Sunday, March 09, 2014

This Week's Obsession Continues (As Does The Lie)

To recap: Guy from Sun-Sentinel claims Red Sox had only 2 players in their lineup with past major league experience in recent game. I immediately check box score to see that the number is actually three, plus the starting pitcher, and blog about it. Other sources pick up the error without checking it.

Next round of stories about the Red Sox' apology emerges, all still running with the error.

And now, a third round emerges as John Henry tweets about the Marlins, and guess what? We're still hearing lines like

Just two players in the Red Sox lineup that day had MLB experience.

from USA Today and

Seven of Boston’s nine position players didn’t have any major league plate appearances

from Sports Illustrated.

Note that these aren't quotes from the original article (which would still be bad as long as they didn't note the facts were wrong), but new writers putting the original error into their own words, just like in the first and second rounds of stories.

I mean Jesus, SI, there aren't even nine position players in baseball to begin with. There are eight, plus a pitcher and a DH, for a total of 10 players in the starting lineup, and the Red Sox had four with MLB experience, and they all played at least three innings in the game in question. (Which still might not meet the supposedly vague guideline set by MLB, but four is twice as many as two.) But they picked up that language from the original article. I feel like these people would pick up and run with a story about a scandal that rocked the Chicago Whales' locker room, without first checking and finding out that there's no such team. This isn't quite revenge on SI for Sidd Finch, but the principle is the same.

Brandon Snyder is the guy who really gets screwed here, as he went unnoticed by both the original writer and the countless others who don't check facts before perpetuating myths. I tweeted to Brandon and he was kind enough to write back:

I have also tweeted to the writer of the USA Today article linked above, we'll see if he does anything.

Deleted scenes: As for how the mistake relates to the actual topic at hand, well, it's interesting, because some sources seem to think you just need four guys with experience, others say you need to "bring" four," others say "regulars" as opposed to just guys with experience. It's all very cloudy, and I get the feeling even if the first guy had noticed Snyder, he still would have written the article he wrote. But maybe not. I think maybe without the ammunition of the "all but two had not so much as a plate appearance" when you actually had four guys out of ten in the starting lineup (including DH and pitcher), he might not have thought he had a case. Based on the fact that this rule is broken so often. Who knows. But it's all about the principle to me. Guy makes clear mistake. Others pick it up, over and over, nobody checks the damn boxscore. Except the guy in mom's basement.
Mom here. Brandon confirms your initial instinct. I'm buying a SNYDER shirt as soon as I hit Yawkey Way opening day.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States