Zwolinski Whiffs On Manny Rumour

Over the weekend, Toronto Star sports reporter Mark Zwolinski awkwardly informed readers that the Toronto Blue Jays would not be able to acquire Manny Ramirez because the free agent “on the verge of signing a one-year deal with Anaheim, with the Angels having reportedly agreed to the deal.”

While it’s always nice to learn that the team offering a deal to a free agent also agrees to it, in this case, it simply wasn’t true.  In all likelihood, the Angels, who already have Bobby Abreu and Mike Napoli on their roster, haven’t even been interested in Ramirez.  It’s assumed that Zwolinski got his information from this guy, the owner of a fake Twitter account for ESPN reporter Enrique Rojas.

Normally, fake Twitter accounts are about as hilarious as a funeral for a baby, but they actually become a hindrance when they don’t make their satirical intentions known and then tweet things like:

Once again Angels have reached agreement with Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras on a one year deal somewhere around 4 million.

Still, one would hope that a seasoned journalist like Zwolinski would do further fact checking than a Twitter search for Ramirez’s name before accepting something as fact.  And perhaps it’s not too much to ask that once he were to come across that tweet, he might look to see that it’s source was an account with a grand total of five followers.

Oddly enough,  Zwolinski wasn’t the only one fooled.  Bill Shaikin took to his own Twitter account to point out that:

Tweets re: #Angels signing Manny generated by someone faking identity of ESPN reporter. Nice world we live in. Angels have 3 DHs already.

Reading about baseball in the mainstream media can be a frustrating enough activity on its own without having journalists who must clearly specialize in other sports trying to offer analysis.  One need look no further than the rest of Zwolinski’s piece, which is actually about the Blue Jays avoiding arbitration with Carlos Villanueva.

Villanueva is relatively new to relief — 2010 was his first as a reliever — and critics have noted that while he has great potential, he surrendered a home run for just under every seven innings pitched.

The briefest of glances through Villanueva’s career numbers reveals that he appeared in 54 games as a reliever in 2007, 38 games in 2008 and 58 games in 2009.  As for his proclivity for giving up the long ball, no one would argue that the reliever has difficulty keeping the ball in the park with his 1.2 HR/9 last season, but presenting it as an uncommon IP/HR ratio makes staggeringly little sense.

On a personal note, it’s incredibly frustrating to see this type of article representing Canadian baseball writers.  As someone from North of the Border, it can be a struggle at times to validate my opinions on America’s pastime.  Poorly written, factually incorrect articles like Zwolinski’s don’t do anyone any favours.