Although the long time Bay Area sports personality’s account – @KPIXSPORTS – has existed for almost two years, it only had about 100 followers before O’Donnell tweeted that the Giants had a deal in place for Hunter Pence. Then Baggs cited O’Donnell’s report, and what looked to be a regular Sunday night became a hurricane of speculation and skepticism. On Twitter, anyway.
O’Donnell followed up shortly afterwards by reporting that the trade required ownership approval, also mentioning that Tommy Joseph and perhaps another player were involved in the trade (in hindsight, O’Donnell was pretty much spot on).
O’Donnell then led his Sunday evening sports segment on CBS with the Pence report. Although he included that the Giants had refuted the story, they stuck with the definitive headline “Source: Giants acquire OF Hunter Pence.”
He stayed quiet following the reports, resurfacing on Twitter only to say that he had nothing new regarding Pence the next day. Even when the news of the trade broke yesterday, O’Donnell made no appearance on Twitter. He did no boasting, and that means that he’s a bigger man than I am, because if I were in his shoes, you better believe you’d catch me doing a little crotch choppin’.
For those of you who don’t watch CBS 5 Eyewitness News, O’Donnell went on with Damon Bruce this afternoon to talk about the situation. He mentions hearing something about the Giants’ interest in Pence from an unnamed friend in the Philadelphia TV news industry (so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to call the source “Brick” or “Champ”).
The part about O’Donnell’s source, along with a few other key sections, are in italics.
Damon: “Dennis, How ya’ doing, man?”
Dennis: “A lot better than I was a day and a half ago.” (Laughs)
Damon: “You obviously felt that you had the real dope on this and your source was good enough to go with it. Tell me a little bit about the process and how you came to hear about it?”
Dennis: “Well Damon, it was actually last Thursday, those teams had been talking last week, and the call initially that I got was from Philadelphia from a friend I’ve known about 30 years in the business who worked at the Philadelphia NBC affiliate. As you know, I was at KRON, the NBC affiliate in San Francisco. So we’ve known each other for a long time, and he called me and asked me if he thought the Giants would have legitimate interest in Hunter Pence. It started out of Philadelphia and progressed obviously to San Francisco, so it was three or four days of phone calls before I figured out the principles in deal — obviously one was Hunter Pence and the other was Tommy Joseph, and if you looked at it, it made a lot of sense. So, it finally came down Sunday night, that’s what happened.”
Damon: “You talked about ‘pending ownership approval.’ I saw people holding that phrase against you … It’s amazing the ombudsmen that lurk on Twitter, is it not?”
Dennis: “Well, first of all, the thing I want to make clear is we didn’t do this, with that announcement Sunday night, Damon, capriciously or impulsively. In fact, I’m probably the anti-Twitter guy, the anti-new age of technology where you sort of throw things against the wall to see if they stick. Because I know whatever I’m putting out there is going to affect a lot of people, it’s going to affect the principles involved in the trade – Hunter Pence and any player that might come from the Giants. It’s going to affect people who cover the team, people who have to get on the phone and start checking somebody’s sources. So, I understand the criticism that was going to come with it, but I just want to make it clear that it wasn’t something that I picked out of thin air and just threw against the wall to say, “Hey, let’s go with it and see what happens.” Because as you mentioned, when you’re out there, kind of alone on an island after you announce something like that, there’s a period of time where things can happen. Things can change. The deal could get killed. Fortunately it didn’t, but it came with a lot of research, a lot of information, so I just want to assure people, I don’t make a living out of doing this, right? I’m not a beat guy, I don’t cover the team, I don’t constantly tweet. In fact I think we had 100 followers @KPIXSports [Twitter account] before this ever happened, I think it’s over 1,000 now. So, I’m not active in that area, so I just want to make that clear.”
Damon: “When you continued to lead your sportscast with it, which is upping the ante on taking a stance on something. Tweeting about it’s one thing, leading your local sportscast with it is totally another. And as soon as you did that, I said, ‘He clearly knows something,’ … When it was immediately refuted though, by Bobby Evans, who I guess texted a beat writer to say that this is not true, this is not happening, did it give you any pause? Did you think that there was going to be a snafu or a holdup?”
Dennis: “Not really. I think it was semantics at that time. I think what I said was that ‘a deal was in place,’ it was the terminology that I used, and that Tommy Joseph was the centerpiece as far as the Giants were concerned, and that’s true. Now, Schierholtz came along in the deal and another Giants minor league pitcher was involved in the deal, but the framework of the deal was there. As of Sunday night, is what I’m saying, Damon, is that Hunter Pence was going to be a Giant one way or the other, and I think Tommy Joseph was going to be a Philadelphia Phillie. I was extremely confident in that, when Bobby Evans – who I know and have a great deal of respect for – said that, he technically was probably right. But again, in my mind it was semantics at that point.”
Damon: “Do you think [trading for Hunter Pence is] the move that puts the Giants clearly over the top with the Dodgers? I think this August is going to be fascinating.”
Dennis: “Well, the great thing is that the Dodgers have to be better, and if I’m a Giants fan, and a long time Giants fan – I grew up in San Francisco – I always want the Dodgers to be better. I want the Dodgers to be the team that’s there in August and September, because it just makes it more interesting. They obviously have a much better budget, and right now they have a much better baseball team than they did two months ago. I’m still scratching my head, Damon, as to how they got to that record in the first place. But they did, and to their credit they made significant deals at the trade deadline. But the acquisition of Pence simply makes the Giants a better team. No offense to Gregor Blanco and Nate Schierholtz. Nate’s a good player but he wasn’t consistently a good player, and Blanco has a track record. So does Hunter Pence, so he simply makes the team that much better, and when Pablo comes back, I mean, that’s a hell of an offense and it’s one they’re going to need because, as you know, the pitching staff isn’t as good as it was a year ago, because Lincecum is still looking for his consistency. So, great moves by both teams, and it’s just going to make for an awfully exciting stretch run.”