I promised you I would report back if anything came of that Tampa Bay Buccaneers podcaster who said he had an inside scoop on a new Rays stadium being about to be announced, and I am here to tell you that somebody asked Tampa Mayor Jane Castor about it in a Facebook Live event. Upon which she said:
“I guess there is a blogger that said that we were getting ready to break ground on the Rays stadium here in Tampa Bay. To which my response was ‘news to me.'”
And then Rays president Brian Auld, who was also on the Facebook Live because of course the mayor of Tampa and the guy she’s sitting across the negotiating table from are hanging out and exchanging long protein strings, added:
“News to me also, and I feel like at least one of us would know about that.”
So that’s that. Unless Castor and Auld are just covering up the real truth! There’s a headline about it on WTSP-TV’s site and people are talking about it on Twitter, so there must be something to it!
WTSP included a video of Castor and Auld saying all this stuff, because they could, but I’m way more interested in what exactly J.C. Cornell said in the podcast he had been teasing the previous week. Let’s see, it’s on Spotify, and oh god, 44 minutes long? Let’s see (44 minutes of my life I’ll never get back later…) — he didn’t even mention it! He talked about how people in Chicago hate him, and Enemies of the Pod (which somehow didn’t include bears), but nothing about a new stadium. Clearly he’s just covering up the real truth!
Seriously, though, when something like this turns into a news story out of literally nothing, I think we’re edging past proportionality bias and into Mandela Effect territory. The idea that Tampa is about to announce a new stadium fits with past claims (even though those turned out to go nowhere) and is no doubt what many people sick of the Rays stadium saga would love to believe to be true. Add in that at this point the rumor has been repeated multiple times (yes, including on this site, it is the curse of media criticism that there’s no way to report on false rumors without also amplifying them) and it starts to feel true, or at least truthy, regardless of whether it ever happened.
In a very similar vein, Ault took the occasion of his Facebook Live appearance that he’s still working on the idea of the Rays splitting time between two new stadiums in Tampa Bay and Montreal:
“We’re excited about it. We’re working on it. Let’s state the obvious in that it’s on the back burner right now. Plenty of stuff occupying our time,” Auld said.
I mean, maybe they are? Or maybe they’re just trying to Mandela-Effect the Tampontreal Ex-Rays plan into existence so that the mayor of Tampa will keep meeting with them in order to avoid losing half the team to Canada? This is where it’s important for the news media to 1) exist beyond just a bunch of people with podcasts and Twitter accounts and 2) report on when things aren’t true, not just rumors of what might be, but they’re not all that great at doing either of those things lately. In the meantime, try to unremember things that you heard a lot but have no basis in reality — either that or decide that you’ve slipped into an alternate plane of existence. Clearly the Berenstain Bears are just covering up the real truth!