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July 21, 2011
The BP Wayback Machine
The Dos and Don'ts of Trade Rumor Mongering
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
With the deadline approaching, revisit Jim's advice on responsible rumor mongering, which originally ran on July 27, 2004.
Before fantasy baseball usurped nudism as the nation's third-favorite hobby, one of the most popular topics on sports call-in shows was speculative trades. Prior to having the opportunity to make these moves for oneself in the alternate universe of fantasy team ownership, fans would use radio hosts as sounding boards for their swapping whims. It was pretty obvious that everybody harbored dreams of being Frank Lane, and that radio hosts, desperate for something to talk about, would let these callers concoct insanely one-sided deals that would often sound a little something like this:
Caller: First time caller, long-time stalker of you and your family. How ya doin'?
Host: Good. You?
Caller: I got a sciatic nerve condition and I'm three months behind on my mortgage. Thanks for asking.
Host: What's on your mind?
Host: You think the Dodgers would go for that?
Caller: Huh? Yeah...why not?...
Host: Well, it seems a little tilted the Angels' way, doesn't it?
Caller: How you mean?
Fortunately, those days are mostly behind us as the people responsible for screening such calls rarely let them through anymore under threat of beheading. This doesn't mean the urge to trade still isn't out there among the populace--regardless of how much tradelust has been sated by the fantasy/rotisserie construct. This is especially apparent this time of year, as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
We've all got trade fever. Everybody is obsessed with the possibility that massive amounts of jockflesh will be migrating around and about the American and National Leagues. In many cases, it's not even important that these trades ever even take place. No, what matters is the mere possibility that they might.
Which leads us to the advice portion of today's effort: How to start, spread, and maintain your very own trade rumor. "Why would I want to do that?" some of you might be asking. So that you can leave a mark on society, of course. So that you say that you did something with your life. Not everyone can be a big shot and start a corporation, but anyone can start a rumor. The true test of a person is not how much money they make, but how much misinformation they can circulate among the populace.
Here are some hints about how to do it:
Now that you've figured what your rumor is and how you plan on "verifying" it, you need to figure a way to get it in front of people. Here are a few ideas:
Write me with it.
Send it in an e-mail.
Send this e-mail to 324 people you know in the next 10 minutes or something horrible will happen to your most intimate parts. A woman in Brisbane, Australia failed to do so and she was bitten by a shark six years later! A man in Vancouver did as he was supposed to and his gas mileage increased by 14%.
State it as fact.
"Hey," you say, "how do I know when I've succeeded?"
It's obvious: when the rumor comes all the way back around to you. That's when you know you're a big league trade rumor monger.