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Did Bill Center Start The Fake Peavy to Milwaukee Rumor?

March 26th, 2009 by Melvin

Not sure how anyone would possibly be aware of this rumor, since The Sacrifice Bunt hasn’t yet reported on it. But Brewers and Padres fans’ respective imaginations have been a buzz the past few days from news of Milwaukee’s supposed interest in trading for Jake Peavy.

The rumor seemingly stemmed from Tuesday’s report from the Union Tribune’s Bill Center:

The Milwaukee Brewers, who have plenty of offense and prospects but are short on pitching, are now said to be interested in Peavy.

Note Center’s use of the vague, unhelpful passive voice in his language. “The Brewers … are now said to be interested.” Said? Who is doing the saying here Bill? Your imagination? Your poor reporting skills?

The only other published source I can find relating to such a “rumor” comes from a Peter Gammons article published last Sunday. Gammons writes:

One reason for Billy Hall’s expected resurgence is the laser surgery he had in the offseason. “It makes all the difference,” Hall says. “I can see again.” Hall believes the Brewers will be in on Jake Peavy, when and if he goes on the market.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, this short piece of non-news was Center’s only source for the report he published quoted above. McCalvy goes on to explain that Brewers GM Doug Melvin expressly denies any conversation with the Padres regarding Peavy, and calls the rumors “disruptive”.

It’s easy to see why Center might want to be so vague in his wording, if in fact he is reporting a someone else’s published speculation as something more substantive.

It appears Center’s only source is his quest for relevance. Don’t forget: this man has a Hall of Fame vote.

Posted in controversy, hot stove | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Did Bill Center Start The Fake Peavy to Milwaukee Rumor?”

  1. william says:

    there are a number of Brewers with ties to the padres. He could have heard this anywhere.

  2. It’s possible Center heard from Cameron or Hoffman. Two things lead me to believe he did not.

    1. Center didn’t cite a source.
    2. It wasn’t at all true.

    • william says:

      Also keep in mind. Front offices routinely deny rumors, and after KT’s media shenanigans this winter, I could very easily see him asking the parties involved (SD/mil) to keep the talks on the low down.

      I am not saying the rumor is true or not, just that it is unlikely that Center just picked a team out of his butt to create a rumor. But hey, stranger things have happened.

    • Yeah, though Melvin was pretty adamant when denying the rumor, calling it “disruptive”. Course that doesn’t mean it definitely isn’t true, but Melvin knows it would make him look like a total jackass if it turns out he was lying.

      Also, I’m not saying Center picked a team out of his butt. I’m saying I think he reported someone else’s reporting on his own, without giving credit or details.

    • william says:

      well that’s not quite the same as starting a fake rumor.

    • Steve says:

      Why the hate for Center? It’s regular procedure in reporting to use unnamed sources and to use the passive voice. This isn’t high school 101 anymore; the style intentionally conveys an unnamed source. Who cares anyway? Most Padre fans expect Peavy to be gone at some point: what’s so controversial?

    • I understand that reporters often use unnamed sources. When they do that, they’re saying “I can’t give any names but trust me, this person knows what they’re talking about.”

      If a reporter attributes a name to a source, the readers can decide the credibility of the source themselves. If a reporter doesn’t give a name, the issue of credibility goes to the reporter.

      If he felt whoever he got his information from was trustworthy enough to publish in a respected newspaper, it’s on him.

      What’s controversial here is that he may have taken someone else’s report as his own, then started a whirlwind of rumors assuming his was new information. As we all learned in “high school 101″, the job of a reporter is to accurately verify what is printed.

      And I do admit, I have a general dislike for Center’s Padres reporting. This is a pretty clear example of why.

    • Steve says:

      Melvin, I appreciate the response. I still don’t understand what your problem is with Center here. How is he taking “someone else’s report as his own?”

      Your complaint is that he’s using the passive voice — a normal procedure in reporting — isn’t it? How is that taking someone else’s report as your own? It’s precisely the opposite of that — he bringing up something he’s heard elsewhere that he believes is newsworthy. He’s not claiming that he knows anything for certain; he’s not taking any special credit; he’s simply stating a piece of information has been said. He may be referring to Gammons or anyone else — who knows? How would Adam McCalvy know for certain?

    • Like I said, when he uses an anonymous source he puts the burden of verifying the reliability of the source on himself. He’s saying “Trust me, this source is legit.” Since the source wasn’t legit, there’s a problem here with trust.

      I don’t know how Andy would know if Center had any other source besides the Gammons article, but that doesn’t matter. And I don’t have a problem with the passive voice itself, as long as the source is accurate.

    • Steve says:

      How do you know Center/the source is not accurate?

    • Doug Melvin said there have been no talks with the Padres about Peavy, and called the rumor disruptive.

      If Melvin is just being coy I’ll eat my hat. There’s a chance of that I’m sure, but I don’t think it’s likely because he’ll end up looking like an ass. I’m getting the feeling this conversation is going in circles.

      Actually, I have some hat tasting to do about my Hoffman prediction.

    • Steve says:

      Mel, sorry for the long conversation here, but I’m just trying to see why this subject warrants a blog in your mind.

      My final comment is this: Melvin saying there have been no talks with the Padres does not mean they don’t have interest. The original quote from Center says they have interest; it never claims they are in talks with the Padres.

      So right now, you seem to be guilty of the kind of bad reporting you accuse Center of — of claiming someone is lying or stealing without any real evidence.

    • Center specifically mentioning only the Brewers as “having interest”, implies something more substantive than a vague “We sure would like to have Jake Peavy play on our team!” That kind of general interest could be applied to every team in the league, which is why mentioning a specific team implies something more.

      The difference between Center’s reporting and mine is I’m clearly explaining where I’m getting information, and what is and is not just my own opinion.

    • Ray says:

      Are said to be having interest.

      The Twins might like to have Peavy on their team, but no one’s said as much.

  3. R. Lankford says:

    I wonder if he tried to talk to Bill Hall.

  4. Love the Brewers fan in that MLB.com article suggesting Weeks and Suppan for Peavy.

  5. Ray says:

    One of the problems is that Center’s article doesn’t seem to be about Milwaukee’s interest in Peavy, but rather the rumor of their interest and the Peavy rumor mill continuing to spin. Hence his “And on it goes” comment after the quote.

    It would have been better had he quoted Gammons or (presumably) Hall, but I would hardly call this article a quest for relevance. I imagine being a beat writer, in part, includes translating national news for a local audience who’s not going to check MLB Trade Rumors everyday.

    • If he is filtering national news for people locally, that’s great. But without mentioning the source he’s adding fuel to a fake fire.

      It isn’t so difficult for Center to say, “This isn’t anything new, I’m just passing along a report from so-and-so.”

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