Thursday, July 29, 2010

Behind my Twitter feud with @dylanohernandez

I've never been in a blood feud before. This is fun.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@hankschulman) have been amused and/or annoyed with the barrage of insults between me and Dylan Hernandez, the Dodgers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Some background: Dylan and I are good friends. He used to write for the San Jose Mercury News, and as soon as I met him I knew he was going places. He's a talented writer who speaks Japanese and Spanish, which naturally makes him an attractive commodity in the baseball-writing world. That the Times hired him when he was relatively young was no surprise.

I mentored Dylan some when he was at the Merc, answering a lot of questions about the job and guiding him when he asked. We've stayed good friends since he left the Bay Area.

As for the feud, it began when the Giants played the Dodgers in Los Angeles in April. I was eating a couple of Dodger Dogs in the press box before the game (shaddup!) and Dylan, as a lark, Tweeted a wise-ass comment about my eating habits. I Tweeted a wise-ass response. Dylan had just gotten onto Twitter while I already had more than 2,000 followers and noticed a spike in new followers after our little exchange. So he came to me and said, "Let's insult each other on Twitter all weekend so I can pick up more."

I thought he was kidding, but Dylan is a bulldog reporter and wouldn't stop. He kept Tweeting jokes about my food intake, and I had to respond with insults about his height (hey, we didn't have a referee to say, "No punches below the belt." Dylan started to enjoy the repartee and his rising Twitter base.

The thing has taken on a life of its own. Not only does Dylan maintain a steady barrage of fat jokes, his acolytes have taken up the cause. A few mornings ago, Dylan Tweeted, "I'm eating breakfast, or as @hankschulman calls it, "fifth dinner." The subject then turned to cake, and one of his followers wrote, "At @hankschulman's house, there is no such thing as a piece of cake. There is only whole cake." Another wrote, "@hankschulman is married? To a woman? I can't imagine cake gets through the front-door threshold in that house."

I howled out loud at the "whole cake" line. There really must be a bunch of folks in Twitterdom who think I weight three and a half bills. Truth is, I'm not as overweight as folks think, and Dylan is not the inebriate and life-hating nihilist that I have suggested in some of my Tweets.

Some folks are annoyed with the feud. One Tweeted that Dylan and I should get a room. Another said he was de-following me because the insultweets were cluttering his inbox. I'd like to think it adds a little spice to the Dodgers-Giants rivalry.

And I dare say I'm winning by the most objective standard -- Twitter followers.

@hankschulman 3,680
@dylanohernandez 2,213

Wrap that in a rasher of bacon and eat it, Dylan.