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How I debunked the Cillian Murphy baseball photo (it honestly wasn’t that hard)

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by Adam Moynihan

A photograph of an MLB player who looks identical to Cork actor Cillian Murphy went viral last weekend. If you were online then you probably saw it.

The Twitter account @CodifyBaseball posted the picture just after midnight on Friday night (GMT) along with the caption: ‘tyler glasnow looking great so far today vs. the rangers’ (sic).

By Saturday morning, the image was everywhere. The post itself has around 6k retweets, 17k likes, and it has been viewed over 32 million times.

Several high-profile personalities with large followings were among the thousands of Twitter users to ‘quote tweet’ the original post, and these new posts were also seen by millions of people.

A number of well-known media outlets including tabloids in Ireland and the UK ran articles on the story. Sports Illustrated, the largest weekly sports magazine in the USA, published a piece on their website under the headline: ‘Sports World in Disbelief Over Rays Pitcher Bearing Striking Resemblance to Cillian Murphy’.

The reaction was consistent across the board. People were amazed. Glasnow and Murphy are identical. How could this be real?

As it turned out, the answer was pretty simple: it wasn't real at all.

When I first saw the tweet, I initially assumed that it was a photo of Cillian Murphy in a baseball uniform. I guess he must be doing a baseball movie, I thought to myself. Or maybe it's a guest spot on Eastbound & Down.

But when thousands of replies and quote retweets indicated that this was, in fact, a real baseball player called Tyler Glasnow, I was confused.

It’s one thing for two people to look alike but this was different. They had exactly the same face. I know doppelgangers exist in the real world but what are the chances? I was skeptical and decided to dig a little deeper.

The first thing I did was examine the photo a little more closely. I noticed an imperfection around one of the eyes that could possibly indicate that it was doctored in some way, but I didn’t feel as though it was definitive.

Then I googled the name ‘Tyler Glasnow’. Straight away - within a second - it became very obvious that the viral image was fake. Glasnow and Murphy are not identical.

Tyler Glasnow

I did, however, discover that baseball fans have been saying that the pair look like one another for at least three years. In certain photos there is some resemblance, but they are not identical.

The next step was to find the original image of Glasnow that I believed had been altered to make him look like Murphy. A reverse image search pulled up no results. This led me to believe that the image was a still or a screenshot taken from a video. This might make it harder to trace.

The original tweet implied that the image was taken from the Tampa Bay Rays’ match against the Texas Rangers on Friday, June 9, so I went to YouTube to find footage.

Scanning through a few different highlight packages, I was able to find several close-up shots of Glasnow, but they didn't match up with the viral image. For one thing, the seating in the background was sloping downwards left to right in the video and right to left in the image.

This was worrying as far as my investigation was concerned as it made me think that the image might be from a different game. I was pretty sure it was fake but it would have been a big ask to sift through dozens of Tampa Bay Rays matches to prove it. Especially when I was off the clock.

At this point I decided to check how many games Glasnow had played in this season. He recently recovered from injury so he had only made three appearances.

I noticed that the Rays appeared to be wearing a throwback jersey in the viral image. They wore the same jersey against the Rangers. I did a Google image search for the other two games that Glasnow played in this year and in both games the Rays wore their regular uniforms. It now seemed likely that the image was, indeed, taken from the Rangers game.

Next, I found a database with full broadcasts of all MLB games, including the one in question. Jumping forward five seconds at a time, I scanned for close-ups of Glasnow. There were plenty but, again, the background didn’t match. I was beginning to get disheartened.

But then, in the 33rd minute of the video, the camera cut to Glasnow as he walked off the field. I almost missed it but the blurry figures in the background looked right.

I went back to the start of this close-up and slowly went forward, frame by frame, until it all clicked into place. The background, the body position, the uniform, the shadows, even the outline of the head, everything matched up perfectly with the viral image.

Except, of course, for the face.

In reality, Glasnow barely looks like Murphy at all. The still image had been doctored somehow to replace his face with Murphy’s.

I shared my findings on Twitter and a couple of the media outlets backtracked and said that Cillian Murphy fans had been "tricked". (Note how it was the fans who were tricked, not the media outlets with massive audiences, or their journalists who didn’t bother to do any research).

One paper deleted their article and the rest just left it as it was.

To be honest, I don’t think they care. They got their clicks. On to the next one.

Many of the prominent Twitter accounts who shared the fake image were alerted to the fact that it was fake. From what I can tell, the vast majority didn’t relay this information on to their followers.

It’s only a photo of a baseball player who looks like an actor. No one got hurt. But it’s a perfect example of how willing we are, even in this age of misinformation, to believe the things we see online without really questioning whether or not they’re real.

With AI becoming more prevalent and more accessible, distinguishing fact from fiction is only going to get harder.

Unfortunately, if people in the media aren’t willing to spend 30 minutes conducting basic research before spreading a lie, I’m afraid we’re fighting a losing battle.

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Kerry ladies must bounce back at home to Waterford

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All-Ireland Senior Championship Group 2

Kerry v Waterford

Saturday 3pm

Fitzgerald Stadium

The Kerry ladies will be looking to get back to winning ways against Waterford on Saturday following last weekend’s frustrating draw against Donegal in Ballybofey.

The Kingdom led with seconds remaining in treacherous conditions but a late Donegal free snatched a draw for the home side (Donegal 1-6 Kerry 0-9). It was a game that Kerry would have been expecting to win and the result puts a lot more pressure on them this weekend as they try to top the three-team group and earn a home quarter-final.

If they beat Waterford and Donegal do likewise next week, Kerry and Donegal will be level in first place on four points each. The top seed will then be decided by the head-to-head record between the teams. As Kerry v Donegal was a draw, the deciding factor will be whoever scored the most points in that draw. That would be good news for Kerry as they scored nine points to Donegal’s six.

When Kerry and Waterford last met (in this year’s Munster Championship), Kerry needed a late winner by Fiadhna Tangney to prevail by narrowest of margins (1-8 to 1-7). If Waterford beat Kerry and then lose to Donegal, Kerry would be eliminated from the championship.

The Kerry squad has been boosted by the return of Síofra O’Shea who came off the bench against Donegal following a lengthy period out with a knee injury.

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US-bound Kerry runner Lynch hopes to emulate Mageean magic

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by Adam Moynihan

Killarney middle distance runner Oisín Lynch is taking inspiration from newly crowned European 1500m champion Ciara Mageean as he gets set for the next stage of his career in the United States.

This week Lynch confirmed that he will be heading Stateside after accepting a scholarship at Adams State University in Colorado. The promising 800m and 1500m competitor caught the eye of coaches at the leading American college after representing Ireland in the Youth Olympics and also by winning two national titles in recent months.

Speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, the 18-year-old Killarney Valley AC athlete, who is currently doing his Leaving Cert at St Brendan’s College, says he one day hopes to emulate Mageean’s heroics on the international stage.

“The Irish are on the up at underage and at senior level,” Lynch notes. “We have been improving a lot in recent years. When you see Ciara Mageean winning the 1500m it just shows that it can be done by Irish people.

“Sometimes Irish athletes don’t really believe in themselves when they’re getting knocked out of championships by English or European athletes. Mageean winning that European title is definitely something to drive me on. It shows that I can actually do it.”

DREAM

For Lynch, moving to the United States is a hugely significant step, and one that he has dreamed about making since he was a child.

“It’s unbelievable. I always hoped I could earn a scholarship. I worked hard over the last few years, so it’s nice to see that work paying off.

“I had a few schools onto me but when Adams State got in touch, I sized it up and I knew it was a really good opportunity.

“The fact that the college is at 7,500 feet… That’s a crazy altitude. It’s double the height of Carrauntoohil. Altitude training has massive benefits for distance running and nowadays nearly every pro spends most of their year training at altitude. The chance to get that training for the next couple of years is great.

“And their athletics programme is unbelievable. Coach Damon Martin has been there for 40 years and he has coached 12 Olympians. Adams State is in the top 15 for distance in the country and the standard out there in America is very high.”

STRIDES

Killarney Valley AC have made enormous strides since building their new, state-of-the-art facility in 2020 and Lynch is a grateful beneficiary of that progress.

“I can’t thank the club enough. Going back a couple of years we were training on grass in parks. When you want to be a track runner, it’s just not the same. After a lot of hard work by a lot of good people, we managed to get a 200-metre track in Killarney. That’s massive for us and it’s all we need for training.

“The coaches down there are putting in the hard work, including my dad (Con), Tomás Griffin, Jean Courtney, Jerry Griffin, Bríd Stack, Alan Delaney… I could go on. It’s a great club and there are some good athletes coming through. It’s an exciting time for Killarney Valley.”

After Lynch completes his Leaving Cert, he will start preparing for life as a college athlete. He will study kinesiology in Colorado and on the track he hopes to keep on moving in the right direction. That means getting his times down (his current PBs are 1.50.59 over 800m and 3.51 over 1500m), representing Ireland, and hopefully winning a national title in America.

“Obviously I’ll take every step as it comes,” the ambitious Kerryman says, “but the Olympics is the main long-term target, hopefully in LA in 2028.”

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