At 1:12 a.m. ET, Jon Heyman broke the news that the Oakland A's had traded Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox:
For several hours everyone had been reporting the deal was likely to happen, so it wasn't at all surprising:
But if Jon Heyman broke the trade at 1:12 a.m. ET, why was the tweet from SportsCenter above (that is still up as of this posting) sent 16 minutes beforehand, and why does it credit Fox Sports when Heyman writes for CBS? Because ESPN got duped by a tweet (since deleted) from a fake Ken Rosenthal Twitter account.
Rosenthal's username is @Ken_Rosenthal, and he has 547,000 followers and is verified by Twitter. @Ken_Rosenthail is an imposter account with a single follower, but for some reason ESPN thought it was the real deal:
For two hours the fake tweet had basically been ignored, until SportsCenter tweeted it out. This led to a predictable chaos, like this exchange between a Comcast SportsNet reporter and a Fox Sports staffer:
Who knows how long anarchy would have reigned if Heyman's report had come any later?
It has been a banner year for ESPN and fake baseball twitter accounts, as well as fake Ken Rosenthal accounts.