Welcome to the modern media environment, where teams don’t even need reporters to function as a conduit to the fans, because their players can just communicate and break news directly over social media, where nothing can ever possib-bly go wrong.
Now to take a big sip of coffee…
That sure is a hell of a tweet, isn’t it? It has since been deleted (hence the screen shot), but not before it caused a stir. Should it have, though?
But look, we all know that Marcus wears his heart on his sleeve, and in his tweets. He isn’t afraid to be a bit emotional, can certainly be impulsive on Twitter, and doesn’t seem to give a damn about the way those thing are going to come off in certain corners. The impulsivity is perhaps something to consider working on (and with the deleting of the tweet, and his walking it back, I think it’s safe to say that he gets that), but for the most part all of that stuff is admirable. And I think that, in general, Stroman takes too much shit for just wanting to be the way he is, and will again for this. From some.
But that’s sort of the thing about being, or trying to be, something of an open book. You don’t get to choose how people are going to interpret what they’re reading. And that problem can be magnified when you’re only communicating in 280 character bursts — or *COUGH* when you’re telling them one thing, like say, that you’ve got thick skin, but maybe coming off like the opposite is true. Marcus seems determined to not let any of that get in way of his expressing himself and taking control of the Marcus Stroman narrative, and I like that about him. He’s smart and he’s interesting and he’s competitive and he’s fearless. But being that open without becoming polarizing is a tricky thing to pull off — especially when you’re an athlete and it looks a whole lot like negativity is being directed at the team you play for. That’s just an impossible game to win with fans who also love the team, and who loved the team before you were here, and will keep loving it after you’re gone. On top of that, if I were his employer I’m not sure I’d look at some of this stuff — this tweet, the Ryan Goins tweet, etc. — and always feel like this is someone who is pulling in the same direction as everybody else. Nor would I be particularly thrilled about the example that this sets for those watching on down the chain — players who maybe can’t get away with being a bit emo about this thing or that regarding the team on social media, because they’re not nearly as talented or incredibly valuable to the organization as Marcus is. (Then again, with how thoroughly this has been walked back, perhaps behind the scenes the Jays stayed on top of that better than we realize.)
The especially unfortunate consequence of this becoming “a thing,” though, is that none of it really matters a hell of a lot anyway. People are quick to shout that the Jays are now going to want to trade him, or that Marcus will now be hellbent on rejecting any extension offer and hitting free agency at the first opportunity, or that the Jays are the baddies here because they played hardball instead of capitulating (LOL). But that’s just not really how the baseball economy works. If the Blue Jays put an extension in front of Stroman that’s clearly in his best financial interest, he’ll sign it. And unless they get made an offer that they think makes their team better — which, given how great the player is they would be giving up, would have to be a hell of an offer — they aren’t going to trade him.
Maybe club brass won’t see it this way, because they probably prefer not to have to put out PR fires, but no harm, no foul. And if Marcus needs to get a little bit worked up to get a little bit extra motivated to be the best pitcher he can possibly be, I think we can probably all handle the occasional moment of honesty on Twitter. Maybe those “negative things” end up being constructive. Maybe that was mostly what he meant in the first place.
However it works out, cooler heads are, fortunately, prevailing:
Looks like I came up a little short in arbitration. Lol #HDMH
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) February 15, 2018
Just being real. Not mad at all. I’m aware of the business. Just opens your eyes going through the arbitration process. Second time going through it. Still love my team and the entire country of Canada. More upset that I had to fly to AZ and miss my Monday workout. Lol
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) February 15, 2018
Came up a little short? Is that a height joke??!?
Yeah, I think we’re all good here.
(For the sake of completeness: Stroman was asking for an arbitration award of $6.9 million; the Jays won the case by filing at $6.5 million. Shit, I’d be mad if I made less than Trevor fucking Bauer, too.)