November 18, 2009
The Bucks (Pa.) Local News is reporting tonight that Phillies fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of 22-year-old prospect Domonic Brown, who had an .880 OPS over three minor league stops in 2009.
It is also reporting he is "JUST AN IDIOT" for spelling his first name that way.
In an online version of this story — "Phillies' hot stove is heating up" — the third paragraph suggests Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro could have a plan that entails making prospects Brown, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek part of a new core group for the club.
The assumption seems reasonable enough, but the paragraph also contains a note the writer presumably left for copy editors regarding the unusual spelling of Brown's first name — Domonic.
(*NFP: DOMONIC IS SPELLED RIGHT, HE'S JUST AN IDIOT*).
NFP means "not for publication." Yeah, no kidding this wasn't for publication. As anyone who has worked for a newspaper can tell you, employees are reminded to not make "dummy" headlines or write notes within stories that, if actually published, would prove embarrassing.
But people do it anyway.
The note was removed in another version of what otherwise appeared to be the same post, which was bylined by Matthew Fleishman. The "IDIOT" version linked above remained online concurrently as of 11:30 p.m. EST. (UPDATE: The story has been updated with an apology from Fleisman. "The only idiot in this case is me," he writes.)
There's no way a paper from Bucks County, outside of Philly, wants to insult one of the Phillies' finest prospects. Or even one it its lesser prospects.
(That deserves another "hoo, boy," doesn't it?)
Another thing or two:
• After years of being polite and letting people misspell his name, Brown actually told the press last season they've been getting it wrong. So, he's aware of the ... issue. The Fightins reported this last August. His MLB.com bio is correct, but Brown's Baseball-Reference page still spells his name "Dominic." Or, like a non-idiot might, the Bucks Local News would report.
• Also, unless you go to court as an adult to change it (see Chad Johnson), nobody ever names him- or herself. It's the parents, obviously. Don't hate on Domonic because his mom and dad went for a different spelling.
• I'm not even sure there's grounds to call the parents "idiots." If you sound "Domonic" out, even though it kind of looks like "Demonic" (which might bother me) it actually makes some sense to spell it alternatively like he does.
• Nothing ever is worth saying in ALL CAPS — unless it's "UCLA," or "BOOM!" And even then.
The real lesson for young journalists: Leave a Post-It note next time.