Easton Diamond Sports on Friday hosted the first-ever “Future of Baseball Social Media” Summit as part of launching the organization’s first annual Team Easton Experience.
Easton brought together 14 of the biggest baseball influencers and content creators in social media, beginning the Experience at Easton’s headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA and then proceeding to a local baseball field. For many of the attendees, this was the first time they had met and collaborated in-person.
As part of the 2019 Team Easton Experience, influencers and creators met with Easton experts, current and former MLB players and Team Easton ambassadors, famous media personalities and more. The full day event began with an exclusive tour, which included never-before-seen insider access to key R&D personnel and processes. Then, all participants were ushered into a room where Arash Markazi, currently Sports Columnist with the LA Times and formerly with ESPN and Sports Illustrated, led a roundtable discussion asking the influencers and creators for their personal thoughts on the future of baseball social media.
“With the decline of traditional media in general as well as the limited number of outlets being available today in endemic baseball media, we’re all looking for new ways to create more authentic stories and generate engaging content as well as to find the most impactful way to connect with players, coaches, families and baseball enthusiasts,” said Easton SVP of Sales and Marketing Dan Jelinek. “We created the Team Easton Experience to cultivate the exchange of ideas, and put some of those ideas to work together by connecting people that are as passionate as we are about driving what makes our sport and the gear that helps us unlock our maximum potential so great.”
During the hour-long summit, influencers and creators discussed some of the challenges they face today as well as the untapped potential for the future of baseball social media. Topics included: Popular social platforms and the rise of Twitch and TikTok, the potential for increased content monetization, experimentation with various content types and approaches, the evolution of brand partnership and collaboration opportunities, as well as the current state of Major League Baseball on social media and how its limited support of influencers and creators drives a universally shared reluctance to post anything related to MLB.
“I think it’s incredible what Easton has done,” said Dallas Braden, former Oakland Athletics pitching great and current co-host of the Starting 9 presented by Barstool Sports, who along with Starting 9 counterpart Jared Carrabis was among the influencers and creators invited to the first annual Team Easton Experience. “[Easton has] realized that we are in an era where you can go and get [content] you are looking for from wherever and whoever you want to get it from. Being able to identify a group of individuals that [Easton feels] has the best interest of the game at heart, loves the game, has passion for the game… Easton has done a wonderful job of bringing them into the fold, to their wonderful facility, and showing them first-hand the passion from Easton as a group to continue to make the game better.”
“As the game continues to evolve, and as brands continue to evolve, it’s outstanding to see Easton leading the charge into this new era of athlete and fan interaction,” Braden continued. “It really seems like Easton has got it figured out, and they are trying to make a difference. I am just excited to be a part of whatever they are able to put together, and I think it starts here with this Team Easton Experience. It’s a really exciting time, not only for Easton but for the game of baseball and really for social media and athletes alike to show all of the fans that the sport is just a part of who we are. I think that Easton and the athletes that they have in their family really understand that. Again, it’s just an honor for Barstool and Starting 9 to be a part of it all.”
As the day continued, the group was outfitted with Easton gear which included a personal fitting with Easton’s 2020 BBCOR bat lineup, headlined by the brand’s revolutionary ADV 360 2-piece composite and Maxum 360 1-piece composite bats that are taking the game by storm, and then they were split into teams to compete in a series of hitting competitions. Chris Rose, popular sportscaster for MLB Network and NFL Network, was the master of ceremonies for the day’s action which included team captains and Team Easton ambassadors: Ramon Laureano of the Oakland Athletics and Delino DeShields of the Texas Rangers.
Competition heated up as the teams participated in two types of home run derbies in Easton’s newly upgraded Hit Lab facility, both in batting cages on the latest technologies from HitTrax as well as virtually via MLB the Show on PlayStation 4. Then, the group moved to a local high school where Easton had set up Southern California-themed targets all around the field to take aim at before participants entered a bat flip challenge and subsequently engaged in a relay race around the bases with different challenges at each hand-off. Points were accumulated by the teams throughout the day, and each team’s efforts garnered donations by Easton to two wonderful causes: American Red Cross California Wildfire Relief and Pitch In for Baseball & Softball.
The best part? It was all a surprise to the influencers and creators.
“We were so deeply honored and beyond excited to have these folks come together like this for the first time, pooling their unbridled creativity and personalities to create something amazing,” said Easton Director of Marketing & E-commerce Austin Hurwitz. “They put their trust in us, with some individuals traveling great distances to be here and everyone giving of their time and energy with very little information provided up front. This opportunity certainly doesn’t come along every day, and we really wanted to make this experience as special as possible. With the element of surprise and by setting up some friendly competition, we armed the teams with some of Easton’s tremendous relationships, our latest and greatest BBCOR bats and other Easton gear as well as our state-of-the-art facility. It was a day we’ll never forget. I believe the future of our sport is stronger as a result of the relationships that were formed and strengthened, as well as the amazing content that was generated together. This is the start of something big, and an open invitation to baseball social media influencers and creators everywhere to join in as well.”
Participants included the following:
- Chris Rose: Instagram (@crose127), Twitter (@ChrisRose)
- Arash Markazi: Instagram (@arashmarkazi), Facebook (@arashmarkazi), Twitter (@ArashMarkazi)
- Ramon Laureano: Instagram (@ramonlaureano22)
- Delino DeShields: Instagram (@linodeshields), Facebook(@LinoDeShields), Twitter (@LinoDeShields)
- Josh Shapiro: Instagram (@baseball_lifestyle101, @jshap101), Facebook (@BaseballLifestyle101), Twitter (@BsbLifestyle101), YouTube (Baseball Lifestyle 101), Tiktok (@bsbl101)
- Josh Gerson: Instagram (@baseball_lifestyle101, @jgerson101), Facebook (@BaseballLifestyle101), Twitter (@BsbLifestyle101), YouTube (Baseball Lifestyle 101), Tiktok (@bsbl101)
- Stephen Knez: Instagram (@sknez14), Twitter (@Sknez14), YouTube (Skn3z14), TikTok (@sknez14)
- Preston Miklich: Instagram (@fuzzyfromyt), Twitter (@fuzzyfromyt), YouTube (Fuzzy)
- Chaison Miklich: Instagram (@chaison_miklich), Twitter (@chaisonmiklich)
- Cameron Bennett: Instagram (@bsblbro), Facebook (@BSBLBRO), Twitter (@bsblbro), YouTube (Life of A Baseball Bro), TikTok (@bsblbro)
- Jared Carrabis: Instagram (@starting9, @jaredcarrabis), Facebook (@startingnine, @BarstoolCarrabis), Twitter (@Starting9, @Jared_Carrabis), YouTube (Starting 9)
- Dallas Braden: Instagram (@starting9, @the209mayor), Facebook (@startingnine), Twitter (@Starting9, @DALLASBRADEN209), YouTube (Starting 9), TikTok (@dallasbraden)
- Cordell Green: Instagram (@thenaturalballplayer)
- James Lowe: Instagram (@coachballgame), Facebook (@coachballgame), Twitter (@coachballgame), YouTube (coachballgame)
- Tim Koogler: Instagram (@tkoogs46), Facebook (@Koogs46), Twitter (@Koogs46), YouTube (Koogs46)
- Daniel Robinson: Instagram (@realshelfy), Facebook (@RealShelfy), Twitter (@RealShelfy), YouTube (Shelfy)
- Jimmy O’Brien: Instagram (@jomboymedia, @jomboy_), Facebook (@JomboyMedia), Twitter (@JomboyMedia, @Jomboy_, YouTube (Jomboy Media)
- Jake Storiale: Instagram (@jomboymedia, @talkinjake), Facebook (@JomboyMedia), Twitter (@JomboyMedia, @TalkinJake), YouTube (Jomboy Media)
For more information on the Future of Baseball Social Media Summit and 2019 Team Easton Experience, please visit Easton.com and follow Easton Baseball on social media: Instagram (@eastonbaseball), Facebook (@EastonBaseball), Twitter (@Easton_Baseball), YouTube (Easton Diamond Sports, LLC).