It was torture last night watching Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores crying on the field after learning he was being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for former Twin Carlos Gomez. But is it an example of social media running with false rumors?
Surreal scene. Mets trade Wilmer Flores but leave him in game. Flores then cries on field while playing. pic.twitter.com/0CDpjGpwpS
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) July 30, 2015
Sports reporters who are pretty well connected to sources reported the trade which raced across Twitter and, eventually, into the Mets dugout. But Flores stayed in the field despite being traded.
And then the trade fell through over “medical issues.”
That led a Mets official to blame social media.
“Unfortunately, social media, etc., got ahead of the facts and it may have had an adverse effect on one of the players rumored to be involved,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. It was an unfortunate situation; it’s something I’ve addressed personally with a player involved.”
A big boost to the rumor was when the catcher for the Brewers tweeted a picture of Gomez aboard the team plane.
— Martin Maldonado (@Machete1224) July 30, 2015
A Brewers official said the trade fell apart when medical records were exchanged, although he didn’t say whose medical records caused the problem.
But what exactly did social media do wrong? There clearly was a trade in place at the time the Brewers’ player tweeted it and real reporters’ sources revealed it, and “real time” is the way news is reported in 2015.
Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports, who regularly tweets his inside information on trades, also blames Twitter.
Was Mets general manager Sandy Alderson correct in saying, “Unfortunately, social media got ahead of the facts and it may have had an adverse effect for one of the players involved?” No, the facts in the properly worded reports were correct.
But could we have done a better job explaining that the trade needed to pass an important barrier before completion? Yes, even though it turns out that the player seemingly at risk – Wheeler, recovering from Tommy John surgery – was not the one who raised a red flag. I was among those who speculated that Wheeler might have been the issue after Alderson revealed that the deal had fallen apart, only to learn and report that he was not.
Mets manager Terry Collins had a different take.
“There’s a lot of B.S. out there. A lot of it,” he said.