Twitter has been around for over a decade, and while it originally began as a way for people to let the world know what they had for breakfast, it has morphed into an important mode of communication that allows the world to know what the President of the United States is thinking at any given moment.
The effects of Twitter has been both positive and negative, but it is clear the impact has become humongous. With society perhaps more fragmented than ever before, Twitter has allowed sports fans to all share big moments together. So it was an interesting question posed by SB Nation’s Twitter account a few weeks ago, when they asked - what event from the pre-Twitter age do you wish Twitter was around for?
What classic sports event do you wish Twitter was around for? pic.twitter.com/2YQfUOAv8r— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 10, 2018
Let’s take a look at some candidates in Royals history.
The Pine Tar game
Well this would be just perfect. Take a heated rivalry, some of the most obnoxious fans in baseball, and sprinkle in some gamesmanship and controversy from one of the most hated managers in baseball- Billy Martin. For those unfamiliar with the story, George Brett had just hit a big home run in a regular season game against the Yankees. Martin, who had been plotting his maneuver for weeks, took issue with the amount of pine tar Brett had on his bat, arguing that the bat should not have been used. Umpire Tim McClelland agreed, leading to one of the all-time best on-field meltdowns in baseball history.
You can just imagine all the vitriol spewed on the internet from both Royals and Yankees fans, especially from the haters.
Eventually the league would rule that Brett’s bat, while violating the rule, should not have invalidated the home run, causing the game to be resumed from that point several weeks later in a bizarre scene at Yankee Stadium.
Denkinger’s Call in the 1985 World Series
The Twitter account @BestFansStLouis would have a field day with Don Denkinger calling Jorge Orta safe on a infield chopper in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. I mean, there are still internet feuds about the call to this day, with Cardinals fans erroneously arguing the call cost them the World Series (ignoring the fact that Jack Clark dropped an easy foul ball, that Orta was forced out at second, that Darrell Porter’s passed ball allowed runners to advance, that the Cardinals couldn’t retire light-hitting Dane Iorg, the fact the Royals outplayed the Cards the entire series, or the fact that there was entire game the next night they could have won).
Now just imagine Steve Physioc got to make the call on the radio.
Orta hits a chopper, Todd Worrell is there, and umpire Don Denkinger calls him out.
Oh I beg your pardon, he was called safe! Dane Orta has reached on an infield single, and Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog is furious! Folks, you gotta see this!
Oh what we missed out on.
George Brett at the 1982 NLCS
In the early 80s, George Brett was frustrated that the growing contracts in baseball meant he was no longer among the top paid players in the game. He had signed a long-term deal with the Royals, but there were rumors he was unhappy and wanted a trade, preferably to be reunited his old manager Whitey Herzog, who was now in St. Louis. So you can imagine the raised eyebrows when he showed up to the 1982 National League Championship Series between the Braves and Cardinals wearing a Cardinals cap.
Now, those raised eyebrows would be full-blown internet outrage. Imagine if Russell Westbrook showed up to the Eastern Conference Finals in a Celtics jersey. Bill Simmons would produce at least a dozen podcast episodes on the incident. Royals fans would have some opinions on Twitter.
Anything about Bo
I think it was Joe Posnanski that wrote that Bo Jackson came at the exact right moment. Any earlier, and there would be little video footage, and people would think the stories were exaggerated. Any later, and he’d be subject to the endless scrutiny on the internet.
So in a way, it was good that Bo was not providing highlight reels during the Twitter age. You can imagine that every gif of him making an amazing play would have as the first reply “Well actually, he’s a .250 hitter with a 30% strikeout rate and mediocre defensive metrics.”
But man, we would have field day with Bo Jackson gifs. Whatever you think about his talent, it was absolutely amazing to watch him on a daily basis. Now if only MLB would allow us to actually see clips of him.
John Mayberry’s dropped pop-ups during the 1977 ALCS.
Hal McRae accusing Steve Brye of costing him a batting title due to racism.
Hal McRae flipping out in a post-game press conference.
Bob Boone pulling Kevin Appier with a no-hitter on 1995 Opening Day.
Chip Ambres dropping the last out of a game, fueling a comeback as part of a 19 game-losing streak.
What Royals historical event do you wish Twitter had been around for?