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You hear about that Sox trade rumor? No? Exactly.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune / October 26, 2012)
White Sox fans were itching for a deal at the trade deadline, and to hear general manager Rick Hahn tell it, so was he.
"Frankly, I sort of felt like the kid looking out the window with all his friends playing outside while I was inside practicing my violin," he said. "In the end there just wasn’t anything that we felt made us better for the short term much less the long term, so why just do something for the sake of doing something?"
Keeping a secret in the social media era is harder than ever, with so many people itching to be the first to report on a trade or even a credible rumor.
Yet all was quiet on the Sox front, both in terms of number of deals made and number of credible rumors leaking out from on high. On the latter, Hahn says he'd prefer to keep it that way.
"The harder part from social media is holding back from the desire to refute something that's inaccurate," Hahn said. "Guys know how we operate internally so keeping things quiet isn't so hard."
Between Twitter and websites such as MLBTradeRumors.com, the thirst for information has continued to grow as anticipation builds for the next big deal. For general managers, it's hardly an ideal environment in which to conduct business but one Hahn accepts.
"It's part of the game today, it's part of society today," he said. "Information moves more quickly than it ever has before. It's more important to us to try to operate in quiet and underneath the radar, so to speak than, to refute every inaccuracy that's out there."
Hahn said a lot of what you may have seen or heard about the Sox leading up to the deadline was not, in fact, true, which is why he refuses to publicly address every would-be deal.
"I feel that the rumors related to the Chicago White Sox at least were in my 14 years probably at an all-time low in terms of accuracy in terms of specific players being talked about with specific clubs," he said. "I'm not sure I saw more than one or two that were close to accurate."
But just because Hahn can keep himself off social media doesn't mean he can do the same for his players. Like many of us, professional athletes drink from the firehose of information that is social media on a daily basis, which means they're subjected to the same rumors fans are. That's why he chooses to handle things internally.
"Occasionally you'll have a conversation with a player to tell him, 'Hey, don't worry about that, that's not accurate,” he said.
Of course, there's a downside to addressing every rumor with every player.
"You always have to be cognizant of the fact that one day [a rumor] might be accurate and you're not going to want to go to him," he said. "All of a sudden, now you haven't and it creates that more stressful situation than if you had kept your mouth shut all along."
That's why Hahn himself refrained from discussing deadline deals with the media for one simple reason.
"I don't think it's respectful to the players who have their names out there in the daily rumor mill for me to be commenting on which [trade rumors are] accurate and what isn't," he said. "I don't think there's any strategic advantage to us being able to accomplish our goals by me directing what’s true and what isn't true publicly."