Here's a prickly question: If you tell someone a story that contains falsehoods, but you aren't conscious that parts of the story are false, is it considered a lie? Personally, I don't think so, but if it is, I've been telling the same lie over and over for about three years now, and I'm a bit embarrassed about it. Here's the background on this fib I've been passing around:
Manuel Arturo "Manny" Machado, 21 years old and the Baltimore Orioles full-time third baseman, was recently named a member of the American League All-Star team, and his selection made him the first former IronBirds player to be so honored.
Manny's tenure in Aberdeen was brief, as he played just seven games with the IronBirds in 2010 before the season closed, but he was definitely a member of the team, and it was a big deal. You see, first-round draft picks, at least during my tenure at The Aegis, have had a habit of passing the level at which the IronBirds reside, Class A Short Season, and going right from their first stop (usually in the Rookie League) to the Delmarva Shorebirds (Class A) or the Frederick Keys (Class A Advanced).
Matt Wieters (2007) was listed on the IronBirds roster, but reported directly to Frederick, Brian Matusz (2008) did the same thing, Matt Hobgood (2009) went from the Rookie League to Class A and back before making a stop in Aberdeen two seasons ago, and Dylan Bundy (2011) started his pro career with Delmarva. Kevin Gausman (2012) made his debut in Aberdeen, but was promoted after two pitching appearances (I covered both of those games, and it was apparent from the get-go that he would be moving up the ladder quickly).
Machado's stint with the IronBirds began with much fanfare (or, at least more than has accompanied any other player since I started covering the team).
He held a press conference in the club level at Ripken Stadium, then, with Orioles' manager Buck Showalter and some more of the Baltimore team's brass in attendance, went out and collected a hit in his first game with Aberdeen. I'm no professional scout, but I did text a couple people that night to say, "This kid is really good. Keep your eyes on him."
Since then, everyone who even passively follows baseball has had to have heard something about Machado. He got called up to the big club last season in the middle of a pennant race last year and, far from wilting under the pressure, established himself as a major leaguer. This season, he's been one of the most valuable players in the major leagues (I don't want to turn this into a festival of statistics, so just get on baseball-reference.com and look at this year's league leaders.) And, he made the MLB All-Star team, something no other IronBird has done (Nick Markakis, one of the only first-round draft picks to spend a whole season with Aberdeen, has just missed the cut a few times).
Anyway, getting back to my original point, over the last three years, and especially the last 10 months, since Machado was called up to the Orioles, I've been telling people that I was at both his first professional press conference (I'd have to do some research to figure out if that's right, but I'm thinking it's not) and that I covered his first professional game. The latter, though I very much believed it to be true, is definitely false. After signing with Baltimore a few minutes before the deadline in 2010, Machado played his first two pro games with the Gulf Coast League Orioles, then reported to Aberdeen.
I'm not sure where I got it mixed up in my head, but I apologize to all the people I've misled. I think I was just so excited that a person I interviewed as an 18-year-old kid turned out, in less than three years, to be a proper major league star. Watching Machado this season has been a dream, and, like every other Baltimore fan, I hope he stays his entire career.
All that said, I still might keep telling people I was at his professional debut. If he sticks around for 20 years, nobody is going to call me out for getting the facts a little mixed up after two decades.