The Short Lifespan of a Rumor

» 23 November 2010 » In mlb prospects »

On Friday, I found an article that I liked and “tweeted” it,  which my friends at MLB Trade Rumors then picked up and wrote a post on. Within a half hour of the MLBTR post, journalist Nick Piecoro had refuted the information in the original article with one of the principles of the story.

What was the story? A summary and some speculation about the Diamondbacks interest in Lotte reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi. The story included a quote from D-Backs GM Kevin Towers, one that he made in late September: “We have strong interest in Japanese pitchers. Once we size up the market, if we decide that Japanese pitchers like Hiro Kobayashi fit our team we’ll move to acquire them.” The article went on to say that the Diamondbacks have “already prepared a contract of around $3m over two years,” and explain the team’s bullpen issues and Towers’ experience acquiring Akinori Otsuka.

It seemed plausible enough, and still does, but got denied pretty quickly. Two things jump out at me here, both related to Twitter. The first is the speed at which this took place — from the time I saw the article it only took a tweet, a blog post, a text message and another tweet to shoot the news down. The second is the limitations of Twitter as a vehicle for information. One of Twitter’s founding fathers, Evan Williams, recently said “we’ve lowered the barriers to publishing almost as far as they can go.” While that’s true, the 140 character format of Twitter messages isn’t conducive to including a lot of qualifying contextual information. Twitter is a great way to build an audience and communicate with readers, but it turns out that it’s not terribly compatible with my style of making information available.


Trackback URL

  1. Patrick
    23/11/2010 at 10:12 am Permalink

    totally agreed. the limit of 140 characters can be pretty tough sometimes. In my case ( and I regret that i just don’t find the time to post stuff on my blog frequently) i resort to posting something and then write a short notice on twitter.

    keep up the good work, patrick. since reading japanese newspaper articles still is very hard for me i rely on people like you to get information about japanese baseball ;o)

  2. Patrick
    23/11/2010 at 10:19 am Permalink

    It truly is fascinating how quickly information can spread and have an impact in today’s media age. Your tweet gets publicized on MLBTR which causes a journalist to respond within 30 minutes. Unreal.

  3. Patrick
    24/11/2010 at 7:42 am Permalink

    Man, I guess I should be glad that nobody gives a shit about going to actual baseball games in Japan 🙂

  4. Patrick
    24/11/2010 at 8:54 am Permalink

    “Sources indicate that Deanna was present at the Meijji-Keio Big6 game. We are working to confirm the story.”

  5. Patrick
    24/11/2010 at 11:13 am Permalink

    “Sources indicate that Deanna was present at the Meijji-Keio Big6 game. We are working to confirm the story.”

    Hahahahahaha, great!

  6. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 5:14 am Permalink

    Well, they suddenly care about it when the Dodgers sign Meiji’s LHP Kazuki Nishijima, of course 😛

    Seriously, if I’d written about when I went to dinner with a couple of guys on the Meiji team several weeks ago and heard about how Nishijima and a few others weren’t expecting to get drafted, and were basically planning to go try to play ball in the US for a few years in order to get experience and then get drafted here “the GG Satoh way”, as one of them put it, nobody would have batted an eyelid anyway. If you’d tweeted it, it would have been international rumor central! It’s just funny how that works.

  7. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 5:50 am Permalink

    Though I suppose what I actually meant by my comment was, I should be fortunate that nobody’s scouting the decibels or arm speed of the Waseda ouendan vs. the Aichi Gakuin ouendan, or likely to tweet any rumors about the facilities or lack thereof at Olympic Stadium in Nagano, or write a cutting-edge report on which NPB players had bento boxes named after them in 2010 (and that infact, the Kenta Maeda bento with the yummy potato-filled burger was ALSO a Triple Crown winner…)

  8. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 7:38 am Permalink

    “and that infact, the Kenta Maeda bento with the yummy potato-filled burger was ALSO a Triple Crown winner…”

    I think I had that while I was at the new stadium in Hiroshima. Very yummy!

  9. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 9:44 am Permalink

    This thread gives me an excuse to drag out this classic:

  10. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 11:58 am Permalink


    In response to your complaints, I’ll make some wild (maybe not, but logical) guesses:

    1. When Americans think of Asia, they think of China and Thailand. Dimsum, Kungfu, and white elephants. There’s nothing mystic about Japan. It was an economic competitor back in the 1980s, that’s about as good as national attention has been.

    2. What is a bento? It’s rhetoric. I know what’s a bento. But there are 31 million Americans who can care less. A lot of those stuffs you mentioned require cultural nuisances. We don’t need them for America. Seriously, if I never took a Japanese Studies course in college, I would never had read Robert Whiting’s “You gotta have Wa,” which my prof. back then required us to read a chapter.

    3. We plus 1 and 2, here we go. Americans don’t travel to Japan for the culture, but for business. Americans don’t understand Japanese baseball, because there’s too much of their own culture built in. Americans don’t need to spend time on Japanese baseball.

    “Iwakuma will be a number 5 in the A’s rotation, so don’t spend money on him.”

    “Japanese position players cannot generate power, so don’t sign them.”

    Those are popular beliefs, based on partial truth, which makes things more or so dangerous.

    Of course, “Ignorance is Strength,” and we love to believe that we are still the strongest power in the world, don’t we.

  11. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 1:13 pm Permalink

    Wow, talk about over-analyzing a comment.

  12. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 3:17 pm Permalink

    Well, no. I mean, Dorasaga is saying in a serious way what I was saying in a facetious way. The truth is that for the most part, American baseball fans DON’T care at all about Japanese baseball besides “who’s the next guy coming over, how good is he, and how cheaply can we sign him?”

    It’s a shame, but that’s the state of things. I wish more people could learn and enjoy a lot from the baseball culture here in Japan, but they usually choose not to…

  13. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 4:05 pm Permalink

    Well, that’s basically true of course. On the other hand, there are MLB fans that are genuinely excited when their team gets a Japanese player, and the ‘how cheap’ question is not unique to NPB imports. I get burnt out on how money-driven MLB is.

    It’s also a two-way street. There’s some generic coverage of MLB in Japan, but mostly what shows up in the news is how the Japanese players did.

    The thing that consistently ticks me off is when Americans act like NPB is an MLB minor league. NPB teams want to compete for fans and championships just like all professional sports teams. If I could make one thing understood, I think I would go with that.

  14. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 5:12 pm Permalink

    I spent six months in Sendai studying a couple years ago. I became an Eagles fan. Many of my friends here refuse to believe that NPB is even real baseball. They see it as just another AAA league like the International League, etc. But, like Patrick mentioned no one in Sendai gave two hoots about anyone other than Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, etc in the MLB. There is an arrogance (or simply ignorance) on both sides for sure.

  15. Patrick
    25/11/2010 at 7:36 pm Permalink

    What to me, as a european, is most fascinating is how the clubs negotiate the transfer of a player. of course i’m used to how it’s done in all european pro sports leagues which is if a player is under contract a club will pay a certain sum of money and then negotiate a new contract with the player. if he is a free agent he can sign with whatever club he chooses to. european clubs pay transfer fees for top players at around 30 mio euros, the most expensive player being christiano ronaldo at, i believe, 94 mio. So what if they get rid of the posting fee process and make it public? each team with an interest in a player just says how much they are willing to pay and then they go from there? or would that lower the amount of money MLB clubs are willing to pay?