Many in our society make fun of the use of social media. They point to the fact that it actually makes us less social, in that instead of meeting people face to face, we can hide behind a computer screen to interact. However, there can be no argument that social media does not have its advantages as well. Just ask Adam Greenberg, who signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Dec. 20, and who owes a large part of the resurgence of his career to the use of social media.
Before last October, Greenberg had seen one pitch in his major league career, in 2005, when he was 24 years old. It was a 92 mph fastball from Florida Marlins reliever Valerio de los Santos that hit him in the back of the head, giving Greenberg a minor concussion. The outfielder suffered the effects of that concussion for nearly two years.
Greenberg bounced around the minor leagues and independent leagues for years in an effort to receive an official major league at bat, and hopefully many more.
Last year, a filmmaker and die hard Cubs fan named Matt Liston started a petition and social media campaign called “One At Bat” to get Greenberg that opportunity. The “One At Bat” Facebook page has received over three thousand “likes” on Facebook, 27 thousand petition signatures and nearly 200 thousand people have viewed a video of Greenberg’s story on YouTube.
It all came full circle when on Oct. 2, 2012; Greenberg signed a one day contract with the team that almost ended his career, the Miami Marlins. He lead off the sixth inning, and with just his luck, he faced the eventual Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who throws what may be the most unhittable pitch in baseball today and what some consider to be the best knuckleball of all time. His at bat lasted three pitches, all strikes, and a total of 33 seconds.
But the result didn’t matter. The chance did. It was the culmination of years of hard work paying off. He even received a standing ovation from the fans in Miami when he walked to the plate.
Greenberg is now a member of the Baltimore Orioles’ organization and he is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the MLB again.
“I am so excited to join the Orioles organization. It is another opportunity to further my baseball career and get back to the major leagues. I am grateful to the Orioles for giving me this chance. I am physically and mentally ready to help them win games and when my name is called I will be ready,” Greenberg told the Ciesla Foundation in an email.
He was not invited to Spring training and he likely will not have any meaningful appearances with the big league team. Yet he had a unique opportunity, one that most will never get.
So say what you will about social media. Yes, in some ways it does make us less social in the true sense of the word, but its usefulness can not be denied. In the last few years it allowed millions in the Middle East to unite and take down oppressive governments. It allowed Betty White to host Saturday Night Live. And it allowed a baseball player from Guilford Conn., to live out his dream.