The Cubs have been doing this Social Media Night deal for a while now, but I had never really been able to attend. Or maybe I just wasn’t willing, given that they’re usually (always?) weeknight games and have consisted of hanging out at the Captain Morgan Club and taking pictures with emoji Fatheads while listening to a panel of writers or other local sports personalities. That’s not a knock against the Cubs, mind you, just not really something I felt could justify the six-hour-plus round trip on a Tuesday.
This year, however, they switched things up a little bit. Attendees were broken up into 10 teams of 15 (or was it 15 teams of 10?) in order to participate in a bar trivia-style game that consisted of four rounds with a short bonus round at the end. The content of the trivia was all over the map, though there was obviously a focus on various forms of social media. They had some deep cuts in there too, like the team’s original Twitter handle (which is near and dear to me).
There were some great prizes given out, too, which my team missed out on because we finished fifth. Maybe fourth. Or maybe it was even sixth. Whatever, I think they’d all agree that being able to spend that brief hour or so under the reign of my captaincy was reward enough. Maybe that’s stretching it a little, but everyone got Bryzzo Souvenir Company t-shirts, as well as Let’s Go and South Bend Cubs shirts, so that’s a win.
It was awesome just hanging out on the Jack Daniel’s patio and racking our collective brain trying to find out who that nondescript white dude emoji was (turned out to be Miggy) or what last initial has belonged to the most Cubs ROY winners since 1961. We brainstormed all seven walk-off at-bats and tried to figure out which video had been viewed the most on the Cubs Facebook page.
I continue to be impressed by the way the Cubs have embraced not only social media, but those of us who are active on it. They took care to introduce the various team captains and give us a little publicity immediately prior to the event, which was cool. Having the chance to reconnect with a bunch of folks I’ve actually met irl (that’s Twitter-speak for “in real life,” fyi) and to put actual faces to the handles of several others was a real trip.
None of it would have been possible without the members of the Cubs’ Communications and Social team, not to mention several other folks who run the show from behind the scenes. Among those who make @Cubs the best handle in the biz and who are responsible for fan engagement were:
- Kevin Saghy
- Travis Miller
- Nicole Bersani
- Alyson Cohen
- Brian Corbin
- Dalie Hand
- Lindsay Bago
- Monica Sharma
And then there were the Internet characters brought to life: Randall Sanders, king of the GIFs, was there; Corey Fineran from Ivy Envy; Corey Freedman from Cubs Related; Neil Finnell from Chicago Cubs Online; Danny Rockett from that tropical-themed Cubs hat (and BCB and The Son Ranto Show); Michael Cerami and Luis Medina from Bleacher Nation (Brett begged off because his wife just had a baby, which, whatever dude); Crawly from the front row of CubsCon; and I’m sure several more I’m forgetting. Actually, the BN guys were involved in a pretty funny moment at the conclusion of the event.
The inimitable Cat Garcia, of BP Wrigleyville and various other outlets, came over with a group of friends as I was talking with Michael and Luis. She gave us all hugs and then started introducing everyone.
“This is Michael, from Bleacher Nation. This is Luis, from Bleacher Nation. This is Evan…he’s not from Bleacher Nation.”
As if having my ego crushed by a trivia loss wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t even merit an introduction that included the name of my own blog. Thanks, Cat!
Joking aside, it was a really cool setup and one I hope the Cubs continue to follow and hone in the future. If any of my teammates are reading, I’m sorry about the finish but I hope you had fun just the same. Oh yeah, the game was pretty fun too.
— Evan Altman (@DEvanAltman) September 20, 2016
— crawly's cub kingdom (@crawlyscubs) September 20, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 20, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 21, 2016
I just have to say once more what a privilege it was for all these people to have the opportunity to spend part of their evening with me. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I meant to say that it was an honor and a privilege to have been invited up and to have the chance to play even an ancillary role in how fellow fans were able to consume and interact with the Cubs.
I’m already looking forward to next year.