When a story breaks in MLB, veteran reporters Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman or Jeff Passan are usually the ones tweeting it out. But not this time.
A week after news of Patrick Mahomes’ record contract extension was leaked by a liquor store employee in Kansas City, another unlikely source—22-year-old North Carolina native Brian Chandler—scooped us on Yasiel Puig, foreshadowing his signing with the Braves hours before it happened.
On Tuesday, Chandler tweeted with “99%” confidence that he had just seen Puig walking out of the Omni Hotel in Atlanta. The aspiring reporter quickly put two and two together, reasoning that the All-Star outfielder was in town to sign a deal with the Braves. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand confirmed the news later that afternoon. Chandler has been the toast of Twitter ever since, earning praise from Feinsand, Heyman and countless others for his find.
However fleeting his Internet fame may be, Chandler seems to be enjoying his time in the limelight. Chandler, who works for the Carolina League’s Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Advanced-A club of the Houston Astros), watched his follower count grow from 250 to over 1,000 in just 24 hours. In that time, he exchanged pleasantries with Passan (who roasted his Twitter avatar), asked if he could be verified and lamented not being the first to report Zack Godley’s imminent signing with the Boston Red Sox.
After spending months in free-agent purgatory, the 29-year-old Puig finally resurfaced Tuesday, filling the void left by Nick Markakis, who opted out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. Several of Markakis’ Atlanta teammates including All-Star Freddie Freeman have already tested positive for the virus. Most known for his six-year tenure with the Dodgers, Puig set career-highs with 84 RBI and 19 steals in 149 games between Cleveland and Cincinnati last season.
Who knows if Chandler has a future in sports media, but his reporting instincts were certainly on point Tuesday. Oh, and one more thing. Lest you be concerned, Chandler notes Puig was indeed wearing a mask when he saw him.