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Ben Deibler is the shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Vermont squad that’s currently competing in the Little League World Series. He hit a two-run double on Tuesday against the squad from Massachusetts, and he started an important double play in the third inning that squashed a rally from his opponents.
But his biggest score on Tuesday came in the form of this on-screen graphic that appeared during an ESPN broadcast of the New England regional tournament. Meet Deibler, a shortstop who might be the most romantic preteen in the country.
Hey, who hasn’t had a crush on their teacher? But how many of us get to go on national TV and profess our love to our potential paramour? This kid and this kid alone.
Baller Alert pic.twitter.com/TW3UprqOZH— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 9, 2017
Except that’s not what happened at all. It turns out that the graphic is a creation of image manipulation. This tweet from a Good Morning America social media producer made it clear that the chyron on the telecast never actually appeared, and ESPN confirmed to the Daily Dot on Thursday afternoon the graphic “did not appear on ESPN’s Little League coverage.”
Buzzkill alert... that Little League kid did NOT say "sup" to his teacher in his ESPN fun fact. It was a (pretty bad) photoshop. Carry on. pic.twitter.com/DmHa2HzsnX— Jeff D Lowe (@JeffDLowe) August 10, 2017
Naturally, this must have disappointed Twitter, which immediately fell in love with Deibler after the fake chyron was unveiled (because of the balls this kid apparently had shown).
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take pic.twitter.com/wRcR6R8tvx— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) August 9, 2017
""You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. -Wayne Gretzky"— Luke Rapert (@luketheaverage) August 10, 2017
-Ben Deibler pic.twitter.com/a9D9ShWcrn
He just topped my previous favorite pic.twitter.com/nndO6fRzmg— Michael Smith (@skins992002) August 10, 2017
I will never be as cool as this kid.— Herr Kopplin (@Herr_Kopplin) August 10, 2017
But some people never believed the graphic was real…
Did you see this live? It looks photoshopped, the letters don't even line up— Alex Dosser (@alexdosser) August 9, 2017
The position of being the victim of a bad photoshop job— Jonathan (@ncbjd) August 10, 2017
The uneven letters gave it away.. T in 1st appears bolded, I's have different width.. To mE iT LoOkS LIkE ThIS pic.twitter.com/g2NE3QKz6F— Jonathan (@ncbjd) August 10, 2017
Oh no but what about the hundreds of very unique tweets where people just took it and said "shoot your shot"??— Jimmy Donofrio (@JimmyDonofrio) August 10, 2017
… And it turns out those people were correct.
Take a look at Neibler’s favorite movie—the one in the real chyron—and it’s a pretty apt description for those of us who were fooled by the initial teacher-crush tweet.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.