A's duo uses social media to promote charities

A's duo uses social media to promote charities

A's duo uses social media to promote charities
OAKLAND -- Since the advent of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the barrier between athletes and fans has become far easier to break through. Access into players' lives and everyday doings has become the norm.

The A's clubhouse is no exception, with several players active on social networking sites.

Some use the websites to give fans a peek into their everyday lives, like starting pitchers Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson49 on Twitter) and Brandon McCarthy (@b__mccarthy), who combined have nearly 17,000 online followers. The two are often found sending late-night tweets after games and while on road trips, interacting with fans and also exchanging friendly jabs with each other.

But other players, like relievers Brad Ziegler and Craig Breslow, have found another way to utilize social media: as a marketing tool.

"Obviously I understand that fans are looking to figure out what we do day-to-day and get inside our heads as much as possible," Breslow said. "It's something that started primarily as a way to reach potential charity supporters and I try not to blur those two lines."

While the pair does, to an extent, let fans into their lives, Breslow (@CraigBreslow) and Ziegler (@BradZiegler) each use their Twitter pages mainly to promote their foundations, the Strike 3 Foundation and Pastime for Patriots, respectively.

"Social media and social networking is kind of the next wave of marketing and advertising, so it just made sense," Breslow said.

Ziegler, who has been on Twitter since Jan. 31 of last year, said he decided to use it as a means of promoting his charity because he simply got tired of using social media for personal reasons. He scrubbed his Facebook page of a lot of his personal information and photos and then linked the two pages to make it easier to update both.

"I've made it to where most of what I tweet about is baseball and my foundation," Ziegler said.

According to Ziegler, the move has paid dividends for his foundation, which helps the families of troops serving overseas. The right-handed reliever also hopes social media will help when his foundation launches its new website in a week or two.

As for Breslow, his use of Twitter came after his foundation -- which raises funding for childhood cancer -- already had a website set up. The Yale-educated reliever said some of the people who handle his foundation's web design recommended Twitter to him as a means of raising awareness for the charity.

"We're still gauging the returns," Breslow said. "It's a hard thing to quantify. Unless people are following me on Twitter and writing donations, it's kind of hard. I've definitely increased my network and made some connections.

"Like I said, while it's something that's hard to quantify, it's going to prove to be resourceful for the next couple of years."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.