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Many sports sites at this time of year post lists of their top stories of the year. Most will feature the usual suspects: The Penn State scandal, Tebowmania, the Cardinals coming out of nowhere to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's subsequent retirement, etc., etc. For me, one of the biggest sports stories of the year was the continuing emergence of Twitter. If you're a sports fan who does not use the social media service, you are missing out. News breaks on Twitter before anywhere else. Athletes are interacting with fans more than ever. When something ridiculous (like a blackout at Candlestick Park) happens, you're guaranteed a few laughs from people on Twitter. And, last but not least, athletes are getting in trouble on Twitter more than ever.
The beauty of Twitter is that you can get from it whatever you want. The ignorant cliche about Twitter being a place where people talk about what they had for lunch is only true if you follow the wrong people. You have the power to follow who you want, thus getting the experience you want. If you only want to follow athletes, you can. If you only want to follow media personalities, you can. If you only want to follow people named Fred, you can. You have the power.
The following is a list of 40 Twitter accounts that I thoroughly enjoy following and am recommending to you. This is not a list of "the 40 best Twitter accounts" or "40 accounts you must follow." This is simply a list of sports people who you may want to consider following. Inevitably, this will lead to many e-mails and tweets saying "How come you didn't recommend so-and-so," so let me explain my criteria. First and foremost, the people listed below all respond to fellow tweeters. For me, that's the most important quality I look for from someone I follow. Secondly, they don't overtweet. Thirdly, they have to fit the Hot Clicks genre. So, if someone isn't on the list, chances are, 1) They don't respond to people; 2) They tweet a lot or 3) I'm just not familiar with them. One last note: These are NOT ranked or in any particular order.
1. Brett Anderson, Oakland A's: The pitcher is always good for a simple one liner. For example, just yesterday, he tweeted, "Nothing screams big leaguer like your mom setting up a dentist appt over Christmas break...#thanksmom."
2. Tom Crabtree, Green Bay Packers: The tight end calls out spammers and consistently sends tweets to Martha Stewart.
3. Brandon and Amanda McCarthy, Oakland A's: I recommend following this husband and wife team so you can follow their banter. For example, Amanda recently tweeted, "it's an awkward moment when you realize that someone on Facebook defriended you.. someone that you were friendly with- yikes." Her husband then responded, "sorry, but dinner was terrible and I needed to send a message." Also, the last line of Brandon's Twitter bio is classic: "My wife says to say that I'm married."
4. Paul Bissonnette, Phoenix Coyotes: If you read Hot Clicks, there's really not much else I can say about BizNasty. This will give you an idea, though, of what he provides on Twitter.
5. Logan Morrison, Florida Marlins: If you like people who aren't afraid to venture into TMI territory, LoMo is for you. He recently opined, "I (honestly) believe its easier to hit a 95 mph fastball than flick a booger..."
6. C.J. Wilson, Anaheim Angels: Whatever your preconceived notion is of what the typical athlete is like, the "str8edgeracer" will change that. And he constantly replies to fans.
7. Darnell Dockett, Arizona Cardinals: A few months ago, Dockett was pulled over by police and live-tweeted the whole ordeal. Enough said.
8. Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts: McAfee discusses topics from football to politics with his followers on a daily basis. In addition, he shares behind-the-scenes stories about teammates and does ticket giveaways.
9. Torii Hunter, Anaheim Angels: The outfielder interacts with people and brings the humor as proven here: "On a flight to LA. The guy next to me won't let me sleep. Don't want to hear about a grown ass man and his yorki at 7am. This guy doesn't have a woman in his life. That Yorki can't give him what a woman can. No not just sex but the complete package. Sex too LOL."
10. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds: Phillips once attended a Little League game of one of his followers after the kid invited him via Twitter. Can't top that.
11. Mike Commodore, Detroit Red Wings: Most of Commodore's tweets are funny, but he often will discus specific topics with his followers. However, his staple is signing off his tweets with, "Stay Single My Friends."
12. Ryan Whitney, Edmonton Oilers: Random observations like this ("Never gets old when people say "good, and you?" after asking them "what's up?") and this ("Dropped iPhone in bowl of cereal. C'Mon Man!!!") make Whitney a fun follow.
13. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: He tweets as good as he dunks. For example, "My version of Black Friday is deleting all the ppl in my phone who sent me a "mass thanksgiving text." And "Wanna win a million dollars? This link won't help but its a look inside my short lived career during the lockout."
14. Kerry Rhodes, Arizona Cardinals: Rhodes bounces between serious thoughts ("Boy money really is the root of all evil!! Lol I never knew it controlled so many people. I pray 4 them everyday."), sound advice ("Gnite twit fam yall be careful 2nite!! And if ur gonna have some fun wear protection!!! Lol! Jk."), football commentary ("Whoooo young man got his top popped!!! Helmet one way du rag the other!! Man!") and his love of women ("J LO got that donk back!! Lol.")
15. Jeremy Guthrie, Baltimore Orioles: If you want to read tweets about Justin Bieber and boy bands, Guthrie is your guy. In addition, he's constantly doing giveaways and contests.
16. Tony Scheffler, Detroit Lions: The tight end has gotten plenty of attention this year for his touchdown dances, and he often tweets about them. Recently, he also shared this interesting nugget about Bob Costas, who went off on Sunday Night Football about touchdown celebrations.: "For the record......Got an apology from Bob Costas himself. Apparently a little swashbuckling never hurt anyone."
17. NMATV: If you like the Taiwanese animation videos that are featured in Hot Clicks, follow this feed to get the links as soon as they're posted.
18. SportsIn140.com: This feed lets you know when an athlete joins Twitter.
19. ESPNBook: If behind-the-scenes, inside dirt on the Worldwide Leader interests you, this feed is for you.
20. Dick Vitale: The long-time college hoops analyst tweets about the Kardashians, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, in addition to basketball. Your mind will be blown.
21. Joe Buck: The Fox broadcaster just re-joined Twitter this week, but I'm putting him on the list already because of this tweet: "And yes it's me. Joe. I can actually laugh at that stuff. Randy Moss! Artie! Nepotism! My greatest hits!" This tweet should be recognized, too: "Btw I like Artie Lange. The jokes are 2 years old. Make fun of something new like the virus I had in my vocal cord. Now that's funny!"
22. Jim Ross: The best WWE announcer ever answers fans questions about the business each and every day.
23: Howard Finkel: The legendary ring announcer tweets about sports, as much as wrestling.
24. Scott Van Pelt: The SportsCenter anchor seems like one of the few ESPN people who aren't afraid to tweet what they want. More importantly, he tweets about betting. A lot.
25. Rich Eisen: Football information + some snark = perfect combination.
26. Jaime Edmondson: The Playmate has made good use of her photoshoots. She does NFL picks each week, but instead of just typing the winning team, she tweets a picture of her in that team's apparel.
27. Kate Upton: She tweets pics!
28. Erin Andrews: It's Erin Andrews.
29. The Big Lead: A steady flow of sports/pop culture opinions and links that often get used in Hot Clicks.
30. Larry Brown Sports: Always tweeting links to offbeat and under-the-radar sports items that are regularly featured in Hot Clicks.
31. World of Isaac: The man behind Guyism.com offers sports links and coverage of attractive women.
32. Greg Wyshynski: I don't know much about hockey. I do know what it comes to covering the sport and running a hockey blog, nobody does it better than Puck Daddy.
33. J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas: The duo, known as The Basketball Jones, should be followed by any and all NBA fans.
34. Dan Steinberg: The man behind the DC Sports Bog covers every single aspect of Washington sports.
35. Matt Sebek: The creator of Joe Sports Fan riffs all things St. Louis and taunts the city's mayor on a regular basis.
36. Sarah Spain: Windy City residents should follow Spain for full coverage of Chicago sports.
37. Dan Rubenstein: One of the guys behind The Solid Verbal podcast always has a unique take on college football to share.
38. Eric Stangel: The head writer for the Late Show with David Letterman throws out jokes ("Kobe Bryant and his wife split. Advice to the ladies - you do not want to be Kobe's rebound relationship girl...") about sports and pop culture throughout the day.
39. JD Harmeyer: This list needed to have some Howard Stern show representation. Since Howard and Baba Booey barely tweet, the show's Media Editor is a good source for links and commentary on pop culture. For example, he recently tweeted, "Personally, I thought "re-making" The 3 Stooges was a bad idea....and this teaser trailer confirms it."
40. MikeFrancesaNY: This one is for my fellow New Yorkers. If you ever listened to Mike Francesa on WFAN, or watched him on the YES Network for even just one second, you absolutely positively must follow this fake account.
BONUS: Jimmy Traina: If I can't plug myself in this column, what's the point?
* Techincally, there are 43 people on this list, but who's counting.