Minoring in Twitter: Angels’ Stetter retires via iPhone Twitter note, players react to Jeter news

By Danny Wild/MiLB.com

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo Day

With a disappearing Snapchat statement not feasible and Instagram maybe too obscure, released Angels pitcher Mitch Stetter created a new yellow note on his iPhone on Monday to tell the baseball universe about his reluctant, career-altering decision.

“I’m from a small town in Indiana, and a lot of people follow my career,” Stetter told us on Thursday. “I had a lot of messages asking if i knew what I was doing this season, if i had signed yet, a bunch of people asking.”

Justifiably so, as  Stetter, 33, had a pretty solid season last year, finishing 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 33 games for Triple-A Salt Lake before getting released in August. A veteran reliever who spent parts of five seasons in the Majors with Milwaukee, Stetter turned to Twitter on Feb. 10 to tell the world his career was over.

Using the “Notes” app on his iPhone (apparently an iPhone 4 not updated to iOS 7) he composed his letter of retirement:

In the note, Stetter says his lower back pain forced his decision, and that he’s joining the Royals’ organization as a bullpen coach at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Stetter has already been refining his coaching skills — he joined Reds pitcher Sean Marshall at a youth clinic in Illinois last week.

So why Twitter? Stetter said it was just a convenient way to spread the news to friends, family and fans — he posted the statement to both Twitter and Facebook.

“I knew a couple weeks ago, my back had given out again, I knew it wouldn’t hold up all season, and it was bothering me all last year,” he said. “I thought I’d feel better, but I had problems and I knew a couple weeks ago I wouldn’t be able to stay healthy a whole season. One of my friends is a scout with the Royals, he told me this position might be opening up, so I had a phone interview and I was going to wait to see if I got that job before I announced it.

“So, then I announced it all together. People were asking, I thought it was easier. I made a Twitter and Facebook post at the same time.”

Brewers fans may best remember Stetter — he was the lefty reliever who set a Milwaukee Brewers record in 2009 when he recorded 15 consecutive outs by way of strikeouts. That K streak was part of a 17-game span in which the southpaw did not allow a run:

In a less-glorious moment, Stetter was also the pitcher who gave up Gary Sheffield’s 500th career home run back in 2009:

Not only was his unique Twitter retirement a simple way to spread the news, but it also allowed him to directly hear back from fans following the news — his feed is filled with warm wishes and thank-yous from both sides.

“It’s nice,” said Stetter. “I was in the Brewers organization for 10 years, I’d been in the big leagues, I followed a few of the fans too and I’ll answer questions, people will tweet me and ask me stuff. It gives you a chance to interact with the fans, they can be kind of get closer to the players, and that can help with ticket sales, bring people to the ballpark and just showing them you’re a normal, nice guy. I thought it would be the easiest way to send one message.”

Stetter wasn’t even the only Minor Leaguer to announce his retirement from baseball on Twitter on Monday, if you can believe it. Ryan Dunn, the Rays’ 17th-round pick in the 2012 Draft, said he was quitting after just a pair of seasons in the Minors:

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Dunn appeared in 144 Minor League games after leaving Oregon State, playing for Short-Season Hudson Valley in 2012 and then with Class A Bowling Green last year. One of those 144 games came in Fenway Park, when the Renegades played the Lowell Spinners in the 2012 Futures at Fenway event:

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And then there was Padres No. 14 prospect Cory Spangenberg, who posted on Twitter last week that he’d retired… from playing Flappy Bird:

The biggest retirement news of the week, of course, came from Derek Jeter, who also announced his decision through social media with a letter on Facebook.

“His [letter] was a little longer than mine,” Stetter laughed. “[Mine] was also a good chance to thank everybody too. It was hard to fit what you want to write in 140 characters, but I didn’t want it to be too long, like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to read this.’ Make it brief, where they’ll read it, and thank everybody along the way.”

Jeter thanked plenty in his goodbye, a departure that directly struck a lot of Minor Leaguers, most of which grew up watching Jeter’s glory days:

Yankees prospects reacted, including 2013 first-rounder Eric Jagielo:

Mason Williams, the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect kept it simple:

Cito Culver, another Yankees shortstop drafted in the first round:

In even more retirement news posted via Twitter, we move on to Dong Nguyen, a Vietnamese mobile game developer whose plug-pulling Tweet hit Minor Leaguers harder than a Gary Sheffield swing.

Last week, we evidently reached the climax of Flappy Bird-mania in the Minors. Players from around baseball spent their precious final days and weeks of the offseason glued to their phones on a mission to fly some 8-bit Nintendo-esque cartoon bird across their screens. And then, on Sunday, Dong Nguyen, a misunderstood game developer more irritated with fame than gamers were with his game, told the world on Twitter that his omnipresent app “ruins my simple life” despite generating $50,000 in ad revenue per day. To get the point across, he added: “Now I hate it. I cannot take this anymore.”

The reactions from around baseball were swift, predictable and strong: devastation not seen since Randy Johnson stuck a fastball into that seagull.

Some embraced the news and freed themselves of the addiction:

And, Jeremy Barfield still hates it.

Moving on, this incredible photo of Marcus Stroman and his dad:

Reds pitcher Jon Moscot shows off a unique dinner combo:

Yup:

Marlins pitcher Bryan Evans spent his winter in Mexico pitching in winter ball, but now that he’s back in the states, it feels a little off:

Whatever gets you into game mode…

Washington’s Bryan Harper (Bryce’s brother) sported quite the mustache last season at Hagerstown and still hasn’t decided whether it’ll be back for Spring Training:

Chipotle Tweets of the Week

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