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Sports Media 101: How Not To Report Managerial Rumors

Today, Chicago Breaking Sports, the website that provides up-to-date -- supposedly -- information from the Chicago Tribune, posted a classic example of how not to report a story. The article is titled "Sandberg, Cora could be Blue Jays' candidates".

Innocuous enough, but the article is full of unfounded speculation. It cites and links this Toronto Sun article. Dave van Dyck, the Tribune writer, states:

Ryne Sandberg and Joey Cora are among those "to be interviewed" for the Blue Jays' managing vacancy, according to the Toronto Sun.

Citing sources and telephone calls with candidates, the paper listed 14 candidates who already have gone through an interview process, although it is not known how formal some of those talks were.

Seven names are on the "to be interviewed" list, including Sandberg and Cora, as well as Tampa Bay bench coach Davey Martinez, the former Cub.

That all sounds pretty above-board, sourced and factual. But what did the original Toronto Sun article really say? After the jump, the facts.

Most of the Sun article was a story about the 1992 season and quotes Michael Firestone, who is said to be "a member of Paul Beeston's entourage" (Beeston is Blue Jays president). I have no idea who Firestone is -- googling him comes up mainly with links to the Sun article and he's nowhere to be found in the Blue Jays' front office directory. Toward the end of the article, the Sun writer, Bob Elliott, asks Firestone about the Jays' managerial search:

“I told Paul that instead of the manager being an expense, we should make it a source of income,” Firestone said. “How much would people pay to manage the Toronto Blue Jays?

“We could sell it off in 10 or 20-game blocks. Of course, I’d either get a cut or manage the first 10 games.”

Well, that's all very funny -- sort of -- but not very helpful. Following that, the article has a laundry list of managerial candidates who have, according to Elliott, either have been interviewed or are, as van Dyck writes, "to be interviewed."

Nowhere in the article does it say, as van Dyck claims, that "sources" said that those interviews have already been done by phone, nor does it state that the writer -- or anyone else -- has had telephone calls with candidates. It does say there are:

candidates who have been interviewed on the phone, possible candidates and people who should be interviewed.

... but doesn't say who is in each of those categories, nor does it say who thinks which people on the list "should" be interviewed. The list of "to be interviewed" candidates includes one, Don Wakamatsu, listed as "eliminated", though it doesn't say why. The Sun article is also two days old and still lists Eric Wedge, who was hired by the Mariners yesterday.

While it's entirely possible that Cora and Sandberg could be interviewed by the Blue Jays, there's nothing in the Sun article that states this beyond the writer's speculation and a list of just about everyone who's been mentioned for managerial openings this fall.

It is, in the Deep Dish's opinion, just more poor writing on the part of a mainstream sportswriter trying to stir up a story where none exists.