There may well be no stranger feeling than when you're with a group of people who are quite experienced at their craft in a place where something very important is allegedly happening and the rest of the world seems to know more about said happening than everyone in that room combined.
That was the case Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Right around the 6th inning of the Brewers-White Sox game, buzz began building on social media that the Sox were on the verge of acquiring Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox, with some early reports suggesting that the deal was completed long before anything was ever announced. At the time, Mike Fiers and Jose Quintana were engaged in the second pitchers' duel of the series, a scoreless contest that saw both pitchers who had been afterthoughts going into this season twirling masterpieces.
I was at the game on assignment for ESPN Playbook and RedEye just hoping to grab a couple of real quick fun features. Instead, I and everyone else in the press box found ourselves in the middle of the second biggest story to come out of the South side this season after Philip Humber's perfect game.
What ensued was one of the more bizarre experiences I've had in nearly a decade of working in sports and in the media. Veteran reporters were checking Twitter to see what others thousands of miles away were reporting. Was Youkilis still in the game? What exactly did the Red Sox clubbie say about his locker being cleaned out?
We were the ones paid to know everything about said contest and at that moment, we knew precisely nothing.
As the innings wore on, more information leaked out from the internet and seemingly everyone who wasn't at the very stadium of the team that it would affect knew more than we did. I approached White Sox PR late in the game and asked if we'd be attending a press conference that wasn't the standard one offered up by manager Robin Ventura. They seemed to know as much as the rest of us.
I asked a veteran reporter if she could find Brett Lillibridge, one of the players alleged to be involved in the trade, in the White Sox dugout in the 9th inning. She could not and neither could I. That was, perhaps, our first indication, that the internet buzz was about to turn into a real life roar.
Twenty minutes later, Eduardo Escobar would pinch hit for Lillibridge and drive in the game's only run, sending us scrambling for the eleevators. Ten minutes after that, every single reporter scrambled down four flights to the post-game interview room where Sox GM Kenny Williams would meet us and inform us that the rumors were in fact true and now we faced deadlines to beat and face to save.