600+ times. Again, I’m not one to focus just on one’s Twitter follower numbers, but Kobe has 3.9 million followers compared to Maria’s over 700 thousand. Both have only tweeted in the 600 range for number of tweets sent. Sharapova follows 40 people while Kobe at least follows 852.

Safe to say that the Black Mamba gets the edge over Sugarpova.

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February 2013

February was a very interesting month for me. I decided to do something that to my knowledge had not been done before. I “watched” the Super Bowl through Twitter. No television. No radio. Just Twitter.

Seriously. As much as Twitter had become embedded in the sports lexicon by early 2013, I figured it could be done. I wanted to see how well I could follow a game just through Twitter. Every play. Every questionable call. Blackout. GIFs. Replays. Varying perspectives. I got it through Twitter alone. My little Twitter experiment can be read here.

I said back then:

I am able to see conversations transpiring across a wide range of mediums. I try to be in tune to all sports on Twitter. It helps me to get a vibe for how people are viewing their sport, or, in the case of a sporting event like the Super Bowl, how they perceive it. Thus, it provided all the insight I needed to know as to how the game played out.

While the Super Bowl was the biggest story, we also had National Signing Day drama,

Danica Patrick leading a lap at Daytona, death of Dr. Jerry Buss, Richard Sherman-Darrelle Revis war of words plus a multitude of other sporting events including college basketball that I could not mention. Most memorable? This terrifying crash at a Nationwide race.

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March 2013

Sports had a case of the madness. March Madness, that is.

I said back then:

Many think of madness as simply the NCAA tournament. But it is so much more than that. Teams vying for conference titles down the stretch of the regular season generated some great games like the Michigan-Indiana game on March 10th. Or perhaps it was the surprising #1 ranking for Gonzaga.

Before we get to the madness, a word from Phil

Ha! A Zen language we don’t know about? *Sigh, no.* It was funny at first but it was simply for “promotion”.

March also brought us a posterization (Brandon Knight), Tiger-Vonn coupling, #RandomActsOfOpeningDay, sports reacting to a new Pope and a potential hoops scandal too. But we all know what March was really about this year, right?

DUNK CITY!!!!!!!!!!

Aww, yeah! Dunk City babyyyyy! Florida Gulf Coast took the NCAA tournament by storm with upsets and dunks and just playground style basketball. Not everyone liked their show, but it sure made for a fun Cinderella run.

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April 2013

Scandals, the Final Four, Kobe Bryant injury, Jason Collins coming out, NFL draft. All transpired during April. Only one stood out to me:

I said back then:

Social media, particularly Twitter, was the go-to resource for news. This is both a good and bad thing. The vast amount of information provided an exorbitant amount of factual news as well as rumors, instantly. Access to the Boston police scanners on the internet, to a certain extent, made matters worse for law enforcement.

Upon reflection, many tweets and posts showed how people felt about the tragedy and its aftermath. Contrast what transpired in the social media realm with the event itself. We wanted instant knowledge, instant justice. Instant, instant, instant.

But the event itself is not about instant. Pardon the cliché, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance. It’s about venturing forward when everything within tells you not to.

Marathon. Endurance. Forward.

Viewed over 2.5 million times:

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May 2013

Gotta get to the playoffs. That’s what the NBA and NHL did in May. On the ice, do you remember this hit (viewed over 2 million times)?

Off the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder and others came through when their fans needed them most

In David Stern’s court: Seattle-Sacramento. Sacramento-Seattle. Who would get to call the Kings their own?

I said then:

For as much flux as the Kings were in under the Maloof ownership for the last few years, it seemed inevitable that with David Stern as commissioner, the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen had no chance of completing the purchase of the Sacramento franchise.

On the court? Well, close to the court at least.

Sure the games were entertaining. The NBA and its teams stepped up their social media game, led by the Golden State Warriors. Horse racing and Brad Keselowski made news. Super Bowl L too.

Ahh, yes. The biggest worldwide news of all? The pitch:

Do you remember this sports moment from May?

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June 2013

I said then:

Did anyone ever tell you that June is the best month of the year?

No? They should have. It truly is. Two world champions crowned. A golf major won. One tennis major completed while another begins. The final collegiate sports championship earned. The last of the triple crown in horse racing run. USA Soccer shining after rocky start to World Cup qualifying. Athlete arrests, auto racing tragedies, my show cancelled, controversial comment/tweets bring firings in college and media, I got another year older and…

Okay, I’m a little biased. June was a month for the ages in sports.

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Odin Lloyd's sister's Facebook*

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Triumph, tragedy, stupidity and my show cancellation. On second thought, maybe this past June wasn’t the best month after all.

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July 2013

I said then:

Dog days of summer in the sports-world. Not much happens in July, right?

Wimbledon, Aaron Hernandez, NBA & NHL & Twitter handle trades, Brad Stevens to the Celtics, Dwight Howard, Marshall Henderson, Manchester United, EA Sports, George Zimmerman verdict, UFC upset, MLB All-Star week, college football Media Days, Metta World Peace, Yasiel Puig, failed drug tests in track & field, British Open, Tiger & Phil, Olympic hockey returns, NFL & HGH testing closer to reality, athletes quit Twitter, PEDs & Biogenesis, Johnny Manziel…

If ever a month proved there is no off switch for sports, July was it. Constant. 24/7/365 – sports news in the social media world rolled on. In the social media realm itself, creative uses for Instagram and Vine were on display

One team even used Instagram for a meet-up (as opposed to “tweet-ups”).

A sign of things to come? MLB leading the way with a live-stream in a tweet during the Home Run Derby

There simply was a bounty of stories in July including Andy Murray ending the drought (my favorite take on it below)

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August 2013

Dempsey and Johnny and Chipper..oh my!

In the early days of my Twitter life (I should hashtag that #MyTwitterLife), I wasn’t afraid to let my fandom show. That was before the sports masses jumped on board. In today’s Twitter (#TodaysTwitter), with the volume of people using it for sports, you have to be more careful about showing your fandom. Some may disagree with that, but I believe it is necessary for those in media.

My caveat to that, however, is when one of my teams do something good or positive. BIG caveat is the Seattle Sounders.

It really was an innocent hashtag, #DempseyWatch. Every so often in the Twitterverse, hashtags take on a life of their own. It helps when…

If not hashtags, well, stories too can take on a life of their own. And when your name is Johnny Manziel, the spotlight can amplify every little move you make. 

I said then:

The Manziel saga, because that is what it’s become now, dragged on through the month. In the end, Manziel would be suspended for a half in the Aggies’ home opener against Rice.

He’d go on to make even more news on August 31 with some of his on-field actions during the game.

Every brand has to needs a presence somewhere in the sports-social media world, right? Dempsey and Manziel have theirs. Chipper Jones (Atlanta Braves) has…no, had…wait…has (again) his. (Jones rejoined the Twitterverse on September 9th.)

Sometimes, brands have to go big or go home. In the U.S. Open’s case, they chose the former option.

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September 2013

Welcome back, NFL and college football. You made my job curating these SSM Digest much harder with your return.

I said then:

This month, due to the sheer volume of items to track, I’m changing the structure to this month’s digest. Less input from me and more of the stories, images and videos that crossed our timelines in sports-social media. The biggest stories lead us off followed by a few of the images that grabbed my attention, followed by some daily sports-social media news.

I changed the structure of my digest due to “sheer volume”. Football, baseball, soccer, NASCAR, tennis proved quite challenging to track everything. It all begins though, with football.

Despite separate litigation issues hanging over their heads, the NFL and NCAA football came back with a vengeance. Most days/weeks, you could find trending topics on Google or Twitter included something related to those two sports. But, there was one other sport that captured the attention of another type of football fan around the world.

Football has an iconic place in American culture. Two other sports icons were part of September news too.

Okay, this isn’t iconic, but I couldn’t resist adding to my year end post

What’s a year-end post without an “own goal”?

Side note: Check out my “Fun with Topsy Search” post reviewing the first time popular hashtags were used according to Topsy.

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October 2013

Get your game face on, October!

We welcomed back hockey and bid adieu to baseball. And, we also said “thanks”. Wait! No we didn’t. We said, “you’re welcome”. Well, U.S. Soccer did:

I said then:

Mexico survived to play another World Cup day thanks to a last-minute flurry by the USA in their 3-2 victory over Panama. The U.S. victory enabled Mexico to solidify that final World Cup qualifying spot. That Mexico needed a U.S. victory to qualify was not lost on fans of both teams, nor the official U.S. Soccer account. Expect to see that tweet on most end-of-the-year Top 10 lists.

With over 83 thousand retweets and 31 thousand favorites, I do expect it to at least be in the Top 10 of Top Tweets for 2013.

One of the top stories in baseball, aside from the Red Sox winning the World Series (and Facebook)

…had to be the Pittsburgh Pirates. Back in the postseason after 21 years (Roberto Clemente’s number), the Pirates, their city and their social media were a joy to watch.

Another team’s social media that is a joy to watch has to be the Golden State Warriors. Their team is embracing the social media outlets they use with passionate innovation (#passionateinnovation). Innovation like this G+ Hangout called #WarriorsLive:

Also innovating this month were the New Orleans Saints becoming the first NFL team with a Snapchat account and the Tampa Bay Lightning freezing their Instagram account (a first).

Innovators in their own right, we lost two football legends in October.

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2013 was a professional roller coaster. Starting the year with two jobs and by summer’s end I was jobless. Until November. My new job with Sportsmanias meant less time for writing up my monthly digest. Abandonment was not on my mind. As the year was drawing to a close, I had the idea to create this year-end digest instead. Although I have no links for November and December Digests, I did curate content that helped shape their storylines.

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November 2013

Welcome, November. The month where hockey players grow their mustaches and beards to their heart’s content. Movember arrived. No shaving allowed.

Also not allowed? One of the more bizarre stories occurred between two Dolphins players, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. 

The story itself was fluid all month-long Even to this day, the situation has still not been resolved. Just another in a long line of off the field stories the NFL didn’t need. Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter summed it up:

As the NFL world changed…constantly, one sports returned to “normalcy” (think six-pack), despite what flows from Donovan McNabb’s mouth.

Not normal? On second though, maybe this is normal…for Alex.

Apologies for not touching on amazing NFL games, college basketball, college football, soccer, #SFBatKid, Veterans Day celebrations, Thanksgiving, WWE, NBA, women in sports, Google Glass, YouTube videos, MLB awards, Twitter and the Phoenix Suns and so on and so forth. Suffice to say November did not disappoint. Especially when you have Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Coach, Jerry Kill, dancing upon his return from his health hiatus. Go Jerry!

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December 2013

Coaching changes.

Coaches in trouble.

Free agent signings.

The final BCS Championship game.

World Cup test draw

And…a now-deleted penis tweet (saved via the beauty of Twitter).

Whew! That’s plenty, but December isn’t even done yet. We have the college bowl games, Liga MX final, NFL season wind-down, NBA digging in to their holiday season and am I missing anything?

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There is much to reflect upon in social media-sports. 2013 was a huge year. Fans engaged on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, G+ more than ever in social media. Unfortunately, not always in a positive way.

We saw a rise in Infographics and GoPro/Google Glass videos, more specialized apps, creative team promotions, heightened social-television relationship and more.

Professionally, I have “met” some amazing people in the sports media/sports biz world through Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Social media in 2013 made the world a little smaller for me in sports. Knowledge is a precious commodity. I’ve learned more this year via my “friends” about journalism, marketing, business and yes, social media despite my lack of a college degree. Although I do like to say I have a degree in Common Sense from the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life. But, I’m still learning. Social media is a great teacher, beyond just Twitter.

As for 2014, I don’t know that we’re fully prepared for what 2014 will bring in social media-sports. I expect there are things to come that we haven’t given a thought to yet in terms of creativity, platforms, or even tools. The actual sports stories, oh my, I can’t even imagine what we will see, especially withe the Olympics and World Cup in our future. Sounds exciting.

But, before I close, in reviewing this past year’s content, there is one photo that captured my heart and I wanted to make sure I shared it with you. I’m always looking for the good in sports and this is perfect:

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CadChica Sports

RIP: Wally Bell

When a sports figure or their family member dies, the sports world reacts quickly on Twitter. Depending on how well-known that person was, tweets can range from ‘thoughts and prayers’ to some more meaningful. The sudden death of Major League Baseball umpire, Wally Bell, yesterday, generated both.

https://twitter.com/OzzieGuillen/status/389938873058734080

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FINAL THOUGHTS: Wally Bell isn’t a household name. Diehard baseball fans know Wally Bell. But, the casual fan does not. Bell had been an MLB umpire for 21 years. After umpiring during the National League Division Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St Louis Cardinals last week, Bell had returned to his home state of Ohio. You can read more on the story on CBS Sports.

As with previous posts I’ve done like this before, the point of this post is not for now. It’s for the future. The future when Bell’s family and friends ache for his presence.

It’s for when the sound of ball hitting glove echoes through the diamonds.

It’s for when the home plate umpire, Bell’s friend maybe, yells out “Play Ball!” next season. 

It’s for when they will see the empty spot on the field where he used to be. Where he should be.

It’s for when they will see the players he perhaps spoke fondly running the bases or up to bat. 

It’s for the memories past and those moments future when the tweets can be the hug of comfort they so longingly want to feel.

RIP, Mr. Bell.

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CadChica Sports

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