MLB's Home Run Derby Will Be Twittervized

League Encouraging Players to Tweet From the Field

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A few years ago, when then-Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour Commissioner Carolyn Bivens suggested that players tweet while on the course, golfers looked at her like she had three heads and politely ignored the request.

More recently, in 2009, the National Basketball Association had the opposite problem -- players tweeting during games, which prompted the league to put a ban on Twitter 45 minutes before and after each game. Similar policies were adopted by the National Hockey League and National Football League.

So it will be interesting to see how the social-media tool will be used going forward after tonight, when Major League Baseball players will utilize Twitter from the field during the Home Run Derby, part of the sport's annual All-Star activities. Tonight's Home Run Derby and tomorrow's All-Star Game are both at Chase Field in Phoenix.

The social-media experiment is at the request of MLB, which has no formal policy on tweeting but informally asks players to turn off all communication devices 30 minutes prior to game time.

In addition to the tweets tonight, there will be video and picture content shot by players during the event that will be distributed across social media and posted to MLB.com, marking the first time MLB players will communicate directly with fans via social media platforms while on the field during an MLB event.

The participants include: Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19), Heath Bell (@HeathBell21), Gio Gonzalez (@GioGonzalez47), Joel Hanrahan (@hanrahan4457), Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp), Howie Kendrick (@HKendrick47), David Ortiz (@davidortiz), Hunter Pence (@HunterPence9), Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP), Gaby Sanchez (@GabySanchez15), Justin Upton (@RealJustinUpton), Shane Victorino (@ShaneVictorino) and C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer). Other All-Stars will have the opportunity to share their personalized live commentary, photos and video through MLB and MLBPA social media accounts on Twitter (@MLB and @MLB_PLAYERS) and Facebook (Facebook.com/MLB and Facebook.com/MLBPlayersAssoc).

ESPN will show the Twitter handles of the Derby participants and some of the All-Stars who are engaging in social media during tonight's Home Run Derby telecast.

The traditional halfway point of the season also finds MLB having another solid year. Overall attendance is flat compared to the All-Star break in 2010 (down less than 1%) as the league looks to have its eighth consecutive year of all-time high attendance and ninth straight season of record revenue. Sales of MLB-licensed products are up 10% year-over-year.

News Corp.'s Fox, which is televising Tuesday night's All-Star Game, is reporting that ad inventory is sold out, and 40% of the inventory was purchased by MLB partners.

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