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MLB did not just cancel 60 million All-Star votes just now

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How sensational headlines can be misleading

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Jeff Passan wrote an article yesterday for Yahoo! Sports about the crazy All-Star fan voting. Passan, a former Kansas City writer, has suspected that Royals fans are somehow rigging the vote totals. So he talked to MLB's CEO of MLB Advanced Media, Bob Bowman, who is overseeing the voting. Buried in the article, is this quote from Bowman:

"I'm not saying we bat 1.000," Bowman said. "But it's between 60 and 65 million votes that have been canceled. We don't really trumpet it because if someone thinks they're getting away with it, they'll try to again."

Passan adds:

Bowman said the 20 percent rate of killing ballots is consistent with previous seasons

Passan did some good journalism there, and to his and his editor's credit, the headline was a perfectly reasonable and non-misleading. But others took that one Bowman quote, and ran off with it.

Being the editor of a tiny media operation, I understand it can be hard to write a headline, but these headlines are flat out misleading and written by people who obviously didn't even read the original Passan article. By reading these headlines, you might think that yesterday, MLB threw out 65 million votes due to Royals fans cheating, and that last week's vote totals are erroneous.

But there's absolutely no reason to think that's the case. As Bowman states, vote-canceling has been an ongoing process with the results reflected in the vote totals.

"We look for programs. We look at IP addresses. We do all that . . . We've been scrubbing it every day and haven't seen anything irregular."

So no, 60-65 million votes weren't canceled yesterday, and I wouldn't expect vote totals for Royals players to change much come Monday, but I bet a lot of media sites got a lot of good hits because of misleading headlines.