Sunday, August 26, 2007

Phillies Closer and "Retard" Philadelphia Inquirer Reporter In Locker-Room Smackdown

Sam Carchidi May Have Asked Brett Myers a Fair Question, But Did He Step Over the Line Afterwards?

Look, it's ugly enough watching the Philadelphia Phillies' chances at the playoffs melt away, especially when the bullpen coughs up yet another loss.
It's hard for the fans, harder on the players, and maybe hardest for those in the press box who have to think of another way to describe the gruesome spectacle of another late-inning loss.
And apparently the reporters are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore.
Such was the case after last night's 4-3 Phillies loss to the San Diego Padres. Chief culprit was closer Brett Myers, who gave up two solo homers.
Myers, according to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Sam Carchidi's dispatch that appears online, said he first believed both shots were initially pop-ups when they left the bat.
But Carchidi and the Inky then chose to ignore the sideshow that followed, namely because Carchidi became part of the story.
According to the Associated Press, Carchidi rightly questioned Myers's characterization of the hits as pop-ups. Myers was not pleased, as you can hear, calling Carchidi a "retard" and further slagged him for being a "fill-in reporter" who "didn't know shit about baseball."
Carchidi then asked Myers to spell "retard," and the verbal fisticuffs ensued. Myers calls Carchidi a "fucking idiot." Carchidi calls him a "piece of shit" and "stupid ass" while players restrained the two and pulled them away.
Carchidi makes no mention of the exchange, which was dutifully reported in other papers, including the Bucks County Courier-Times and the Trentionian, whose reporters each write for several suburban Philly papers.
It was left to Inquirer sports columnist Phil Sheridan to discuss the incident in his blog, where he tries to provide some context, while chiding Carchidi, whom he calls a "friend and longtime colleague."

If Myers says he thought the two home runs were outs in most parks, then fine. That's his opinion. Probably I would have just written that down and quoted him accurately. Once the name-calling begins, no one is going to look or sound good the next day.

True enough. Same goes for reporters not wanting to become part of the story. But on the other hand, I can understand Carchidi trying to get an honest answer out of Myers. Locker rooms are the place where bromides and platitudes openly thrive.
Players and coaches, especially after a tough loss, have precious little to say, if they say it at all. If they utter something that defies logic, then they should be called out. Just because you're a reporter means you should remain mute while you're called names by some underachieving relief pitcher -- especially one who took a leave of absence from the team last year after being accused of smacking his wife in public.
Carchidi may have gone a little far in asking Myers to spell "retard," but he gets props for not being cowed by a guy who wants to cover up his own mistakes by being verbally abusive.
However, Carchidi and the Inky could have been at least a little more forthright in his game story and made some reference to the incident, or at least mentioning Myers' reaction to the questions. It was part of the story, and it shouldn't have been left to other media outlets to tell it.

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