June 18, 2014

As a rabid baseball fan and social media junkie, when the Minnesota Twins invited me and a guest for “Deckstravaganza” it was like hitting a walk-off home run. I told co-workers it was kind of like being invited backstage to “Lollapalooza” for all the music fans out there. Well, kind of.

It all started by answering an invite that was sent out in early May to all 990,000+ Facebook followers and 211,000+ Twitter followers of the Twins. You had to fill out a profile listing the number of followers you had on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etc. The Twins waded through a ton of entries and invited the 15 people who were the most into baseball and social media. I was a natural. The others selected were a diverse cross-section of people from law firms, recruiters, ad agencies, broadcast people and even a professor from the University of Minnesota.

Our invite for Deckstravaganza included free tickets to the game, free food and free drink and a chance to sit on one of the two balconies that house the Twins offices. I’ve pretty much sat in all areas of the ballpark but never on the “decks.”

We were greeted by Keith Biese who is the Social Media Coordinator for the team and given our one and only job for the night: tweet about the event while watching the game, a job I was born to do. Keith wanted to see who among us could get the most retweets of a tweet that we sent out about #Deckstravaganza – so the gauntlet was thrown, and I started to tweet away. The battle on the field was nothing compared to the #Deckstravaganza battle raging above. For nine innings each of the participants tried valiantly to win free tickets to the All Star Sunday game events.

My strategy was to reach out to local broadcasters with big Twitter followings in hopes of getting more retweets (RTs). I did get RTs from Jason DeRusha (WCCO-TV), Dave Schwartz (KARE-TV), Matt Brickman (WCCO-TV) and a few others. But little did I know that KSTP-TV host Emily Engberg was in our midst, and she made one tweet that got over 125 RTs. It pays to be a media personality in a contest like this.

While I didn’t win the tickets, at least the Twins beat the Mariners, 4-3.

The key lesson from Deckstravaganza was that social media is becoming a big part of the baseball game experience at home but also in the stadium. Regardless of where I’m watching the game, I can follow highlights and insights from the FSN team, and reporters from the StarTribune and Pioneer Press. It’s almost like sitting up in the press box as they tweet away about the game and the “inside game” that makes baseball so interesting.

Major League Baseball is doing great things on the digital front and no doubt the way that we will enjoy baseball games has changed forever with smart phones and the digital platforms that we follow. So the next time you go to out to the ballpark or you’re just sitting and watching the game on TV, take out your phone, and you’ll see the great game of baseball from another point of view.

If you’d like to follow me for business or sports stuff, I’d love to chat at I will answer any Minnesota sports trivia question and promise not to cheat.

Mark is a VP/Account Director at Preston Kelly and helped launch our various social media platforms. To this day, he is also the voice for Preston Kelly on our Twitter page. Join the conversation!


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