Ben Zobrist left yesterday’s game with back spasms. But before the Rays could get that information out, one prankster on Twitter set off a firestorm that left media members “from Seattle to Tampa Bay” thinking Zobrist had been traded.
It started when somebody, who apparently sits next to the Rays dugout, claimed on Twitter to see Zobrist hugging teammates in the dugout after being pulled from the game. This was not seen on either team’s television broadcast, and it was not mentioned by any media members or broadcasters. But the interpretation was that Zobrist had been traded and was saying goodbye.
The prankster later admitted he never saw any hugs. And normally, that might have been the end of things. But this is where the dumb reached the hilarious.
Before coming clean, at least two writers at a Rays fan blog had passed along the fake news as if it were fact and even vouched for the guy as a good source.
That’s when two trusted writers, Jonah Keri of ESPN.com and a writer for MLBTradeRumors.com, saw the tweets from the Rays bloggers, and in turn, passed along the information to their readers, appearing to reach the conclusion that Zobrist had been traded…
If the Rays have actually struck a Ben Zobrist deal (hugging guys, etc), given his contract/ability, it better be for something really good.
Ben Zobrist was just taken out of the game and is hugging dudes in the dugout. Something may be up.
At this point, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Zobrist hug “set off cell phones from Seattle to Tampa Bay,” and the trade rumor was everywhere, including sports radio.
There was just one problem. There were never any hugs. The Rays finally told everybody Zobrist was removed from the game because of back spasms. The above writers retracted their comments. And the rest of us, including Zobrist himself, had a good laugh.