An interesting element of social media is how it’s often made it that it isn’t necessarily the biggest outlets first to report scoops, and that’s perhaps especially true in baseball. We saw that with Reddit users KatyPerrysBootyHole and WetButt23 breaking the Jose Quintana trade back in 2017 (in related news, Quintana signed with the Angels Tuesday night, a move broken by Ken Rosenthal of Fox and The Athletic rather than a couple of random people on Reddit), and we saw it with Braves’ fan Brian Chandler breaking the news of that team’s signing of Yasiel Puig last July (a deal nullified after Puig tested positive for COVID-19). Well, the Blue Jays’ signing of free-agent outfielder George Springer (to the largest deal in team history) Tuesday night was initially broken by Brendon Kuhn of Blue Jays Nation, from a barbershop chair, no less (as seen above, and below):
Yes I broke this news from a barber chair pic.twitter.com/mvbAWk4SFf
— Brendon Kuhn (@_bkuh_) January 20, 2021
Kuhn’s initial tweet came at 8:27 p.m. Eastern. Joey Vendetta, who hosts a Sportsnet radio show and also works for LiveNation, added confirmation at 8:46 p.m. Eastern. But because these reports came from people who weren’t nationally known in the U.S. in particular, they took a lot of initial abuse and skepticism on Twitter. However, much later Tuesday, U.S. national insiders Jon Morosi (MLB Network), Joel Sherman (The New York Post/MLB Network), Jeff Passan (ESPN), Jon Heyman (MLB Network/WFAN), and Ken Rosenthal (Fox and The Athletic) offered their own confirmations and details on the terms, with some crediting Kuhn and Vendetta:
Sources: #BlueJays now are the frontrunners to sign George Springer. @_bkuh_ and @RadioVendetta each have reported tonight that the Jays and Springer have a deal in place pending a physical exam. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 20, 2021
source confiirms multiple reports: #BlueJays are closing in on George Springer.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 20, 2021
As long as this winter has been for Toronto, in the end the Blue Jays land their top target. A huge get for a team that is on the rise and going to be a threat to the Yankees and Rays in the AL East. @_bkuh_ first said Springer was headed to the Jays.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 20, 2021
Springer and Jays agree at $150M for 6 years
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2021
Source confirms: Blue Jays in agreement with free-agent outfielder George Springer. Per @JonHeyman, six years, $150M. Pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 20, 2021
It’s not unusual to see not a lot of credit given for those who are first to report a move, and baseball in particular has sometimes been weak on this. See our 2015 post on ESPN’s crediting of “Multiple Reports” for most major deals; that’s part of some general sourcing issues at ESPN in the past, which to their credit, they’ve somewhat improved in the past few years. And it’s promising to see some of these national voices properly credit who had it first. But there’s still a long ways to go in terms of proper sourcing here.
And it’s worth recognizing that baseball at the moment is a sport where a lot of major stories can be broken by someone who’s plugged in locally but not necessarily known nationally (or internationally). That’s a contrast to the NBA, where even many locally-reported stories tend to be co-bylined with a national insider like Adrian Wojnarowski (at ESPN) or Shams Charania (at Stadium/The Athletic), the NFL, where most transaction news comes from ESPN’s Adam Schefter or NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (occasionally with a co-byline in both cases), and the NHL, where a lot of news is coming from national figures like TSN’s Bob McKenzie or Darren Dreger or Sportsnet/CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.
Yes, MLB has its national/international insiders (particularly the five above), but there are still a lot of very plugged-in local reporters, and many of them are with outlets that don’t have national affiliations, so their scoops are their own rather than co-bylined with a national insider. So it might behoove some people on Twitter to wait a little bit before blasting a MLB report from an unexpected source. Yes, there are some that are wrong, absolutely, and they deserve roasting for that. But there are also some reports from less-prominent figures that wind up absolutely validated in the end. And baseball seems like a sport in particular where some of those turn out that way.