Scapegoating The Twitter

Poor Ryan Dempster. It seems as though the 35-year old right-handed pitcher with the Chicago Cubs, who’s earning $14 million this season, had his pwecious widdle feewings hurt yesterday when word of a trade between his team and the Atlanta Braves involving him was leaked before he received word of it from the Cubs front office.

After previously giving his club permission to deal him to Atlanta, Dempster now appears to be backtracking and holding up a possible trade, essentially because he felt “blindsided” by the news being leaked.

Here’s the thing:’s Mark Bowman, a beat writer for the Atlanta Braves, was the first reporter to break the story. It doesn’t take the most enormous leap in logic to assume that Bowman’s source for the scoop had closer relations to the Braves’ side of the business than the Cubs’. Yet, by holding up the deal, Dempster seems to be punishing Chicago for something that happened outside their realm of control.

Adding further confusion to the issue is everyone’s interest in blaming social media for either spreading misinformation or propagating the correct information before Dempster had learned of it.

This had nothing to do with Twitter. A reporter, doing his job, got a scoop. He published that scoop. Other reporters saw the published scoop, spoke to their own sources about it, and then confirmed what the original reporter had reported.

This exact same thing would have happened with or without the existence of Twitter. The application merely sped up the process of everyone learning about it by making it more accessible in a faster time.

It seems so unreasonable to me that Dempster would sulk about such matters, after originally giving his team permission to speak with the Braves, that I wonder if it isn’t all a negotiation ploy. Maybe the crafty veteran is using the leak as leverage to gain better bonus money to waive his no-trade rights. At least that seems more reasonable, and there would be something of an irony in that with all the crying over what Twitter has done, it’s actually Dempster who’s using it to the biggest advantage.

Either way, blaming social media for stories being broken is to take aim at the wrong beast. I’ve written in the past about the lure of breaking news and how everyone wants to be Ken Rosenthal. This isn’t an example of that. It’s a good reporter getting a good scoop and running with it. Twitter and Dempster be damned, Mark Bowman was doing his job.