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ABC posts 1999 Twins story as current news

Or, what happens when interns are trying too hard.

Matt Lawton #50
Wearing eclipse glasses before it was cool.

So, Sunday, I was browsing the news stories on my phone. You know how these things work — they use algorithms based on what you’ve clicked before. In my case, that’s gonna be sports, current events, science stuff. In your case it might be health news, business news, whatever. To each their own.

And this curious headline pops up: Lawton, fan, both apologize (yes, it’s a link, but it may be down by the time you read this).

I wondered if it had anything to do with former Twins outfielder Matt Lawton (how many other Lawtons can you think of in sports/entertainment?) so I clicked on it. Then I got the following:

It was the Twins player Matt Lawton, and he spit on a Toronto fan who’d possibly taunted him with racist slurs.

In 1999.

That’s when the incident happened. Note the date/time stamp on this story: November 26, 2017, 7:35 PM ET.

I thought it might have been some celebrity old-timers game or such. (They have a roof in Toronto, they could play in November.) Nope. It’s a straight re-run of an ESPN story from 1999. Presented like it happened last week:

“Their disagreement took place during the seventh inning of the Twins' 14-3 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night.”

Um, baseball is over now? Matt Lawton is, like, retired?

I don’t know how this happened, but I can guess.

Some intern, some kind of noob at ABC, was in charge of adding stories to their Apple News feed over Thanksgiving weekend, when most of the experienced pros are off. ABC owns ESPN, so they have access to ESPN’s stories. The noob was looking through ESPN’s files for anything interesting. Well, here’s one! Player spits on possibly racist fan. Controversy! Drama! What a catch!

Except, you know, read the dang date/time stamp, maybe. Or just be aware that baseball isn’t played after Thanksgiving. (I’m not a big NFL fan, yet I know they don’t play the games in March. It’s like knowing hockey isn’t the national sport of Morocco, one just picks this stuff up.)

Anyhoo, I thought this was an amusing boo-boo TwinkleTown readers might enjoy. And please, ABC — don’t fire the noob! Consider it a “training opportunity.” Everybody makes mistakes, and it’s not like they screwed up in a hospital or anything serious. (However, ABC veterans, do feel free to razz the noob pretty hard on Monday.)

For worried Twins fans, the happy news is Lawton and that fan made peace after this game. 18 years ago, in fact ...