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Twitter factor impacts modern Major Leaguers

Rockies' Anderson, KC's Guthrie and Hosmer among most active players

PHOENIX -- Colorado Rockies pitcher Brett Anderson said he is not the most outgoing guy on the team.

"I wouldn't say I'm shy, I'm just reserved and laid back," he said.

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But when it comes to Twitter, Anderson (@BAnderson_30) is not afraid to share his opinions on things like current events, NCAA brackets and music.

"I can express my opinion on Twitter, whether it be positive or negative, making fun of people or making fun of myself," Anderson said.

As an outlet for personal interaction, social media can also draw negative attention and cause controversy through unfiltered conversation. Anderson said it is hard to find the line between being opinionated and being offensive.

"I probably get closer to that line than most people, just because I share my opinions and I'm kind of a sarcastic [guy] sometimes," Anderson said.

Jeremy Guthrie, pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, said Twitter is unique because of how many functions it serves. Guthrie (@TheRealJGuts) said he's had a lot of experience with the site, but the best part is still the easiest part.

"My favorite part is hitting the send button," Guthrie said. "It's exciting, it's exhilarating. Sometimes you're nervous and you're not sure how it's going to go over, but you take that plunge."

The social media experience is flexible to the will of the user, but it adds a new dimension to the world of professional baseball. Guthrie said the experiences of being a Major League Baseball player are entirely different thanks to Twitter.

"[Interaction] has increased exponentially by having a social-media account that one is active on and reads and responds," Guthrie said. "It's night and day, really, from what my experience would be like without it."

Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer (TheRealHos35) is also an active tweeter. He said the site makes Spring Training a more inclusive experience for the fans. He argued that before Twitter, Spring Training was relatively quiet and unknown to the public.

"Now you have guys taking pictures in the locker room or the type of workouts they do or even the type of hitting stuff they do," Hosmer said. "It's a change for the fans to see some behind-the-scenes kind of stuff."

Anderson said the connection to fans changes everything. He uses Twitter to get feedback from his fans and connect to his followers -- whether the information he is receiving is positive or negative.

"Whenever things are going good during the season, it's fun because you get nothing but praises and accolades," Anderson said. "But when you perform bad, you're going to hear it from whoever, like someone's second cousin, twice-removed.

"That's part of what you sign up for when you have a [Twitter] account." 

Although negative messages and disagreements are part of the social media experience, Anderson said most people do not know about the degree of criticism he receives from strangers on Twitter.

"People say, 'You didn't perform well for my fantasy team!'" Anderson said. "Well, screw your fantasy team," Anderson said.

Anderson said he performs for the Rockies and the improvements he makes are for those supporters, not fantasy baseball users.

"People who cheer for the hometown team -- those are the people that you want to get better for and perform for, not some slappy sitting behind his computer trying to win fifteen-hundred dollars this week on fantasy baseball."

Morgan Chan is a mass communications graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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