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.
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.