BOB GARFIELD: If you love you some infotainment dive in to the hot stove league. That's the old timey name for the rumor mill that follows every baseball season as teams acquire players for the next year. Such as World Series hero Nate Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox, who's been linked, for the past month, to the Brewers, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, Phillies, Giants and Astros.
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: It's been a little over five weeks since we last saw the Astros play. But Houston is keeping their name in the headlines. The latest offseason news is their interest in acquiring free agent pitcher. Nathan Eovaldi. [END CLIP]
BOB GARFIELD: The problem is the fuel of the hot stove league is just scuttlebutt. Much of what passes for reporting is just repeating the tantalizing guesses of other outlets. It generates clicks. But insight, not much of that.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: Now this just in, Kenny Rosenthal tweeting out "free agent, right?" He had a picture of Nathan Eovaldi in an agreement with the Red Sox--. [END CLIP]
BOB GARFIELD: The Red Sox? Oops. But of course, this is just sports, it's trivial. It's not as though the press would resort to thirdhand speculation in matters of consequence like, say, the fate of the president of the United States.
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: You know, whenever there's a ramping up of information, because we hardly get any information from this investigation, yeah, we start to wonder, 'OK does that mean that they're wrapping things up? Yahoo News was reporting that, you know, perhaps they're tying up loose ends. Any speculation here at all? [END CLIP]
BOB GARFIELD: Welcome to the hot stove league Special Counsel edition. Where the vacuum of facts is filled with endless exercises in supposin'.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: It looks like Muller is beginning to wrap things up.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: The smart money is betting on soon.
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Former FBI Director, James Comey, predicted that the Mueller investigation was in its fourth quarter. We're now seeing signs that might be the case. [END CLIP].
BOB GARFIELD: Until Tuesday, the press focused on a sentencing memo from Michael Flynn which we were told might be a play to preempt any quashing of Mueller's official report by acting attorney general Matt Whitaker.
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: The Flynn sentencing memo, I think, will give us a lot of information about what he was doing working with the Russians. I don't know what that information will be, but I think we'll get a lot from that. [END CLIP]
BOB GARFIELD: Nope.
MALE CORRESPONDENT: Last night we expected a bombshell. Instead, we got a big teasing document with a lot of redacted material, that tells us this guy's a canary. [END CLIP].
BOB GARFIELD: And so attention immediately turned to Friday's filing in Paul Manafort case.
FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: It is expected that that would be a great chance for the special counsel to reveal more details about exactly what it was that Paul Manafort lied about. And that may give us some clues about where else the special counsel investigation is headed. [END CLIP]
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BOB GARFIELD: Look something is going to happen with the Mueller investigation. Some guess work will always end up seeming prescient.Just as some outlets predicted Nate Eovaldi would stay in Boston. But journalism is supposed to be a brokerage of fact, not a game of chance.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So late Friday we learned something, as we do. Mullers latest filing says that Manafort lied multiple times, multiple ways. But the substance was, shall we say, heavily redacted. And Michael Cohen's probably going to the big house. If he'd only waited just a little, we wouldn't have to guess.