Minutes ago on Baseball Tonight's trade deadline special, it was announced that Tampa's Ben Zobrist was heading to Pittsburgh. But it wasn't true, and the first and only person reporting it was a fake Bob Nightengale Twitter account.
Moderator Jon Sciambi, presumably fed the news by a producer, threw it to the panel: "Here's what's out there right now, that Ben Zobrist has actually been moved as well by the Tampa Bay Rays." They quickly threw up footage of Zobrist over a graphic that said he was going to the Pirates. Buster Olney acted like it was no surprise: "That's what we heard all along, that if the Rays deciced to trade David Price, they were going to move Ben Zobrist as well."
#Pirates GM Neal Huntington: "We felt that the right move was no move."
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) July 31, 2014
ESPN appeared to catch its mistake fairly quickly—the Zobrist-to-Pittsburgh graphic was taken down, and at the 2-minute mark of the video above, Sciambi offers a confusing correction that doesn't mention Zobrist, but appears to clarify that he wasn't involved in the David Price multi-team trade, as they had perhaps assumed.
So who's the patient zero on this rumor? The very first tweet to mention Zobrist to Pittsburgh is this one, from a guy with a couple hundred followers who's spent the day pretending to be Bob Nightengale. He sent this out about 20 minutes before ESPN's crew began discussing it.
The first clue should have been the fact that the account is "Daily_Tunez." The second clue was his follow-up tweet.
Best trade deadline ever.