That’s in all caps because I assume it will be a running feature that requires a formal title.
In case you missed it — and God, I hope you did — someone who styles themselves a teenage “baseball insider” tweeted a fake “Matt Kemp traded to the Orioles for Bud Norris and Dylan Bundy” thing late last night. In the past this sort of thing would probably be totally ignored, but with the emergence of MLB Daily Dish’s then-in-high-school Chris Cotillo last year — who actually reports stuff — and that flukey scoop on the Billy Butler signing by those young kids not too long ago — the idea of a 14-year-old kid getting a big piece of transactional news is not beyond the scope of plausibility, even if this one was phony.
Thus, on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving, actual people who would be required to write quickly about such rumors were, presumably, on the phone with their sources, trying to figure it out and then, later, when it turned out to be fake, grumbling about it all on Twitter. Some thoughts:
- As we’ve noted many, many times around here, a huge percentage of the real transaction news comes from a handful of reporters whose business it is to get those things. We may question whether any one scoop along those lines is valuable, but the fact is that certain folks — Heyman, Olney, Rosenthal and others with pretty recognizable names to people who care about such things — specialize in this. And, if someone else breaks such news, you can be assured that in very short order, one of those guys will confirm it with their own source. So, with the full understanding that we all find trade and free agent rumors fun and really like to talk about them when they happen, perhaps we shan’t go crazy about any rumor unless it comes from one of those guys.
- While putting out fake trade “news” is pretty weak sauce, 14-year-old boys are made up of about 79% weak sauce. Think about the stupid crap you did when you were 14 and thank God that there wasn’t an entire segment of the media who gave a crap, because boy you’d have been in deep. Which is to say, if you get burnt by a 14-year-old’s “news” to the point where you publicly and seriously take them to task for it, how in the hell would you have reacted back in the day when 14-year-olds would simply make prank calls? I sort of feel like, back then, a newspaper would not have issued an editorial about the perils of being asked if your refrigerator was running, so maybe now nothing more than an eye roll is in order now too.
- Finally, as I always do at these times, allow me to remind everyone that news like trades and free agent signings are, by definition, commodity news that will get out eventually and thus the need for people to have it first — be it reporters who fight to get it first or readers to read about it ASAP — is not as great as we have all been led to believe. Breathe a bit and worry more about what that kind of news means, not where it came from first. Besides, eventually the media will be entirely bypassed by this stuff anyway, with teams and players reporting it directly, so let’s get used to that world.
Now, let us all calm down and focus on the important things in life. Like why a baseball player who hit damn near 800 home runs won’t make the Hall of Fame again this year.