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Late Night Bantering: Blaming the Fans

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MLB: JUL 31 Orioles at Blue Jays Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’m a baseball fan. I’ve been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. And I hope to be a fan for a long time to come. So, if there is one thing I dislike, it is when someone blames the fans for something. “Fans aren’t coming out to games.” Not their fault. Here in Calgary, it was “Flames fans are too quiet.” No, no, you pay your money to go to a game and watch it the way you want.

It is never the fans’ fault.

(Unless you are talking soccer hooliganism or something like that, and then it is just those particular fans).

Tonight Shi Davidi wrote a post (and went on TV) telling us it is the fans’ fault for the Ohtani rumours today. The frenzy around the idea that Shohei might be coming to Toronto to sign with the Jays was because we fans were too stupid to know what was happening.

Is stupid too strong a word? Well, he wrote this:

Only this was a case of putting two, two, two and two together and getting nine.

Anyway, he also wrote:

In an information vacuum, when people are so susceptible to being lured into believing whatever they want to believe, it’s so easy to end up with the fevered, fact-free frenzy that surrounded Shohei Ohtani and the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.


The entire ordeal whipped up fans, agents and executives across the baseball industry and underlined the dangers of treating unchecked social-media gossip as fact, rather than waiting for actual, standards-based journalism. That it’s reflective of manias that emerge around matters of much higher consequence is a major societal problem, and what’s fortunate is that in this instance the only damage is to the emotions of people taken for a ride.

Only there wasn’t an ‘information vacuum. We were given lots of information from credible sources, often retweeted (or whatever we call retweeting these days) by Sportsnet, MLB and other ‘credible sources.’

The bit about the ‘only damage is to emotions.....’, we can’t do more damage than that. We can’t ruin the team.

The information vacuum included a reporter often on Sportsnet, retweeted by Sportsnet:

MLB (whoops looks like MLB deleted this post):


Telling me it was the fans’ fault for believing all this rubs me the wrong way. I mean, Sportsnet brought in Blair and Barker to talk about it. A reporter told us there would be a press conference at 6:00.

If Sportsnet didn’t want us to believe this stuff, it would have been easy to tone it down. Heck, if Shi wanted, he could have toned us down by jumping in earlier.

To me, this is right:

The original story, saying the Jays were going to sign Shohei, was written by a BBWAA writer, JP Hoornstra (not that his story is wrong, he wrote, “A formal announcement is expected as early as tonight.” That it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t make his story wrong).

I think there was enough credible information for us fans to have our interest piqued. Or there was for me (there may be a post in our story editor that I hope will see the light of day before too long).

I always think blaming fans is a bad take, and I think Shi comes off badly in his article. He seems angry at us for believing things that maybe he didn’t say (though he didn’t say it wasn’t true until the end of the day), but many of his colleagues said.

Writers often say, ‘Don’t blame the messenger,’ but I don’t think we should blame the message's receiver either.

Oh well, it just rubbed me the wrong way. To me, the day was fun. I didn’t get the payoff I wanted, but I enjoyed the ride. I imagine we may have a day or two more like this one before the ride ends.

Kaitlyn McGrath, in the Athletic, had a more measured post, which stayed a long way away from blaming fans, and mentioned that Morosi “added fuel to the speculation,” which Shi didn’t mention.

And Ben Nicholson-Smith seemed to see the fun in it all: