For long-distance Rockies fans, social media provides a medium for interacting with the team, including individual players. Social media doesn’t have a filter – no journalist is crafting a story – which means fans can draw their own conclusions, and players can speak in their own voice (or pictures for those who favor Instagram). Most of the Rockies have social media platforms to promote causes, provide a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a professional athlete, or create a more personal profile than those constructed in traditional sports media.
But in the same way that each player has his own style on the field, each has his own social media presence. And none of them are quite as distinct as Charlie Blackmon’s social media persona, known as “Chuck Nazty.”
In “The Split Mind of Charlie Blackmon Is Anchoring the Rockies’ Outfield,” Nick Groke writes, “There are two Charlie Blackmons. One of them hit a halfcourt shot last month during a timeout at a Nuggets game at the Pepsi Center and ran off the court like Harpo Marx. The other was standing in the Rockies’ clubhouse last week arguing with a sportswriter about spin-rate pitch data and outfielder route efficiency.”
To advance Groke’s point, Charlie Blackmon plays centerfield for the Rockies, but Chuck Nazty runs wild on social media. Charlie Blackmon is from Georgia and was drafted by the Rockies out of the Georgia Institute of Technology, but Chuck Nazty emerged on Twitter (@chuck_nazty) and has since migrated to Instagram (@chuck__nazty).
Chuck Nazty was born on Twitter on August 16, 2011. At the time, Charlie Blackmon was on the 60-day disabled list, recovering from foot surgery just two months after making his major-league debut. Blackmon spent three years on the Twitter feed before moving to Instagram. Currently, he has 38.3K Twitter followers and follows 369 users. He’s tweeted 828 times, and many of the recent ones are just posts from Instagram. There aren’t a lot of tweets, but in the course of those early ones, the genesis of Chuck Nazty becomes clear.
I got a "Chuck Nazty" shout out at the game today. I did not recognize you but you know who you are. Nice work! Makes me feel loved.— Charlie Blackmon (@Chuck_Nazty) March 6, 2012
The Early Tweets
First, understand that baseball isn’t the focus of early Chuck Nazty. Yes, it’s always in the background, but it’s not front and center. If you’re looking for training tips or baseball statistics or inspiring words or Charlie Blackmon plays of the week, this isn’t the place. (He tends to retweet that material rather than write it himself.) Instead, it’s a window into the Wonderful World of Chuck Nazty.
The topics he covers are diverse: He’s finishing college with honors; he’s recovering from surgery on his left foot; he gets a high grade on his corporate restructuring test (“That is going on the fridge for sure”); he doesn’t like wearing socks; he decides to wear cargo pants (more pockets); he buys rollerblades; he travels; he works out; he loves Halloween; he gets his pictures taken with the Oscar Mayer WeinerMobile; the Pterodactyl is his favorite dinosaur; he supports fundraisers for charities; he hopes to get Dinger’s autograph (aside from beneath the Pterodactyl, it’s unclear where Dinger lands on the dinosaur hierarchy). He also tweets a lot about his phone – 11 times, including when he dropped his phone in the toilet. He also includes plenty of pictures, and he’s a fan of the selfie.
Among this potpourri of interests, are three consistent themes in those early tweets.
A voice deep down told me it's time to grow up. Then a voice even deeper down said "I want my hair cut into a mullet." Growing up = not fun— Charlie Blackmon (@Chuck_Nazty) August 9, 2012
By my count (which is an estimate—the counting can be tricky), Blackmon’s hair (facial and cranial) comes up 36 times. Early on, he asks his followers for feedback on his look and even has a “mustache battle.” But as he figures out his look, he spends less time tweeting about it. His beard is much like Rapunzel’s hair in Tangled: It’s a source of power.
It turns out, Chuck Nazty is a serious TV watcher. “I love TV,” he tweets. His tastes are far-ranging: Seinfeld (#HotsForElaine), 60 Minutes, MacGyver, the Olympics, golf, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Cops, Wipe Out, Looney Tunes, and Spanish-language soap operas (while he was playing in the Dominican Republic). National Geographic and Discovery are his “go to” channels—though he fears they’ve “sold out”—and he takes “Shark Week” very seriously. Actually, he’d like a Shark Channel!
Blackmon’s also a movie fan: Top Gun is his clear favorite, though he also mentions Madagascar II, Conan the Barbarian, Revenge of the Nerds II, Mean Girls, Ted, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo III, Zero Dark Thirty, Despicable Me II, Oz, The Lego Movie, and She’s Out of My League. I knew about his enthusiasm for video games (e.g., Mortal Kombat II and Modern Warfare III, Call of Duty: Ghosts), but the breadth of his television and film watching is impressive.
Chuck Nazty is constantly thinking about food. His Twitter feed is a litany of longing for, enjoying, and evaluating food. He even dreams about food – it comes to him one night that McDonald’s really should sell red velvet cake (”Genius!”). The Twitter feed of Chuck Nazty is a culinary rumination. But be warned: He’s not a foodie.
I'm trying this whole eating healthy thing. It stinks and it's overrated. And it's way harder to cook food than order Arby's.— Charlie Blackmon (@Chuck_Nazty) November 7, 2011
Blackmon likes to dine out in a salt of the earth manner. Here’s a chart graphing his favorite dining spots:
Moreover, he eats everything: Raisin Bran, Samoas, burritos, sandwiches (he drops one but, fortunately, it hits the screen of his iPad instead of the floor), green beans, almonds, applesauce, broccoli (better than cauliflower), pizza, Fig Newtons, peanut butter (his most-mentioned condiment), pecan pie, sweet potatoes, Double Stuf Oreos, cheese grits, chips. That’s just the beginning.
Based on tweets, breakfast is his favorite meal, and “Hangry Chuck” is to be avoided. (If you ever meet Charlie Blackmon, consider bringing a box of Eggo Waffles and some syrup.)
Here’s what he likes to eat.
Charlie Blackmon’s Twitter feed is absolutely delightful. Its range of topics is as vast as his food choices. (And it’s worth adding that his grammar and spelling are excellent. You’ve got to respect anyone who does a second tweet to correct a misspelling of “you’re.”) In the early tweets, he interacts with followers and confesses that he finds Twitter addictive. His account gets hacked, a notion he finds baffling. But in all of this, Chuck Nazty is finding his voice, just as he’s finding his place in baseball. Charlie Blackmon is in the background; Chuck Natzy is all about enjoying the world.
When Chuck Natzy made the move to Instagram in March 2014, it was not without challenges.
Some big shot thinks he can be "Chuck_Nazty" on Instagram. I want to join but he is hogging up my name. Give it back...now— Charlie Blackmon (@Chuck_Nazty) January 23, 2014
Instagram—where Nazty has 68.7K followers, has posted 141 times, and follows 400 users—has two obvious advantages over Twitter. First, it’s faster: upload a picture and write a short comment. Second, linking and interactions are limited. (Unlike the Rockies official Twitter account, he’s not responsible for dealing with trolls.)
At this point, Blackmon has less time for dealing with fans and followers, and the move to Instagram reflects this.
Chuck Nazty’s Instagram is still great fun, but the pics lack the vibrancy of his tweets, even if they’re thematically similar.
He travels Europe (and buys a Big Mac in Barcelona); he gets to fly with the Blue Angels; he works out; he supports Movember; he goes fishing; he posts behind-the-scenes pics; he joins The Six during the World Series; he hunts; he sleeps; he visits the New York Stock Exchange; he gets a like from LeBron James.
This chart isn’t comprehensive, but it points to his favorite subjects:
Here’s what you won’t find: many pics of Charlie Blackmon playing baseball. There’s no mention of winning a batting title or breaking the lead-off RBI record. This is Chuck Nazty, and he’s enjoying what the world has to offer. (He’d rather tweet about food than photograph it, and that’s our loss.)
Like an object and its shadow, Charlie and Chuck are separate but inextricable entities. If you want to see what interests Charlie Blackmon outside of baseball, Chuck Nazty is your guide. He’s been on ESPN and done The Most Wanted List, but what the world really needs is an “Eating and Watching TV with Chuck Nazty” show. It could highlight Charlie’s culinary choices and have the feel of “Shark Week.” Just think: The “Theme from Jaws” plays as he enters McDonald’s . . . Genius!
Over the past half decade, Charlie Blackmon the baseball player has evolved from mid-level prospect to MVP candidate, while Chuck Nazty has gone from talking about beard grooming on Twitter to showing off the beard in Instagram photos. Charlie and Chuck are one but not quite the same, and if you’re a Rockies fan, Chuck Nazty is a must follow.