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Eliminating social media coordinators is yet another move showing that MLB doesn’t understand its fans

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This is shortsighted and teams should hire these employees under their franchise umbrella immediately

Seattle Mariners v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Cubs’ annual Social Media Night is always a little bit different. Sometimes there are scavenger hunts, sometimes there are trivia contests, Clark almost always makes an appearance. In 2020 we met on Zoom, but regardless of the specifics what is always clear is that the social media team who create content for the Chicago Cubs do an outstanding job engaging with fans and know how to manage an event that brings dozens of people together each year.

It’s so much more than one night, though. The content teams behind the Cubs and other MLB franchise accounts are online everyday mixing it up with fans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok and they are excellent at their jobs. Just look at this:

Well, it turns out some of your favorite team social media content creators were actually employees of MLB and in a typically short-sighted move MLB has decided that those jobs are expendable. In a move that truly twists the knife we had to find out about these layoffs from the content creators of each account — MLB did not issue an announcement regarding the decision to eliminate these positions.

Richard Lee-Sam created content for the Toronto Blue Jays:

Heather Rule created content for the Minnesota Twins:

Greg Garno created content for the Detroit Tigers:

Mina Dunn created content for the Miami Marlins:

Lauren Pluim created content for the Los Angeles Angels:

Colton Denning created content for the Oakland A’s (and after seeing that GIF we really wish they would have beaten the Astros):

Annaliese Leon created content for the Texas Rangers:

We’re awaiting news as to whether this impacted the Chicago Cubs social media tea, but this sums everything up:

(There’s some useful information in the replies to that tweet, too, about the role of the IGC folks.)

It’s a move that is as shocking as it is appalling. These creators were given no notice prior to Friday’s layoffs, and surely many of them were in the process of crafting content for the coming weeks at spring training. Many team accounts had been busily posting spring training game schedules earlier in the day, in fact.

To understand this move, and who is responsible for it, requires some understanding of how social media roles function within MLB teams. Many teams have social media staff they employ themselves — paid for out of team payroll, not MLB payroll. Those creators are safe after today’s layoffs. See this, for example, from Ryan Delgado, who runs social media for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Colorado Rockies official account also assured fans the layoffs would not impact their core social team.

The other group — those who lost their jobs today — were on the MLB payroll, filling a job known as In-Game Social Media Coordinator (or the IGC abbreviation mentioned in several of the tweets above). So while these social media coordinators worked for specific teams, they were actually employed by MLB directly, and it was MLB who chose to let them go.

Make no mistake about it, in a time when baseball claims it’s trying to find new fans, and appeal to younger audiences, this move is just about the stupidest thing they could have done. Social media teams offer a direct connection between MLB clubs and their fans, it’s the only way — especially now in such a disconnected world — a fan can reach out to their most beloved franchise and feel heard, seen, and cared about.

At the same time, the people running these accounts were the ones reading hate messages after difficult trades or long dry-spells. They were the ones being abused during cheating scandals, or when front office staff misbehaved. They were the ones offering a first line of every positive and negative sentiment directed at any given team on any given summer night.

On Friday MLB told them that work wasn’t worth saving.

Saturday, those employed directly by teams will wake up and still have their jobs, but they will also need to contend with the void left behind by colleagues they’ve interacted with in the digital sphere all season. For teams where there was a mix of team roles and IGC roles, it means going into spring training without beloved co-workers along with them. That is, unless teams decide to hire on these ousted employees and take them on under the team payroll. Savvy teams (we’re looking at you, Cubs) would do well to bring these content creators under their umbrella as soon as possible. It would be the smallest gesture to show fans that the work and connections In-Game Social Media Coordinators have made over the years matter to front offices, even if they don’t matter to MLB.

And what it means, more than anything, is that a multi-billion dollar corporation, who claims to care about connecting with their fans, has put a tiny amount of payroll savings higher on their list of importance than the one true connection they could offer fans.

Which says a lot more about baseball than any tweet ever could.