Is this really how professional reporters paid by John Henry are going to spin getting scooped by a 14-year-old kid on the biggest news of the Red Sox offseason?
On Tuesday night, the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn posted a painfully late-to-the-party take on affiliate site Boston.com regarding the evolution of Twitter in the breaking of baseball (but, really, all) news. (Presumably, some iteration of the piece will make it into real-world mailboxes as part of tomorrow’s print edition.)
Of course, for those who did not doze off in the minutes before the evening officially became morning again, the pending signing of Ramirez, the three-time All-Star and sometimes pain-in-the-ass, was not something you learned when you flipped on the MLB Network while waiting for the coffee to percolate.
It was something you slept on, presuming the notion of another slugging, man-child Ramirez playing left field for the Red Sox did not keep you awake. Because the news was broken in that relatively new, real-time conventional way, with no regard for deadlines. It broke, via Ken Rosenthal, the respected national baseball reporter for Fox Sports and the MLB Network…
Somehow, Finn dutifully includes quotes from some of the old guard guys, former beat reporters such as Peter Gammons and Tyler Kepner, but fails to mention what many Red Sox fans already know – there is some 14-year-old kid out there (Jake Wesley @mlb_nl_al) who members of the Boston front office would rather speak to than employees of a news outlet owned by the same boss/company.
Here is Rosenthal’s breaking news:
Here’s Jake Wesley’s, 11 hours earlier:
This is not an indictment on Rosenthal, by any means. But it’s still worth noting that well before bedtime, the information Rosenthal finally felt comfortable passing along to the general public had already made its way to online message boards on the Internet, including the most notorious Red Sox fanboard, Sons of Sam Horn. Speculation was rampant, even if a 14-year-old kid’s proclamations were understandably greeted with a skeptical eye, even with his recent track record for “breaking” big contract news.
It isn’t all too surprising that the John Henry-employed heads in the Boston Globe/Boston.com offices on Morrisey Boulevard don’t seem all that anxious to admit that a 14-year-old scooped them on news of two of the biggest offseason signings in team history.
But c’mon now – advancing a revisionist timeline to make an already floundering operation look a little less asleep at the wheel doesn’t really make a lot of sense, either. It’s self-serving and utter, complete intellectual dishonesty. Plus, they aren’t close to being the only traditional media outlet to be scooped by outsiders on baseball news. It’s been happening for years.
Twitter has been around for more than half a decade at this point and it’s not exactly groundbreaking that social media has the ability to provide a platform through which news can be disseminated at all hours of the day – true ‘UP TO THE MINUTE!’ coverage, etc. etc.
There is nothing necessarily to be too ashamed of here, after all. Any notable news – whether acquired on the level or not – that is reported by a Globe beat writer is likely to come with the smell of favoritism and insider access.
There is, however, a way to combat that perception. May we suggest that with the team sure to experience a surge in popularity, the Globe consider more carefully the quality of its content and coverage of the team rather than concerning itself with a completely lame and indirect defense of itself for being a few hours behind on a Tweet?
The sad Gawkerization of Boston.com under John Henry’s new regime is well underway and probably irreversible. But the newspaper branch of the company might just be able to save itself yet if they’re willing to be honest with itself and its readership about what it can truly bring to the table, literally.
Because let the record show, this kid – Nick Cafardo or Peter Abraham – may be the Red Sox’s front office’s first phone call for a while longer: