Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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By Dave Saltzer, AngelsWin.com Senior Writer - 

Twitterpation [twi-ter-pey-shuh-n]—noun
1.    The senseless act of incessantly refreshing one’s Twitter account expected updated news on some event until the battery on one’s cell phone is completely drained.
2.    A severe and damaging mental disease that causes the condition above that can also cause nerve damage to the thumb and fingers.


Used in a sentence
Dave’s severe twitterpation led to the car crash creating a 4-hour delay on the I-5.

Admit it. You’ve got it. It’s like an itch you can’t stop scratching; your skin is raw and bloody and yet you still scratch at the scabs. You’ve got twitterpation.

The roots of the disease are obvious: After another frustrating season in which the Angels did not make the playoffs, you, like all fans wanted to see the Angels improve for the 2014 season. The needs were obvious: pitching, pitching, pitching, and 3B. Their ability to fill the needs were limited. The Angels could resign Vargas and trade Trumbo and/or Kendrick. The problem, Mr. Moreno seemingly would not go beyond the luxury tax, making a trade the most likely way for the team to improve.

And then it began. Although almost impossible to diagnose at the time, the well-trained professional could have detected it when the World Series ended. Players could declare free agency. Almost like a little twitch you were aware of it; you had to check in and get the latest news on the Angels.

Although the prognosis of the disease is certain, the course of the disease is slow at first. After the World Series you would check in on Twitter every day or two. You’d log into AngelsWin.com to see if you missed anything from any other source, but you could quickly satiate your need for information with relative ease. You were hardly aware that you had the disease or to what depths it would take you.

Once the free agency period was over, the disease calmed down. There were other problems to deal with; the disease was being coy with you as it afflicted fans from other teams that were making moves. You felt their pain, but little did you know how their afflictions would make your pangs worse.

Although scientists have been hard at work studying the disease for years, they have yet to determine all the pathways for the disease. What they have noticed is that as people in one part of the country become affected by the disease it seems to induce flare ups in other parts of the country. However, for some unknown reason, the subsequent flare ups are more acute than the prior episode.

For you, this meant one thing: As the Angels failed to make moves in the offseason, it made your twitterpation worse. As the frequency of the urge to itch grew, you sought out others with the same disease. You returned to AngelsWin.com every day just to see how others were dealing with the silence of the offseason.

One thing that had a profound effect on the disease’s epidemiology, particularly amongst Angels fans was the Bourjos/Freese trade. That move sent a huge spike in the incidence of people seeking treatment for the disease. Debates ensued as to how to best deal with the condition. While most were still able to cope with the illness at that point, some were driven to point of considering going “cold turkey” and ignoring all forms of updates on the team.

Little did they know what was in store for them—the Winter Meetings.

At the start of the Winter Meetings, the Angels still had their two biggest trade chips, Trumbo and Kendrick, and their two biggest needs—pitching and pitching. Like most, you lined up your most trusted sources on Twitter. You checked them. You hit refresh. You checked them again.

While working, you took a coffee break, and you checked your Twitter feed. Go to the bathroom, check your feed. Need a photo copy? Better grab your phone. In the time you could make a copy, you could hit refresh at least 3 times. You never knew when the news would come, so you kept staring at the screen praying for news while making 618 unnecessary copies. The hell with the trees you wasted, you needed to hit refresh again!

Instead of spending less time on AngelsWin.com, you spent more. You had to see what other people had to say and if they had found an even more current leak of information. You were in full-blown twitterpation and could not help yourself.

When someone posted something that contradicted your sources, you didn’t listen—you argued. You brought up how they once tweeted that the Angels were going to trade Steve Finley for Willie Bloomquist and that never happened so they were never to be trusted as a source again. But if they agreed with you, well of course they were geniuses! Who cares if they once tweeted that the Angels were about to trade Alexi Amarista for Cliff Lee.

As the Winter Meetings continued on your twitterpation became worse. Your productivity at work took a noticeable dip. You were “going to the bathroom” 15 to 20 times a day as an excuse to get a quick fix on the situation in Florida.

The drive home from work became nearly unbearable. News on the radio was so old compared to what you already knew that you yelled and screamed at the blithering idiots trying to convince you that what they knew was current.

Ahhh, but a red light. Those were golden moments. Another chance to hit refresh and get a quick fix. Unfortunately, like most addicts, the fix was temporary. It only made the rest of the drive worse.

Getting out of the car was a challenge. Should you stay in the car where you could recharge your phone and enjoy the silence, or go inside and take care of the kids and the accompanying distractions?

Lest one think that this disease affects adults, it hit children very hard too. The youngest amongst us risked detentions and Saturday Schools just to get a quick update in class. The time alone would give them more time with their phones, and that would give them more chances to get an update. Their educations suffered; their concentration on anything else was non-existent. While they could recite the stats of every pitcher in the Diamondback’s organization, they could not recall what had happened on December 7, 1941.

Soon your twitterpation had you yelling at the press thousands of miles away for failing to update you at all hours of the day or night. How dare they sleep! If they can be out wandering the hotel looking for vending machines, they can be getting you real news! Don’t they know that you can’t sleep at 2:47 am and still have 9% battery life on your phone! Your illness had you believing that they owed you the news 24/7 at served at your beck and call. No lunch breaks for them! If you can hit refresh all through your lunch, they should be updating you! If you could manage to scarf a burger, hit refresh 122 times and type 18 responses on AngelsWin.com during your half-hour lunch then they could get some real news out while chowing down on a meal.

At that point, nothing short of the trade itself could cure you of your twitterpation. Your fingers were raw from typing on the keyboard. Your eyes were bloodshot and your vision blurry. You already had committed to buying a newer, faster, and fancier phone and upgrade your internet connection.

You were one of the lucky ones. Many people who become infected with twitterpation don’t make it. They go back to being fans of teams that did not do much to improve. They don’t have outlets like AngelsWin.com where they can relieve some of their anxiety. They only have their immediate circle of friends to debate and discuss their team. They suffer in ways that you cannot imagine.

The wrap up to the trade helps. It soothes the wounds. The interviews, the commentary, the post-trade analysis all help calm the nerves after a severe case of twitterpation. Once again reporters become your friends not your enemies. You will even let them eat their lunch between updates.

Luckily, scientists studying twitterpation’s epidemiology have noted that the disease seems limited to seasonal outbreaks. And, there is talk of a cure—something involving a World Series appearance—but that could be a year or two away. It all depends on what the Angels do to improve themselves this year. And that involved a trade and some other moves.

Oh crap, the Winter Meetings aren’t over, and now the Angels have $20 million to spend with Garza and Choo still available. You better go hit refresh on your Twitter feed. You never know, the Angels may have made another move.

Damn you twitterpation!
Love to hear what you think!

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