Social media is not to blame for the latest Mets’ debacle. Instead, Mets’ management just needs to look at itself in the mirror.
For those unfamiliar with the story, a report broke during Wednesday night’s game indicating the Mets had traded Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler and to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez.
While news of the blockbuster trade spread quickly on social media, Flores remained in the game and became so emotional he actually cried on the field – not all that surprising since the Mets have been family to Flores ever since they signed him as an international free agent out of Venezuela when he was just 16 years old.
Although the Internet was buzzing about the trade during the game, Mets Manager Terry Collins said he knew nothing about it. Things got even more confusing after the game when Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson told reporters there was no trade.
Over the next 12 hours, various reasons for the trade falling through were reported. Initial reports said the Brewers balked because of medical concerns about Wheeler. Then the story changed. This time it was the Mets backing out of the trade due to concerns about Gomez’s health. That story was followed by a report identifying the Mets as the culprit and money as the reason the New Yorkers walked away from the deal.
Throughout it all, social media took the blame for jumping the gun.
“There is no trade. And, unfortunately, social media, et cetera, got ahead of the facts,” Alderson said after the game. “This is one of those things that happen today with modern communication.”
But Alderson and those expressing similar sentiments are overlooking a key fact that could have prevented this unfortunate scenario. The story never would have appeared on social media if someone with knowledge of the trade had not leaked the details to the press. It’s that simple.
When I worked as a press secretary and spoke with reporters, there was a fundamental rule: If you don’t want to see something in the news, don’t tell it to a reporter — on or off the record.
The issue here is not social media. The issue is how an organization operates and how it manages its people and their responsibilities. Make it clear that no one talks with the press until every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted. Then coordinate that policy with all parties involved – internal and external — so that everyone is on the same page.
If the Mets-Brewers’ trade was not a done-deal (and obviously it was not), no one should have told the media about it. That would have been the best procedure to follow last night just as it would have been the best way to go 25 years ago long before the age of social media.
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