We are less than a week into the 2016 season, and the Royals have already had two controversies spring up around the team. Both were based on rather flimsy pretexts, and predictably Royals fans were annoyed.
I was annoyed, too. But then I thought, why let all these media types have all the fun? So here is a template for you to write your own clickbait story about the Royals’ latest perceived malfeasance. A “Choose Your Own Adventure,” if you will, except your adventure is stupid.
First, you need to figure out what exactly the Royals have done wrong this time. Choose one of the following:
A. Threatened to retaliate for their batters being hit/thrown at.
B. Got mad that their middle infielder was hurt on a takeout slide.
C. Played a song that could possibly, if you thought about it for several minutes, be construed as offensive in some respect. You know, if you thought about it some. Keep thinking, you’ll get it.
D. Raised their World Series flag and handed out World Series rings when the opponent in said World Series was in town, rather than politely waiting until they left.
Now, of course, you can’t have a news story without a source. You need a source, maybe even two, to substantiate your claim. Who do you have for a source?
A. Multiple industry sources.
B. One industry source. Not ideal, but we can live with it.
C. My editor, who said I’d better get some clicks soon.
D. The voices in my head.
But don’t forget, you can’t build a narrative about the Royals unless you bring up their misdeeds from last year. Which one of your previous clickbait articles would you like to reference?
A. The one where I made the Royals’ song choice (you know, the one that might be offensive if you thought about it a while) equivalent to an actual sexist comment somebody on another team made.
B. The one where they broke baseball’s unwritten rules by stealing too many bases.
C. The one where they broke baseball’s unwritten rules by throwing at another team.
D. The one where they broke baseball’s unwritten rules by winning games while playing in a small market in flyover country. Couldn’t they at least have the decency to play on a coast?
Congratulations! You’ve finished your clickbait article! But your work is not done. Now, when Royals fans get upset with you, you need to prepare your defense. What will you tell them when they say the Royals meant no harm, or haven’t actually promised to do what you said they would?
A. Of course they would say that. Like they’re going to confess their nefarious plans to me, your humble crusading journalist.
B. Hey, I’m just the messenger.
C. You’re part of the problem, you enabler.
D. Nothing, just block them on Twitter.
Now, wasn’t that simple? No wonder there are so many of these.