Weird stuff afoot over at MLB.com.
Yesterday afternoon a story by Scott Merkin appeared featuring Mark Buehrle and focusing on his passion for animal rights. Not surprisingly, the subject of Michael Vick came up. When the story first went up, the following quote was in it:
“He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Mark Buehrle said. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”
I can think of three reasons why the quote might have been excised: (1) it was a total misquote by Merkin; (2) it was supposed to be an off-the-record quote that Merkin mistakenly put on-the-record; or (3) Mark Buehrle, the White Sox, Major League Baseball or someone else complained about it being in there because it made Buehrle look bad and asked that it be removed.*
The first two reasons are defensible (though I would hope for some note of the correction in the piece itself). Unless I’m simply missing something — and since I am not a trained journalist I admit that I may be — the third reason is not acceptable. Rather, it would tend to put lie to the disclaimer that appears at the end of every MLB.com story: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.”
When MLB.com launched I was initially skeptical and believed that we’d get a lot of propaganda pieces. I have been so happy over the past few years to realize I was totally wrong about that. The MLB.com folks do a great job for the most part, and I think their beat writers are on par — and often better — than their newspaper counterparts.
But this one troubles me a bit. I hope there’s an innocuous explanation for it. I’ll say this much, though: Merkin is a good writer and reporter and I have a hard time featuring him misquoting a guy in a major fashion.
*It’s beyond the subject of this post, but I question whether the quote makes Buehrle look bad. Sure, it’s bad form to ever wish injury on someone, but as an animal lover you have to believe that it’s Buehrle’s honest opinion. And I’m guessing he’s not alone in that opinion.