Paper Publishes Cards’ Home Addresses - Oops

On paper, the RIVERFRONT TIMES’ idea to publish the home addresses of current and former St. Louis Cardinals’ players may have seemed like a good idea. I don’t know what the exact result of revealing that information was — Tony La Russa’s house besieged by stray dogs? — but the paper now seems to be having twangs of remorse. After a bit of screaming by the Cardinals’ front office, including the team pulling the Times’ credentials to the All-Star Game, editor Tom Finkel has written an apology today. Sort of.

Albert Pujols

It’s kind of a half-baked apology, if that. In it, Finkel points out that the players’ address information is freely available to anyone at the St. Louis County official web site, and that all they did was locate the real estate tax database and search it by owner’s name. “You type in Stan Musial or Al Hrabowsky and up pops an address. You don’t even have to log in,” Finkel wrote. So is the dispensation of such freely available information an invasion of privacy, or a first amendment issue? That would have been a good debate, and I wish Finkel would have addressed it. As it is, I’m not even sure the Times is taking a stance on the issue; I can’t decide if Finkel’s article is an actual apology, or another tweak at the Cardinals. You be the judge, following the jump.

Here’s the Times’ Guide to the All-Star Weekend, in which the addresses appear. And here’s today’s “apology” by Finkel. Excerpts from the latter below.

Last Thursday afternoon I got a call from Brian Bartow, the St. Louis Cardinals’ director of media relations. Bartow said the team had seen and loved the Riverfront Times Guide to All-Star Week, a special supplement this paper had published the previous day — all except the part where we revealed the home addresses of some current and former Redbirds luminaries.The players, Bartow said, were particularly peeved, especially Pujols. So upset were they, Bartow told me, that the ballclub felt it had no option but to instruct Major League Baseball to revoke the credentials they’d granted Riverfront Times to cover the All-Star Game, and to rescind our credentials to cover the team over the course of the regular season.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Those petty bastards! How dare they stomp on the First Amendment like that! No, wait. That’s what I was thinking. You’re thinking: Serves you right, you puerile little jerk. You disrespect the St. Louis Cardinals by puncturing the protective halo of privacy around their players and personnel and you deserve whatever retribution they want to hand out, and then some.

And you know what? You’re probably right. Regardless, you — and, more to the point, I — can’t deny what would subsequently transpire.

He then he goes on to describe how Pujols kind of sucked in the Home Run Derby and actual All-Star Game. OK. Hmm.

Even David Letterman knows there’s a time to ditch the comedy when a mea culpa is called for. His response the criticism surrounding his monologue joke about Sarah Palin’s daughter, now that was an apology. Don’t know what this was.

How would you categorize the Riverfront Times’ decision to print the home addresses of the St. Louis Cardinals?

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