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Colorado Rockies: Faking Tweets

The 2021 Rockies have been very rough. Currently, they have the second-worst record in the National League. The team is unwatchable away from Coors Field, as they are currently 4-22 on the road at the time of writing this. The problems on the field are more than enough but there has been developing drama off-field as well. Every night, the Rockies broadcast showcases several tweets from fans during the game in a section called Toyota Talk. The tweets normally appear at the bottom of the screen, normally it is full of positive reactions and support from various Twitter accounts, recently fans have uncovered that there is more than meets the eye for Toyota Talk.

On the night of April 30th, a seemingly innocuous tweet from @303toNYC was broadcast during a rough start by Jon Gray in Arizona:

This seems like a fairly normal tweet, just another Rockies fan expressing their support for their team, right? The catch is, Nick never tweeted that.

To clarify, this means someone who works for AT&T SportsNet decided that they wanted to make up a tweet from a known Rockies Twitter member rather than choose a tweet that someone wrote in direct response to the game. Why someone decided to do this, will likely stay a mystery. This began to spread around the Rockies twitter community, with many expressing shock and confusion at this bizarre incident.

I reached out to Nick about the experience, to see how he feels after the dust settled. This isn’t the first time he remembers being on Toyota Talk, though it has been a few years. Nick was listening to the ballgame on the radio, so at the time he was unaware of what was unfolding. Though, he was alerted to it by the champion of Rockies Twitter Tourney, @moirahxinfinity. Once he was alerted, his initial thought was that he never tweeted this, though as some time passed he began to think that he tweeted it in “some kind of Rockies fugue state” during a past Rockies game.

But, members of Rockies twitter did some digging and found that he had never tweeted it prior to airing. Though he tweeted it afterward, just for the laughs. Naturally, he says no one from the network has reached out or discussed the events of this night when the Rockies lost 7-2 in Arizona.

If this was the end of the story, then it would be a funny footnote on the 2021 Rockies season. But, not even two days later, with Rockies Twitter already suspicious of Toyota Talk, a new account appeared talking about that game’s starter, Austin Gomber. This was a mysterious and now deleted account with the name PurpleCrush303 (@SimonMu97149795). This was a brand new account, and their first tweet appeared on Toyota Talk. With the Rockies’ Twitter community already at high alert, this raised a few eyebrows. This led John (@JohnTheNaptist) to dig in deeper into Toyota Talk, uncovering a connection between PurpleCrush303 and AT&T SportsNet. If this story is at all intriguing to you, take a few moments to read through the thread. The evidence makes perfect sense and paints a picture of how some tweets may end on Toyota Talk.

I spoke with John as well, to see what he saw in the aftermath of the thread. PurpleCrush303 was deleted by the end of the day, while Simone and Casey, who were responsible for PurpleCrush303 created and being on the air blocked John a few days afterward.

The common theme I saw, felt, and heard about the Toyota Talk Scandal is humor. The Colorado Rockies, for most of their games, are anything but fun. Many games feel like a slog to watch all the way through, with sloppy errors, limp bats, and the feeling of hopelessness seeping through from time to time. For those still willing to watch Rockies games, the Toyota Talk scandal was a moment of pure insanity, one that we all live for online. For those who decided to spare themselves the trouble of Rockies baseball, the Toyota Talk scandal helped them reconnect with the team, if only for a brief moment. This moment feels uniquely Rockies, completely out of left field, totally strange, and reflects the poor state of the franchise. There aren’t enough real people praising the Rockies, because of everything, so now the broadcast has to fabricate Tweets to create a feeling of stability for the viewer.

Speaking to Nick, he mentioned the biggest takeaway from this “scandal.” Rockies Twitter is an amazing place, even with the lackluster team. “I think the Rockies have a really smart, committed following on Twitter. There’s a lot of frustration with how the ownership/management has been running things lately but everyone still just wants to see the Rockies succeed.” Toyota Talk’s golden age coincided with the Rockies in its best shape. With optimism and passion surrounding the team, the tweets scrolling at the bottom of your screen, or discussed after a commercial were always genuine and loving. Nick wishes that the broadcast could present a more accurate reflection of how the fanbase is feeling, instead of feeling the need to fabricate tweets and create burner accounts, he suggests they should bring a more honest conversation to Toyota Talk. I believe it would be easier than trying to find positives for a team that manages to only score one run in a three-game series.

Ilan C.S

I am a freshman at Cleveland State University. I was born and raised in New York City, though I adopted the Rockies as my team after having a fondness for them throughout my childhood thanks to Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez. As much as Rockies fandom is painful, I love to represent the purple pinstripes!

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