Life for a Major League Baseball player today is completely different than it was a decade ago.
Just ask former Boston Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, who during his playing career never had to worry about posting a controversial tweet or slipping up and saying something questionable on a live stream. The 2004 World Series champion played from 1997 to 2008, which means he got out just before social media took over.
Foulke recently caught up with NBC Sports Boston's Camera Guys and discussed what it's like for today's big leaguers, who have so much attention on them at all times.
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"They're playing for so much money now. The social media part of it is, I mean, I don't even know how you measure it," Foulke said. "Anywhere you go, you're always with somebody. You know? There's always a camera on you, there's always somebody who wants to write about what you're doing, what you're eating, what you're buying, whatever it is. They really do have to be careful because if they step out of line, all of a sudden it looks bad. It's out there for millions and millions of people.
"It's not like me back in the day running my mouth about somebody. Everybody in the country, in the world, will literally know it, and so it looks bad for them and it looks bad for the ballclub. And when the ballclub starts taking heat, that's where all that stuff starts coming down from up top. Sometimes they've got to pull the reins on you. So their generation has grown up not being able to be a unique individual. You've got to wait until you're 10 years (in) and you're making a couple hundred million dollars before they kind of let the reins go and you can kind of be a jackass."
A recent example of this is Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell stating on a Twitch stream that he won't take another pay cut to play this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Within minutes of Snell making those comments, the clip was all over social media for the world to see.
As much as that kind of scrutiny can prevent some players from showing their true personalities, it can be argued that social media is a great tool for other players to build their brands. Plenty of Major Leaguers including Snell, Trevor Bauer, Bryce Harper, and Alex Bregman have used social media to show their lives outside of baseball and connect with fans.
Of course, that kind of exposure comes with its fair share of risks.
For the full interview with Foulke, check out the video below: