The announcement that Joey Wong is returning to the Perth Heat came late on Wednesday night. The news, which should increase Heat fans hope they can claim a fourth title in five years came in an obscure manner – Instagram. The numbers for Wong speak for themselves, a .290 Batting Average, an average of more than a hit a game and an On Base Percentage of .380 and a Championship Series MVP, he is clearly going to be a key cog in Perth again this season.
The interesting side of the announcement is the way it was announced. The ABL have done a great job league wide on Social Media, and are obviously encouraging players to do the same. Wong has 934 followers on the photo sharing site, with another 830 on Twitter, where he posted the announcement after spreading the news on Instagram. Traditionalists will probably say that the
announcement style is little more than a self-promotion stunt done to help boost the ego of Wong. I couldn’t disagree more. What they don’t see is the spread the announcement is going to get from Wong’s fans, meaning not only are more people aware of him coming back, but of the league is a whole. Then there is the fact that each of the ABL clubs connect more digitally with their fans than by any other medium, so why not get players to do the same? Not everyone can do a LeBron James style essay.
Joey Wong has shown the Australian baseball fraternity what sort of character he is from his first stint with the Heat. Never shy to talk to fans or media, he represents what is great, not only about the league, but the game itself. It’s an opportunity to have fun and to be an adult playing a kids game. The decision to jump on Instagram to announce he’s coming back? That’s going to make him more of a fan favourite than he already is.
More importantly, he’s shown what sort of future the league should be aiming for. A future built on interaction, a strong community who all know each other and feel like they are part of a much bigger picture, with everyone sharing a common thread – a love of the greatest sport there is.
Then there’s also the plays like this.
Thank you Joey Wong.