Minoring in Twitter: Angels’ Stetter retires via iPhone Twitter note, players react to Jeter news
By Danny Wild/MiLB.com
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:
I’ve decided to retire from playing baseball. pic.twitter.com/kpQWFONcmJ
— mitch stetter (@mitchstetter) February 10, 2014
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:
Decided to retire from baseball. I want to thank all my friends, family, fans, and teammates for support during my career it meant a lot
— Ryan Dunn (@Dunn3R8) February 10, 2014
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:
And then there was Padres No. 14 prospect Cory Spangenberg, who posted on Twitter last week that he’d retired… from playing Flappy Bird:
— Cory Spangenberg (@spang19) February 4, 2014
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:
Derek Jeter.. Role model since I picked up a ball. Did it the RIGHT way.. He’ll still be running out every grounder this year #CLASSACT
— Rob Kaminsky (@Kaminsky21) February 12, 2014
Wow. Grew up watching him play. Best example of a true leader on and off the field. Hope Jeter’s last year is a great one he deserves it!
— Ty Hensley (@TyHensley17) February 12, 2014
Yankees prospects reacted, including 2013 first-rounder Eric Jagielo:
— Eric Jagielo (@E_Jagielo) February 12, 2014
Mason Williams, the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect kept it simple:
— Mason Williams (@MjordanW9) February 12, 2014
Cito Culver, another Yankees shortstop drafted in the first round:
So happy for my friend and mentor Derek Jeter. The fans will miss seeing number 2 out there at shortstop. May your last season be one..
— Cito Culver (@yaboicito) February 12, 2014
To remember. Congrats on a great career!!!
— Cito Culver (@yaboicito) February 12, 2014
I don’t even know how to feel right now. Today is a sad day. Can’t remember a single kid growing up who didn’t want to be like Derek Jeter.
— Christopher Bostick (@leanonmeCB) February 12, 2014
Crazy to think that Derek Jeter is retiring after the 2014 season. He’s easily been one of the best icons of baseball #Captain
— Branden Kline (@BrandenKline16) February 12, 2014
Man, gonna miss watching Jeter play
— Colin Moran (@CMOran18) February 12, 2014
— Tony Sanchez (@Tony26Montana) February 12, 2014
Jeter is proboly one of the biggest influences baseball has ever had.
— jp crawford (@jp_crawford) February 12, 2014
Derek Jeter’s last year? Crazy to think that. The most humble, professional, hard-working, champion in my era of baseball! #CAPTAIN
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo7) February 12, 2014
Baseball with out Jeter just isn’t right.
— SEAN ANTHONY MANAEA (@BABYSMGIRAFFE) February 12, 2014
Derek Jeter is and will always be the face of the MLB. True meaning of a class act definitely one of my role models coming up #HallofFamer
— Lewis Brinson (@LewisBrinson) February 12, 2014
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.
Flappy bird is officially off the App Store. Time to be productive again, world.
— Jacob Johansen (@Jake_Johansen) February 11, 2014
Flappy bird feens your apocalypse is upon you. Creator is taking game down even though he’s making 50Gs a day.
— Micah Johnson (@Micah_Johnson3) February 9, 2014
I’m pretty sure Flappy Bird gets me more angry than baseball ever did. Frustrated beyond belief.
— Ryan Westmoreland (@RWesty25) February 9, 2014
I don’t know if I’m more happy about today being my last day of my off season job or that i got 89 on flappy bird
— Ben White (@Bennyhana42) February 11, 2014
I literally have no composure playing Flappy Bird
— Daniel Meadows (@danmeadows35) February 9, 2014
Flappy bird is about to be taken down?? What???
— SEAN ANTHONY MANAEA (@BABYSMGIRAFFE) February 8, 2014
Some embraced the news and freed themselves of the addiction:
Just heard they took flappy bird off the App Store, so I deleted the flappy bird app I already had on my phone!!! #ImFree
— Ian Dickson (@dicksoni) February 10, 2014
And, Jeremy Barfield still hates it.
“@dongatory: I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” HALLELUJAH!!!
— Jeremy Barfield (@BarfieldRage) February 9, 2014
Moving on, this incredible photo of Marcus Stroman and his dad:
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo7) February 11, 2014
Reds pitcher Jon Moscot shows off a unique dinner combo:
— Jon Moscot (@JonnyMoscot) February 9, 2014
Very few things annoy me more than those awful JG Wentworth commercials
— Cody Livesay (@Livec1) February 11, 2014
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:
Driving feels weird.
— Bryan Evans (@Bevans2424) February 11, 2014
Whatever gets you into game mode…
On that NSYNC playlist>>>
— drew vettleson (@DrewVettleson) February 11, 2014
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:
— Bryan Harper (@BryanHarper45) February 11, 2014
Chipotle Tweets of the Week
— Robbie Shields (@_RobbieShields) February 9, 2014
I feel like everyone has extra chipotle napkins at their house
— Justin Bour (@bour41) February 12, 2014
— Marco Gonzales (@MarcoGonzales_) February 11, 2014