Luis Castillo, Adam Rubin, Terry Collins, and Source Material


There was a report yesterday that went across the internet that ESPN’s Adam Rubin reported that New York Mets manager Terry Collins wanted 2B Luis Castillo released from the team.

First, let me tell you about Rubin. Adam would never break a story like this unless he was more than confident that the information was correct. He also would have multiple sources.

Source material is tricky. There’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t umbrella that hangs over information like this.

I haven’t had a bunch of juicy info over the years I’ve been doing this, but three cases can easily show you the different outcomes you can have. However, all source information does one thing when it is printed. It divides Mets ownership and management both from the players as well as the reporters that cover the team. The initial reaction of any manager would be to not trust anyone around them that they shared confidential information with.

I had the scoop on the re-signing of Oliver Perez three days before it was announced. This information did not come from anyone employed by the team, but it still caused some internal concern (as I was told later), but, in this case, the concern was how did I know something no one in the Mets organization knew.

I next had exclusive information on seven ball players that had received a mid-season promotion from one of the Mets minor league teams to another. My sources were confirmed, so I printed the names (which were correct), which created a devide from the management of that team, to me, and to the players involved. As it turned out, none of the players had told me, nor did any of them confirm it…  I was smart enough not to involve them… but they still were considered the source of this material by management.

And lastly, I reported about the triple-VP system the Mets were going to have this year, but I had one of the names wrong. I should have spent another day triple checking my sources and I was castrated by the Mets internet community for being incorrect with the names (though I was given no credit for having the 3-VP thing correct).

The point I’m trying to make is a reporter, or a sports writer, or a columnist, or whatever the hell some of us are… is pulled in multiple directions when it comes to exclusive information received… and confirmed.  You break the story, the team gets pissed at you and loses trust in everyone around them. You hold the story and you’re not doing the job you’re suppose to.

I’m currently holding an exclusive on a medical clusterfuk that happened during the past ten years, that I’m not going to write about until the player (who is still playing organized baseball) retires from this game.

Someone wrote, when I had the 3-VP thing blow up in my face, something like “heck, why would a guy living in Savannah be privy to information like this?”. That’s understandable narrow thinking, when, in fact, it really doesn’t matter where you live anymore (btw… I’ve never lived in Savannah).

You have a story if two people talk, write, tweet, or facebook each other with information.

You write that information gained from that conversation on a sticky and it place it on the top of your computer.

Then, you need to find someone else to back up what you were told by the first person.

Then, you have exclusive information from “multiple sources”.

The next move is yours…


One Response to Luis Castillo, Adam Rubin, Terry Collins, and Source Material

  1. LongTimeFan says:

    Please correct me id I’m wrong, but weren’t you one of the first to repeat the North false story on Santana? I recall seeing your headline pretty early on, and felt it not worth clicking in light of the circumstances which seemed questionable from the get-go.

    The problems these days is the heightened desire to be the first to announce this or that, or get in on the action as soon as someone else makes some noise.

    This is the problem – media and blogging as competitive sport, one-source citing, making mistakes, spreading rumor, annoying players and management, misleading fans. Better to get it right than let ego get in the way of accuracy. Why should I believe Rubin’s single source on the same day Collins praised Castillo for his good play the last several? Just two days ago Collins was none too pleased that Steve Popper, based on single source, said some things that those involved strongly dispute. Rubin’s had good enough track record, but not immune from errors.

    The industry as a whole, including bloggers, lose credibility when the prime mission is being the first to say this or that based on single source, with no verification from other outlets using their own sources.

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