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Why Is The MLB Striking Out On Twitter?

Every time I get on Twitter, there are a few “who to follow” suggestions on the left-hand side of the page. Since I already follow plenty of people whom I don’t know, and will likely never meet in person, I tend to not look at these suggestions. But last week was different.

I don’t know why, but Twitter was of the opinion that I should follow @Athletics. I was intrigued by the suggestion, so I clicked onto their profile summary page and learned that they have just over 117,000 followers. Having no idea if that was a lot of followers for an MLB team, I decided to investigate.

It would not surprise me to learn that some website tracks this sort of thing already. But I wanted to do this for myself, and so I went to the official Twitter profile for all 30 MLB teams as of Friday, June 14. My findings are as follows:


Others can mine this data better than I ever could, but there are a few interesting things to be pointed out here:

The 30 teams of MLB have slightly more than seven-million followers between them. That might sound like a lot, but it’s not quite as many followers as @SimonCowell has. It’s also fewer followers than @CharlieSheen, @Shaq, or @ParisHilton have. Two European soccer clubs (@realmadrid and @FCBarcelona) each have more followers than all of MLB’s teams combined. And the current Twitter champion, @justinbieber, has just more than 40 million followers. In short, MLB’s teams are nothing special in the Twitterverse.


Twitter is clearly an East Coast thing, with the top three teams (@Yankees, @Phillies, and @RedSox) all located along the Eastern seaboard. The averages for the AL East and NL East are clearly ahead of those for the teams in baseball’s other divisions, as well.

The National League’s teams hold a slight numerical edge over their American League counterparts, but the addition of @Astros this season brought the AL’s average down significantly. In Chicago, @Cubs hold an advantage of 100,000 more followers than @WhiteSox. But before the North Siders’ fans get too excited, let’s acknowledge they are just slightly over the average for all MLB teams, and significantly behind their division rivals, @Cardinals. It pains me to say it, but there’s no getting around it, either.

The NL West is the strangest division of all numerically, with @SFGiants and @Dodgers among the top MLB franchises, and @Dbacks, @Rockies, and @Padres down near the bottom. The divisional average is respectable enough, but they are clearly the haves and have-nots when it comes to Twitter followers.

The NL Central has the highest floor (@Pirates), while the AL Central has the lowest ceiling (@Tigers).

Baseball’s other two-team markets each have one team that needs to do some work. If there’s a good reason why @Angels are trailing behind @Royals, I’d love to hear it.

Twitter and Florida baseball don’t go very well together. The state’s two teams (@RaysBaseball and @Marlins) have an average of just under 100,000 followers between them.

Looking beyond baseball, specifically in the Chicago market, the other sports appear to be doing a better job attracting followers:

The findings that can be made from this are probably endless, and to any teams—or fans–that haven’t thought of stacking MLB’s teams up against each other, you’re welcome. Feel free to give me a follow, too. I need all the followers I can get.

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