I’ve watched Fox Sports Ohio for the last few days, as the Astros played a series with the Reds. The Fox broadcasters, Thom Brennaman and the former reliever “Cowboy” Jeff Brantley, have an ongoing “plot” along with the Reds broadcast crew, detailing Brantley’s unwilling entrance into the Twitterverse. Jordan Morris, of the great podcast Jordan, Jesse Go!, recently called for an end to the “Jeez, what is this Twitter thing-a-mah-jig” segments on morning talk shows. Fox Sports Ohio has yet to heed this call.
The Scene: Brennaman, the savvy play-by-play voice, baits Brantley into a Twitter convo, telling Cowboy that people are clamoring to know what he ordered on the pizza pie that will arrive, what he thinks of the latest Desperate Housewives epp, &tc. Brantley then says something like “No sir, no way. I’ll be spending time with my family. I’ve got kids at home, I don’t need to be Tweetsing or Twopping or whatever.”
Last night, the plot reached the zenith of its arc. Under pressure from every member of the Reds broadcast team, Brantley manned a Blackberry and began to Twitter on camera. I watched him Twitter. I felt like I was watching a family in the airport, with dorky dad and mom chatting away just happy to be together, while the teenaged Brantley ignored them completely in favor of his celly. You can find the results at his Twitter page, twitter.com/RedsCowboy.
Brantely did use Twitter to repeat what he was already broadcasting to far more than the 700-odd of his followers: “Nix should start!!!” (one of his pet causes of late), “Volquez is looking good…….so far,” “Berkman on deck.”
On the other hand, his foray wasn’t limited to simple statements of fact. Fox Sports Ohio staged a poll on who should be the next bobblehead doll at the ballpark. One of the choices was the short lefty reliever and fan favorite Daniel Ray Herrera. On Herrera, Brantley tweeted: “Vote Herrera…it will be life-size haha.” There is wit there, and voice, and a lust for life that has escalated the Twitter role. That is not the tweet of someone who’s hating what he’s doing. With social media, there’s a special place for those who embrace a media’s humorous aspects more quickly. The rewards go to those who know how to work with context and existing knowledge to craft a great tweet. To some, it comes naturally, on Twitter as in life.
To Brantley’s credit, he finally muttered, “I figured it out.”