Twitter is a wonderful thing. It can also be an evil game of “telephone” gone mad. The latter struck the Raysiverse last night when a rumor spread like wildfire that the Mayor of Nashville said during a radio interview that he is pursuing the Tampa Bay Rays to move to his city.
Here is how it happened:
4:00pm: Somebody named @JohnBakerFSU sends out a tweet saying:
“Nashville mayor tells @1025TheGame there that the city wants to pursue the #Rays.”
As with any false rumor, it’s life expectancy is dependant on the right formula and the right person hearing it. In this case, @JohnBakerFSU used a radio report which is not as easy to verify as a newspaper or online report.
He also sent his tweet to Buster Olney of ESPN who just happened to live in Nashville for eight years and apparently got excited by the idea. Only 200 followers read @JohnBakerFSU’s Tweet, but Olney redirected (retweeted) the same tweet to his 260 thousand followers. And hundreds of those people redirected the same tweet to their followers.
At this point, the fire is out of control.
There was only one small problem: The original tweet was not true…
Austin Huff, a producer for 1025 The Game tried to correct the situation with several of his own tweets directed at the two men that started the rumor…
@JohnBakerFSU The Mayor never said anything about going after the #Rays. So I ask again, did you even listen to the interview?
@JohnBakerFSU …The Mayor never said he wants to pursue the Rays. You put out false information.
@Buster_ESPN I was in studio w/ the Mayor this morning. He never said anything about wanting to pursue the #Rays. It was mere hypothetical.
@Buster_ESPN We were discussing a new [Nashville] Sounds stadium and the idea of an MLB team came up. The #Rays were just thrown out randomly.
From someone who was there in person, there’s NO truth to rumors of Nashville Mayor Karl Dean wanting to pursue the #Rays. Did not say it.
The problem? Huff only has 200 followers. And of course, Olney did not send any of Huff’s tweets to his thousands of followers. So very few people saw Huff’s tweets. And most people today still believe that Nashville is pursuing the Rays.
When staff at the St. Pete Times contacted the office of the Nashville mayor, his press secretary said “They were joking…It was just typical sports radio talk joking around. There’s nothing going on.”
With great power comes great responsibility. And @JohnBakerFSU and Buster Olney abused their power.
In the meantime, are you following @RaysIndex on Twitter? We’ll always try our best to make sure you get the whole story. Not just the part Buster Olney wishes were true.