You may not know the 16-year-old kid in the picture to the right, but he just broke the biggest and most controversial story of baseball’s offseason.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Curt Hogg. He’s a high school student who runs the Plushdamentals blog on the MLB.com network. He also, improbably, had the story about Ryan Braun’s test sample being mishandled nine full days before anyone else did.
Again, let me repeat that — a 16-year-old kid who is taking journalism classes somehow took everyone else to school on the biggest and most controversial story to hit the baseball world this offseason. Score yet another one for Brewers bloggers.
Hogg’s source chose to remain anonymous when speaking to him. The source was somebody who works out with a college teammate of Braun’s who even told Hogg:
“The story seems unlikely, but who knows? It may hold to be true,” the source said of the situation.
Hogg’s instincts told him to run with the story regardless of what kind of public backlash he might face. After all, his story isn’t unprecedented given the fact that Brewers bloggers have had a knack for breaking the biggest stories relating to the team over the past year.
In December 2010, Jim Breen broke the news about Zack Greinke being traded to the Brewers on his Bernie’s Crew blog hosted on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s website. Breen faced a ton of backlash from people questioning his sources and his reporting techniques. In the end, Breen was vindicated though, getting the credit he so richly deserved.
In this case, Hogg’s instincts proved to be correct. He’s got everything, from the fact that the sample was refrigerated overnight in Kenosha to dispelling the common rumor that the positive test was somehow related to Braun receiving treatment for STDs. Hogg’s report didn’t get near as much publicity as it should have, largely because the story seemed then and seems now too outlandish to be true. Flash forward more than a week and the journalists Hogg grew up reading are reporting the same information he had posted on Valentine’s Day. Braun was cleared, the Brewers’ season was essentially saved, Major League Baseball had a hen house’s worth of eggs on its face, and Hogg celebrated with a humblebrag on his Twitter feed (@curtknowsbest):
Curt Hogg What a day it was. Braun vindicated. Plushdamentals report beat ESPN and their rivals. Wow.
On the Plushdamentals site, Hogg describes himself as an “up-and-coming” journalist. Kid, based on this report, I’d say you’re at least 3/4 of the way there.