Former Dodger Shawn Green helps team and fans celebrate a World Series title during a pandemic
No fans in the stands at Dodger Stadium. No fans crowded into sports bars. No fans lining the streets of Los Angeles for a parade.
A pandemic championship calls for a virtual celebration. For help, the Dodgers turned to one of their former All-Stars.
In the second act of his professional life, Shawn Green is founder and chairman of Greenfly, a company that connects fans to players, teams and leagues through social media. The Dodgers are using Greenfly technology to collect, organize and share fan photos and videos for that virtual celebration.
In the first 24 hours after the Dodgers invited fans to share photos and videos of their reaction to the final out of the World Series, the team received more than 3,500 submissions, said Caroline Morgan, the Dodgers’ vice president of digital strategy. The deadline is Friday, after which the Dodgers will post a montage of fan reaction on their social media channels.
“It gives us an opportunity to acknowledge and thank and celebrate our fans,” Morgan said, “and gives all of us a chance to relive that amazing moment that was the last out.
“There are so many touching stories of generations of Dodger fans who were watching at home.”
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Said Daniel Kirschner, the Greenfly president: “What the Dodgers really wanted to be able to do was to tell those stories, feature those fan moments, get that kind of reaction and energy, to be able to capture those celebrations around the World Series.”
Greenfly works with teams and leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball, the NBA, the Premier Lacrosse League and the World Surf League. Morgan said about half the Dodgers players have the Greenfly app on their phones, enabling them to instantly browse and find images and videos, and post them directly onto social media.
The Dodgers could collect fan photos and videos on their own, but Morgan said the Greenfly technology enables the team to save, sort and share thousands of elements efficiently and rapidly. The Dodgers’ owners, through their Elysian Park Ventures arm, took an ownership stake in Greenfly by providing funding that helped the company blossom from its startup days.
“They’ve been helpful with relationships and connecting us with different organizations,” Green said. “But our software sells itself independently. It’s not like you’re going to go into a large media company and sell it because the Dodgers are investors, or because you have a relationship there.”
Green hit 49 home runs in 2001, which stands as the Dodgers’ franchise record. He played 1,951 games in the major leagues without an appearance in the World Series, ranking 50th on that unlucky all-time list.
He has a ring, though: The Toronto Blue Jays called him up in September 1993 and afforded him six at-bats. He did not make the postseason roster. The Blue Jays won the World Series, but neither he nor the Jays have gotten there since then.
The Dodgers have gotten there three times in four years, and they have not missed the playoffs since 2012.
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“The players know that, each season, they’re going to have a really good shot at the World Series and almost a guarantee of getting to the postseason,” Green said. “I think players who play in an organization that is struggling or play in a really tough division — like, we were always behind the Yankees — that’s how the other teams in the NL West feel about the Dodgers: jeez, when are we going to get a shot? It’s easy to take that for granted.”
Yet the Dodgers persevered, even after losing the 2017 World Series to a Houston Astros team later found to have cheated during the postseason and after losing the 2018 World Series to a Boston Red Sox team later found to have cheated during the regular season, if not the postseason.
Green said he is delighted for manager Dave Roberts, his former Dodgers teammate.
“Dave Roberts has always been a good friend of mine,” Green said. “I was super happy to see him get past that final step, especially in light of all the things that happened the past few years with the Astros and maybe the Red Sox. So it was nice to see the Dodgers finally close it out.”
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