When Twitter Goes Bad


One of the great things about social networking is that so many of today’s athletes have taken to using it and interacting with fans. By and large, the fans that I have seen have been nothing but gracious and supportive of the athletes they follow. On occasion, however, some ass clown decides to take it upon himself to play the role of cyber-bully and spew hatred from behind his keyboard.

One such incident took place last night, in the wake of Tigers second baseman Will Rhymes getting the news that he’s been demoted to Toledo.

"willrhymes Will Rhymes294 career at bats. BA .282. OBP .342 slg .367. 24 walks, 28 strikeouts. I can sleep at night."

That was Rhymes’ initial reaction to getting the bad news. A bit later, he changed his tune a bit. Well look at it after the jump.

"i lied….can’t sleep tonight, having a Jameson and playing some Rilo Kiley on the guitar….cheers Detroit. Thanks for the support"

And that’s where the troll comes in. I will remove his twitter handle so as not to give him any more attention than he needs. He and his 12 followers.

"Troll: @willrhymes stop drinkin jamesons and try to win some f#*%!# ball games. U guys r loseing the season already. #stopplayinglikelosersRhymes: @”troll” live your life and ill live mine. And I’m pretty sure it is spelled losing.Troll: @willrhymes have fun riding the bus pal. U blew it. #hens go have another jamesons you will need itwillrhymes losing like losing ur job?Rhymes: @”troll” I will give you credit man, if I were as ugly as you I wouldn’t have my picture as my avatar. Good for you.#beautyisontheinsideTroll: @willrhymes I wished I looked as good as u in a mudhens uniform#beautyisintheenglishD@willrhymes sorry dude I can’t take your avatar serious. Your not wearing a mudhends uniform. I can take a pic of myself in a tigs cap too.Rhymes: @’troll” sorry can’t take you serious your avatar makes you lose all credibility. Shave or P90X"

There were a couple more that went from the troll in Rhymes’ direction, but I think we get the point here. And if you’re astute, you can find this conversation by checking out Will’s timeline. Regardless, I think it paints a pretty clear picture of the kind of guy this troll is.

Look, I can understand the frustration here. I have certainly been guilty of writing things that after giving it some time to digest, I wish I hadn’t written. But as much as I have been talking about the need to recall Scott Sizemore and option Rhymes lately, that doesn’t mean that kicking a guy when he’s down is ever okay.

Rhymes is a big boy and he understands that this type of thing is part of the business of baseball. That doesn’t mean he should have to celebrate it, or shouldn’t be allowed to express his disappointment when it happens to him. But he also shouldn’t be subjected to some douchebag prodding him and begging for a reaction. As he has with everything so far, Rhymes handled this pretty well. While I don’t make a habit of “feeding the trolls”, I didn’t just have my professional dream job taken away from me mere hours earlier. I can understand why he engaged the troll, but that doesn’t mean it was okay for the troll to go after him.

Rhymes has used twitter maybe better than any of the current Tigers. In doing so, he has built a solid fanbase and has been kind enough to devote interview time to various Tigers blogs and even penned a column for the Maple Street Press Tigers Annual released this Spring. He’s a heckuva nice guy.

And he’s also a pretty good ballplayer, one of the best in the world, in fact. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the absolute worst player on a major league roster is still one of the top 750 players in the Western world. Rhymes didn’t get off to a very good start to the season and he’s been demoted. Those facts are indisputable.

But that doesn’t make it okay to revel in his demotion.

Rhymes is a person, and that person just lost his job, for all intents and purposes. Yes, as a Tigers fan, you can celebrate the idea that the front office is looking for ways to improve, but that doesn’t mean you should celebrate what it means for Rhymes. Most of us get that.

But every once in a while, some idiot has to run his mouth and show his true colors. Such is life when you choose to interact with fans I guess. Too much more of this type of thing will lead to athletes pulling back from twitter, however. Let’s hope the trolls don’t ruin it for everyone.

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