Everyone Wants To Be Ken Rosenthal

A funny phenomenon has been occurring this off season. It seems that people are pretending to know more than they actually do.

Now, without context, that’s nothing new to humanity or even baseball’s version of humanity, as anyone who’s heard Joe Morgan’s voice from a broadcast booth (or read what I wrote last winter about offering Jose Bautista a contract extension) will attest. What I’m referring to is the new found practice of using social media to claim knowledge of a forthcoming baseball transaction that in reality isn’t any more forthcoming than the spirit world revealing itself to all.

Since the final out of the World Series, we’ve seen several examples of regular people like you and me who have no connection whatsoever to front offices, managers, players or agents, refer to their inside sources as a means of giving credence to their most likely made up claims.

These people are either liars or ridiculously stupid.

If they have no source at all for their information, they’re obviously lying, but if they do have someone in their sad and attention-starved life falsely informing them, they’re quite plainly moronic for believing that an individual would be willing to risk something of a prestigious position within the inner circle of one of thirty Major League Baseball teams to relay information to them. And from there, anyone believing this supposed conduit for sought after information is also in turn an idiot.

However, identifying the phenomenon is the easy part. Explaining the rationale behind such obvious stunts-for-attention trade offs is likely best done by social scientists or a ton of others more qualified than me. What I think is happening is some sort of strange combination of misplaced hero worship and the practice of information as a commodity.

I’ve often said that in baseball, more so than other sports, it’s difficult to gain the right level of appreciation for what’s happening on a diamond without actually playing on a diamond at one time. There’s so much gracefulness on display at a baseball game that it simply looks so easy to catch, throw and swing. The reality of course is that it’s incredibly difficult.

I wonder if reporters like Rosenthal and Buster Olney might share this characteristic with the athletes that they cover. Instead of a diamond though, they put their talents on display on Twitter, and we see the end result of their hard work and network building without the process. In other words, they make what they do look so easy.

The misguided attention whores, already assured of a life not as a professional athlete, turn to seeking the praise, that the select few reporters actually earn, through lottery like means; taking wild stabs at predicting possible outcomes. The credibility of a small Twitter following is much like the minimal amount of dollars it takes to purchase a lottery ticket.

If that simile is remotely true, it’s understandable. I can relate. Praise and positive attention feel really good. Hard work and development don’t. I’d like to suggest that praise and positive attention feel even better when it’s actually earned through hard work and development, but to me at least, that’s not true anywhere outside of idealistic movies, novels and pop songs.

Fortunately for me, I have an enormous amount of pride, and the idea of being wrong about a guess or trusting the word of someone else guards me against such unfortunate rolls of the dice, or a reliance on anything being certain. I suppose that’s the difference between me and them, and it’s the reason that if you’re following me on Twitter you can trust that I’ll never fabricate or relay incorrect information.

It’s not a virtuous thing. It’s simply a more reasonable approach.