One of the most fun things about sports fandom is the ancient art of trash talking: It keeps the competitive juices flowing and often leads to funny interactions between those involved. Social media helped expand the world of talking smack beyond the bleachers and parking lots and sports bars to now also include franchises as well.
The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings, for example, went after the Indianapolis Colts for their #coltsforged hashtag last summer (featuring a surprise appearance by Merriam-Webster). The Carolina Panthers trolled Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for his “eating a W” pre-game speech. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, made fun of the Atlanta Falcons for blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI.
Of course, other leagues have their social media trash talking franchises as well – and Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics might be among the most active ones. The team entered trash-talking mode because of a Seattle Mariners commercial and went into a full-blown Twitter war with pop punk band Smash Mouth because, sure, why not?
Now, the Athletics turned their attention to the East Coast, namely the City of Boston and both its pro baseball – the Athletics will face the Red Sox later this month – and its pro football team. An interesting approach in theory but one that led to disaster as the following Tweet by Oakland's social media team shows:
Well, it’s a good thing that baseballs can’t be deflated. Boston visits April 20-22. https://t.co/RizI8l7teK pic.twitter.com/bGj5QLsEIq— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) April 3, 2018
There is just so much wrong with this post. Let's go through it step-by-step:
- What does Deflategate – a “scandal” about the air pressure levels inside footballs – have to do with baseball? Sure, it involved a team from New England but that is a far-fetched insult to come up with.
- Why did the Athletics even have to drag the New England Patriots into this? Why try to trash-talk one team by using an insult about another one from a different sport?
- What does the “2.0” mean? Will Oakland be conducting any weird science experiments between innings? Have Ted Wells and Troy Vincent throw out the first pitch? Honor Exponent (which is based in the Bay Area, so we might be onto something here)?
- Why is Oakland even getting involved in this? The infamous Deflategate game involved the Patriots from New England play the Colts from Indianapolis. Oakland's Raiders, in the meantime, were sitting out the 2014 playoffs with a 3-13 record.
- Why did the Athletics not just go for a “Tuck Rule” joke instead? That play, after all, involved a team actually from Oakland as opposed to, you know, the freaking Colts.
Then again, maybe it is just an homage to the better days that were the year 2014 – the last time the Athletics actually finished a season with a winning record.