August 13, 2010

No Reason To Trust Taillon Rumors

As you probably know, the Pirates used their #2 overall pick this year on pitcher Jameson Taillon. There are no guarantees in baseball but I'd wager money on the future success of a 6'7" high school pitcher whose fastball has been clocked at 99 mph and who once threw a 19-strikeout no-hitter.

How An Internet Rumor Starts
With the August 16 deadline to sign draft picks approaching, Pirates fans are understandably anxious to see Taillon ink a contract. So anxious, apparently, that an unconfirmed Twitter report based on no information has caused multiple sources to report that Taillon has already been signed.

The Twitter post which started the rumor is this: "Word is that the #Pirates already have a deal in place for Jameson Taillon and are just waiting to announce it."

This was posted by "Houston 5A baseball" - which sounds like and has been reported to be the official Twitter of the league Taillon played in, but is actually an independent site that apparently covers high school baseball in Houston. A bunch of people have re-tweeted it and it also inspired many blog posts, so the information now appears to have been posted by many different sources.

One would think that if a baseball news site had enough information to break a story on the signing of the #2 overall draft pick, that story would be, you know, on the site. Yet at the H5AB Twitter page's associated site this supposed story was not enough to bump the news of "H5AB CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT T-SHIRTS STILL AVAILABLE."

Besides being a guy who writes a Pirate blog under the initials "B.S.", I also have actual journalism experience. Not much, but enough that a business owner once called me and said "I'll sue you and your backwater rag" and Cindy Sheehan publicly called me "the mainstream media." And this experience tells me that H5AB's Twitter is not exactly a "reputable news source."

Futhermore, I see no reason why the Pirates would not announce the signing if a deal were actually in place. Your Pirates currently have their worst winning percentage since 1953 and are universally criticized in this city for not spending enough money on the team. I think the Pirates are about as likely to secretly be making multimillion dollar signings as British Petroleum is to be secretly rescuing small children from a burning building.

Why Taillon Will Sign
Now, none of this is meant to suggest that Taillon will not sign with the Pirates. He will. He has a scholarship offer to Rice University, which is a great option for pretty much anyone except the guy whose alternative is to take around $7.5 million to play baseball professionally. His agents are working on a commission basis and stand to make around $375,000 from the deal, or of course they could take zero. Neil Huntington could either add a future ace to his minor league system or get fired for blowing the 2010 draft.

Clearly, there is too much at stake for this deal not to get done. And once it is done, of course it will look like this rumor was correct. But I won't believe Taillon is signed until he's, wait for it, signed.

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