You all remember Scott Swaim, right? Of course you do. He was the supposed MLB Insider this winter that claimed to have broken multiple free agent signings, and put all his eggs in the "Prince Fielder is going to the Nationals" basket...only to watch Fielder sign with the Tigers, his account get berated and quickly deleted. Well, here we are in July, prime trade season, and we have a new insider du jour...but this one comes with a nice wrinkle.
The account is question is @MLBSportsReport, He loads up his account with the usual puff nonsense, like game updates and breaking, confirmed news. Of course, there are the breaking news pieces, like this gem...
Sounds like Randall Delgado and Jose Constanza might be going to the Brewers for Greinke. Looking to confirm.#Braves— MLB Sports Report (@MLBSportsReport) July 14, 2012
There was also a fantastic Martin Prado for Justin Upton (and prospects!!!) newsbit out there that's gone. If you dig back to last week, you see that he essentially started his account with RT style spam for autographed merchandise, like MLB does.
This character also has been plugging a blog lately. Of course, he's soliciting ideas for topics to write about...which is never a good idea. The blog launched this weekend (on MLBlogs, no less...notice how he doesn't have the "pro blog" star like all the blogs on this page do). One of the topics he wrote about on Sunday was Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, which included this line.
"His breaking ball is noted as being a slider that he throws so hard (86.3 mph). Combine that with a 96-98 mph fastball that routinely touches triple digits and it’s easy to understand why some have labeled Kimbrel the “most intimidating” reliever in the game. Last season he set a major league record for saves by a rookie with 46. He also struck out an amazing 127 batters in 77 innings while also compiling a 2.10 ERA and 1.04 WHIP"
Hey, that's a pretty impressive bunch of stats, right? I mean, everything is true...the problem is, that is was lifted word for word from this Bleacher Report article from April, by a fellow named Jim Pratt.
See that? That's not reporting facts...that is word for word plagiarism, even down to the grammar and punctuation. Fake accounts are one thing, but plaigiarism is a whole different issue.
But that's not all! He apparently created the @BravesPR account (deemed an official account in its profile, but followed by no actual team personnel...but hey, MLBSportsReport was its first follower!) and the @Zack_Greinke "official" account that was nearly immediately turned into a parody account cruelly mocking Greinke's anxiety disorder and renamed to @ZackGreinkeFaux (probably after lawyers got involved).
And if you want another nice little tie-in to everything...the fake Greinke's first follower was a fellow whose handle is @FloridianFalcon. MLBSportsReport mentioned FloridianFalcon as someone to tweet to "confirm that he sends out prizes"...which he apparently confirmed with a tweet thanking him for the tickets. Of course, he was tweeting the account today to tell him that he was a fake and an "imposter". FloridianFalcon is one of the first three non-authenticated accounts followed by MLBSportsReport. So, there's that.
One more little tidbit. The photos on the MLBSportsReport account aren't his. Here's a photo from the Braves program, taken at 4:43 PM today by a user named @CraigDesign (who helped a lot with this piece)...and here is literally the exact same photo (with borders on the top and bottom) posted at 5:03 PM today. Then, there's this picture from Friday (at 8:09 PM) by Braves radio host Kevin McAlpin of the scoreboard at Turner Field losing power...which is followed up two minutes later by MLBSportsReport tweeting the exact same picture (and text) with no mention of McAlpin at all.
Well, whoever we're dealing with here has done a very bad job of covering up his tracks. Whether this was the work of FloridianFalcon or some other Braves fan is anyone's best guess.
UPDATES: I've been blocked by MLBSportsReport (but he hasn't blocked the TOC account...OK then), who hasn't tweeted since I posted this piece. The BravesPR account has been deleted. The Zack Greinke account has been renamed (again) to @DoucheGreinke, and it's evident from looking at the tweets that he has no idea what the hell he's doing. The pictures he stole from other accounts have been removed.
I also noticed a link in MLBSportsReport's tweets linking to a podcast called "The Sports Report"...hosted by this man, Paul Roberts. Notice the similar name to the Twitter account in question. The Sports Report's Twitter account is interesting, following 773 people that are mostly eggs or locked accounts. There is no follower connection with that account and MLB Sports Report, though.
One other little kink in things. One of the first non-verified follows from this account was a guy named Evan Massey, who seems to be another rumor-mongerer. Looking through his feed, he replies to people tweets with some of the most generic nonsense ever, essentially begging people to join his "sports forum", a site called Center Stage Sports that appears to just be your basic message board. Of course, the main admin of the site is a guy named Dave...so there's that. I don't think there's anything going on there, but it's an odd little snippet to add on to everything else.
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Dude is a total douche wagon. I called him out and he said "Sorry sir, this is legit, look it up". I have never once had Mark Bowman have to give a reason for validity. Brave's fans (because he seems to have a special interest in making up Braves rumors, including trading Prado for Upton, what a dipshit) should find out who he is. I know there is atleast one Braves hacker out there...
Nicely done. I wish he'd done more from the Braves PR fake account. That might've gotten the Braves involved and a push with MLB to get a cease & desist.