As part of the study, SBD and SBJ quizzed White Sox VP of Communications Scott Reifert on the MLB club’s Twitter policy for employees:
Q: Scott, walk us through what happened with [manager] Ozzie [Guillen, who created some friction within the club earlier this year over his Twitter account].
Reifert: Ozzie’s obviously media savvy. In spring training, he learned through his kids about Twitter, so he started sitting around at night in Glendale [Ariz.] tweeting, unbeknownst to really any of us, including our GM, Ken Williams.
So when Kenny got there the next morning, he had a conversation with Ozzie about, “Hey. What’s going on? Help me out here.” And he can tweet all he wants about away-from-the-field, away-from-the-White-Sox kind of stuff. He does it in English. He does it in Spanish. He does it in sort of a mix of both languages, about restaurants he likes or haircuts he got.
He immediately had tens of thousands of followers given the personality that he has, and he continues to tweet frequently.
So, if Guillen isn’t allowed to Tweet about his own team, who exactly is allowed to officially represent the White Sox on Twitter when it comes to on-field matters?
We’ve taken a different kind of approach, I think, than some of the other clubs. We’ve been very limiting in our [official team] accounts. We don’t think it’s a good idea to have 25 or 30 different people tweeting, so we’ve limited it to just three White Sox accounts.
There’s @InsideTheSox, there’s a Spanish version of that, and we allow our mascot to tweet because we feel that reaches a whole different audience, which it really has.
So, “Ozzie’s obviously media savvy,” but is banned from Tweeting about the team - while the club’s mascot has carte blanche?
Guillen is quite literally the best thing to ever happen to the White Sox. (Or at least since Big Ed Walsh.) So how can you conclude that allowing the mascot to Tweet about baseball subjects - but not manager Guillen - is anything other than embarrassing?
What White Sox management is telling us is that it has more faith in the mascot’s professional than the man most responsible for the franchise winning its first World Series in 88 years.
I recognize Guillen has a volatile personality and might be tempted to air private team matters on his Twitter account. But this is the same guy who has won a World Series and completely rejuvenated a long-dormant franchise.
Can someone, anyone inside the organization give him a little credit?