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The Day Ralph Trended on Twitter: A Story of Karma
By: Mike Bush
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For the non-baseball (or sports) fans, hang in there on this one; there’s an important lesson about being first on Twitter. For anyone who follows sports, go ahead and skip the next paragraph, which gives a little primer on what a league’s trade deadline day means to its fans.

Background: In each of the major sports leagues (Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey), a day comes around each year where teams are no longer allowed to trade players from one to another. Typically, on this day, teams that have a good (or better) chance at making the playoffs try to add a player that can help them, while teams who are having a rough season can trade off a veteran for a younger player who might help them in the future. Deadline day in every league has its excitement, but I’d argue none is more exciting than MLB’s (after all, a guy who can play center field in one place can likely do so in other places).

Deadline day in MLB this year brought with it TONS of rumors. Superstars were allegedly being traded every second (note, most reports from the media tend to be wrong on this day). And it’s that parenthetical that opens our story.

Jim Bowden is exceptionally well known in MLB circles. He is a former general manager (the guy who actually builds a team), and today, he’s an analyst with ESPN. On deadline day, he saw a tweet by a fellow MLB reporter and essentially reported it as his own story (he didn’t credit the first reporter).

Karma doesn’t approve of this type of action.

See, the account he basically stole a story from was a fake. Instead of, for instance, Michael_Bush, it was MichaeI_Bush. See the difference? In the first one, It’s michaeL, whereas the second, in all lower case, it’s michaei (a lowercase L and capital I look the same).

The tweet was clearly wrong, and then… panic. We turn to Deadspin for a timeline of events.

Bowden:
  1. Deleted his photo to the Twitter “egg”
  2. Changed his Twitter handle (Note: Doing so does not simply move followers elsewhere)
  3. His Twitter account was taken down entirely (Note: Upon seeing this, someone with a sense of humor immediately registered).
  4. Changed the name on the account to Ralph (Note: Just because?)
#Ralph trended for a while… and was pretty darn hilarious.

Bowden has a new account, and over 90K followers. It looks like Twitter did him a solid and let him keep his 2009 registration date and tweets (how odd would it look if he had registered the week after the trade deadline in 2014?).

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that if you’re first with a story, go ahead and tweet it. However, if someone else has the scoop, don’t claim credit as though you deserve it. 


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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