On Twitter, Remember to Check Your “Sources”


Last night a report on Twitter caused some Tiger fans a bit of angst.  A fella named Scott Swaim (who goes by the name of @MLBInsideNews) tweeted earlier in the day that the Tigers were close to a deal with Bobby Abreu.  This did not get any traction until Grey/@spacemnkymafia re-tweeted (RTed) it to his followers 7 hours later.  He RTed Mr. Swaim’s comment because he thought it was quite humorous…which I agree, it is.  However, some took it to be the truth, either because the guy has the name MLBInsideNews with an official looking avatar or because they are desperate enough for a move to be made at DH they they will believe anything.

Twitter is kind of like sports radio where everyone could call in and say they heard _____ because they have a friend who works for the club.  And some sports stations would run with it for a bit to generate buzz.  However, with Twitter, there is no producer to jump in and say “Hey, wait a second, there is no way that is true, have we checked any other sources?”  If I changed my name from @TigerCub33 to @TigerzInsiderz and put the team logo as my avatar would you be more likely to believe me if I said that that the Tigers just traded for David Price?  Hopefully not (and hey, if the DID trade for Price a day later, it doesn’t mean I was right, it probably just means I was lucky).  There are a lot of good people to follow on Twitter for breaking baseball news/rumors.  For one, MLBTradeRumors collects the info almost instantly and redistributes it.  They help weed out the made up crap from the stuff that has legs.

One last thing on Abreu to Detroit — it is not happening.  How do I know?  Because, nobody else is on this story.  Not Henning, Gage or Beck.  Not Morosi, Rosenthal, Gammons or Lemming.  Not TigsTown, BlessYouBoys, or MotorCityBengals.  When the Phillies traded Abreu to the Yankees back in 2006 there were rumors that the Tigers were involved, but Jim Leyland flatly denied those rumors. Why go after Abreu when a striking similar player in Johnny Damon, who already knows the clubhouse and who Leyland really likes, is available?

I know we are all anxious for the Tigers to make a move.  However, before jumping to conclusions, it is always better to see how many people with real connections are talking about something before you take it as the truth.  When the Tigers do make a move, you will see a TON of people talking about it, many of whom would rather be right than first.

EDIT: As I was just reminded while reading a TigsTown article – Bobby Abreu is not even a Free Agent.  He is still under contract with the Angels making this Twitter rumor even more ridiculous.