I Was Hijacked By A Russian Bot On Instagram. Instagram Doesn’t Care.

It rained on Saturday.  I visited a friend. I ate a pizza.

A plain old Saturday kind of day. Except for this …

On Saturday my Instagram account was hijacked by a Russian bot and I can’t get it back.

Because angry people like me turn to the Internet to find support when Big Tech firms ignore them, I am writing this for those other victims.

That I was hijacked by a Russian bot is ironic, because when I’m not writing baseball, I can sometimes be found consulting for a good government organization in Washington that is fighting to get our government to pay attention to, and deal with, the army of Russian bots meddling in our elections and affairs.

That Instagram, owned by Facebook, provided me with no support or useful help, and put the burden on me to fix a problem that they created, makes me angrier at them than I am at the Russian bot.

Here’s how it happened.

On Saturday afternoon, Instagram sent me an email saying that my Instagram password had been reset.  “If you didn’t make this change – blah, blah, blah – ‘click here.’”

In the five minutes – five minutes – from the time Instagram sent me the email and I responded, my account was completely hijacked. My password was changed, my user name changed, my email contact address changed.

Once those things were changed, I was locked out. Completely.

It was completely out of my control. It is still completely out of my control

It was still “me” up there. My pic. My witty little profile story. My followers, just a handful of friends, really.

Just one post – a photo of my cat Mookie.


My account, along with that lone photo of my faithful cat Mookie, is now controlled by this guy:


I have spent hours trying to alert Instagram that my account was hijacked. I have reported that my likeness is being impersonated. Instagram’s unhelpful “Help” function says I need to file forms and upload a photo of a government ID to prove I am who I am, but when I try to find the forms, I end up in a Catch 22 circle of “click here” that takes me to another “click here” that takes me back to the original “click here.”  When I’m on my computer, I’m told the form is on the app. When I’m on the app, I’m told to try to upload things via my computer.

Their circular unhelpful suggestions come with stern motherly nagging that I should have set a stronger password.  I DID HAVE A STRONG PASSWORD! Stop trying to make this MY fault.


It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating.

Oh, and how do I know it’s a Russian bot?

Because, apparently, I’m smarter than Instagram.

I tried to change kinnear’s new password. (Turn about’s fair play, you Russian bot jerk. I’m going to try to hijack you.)

I failed, of course, but when I did, Instagram alerted me that a password reset had been sent to the bot that stole my account:

The email address they shared was partially redacted. But, I saw all I needed to see. And, you can see it, too. Can’t you?


Russia, I see you!

What’s more? There are plenty of hijacked “kinnear” accounts on Instagram.

They all look like basically the same:

kinnear [underscore] [three digit number] [double underscore] [random name]

I’m no detective, but a bunch of Instagram users who all have weirdly similar names, but have nothing else in common, sure looks fishy to me.

Apparently, Instagram doesn’t think so.

Hey, my Instagram account is nothing. It’s just 30-some friends. I’ve alerted them and asked them to block the no-longer-me account and report it.  Four actually have. The rest, I’m afraid, didn’t bother and are now following a Russian bot.

Maybe Congress, and Facebook/Instagram, and Twitter, and Google will finally deal with the enormous growing-bigger-every-day Russian meddling problem they have on their hands.

On a smaller scale, how about this? Dear Instagram, If someone changes their password, put a temporary “hold” on making other account changes that would lock out a real user, including changing the username and the email address the account is linked to.  If there was a 24-hour hold, or even a one-hour hold, after a password change, I would have been able to get in and get my account back before that jerk-bot kinnear made it impossible.

(It’s a good idea and you’re welcome, Instagram. Clearly, I have to do your work for you.)

The hell with this. I’m swearing off Instagram. So is ever-faithful Mookie.

“Instagram Sucks.” — Mookie the Cat

If Instagram doesn’t want to help me and Mookie, let the Russian bots have the damn thing.

Mark. My Words.

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Me, again.

With just 11 days ’til baseball season starts — the earliest Opening Day ever — I thought I’d drop a note and say “hi.”


I see that lots has been going on in Birdland.

You’ve set up a new program to let kids attend Orioles games for free through the 2018 season. You’re expanding play areas at the park and creating new menu options especially for kids. Awesome!

Since I last wrote, you’ve picked up a couple of starting pitchers.

Good for you.

Welcome back, Chris Tillman and your 7.34 ERA.

You were a broken Bird most of last season which, we’re assured, is the reason for the stinky ERA. I hope you’re feeling better because I hate when Editor/Husband yells when starters get shelled in the third inning. (Or, second. Or, first.)

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Listen … It’s Babe Ruth!

via National Public Radio

That’s A Home Run Swing From Babe Ruth

Look, I’d love to sit down and write you a long blog post this morning. Really, I would. But, you wouldn’t read it anyway, because, as we learned in my last post, no one reads things anymore.

Babe Ruth, apparently, was on to this “I’m never reading words again” thing the internet has cooked up. So, perfectly timed to coincide with the death of the written word, a long-lost radio interview with Ruth has shown up.

No reading required. Just listening. To Babe Ruth.

The interview was part of an Armed Services Radio Network program recorded during World War II. It turned up recently in a school archive in Connecticut.

What did Ruth think of fastballs?

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Stupid Word-Hating Internet

Oh for crap’s sake.

The New York Times just decided that reading words is passé. The future of the internet is audio and video. Even for a simple little blog like mine.

That means … well, that means, oh hell, you’re already gone, aren’t you?

I’m just sitting in this blog all by myself, tapping out worthless words on a worthless keyboard counting …

The days ’til pitchers and catchers report.  Three.

The number of starting pitchers that the Orioles have on their roster. Two.

And, the number of people reading these words. One.

Just you, I’m afraid.

Qwerty, not so purty. (Poetry – even bad poetry — is screwed now, too, I guess.)

Sure, it’s ironic that The New York Times had to inform me that reading is dead using … actual written words.

Oh, for crap’s sake.

Or, as you wordless people say …

What can I do to make you love reading again?

Or, just letters.

Like the letter K.

K is one of the alphabet’s resident hoodlums. Look at it slouched there lazy against its own wall – a street tough – sticking its leg out, just waiting to trip a non-suspecting sweet p, flipping it over into a d.

K is both letter, word, and complete sentence.

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The Super-est Bowl-Free Sunday Of All

It’s been a few years since I began my football boycott.

I can’t remember which Super Bowl was my last.

I don’t remember much about the games I did watch. I remember halftimes though.

Fun Fact: The University of Arizona and Grambling State University Marching Bands were the halftime performers at the first Super Bowl in 1967. The highlight? Their performance of “The Liberty Bell” which all of you know better as this …


And, who can forget Up With People in 1982?

Or, Mickey Rooney in 1987?

I know I was boycotting by the time Madonna did the halftime show in 2012.

I began my lonely football boycott because, well, because I don’t support traumatic brain injuries. I think traumatic brain injuries, Grade Three concussions, and permanent brain damage are bad things. The National Football League does not. We agree to disagree on this, but I am right.

So, I don’t watch. (Neither does Editor/Husband, because he is supportive like that, and because he, too, recognizes that a sport that not only allows, but encourages, traumatic brain injuries is a bad sport.)

If you need a reminder, here’s my list of 50 reasons why you shouldn’t watch football.

It’s been pretty lonely up here on my NFL boycott soapbox.


Until NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to “take a knee” rather than stand for the National Anthem – his nonviolent protest against racial discrimination in our country.

Embed from Getty Images


Some people, apparently unbothered by Grade Three concussions, took offense to Kaepernick’s protest and started their own football boycott.

And by “some people,” I mean some, but not all, white people (and, I may be wrong, but I’m assuming those “some people” boycotting also include the two families on my little gravel farm road who fly the Confederate flag in their yards).

I’m being elbowed on my boycott podium by people who are boycotting for an entirely different reason.

While I hate to get all political on here, I do want to make clear my boycottish intention.

I boycott brain injuries in football.  I do not boycott a person’s right to nonviolently protest an issue that affects them personally and deeply.

Not only do I not boycott that, I applaud it.

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Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Dear Beloved Baltimore Orioles,

Hi! How are you? Have you had a nice relaxing, restful, lazy, nap-filled off-season?

Of course you have.

Yes, you certainly have done a lot of do-nothingness. In fact, I’m not sure there’s another team that has done less than you have these past few months.

(Correction: The Cleveland Spiders have done less. But, then the Spiders disappeared in 1888.)

Sure, we all need our rest.

But, enough napping. It’s time to wipe that sleepy drool off your chin. Enough lollygagging.

Pitchers and catchers report on February 13. That’s not a lot of time.

And, guess what?

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“Weather Has No Favorites; All Games Off”

Chicago Tribune, 4/15/1950

“Weather Has No Favorites; All Games Off”

It was 2-below this morning here in Virginia. Even colder in some parts of the state.

I know this because I, like many of my Virginia friends, took a photo of the thermometer. Evidence. It’s like a pseudo-selfie.

It was 117 degrees in Sydney, Australia yesterday. So, there are degrees of miserability. (Miserability. Not a word. Should be.)

It was a cold, snowy spring in 1950.

On April 13, a snowstorm blanketed much of the east coast from Virginia northward. On April 14, it was still cold … and still snowing. Baseball season hadn’t officially started – Opening Day was four days away – but the teams were just back from spring training and exhibition games were on their calendars.

It was so cold and so snowy, they cancelled all the games.

Every single one.

Lansing State Journal, 4/14/1950

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New Year’s Rulin’s

First of all, New Year’s Resolutions are stupid.

Because if you waited an entire year to decide you need to make some major life change, because, while unpleasant, you know it will be good for you, then why did you wait until today to start it?

I’ll tell you why. Because you don’t want to do it. That’s why. And, eventually, we don’t do the things we don’t want to do.

So, resolutions stink when you make them – because they are things you don’t want to do. And, they stink even more when you fail at them – because now you’re a failure.

Resolutions just stink.

But, there are always exceptions. Woody Guthrie wrote these – his “New Year’s Rulin’s” for 1942.

I can’t tell you if he kept them, but I’m hopeful he at least took the occasional bath and sent money to his kids.

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Waiting To Go Home

We were booted out of our house today.

Me, Editor/Husband, and all three cats.

Workmen are in there doing workingmen things. Things that must be done without the interference of humans or cats.

It has taken us the better part of a week to prepare the house for this upheaval.

And, today, I am tired, stressed, and, at least for now, homeless.

(I am promised that our home will be opened back up to us by dinnertime. Yes, dinnertime. So, sure, I’m being a little melodramatic here. But, I’m also so tired my eyes hurt. And, cranky. And, I’m sitting here in my studio with the volume on my phone turned all the way up so I don’t miss the text that says I can come home.)

As the workmen do their workingmen things, and the cats are boarding at the vets thinking cat thoughts about how much they hate us now for taking them away from home this morning, I am looking through the photos I’ve taken over the past year.

There’s a lot of waiting going on.

Charlottesville Tom Sox, June 2017 © The Baseball Bloggess

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Walter “Steve” Brodie: Warrenton’s “Duke of Roanoke”

Take one part Yasiel Puig crazy …

Stir in Adrian Beltre …


… and that thing about people touching his head.

Toss in last summer’s nacho incident with Addison Russell …


And, there. You’ve got Walter Scott “Steve” Brodie.


No, wait. We need some angry David Ortiz, too.

There. Walter Scott “Steve” Brodie.


Goofy. Quirky. A bit of a mean streak.

The starting centerfielder of the 1896 Baltimore Orioles, Brodie wasn’t the greatest player on that legendary team, but he wasn’t the worst either.

1896 Baltimore Orioles. Brodie, Middle Row, Far Left.

He was loved by fans nearly everywhere he played, including Boston, St. Louis, and Baltimore, but not Pittsburgh, because … well, they had their reasons.

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