Yesterday, I reported that sources were telling me that Gregory Polanco would be called up to the Pirates on Friday, after joining the team today. My sources told me that Polanco would leave for Pittsburgh today, and would be activated for Friday’s game. Shortly after, Ken Rosenthal, Dan Zangrilli, and Chris Cotillo confirmed the report. It was after this happened that Pirates officials started calling around, texting, and e-mailing that the sources being reported were wrong.
I can’t speak to everyone else who reported the rumor. I don’t know if they had the same sources, or different sources saying the same thing. I came out with the information first, and I don’t know if that sparked their reports, or if someone else would have had it if I waited longer.
Earlier today, it seemed like the Pirates were trying to really drive the point home that Polanco was still with the Indians. Three minor leaguers posed for pictures with him in New York, in a way that didn’t seem coincidental. Tonight, he’s in the Indianapolis lineup, batting leadoff. So it doesn’t seem like he’s leaving today, as the sources said.
I guess it is possible that he could leave tonight after the game, or leave tomorrow morning. That’s what Starling Marte did when he was called up. But at this point, I don’t think that will happen. I was sent a text and an e-mail from two different front office officials last night saying my sources were wrong on this one.
At this point, I believe my sources were wrong.
This is not a position I’ve ever been in. We’ve reported plenty of draft signings, free agent signings, trades, promotions, and other transactions. Up until this point, we’ve been right in every case.
I got a lot of criticism last night, saying that I only cared about being first. That’s never my goal. My goal is to be correct. We’ve passed on breaking news previously because we didn’t have full confirmation. And the truth is, there’s really no value in breaking news anymore. We don’t see any increase in traffic when we break stories than when we’re following the news. The Polanco article got a lot of traffic yesterday, but no more than any other transaction. So if you think the goal here was to rush to be first, going on weak information, or even making up information, then that’s incorrect.
The information I got seemed valid at the time. That’s the only reason I went with it. I don’t know what happened, whether it was a miscommunication, a change in plans, or just bad info. What I do know is that, at this point, the information no longer seems valid.
I finished my articles last night and went to bed around 3, which is the normal time I go to bed during the baseball season. I woke up around 4. I was wide awake, and felt sick. I felt depressed. I was disappointed in myself. I spent the 5:00 hour thinking about other work, contemplating whether I wanted to even do this job anymore. But most importantly, I felt ashamed and regretful.
I’m in a unique situation. Most reporters work for established outlets. I run my own outlet, and that’s a concept that is only starting to grow. It’s still rare to see independent journalists, and as a result, it leads to a lack of trust. My first year of breaking news was met with distrust, and a lot of “let’s see who else reports this before we believe it.” After that, we had built up trust that everything reported would be accurate, without a second of thought.
The thing about that trust is that it’s fickle when you’re an independent guy. No one is going to remember a national guy getting it wrong. Even a local guy who works for a paper, TV station, or radio station can get something wrong, and it won’t have a big impact. But an independent person really only gets one shot. Or at least that’s what I’ve always thought, and still think. And if you ruin that shot, it not only hurts you, but other independent writers as well.
I’m hoping I’m wrong on that one too. I know that the people who generally hate me are going to celebrate this mistake. I know I’m going to get bashed on the radio. I may lose trust from people who previously trusted me. What I’m hoping is that I can build that trust back up.
I’m not giving up. This is just a mistake, one that I regret. It’s also one that I will improve upon. I’ve spent over five years building this site up, and will continue that process. I believe that this mistake will eventually help make this site stronger.
The most important thing here is that I apologize to you, the readers, old and new, for this mistake. A lot of people want to see Gregory Polanco in Pittsburgh right now, myself included, and I’m sorry I got your hopes up. I’m sorry that you got bad information, and I’m sorry if I lost your trust.
All you need to know is that the next time you see on this site that Gregory Polanco is coming to the majors, it will be true, and not a bad report.