I posted yesterday about how the team, and more specifically, manager Rick Churches and GM Alvin Kirby, had appointed as captain Felipe Lopez, a man who has been on the team for only 1 disappointing season and has yet to appear (not his fault) in camp. Then I spent my remaining space giving my opinions on why this was done and why it probably wasn't a good idea.
Newsflash: I was wrong about the whole thing. Felipe was never named captain.
I received calls up the wazoo yesterday from people asking for my source. The team was inundated with calls and emails asking for details. Rick and Alvin received many bloodthirsty headlines filled with criticism of the decision.
The team officially denied everything. Rick and Alvin denied everything. Why? My story was untrue.
It's not that I was playing an early April Fool's joke. Rather, I think a prank was played on me. And "prank" is a kind word. More likely, I was purposely given misleading information to make me look bad.
My super agent, Jack Perry, is also Felipe's agent. About 10 minutes after I clicked on Publish Post, I got a call from his #1 assistant, Sherry. (I once said to her, "If you married Jack, you know your name would be Sherry Perry?" I thought it was funnier than she did.) Sherry (last name Pollock) said Jack wanted to know what I was doing. I told her I was about to go pee. Why? She said no, not that. Why was I posting something made up and, frankly, unflattering about a teammate who's currently undergoing the most trying time of his life? I told her because it was true. She said she'd call later.
Jack himself called me an hour later. "It's not true. Take it back." He spoke with Felipe, who had no idea that this storm was brewing because he hadn't spoken with Rick or Alvin in weeks. (Thus refuting Rick's statement yesterday that Felipe would be here by March 15th whether they rescue his mother or not.) Felipe also said - and I give him credit here - that he never would accept the position as captain when there are so many other guys on the team who deserved it. He used me as an example. The guilt oozed out of my pores.
Let the wild rumpus start.
The press, and rightfully so, are writing about how they always (not always, but they won't say that) get a secondary source to confirm a story before they write something. This is going to begin a whole new round of blogosphere criticisms, how readers should trust professional journalists before trusting people like, uh, me.
Rick called me into his office first thing this morning and threatened to fine me $50,000 if I ever write another "inflammatory, untrue account" of "team dynamics." His statement was pretty broad. When asked to elaborate, he told me he had real work to do. He left me standing in his office while he took his bat and glove out to practice field #3 to shag balls.
The main question: Who/what was my source? The other main question: Why did I publish this story? The third question: Is it really that big of a deal?
Since the press deluged me with questions and accusations at my locker, none of which I would answer since we don't speak on the record, I will answer the main question the way they'd approve of if I was one of them: I won't reveal my source. I don't have to. I can tell you this person avoided me today. I will tell you this person has a lot of questions to answer from me. Was I set up? I don't know yet. I'm going to try to find out. Why would I possibly be set up? I have some thoughts, but they're all paranoid. I'll sleep on it and work on my theories tomorrow.
I published the story because I thought it was true. Yes, I told Rick and Alvin a couple of weeks ago that I'd wait for them to make major team announcements before I posted anything, unless the announcement was about me. I broke my promise, but not on purpose. I figured everyone would have jumped on it right away. Nobody did because the story wasn't true. I was given misinformation; I was the only one given this misinformation. I was wrong to have published it. I am very embarrassed and very sorry.
I take it back.
Now, is this all a big deal? Not in the scheme of the whole world. It's a non-story when compared to who our next president is going to be or how many of our soldiers were hurt or killed in Iraq already this month. From a worldly perspective, it's not a big deal at all. I saw, however, that it is being treated like a big deal. Katie Couric did a whole thing about this last night on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite. The NY Times had something on their front page - not the sports section - about how this story was symptomatic of the problem with "amateur journalism" and "the ego of the masses." Or, in my case, a "massive ego." Just take my embarrassment quotient and multiply it by ten. Summing this part up, it's not a big deal compared to the real world, but you'd never know it.
From a team and personal perspective, yes, it's a pretty big deal. I've already told you how embarrassing this is. But even more important, I was misled by someone who I never would have thought would have misled me like this; someone I've known for a long time. That's more than disappointing. I will have a conversation with this person. Just need to find him (or her) first.
Teamwise, I created dissension when there didn't need to be any. I wrote how a number of guys who've been with the team for a long time would be mad that Felipe was made captain. This was very, very true. There was some serious Felipe Bashing going on inside this locker room yesterday late. None of it needed to happen. Not one word needed to be said against this innocent man; my teammate. The reactions were based on an untruth. I owe a huge apology to Felipe. I owe a big one to my team as well. I'm sure they feel quite guilty today. They're embarrassed too. That part is all my fault and doesn't help us win a championship. It just distracts them from their - our - goal. Sorry.
Where do I go from here? Nowhere. I admit my mistake. I apologize for it. I won't make any excuses for what I wrote or why I wrote it. I can whine about how I was probably set up (I probably was), but without proof or reason, what's the point? Setup or not, I hurt Felipe and I hurt my team. I hope that's something I never do again.
Here's something that I think is very important: I am not going to stop writing this blog. My face is getting sore from the amount of blushing I've been doing since yesterday, yet that won't stop me from doing this. I'd be more embarrassed, my "massive ego" would take a bigger hit, if I did stop. I'd rather swallow my pride and apologize than stomp on it and quit. No, I'm in this for the long haul, taking my bumps and bruises as I go. I hope you stay along for the ride.