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The Post-Dispatch Sports Section is Sub-Standard

By Mark Ashby Vaughan

At the risk of revealing just how close I am to the age of the dinosaurs, I will make the comment that newspapers used to employ people called ‘fact checkers’ who surveyed the paper for mistakes and errors of one kind of another before letting the news go to print.

I strongly suspect that due to budget constraints that these people are no longer employed.

Today, for instance, several errors in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sports pages can be found with just a casual, cursory perusal. On page B7, the paper lists the “probable starters” of today’s Cardinals game as Chris Carpenter who sports a 15-8 record with a very respectable 3.28 ERA. Unfortunately, the picture shown is that of Adam Wainwright.

On the same page, in the “Averages” section which lists the Cardinals player’s statistics it shows that Skip Schumaker has been walked 409 times this year. I’m sorry, but hundreds upon hundreds of players have played their entire careers and haven’t been walked 409 times.

Considering that a player’s statistics are their historical footprint upon the game, I would expect the paper to take a more serious attitude about the accuracy of their data. I mean, let’s face it, statistics are the backbone of determining end of year awards and lifetime achievements. Hack Wilson, for crying out loud, was awarded an extra RBI for the 1930 season due to the extensive research of baseball historians who continuously pour over past baseball game’s box scores with the same care as that of a Swiss watchmaker. And Wilson was awarded the RBI more than 60 years after he had finished playing and more than forty years after he had died. You would think that the Post-Dispatch could easily recognize such a transparent mistake as the number of times Schumaker had been issued a bases on balls this year.

Also within the same statistics section, the number of player errors are listed and the grouping is clearly is meant to be in alphabetical order, except the order shown is “Boggs, Carpenter, Hawksworth, Lohse, Motte, Suppan, Wainwright, Winn, Craig, MacDougal, Jay.”

Although my complaint may seem to be petty on the surface, today’s examples regularly occur on a weekly basis. A newspaper, whether online or in hard copy, should be accurate and crisp. The Post-Dispatch is not living up to those standards.

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