Mark Buehrle hoped that Michael Vick would get injured, but MLB.com doesn’t want you to know that

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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 read it when it was published. And Merkin teased the story on Twitter with that exact quote.  But if you go there and read it now, the quote about hoping Vick gets hurt is gone.

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.

Alabama man arrested for stealing a Braves golf cart from SunTrust Park

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Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.

Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.

That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:

I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, GO TIGERS!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.

 

Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.

Report: The Yankee Stadium charity is a secretive, self-dealing boondoggle

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The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.

The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:

  • Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
  • Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
  • There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.

Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.

If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.