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10/24/07 A Tale Of Two Sources.

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      As I was finishing off last night's post and closing a window with Nick Johnson's stats on yahoosports.com, I noticed a rumor listed in their "Team News"...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/was

      (which if you don't want to link to it says...)

      "Rumor: Nationals could acquire Crisp."

     Interesting. So I followed the link to an anonymously written news bite...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/rumors/post/Nats-could-acquire-Crisp;_ylt=AorZX8Lqhqg9oErjpfrprG8g0bYF?u rn=mlb,50148

(which reads)...

      "It's possible that, should Coco Crisp of the Boston Red Sox  
      become available via trade this offseason, the Washington
      Nationals could be interested.

      The Nationals want to improve their play in center field and
      in the leadoff spot, where Crisp has hit more than any slot in
      his career."

      ...I found it interesting that there was no, "According to team sources," or "An anonymous source within the organization says," and in fact there was no source listed at all for the rumor itself.

     The source of the "rumor" in this article, as I noted at the end of yesterday's post, was a Washington Post article by Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102101461.html  

     ...one section of which discusses Coco Crisp's benching in favor of rookie Red Sock Jacoby Ellsbury, and in the third paragraph notes Crisp's career numbers, his impending availability, and states...

      "It's possible that, should he be available via trade this
      offseason, the Nationals could be interested. The Nationals
      want to improve their play in center field and in the leadoff
      spot, where Crisp has hit more than any slot in his career."

       ...which is what yahoosports.com barely edited/altered for their "Rumor" (How do you get that job?..."Just change a word or two of the copy and post it as a "Rumor!" "Yes, right away, Boss"), but neither yahoosports.com or the Washington Post article provides a source for the rumor, only stating the obvious fact that Crisp will be a free agent center fielder who hits leadoff which is just what the Nationals need.

     So is this a rumor/fact/or opinion being presented? Yahoosports.com presents it as a rumor. The Post article is written by Washington Post staff writers reporting from Boston, MA, the site of the ALCS Championship game they were covering for their newspaper. The article is included in what they label their "ALCS Notebook," along with other news from Beantown.

   Boston GM Theo Epstein is quoted in the paragraph before the Nationals rumor, cautioning the Red Sox Nation about anointing Ellsbury next year's starting centerfielder. So obviously these writers have access to both organizations. But then why not include a source for the rumor?

     Are the Washington Post writers planting seeds, or making overtures back to DC for the Boston GM? Did Epstein mention interest in someone on the Nationals or in their system?

     Wait! I know what I'll do. I'll go to Washington.nationals.com and see what mlb.com's Nationals writer Bill Ladson has to say about the rumors. OK...here we go...

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071023&content_id=2280217&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

...in a section of this article called, "Trade Talk" Ladson writes:

     "The Nationals are in trade talks on a daily basis, but one guy  
     who is not on their list to acquire is Red Sox center fielder
     Coco Crisp."

OH WHAT THE...??!!!! WHO'S TELLING THE TRUTH?