Fake News in Sports

By Coach Ron Wolforth-


A buzz phrase that is all too common in our world and in our social interaction today is the term, “fake news”.


Many young males… 20 something… have told me things along the lines of, “That’s why I have turned to sports… no fake news.”


First, I smile at them because I know what they are trying to say, but I quickly burst their bubble by sharing with them the “truth”.


I tell them, “Fake news is not a new phenomenon. It has been around since man first learned to gossip or tell stories, and sports is far from exempt from ‘fake news’. Fake news is just a 2019 phrase used to point out the discrepancies between what is alleged and what is actually true.”


I continue…


“Fake news comes in many different forms. On one end of the continuum… the benign and benevolent end… the inaccuracies are honest disremembering, inaccurate recall, or clouded judgment. We all have done this many times in our lives. We gave information with the very best of intentions and sincerity, but we were simply erroneous on the specifics of our information.”


“Somewhere in the middle of the continuum is what we’ll call ‘exaggeration for maximum impact’. While the story probably has some truth running through it, the story’s impact is greater if we shape or manipulate several elements to magnify the story’s potential effect. The writer or storyteller usually knows the real truth but doesn’t want the consumer to miss the significance of the story, so they exaggerate key elements of that same story. That exaggeration can be small, or it can be large.”


“At the extreme nefarious end of this continuum lies the propaganda of, let’s say, a Stalin’s Soviet Russia, Hitler’s 3rd Reich, or Mao’s Reeducation Campaign.  They absolutely KNEW the facts of the story were incorrect and INTENTIONALLY manipulated them to control people and their responses.”


What these young men are often saying to me is that sports usually stay away from the fake news associated at the far, nefarious end of the continuum…therefore in their mind… sports has no fake news.


In truth, sports programs, sports writings, blog posts, and pod casts are filled with fake news. Typically, these fall primarily in the middle of the continuum as the author attempts to maximize the effect of his inference or conclusion.


A classic and timely case in point: I watched and listened to the broadcast crew in a recent playoff game claim that a 97mph elevated fastball from Garrit Cole was “unhittable”. What they really meant to say was that under these specific conditions, that pitch was extremely difficult to hit and/or was rarely hit.


Some of you might say, “Come on Coach Wolforth, that’s just the commentators describing the event with emotion and color. What they said for the TV audience was a lot more poetic and expressive than your bland stating of the obvious. That was for entertainment and for effect.”


I do not disagree. But let me tell you the serious unintended consequences of such a hyperbole.


I can’t tell you how many young men I have helped over the past 20 years who mistakenly believed that if they somehow could just hit a number… like 90mph, 95mph, 98mph, or 100mph… they were a shoo-in for no-hitters and a fast track to the major leagues.


You see, hyperbole and exaggeration almost always come at a cost; it can skew and cloud reality. It may offer a false choice and can often shape our perspective of our world, and along with it, our decision-making process.


It can make things seem easier and simpler than they truly are, or it can make things seem far more daunting and complicated than they truly are.


It’s the reason I like data so much. When done and mined correctly, data can be a great partner in the truth.


In conclusion, in today’s often confusing and complicated world, our young athletes need certainty, straight talk, and clarity more than ever in their lives.


At the Texas Baseball Ranch, as a staff we work extremely hard at giving our athletes the plain truth. We believe it’s our primary responsibility to help our clients know exactly where they currently stand, and then from that point design a path forward… with clear eyes and specific intent.


Be very careful with fake news wherever you may run across it. Your future may actually depend upon it.


– – – – – – – – –

There are some very specific ways for you to get involved with us at the Texas Baseball Ranch over the next couple months. We’d love to have you join us for one of them…


For Pitchers: We have 3 Elite Pitchers Bootcamp dates (Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break & Martin Luther King Holiday.  For more information go to: https://www.texasbaseballranch.com/elite-pitchers-bootcamp/

For Catchers: (Yes, you read that right!) We’re excited to announce our first Elite Catchers Boot Camp for catchers ages 14 & up. Only 1 spots remains. More information on this event and the amazing group of instructors can be found at: https://www.texasbaeballranch.com/catcher

Coaches: Regular Registration for the 20th Anniversary of our Ultimate Pitching Coaches Boot Camp ends Oct. 31st!  After that, the price goes up by $100 (if space still available).  This event is known as the Gold Standard in the industry and this year’s lineup of speakers is incredible!  Check it out at www.coachesbootcamp.com.  Can’t Attend?  Don’t worry.  DVD’s of the event are also availableat that webpage.



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