* The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that Cardinals third baseman David Freese swerved his car into a tree on Thanksgiving day in an attempt to avoid hitting a deer. Freese was uninjured, according to police reports, and was not under the influence of alcohol. My question then: Is it a story? I’m not sure it should be. But the real debate here centers on the newspaper’s inclusion of Freese’s past alcohol-related driving incidents, which I believe should not have been mentioned. This is one of those age-old journalism debates that could go on for hours without a resolution. But it’s one I feel strongly about, even though I suspect I might be in the minority among journalists. Post-Dispatch assistant sports editor Mike Smith defended the newspaper’s reporting on the newspaper’s website, writing that Freese’s past issues with driving under the influence should have been a part of the story. But since police said Freese hadn’t been drinking before the Thanksgiving incident, and that there will be no further investigation, why bring up the old news?
* I’m not even sure the Freese accident rose to the level of real news. But it did create a big stir on message boards and Twitter, which I’m sure made the Post-Dispatch rush to get to the bottom of the story. Of course, the first thing people wondered was whether Freese had been drinking, given his past. It turned out there was no real story, though, unless you believe the driving exploits of public figures deserve such close scrutiny. I am not among those who believe that is the case. So had it been left up to me, I would have tried to push the notion that there wasn’t even a story regarding Freese.
* That’s not to say it didn’t need to be checked out. Had Freese been involved in another alcohol-related incident that resulted in the crash it would have been huge news. And who knows what the Cardinals would have done with Freese. But since Freese hadn’t been drinking, and wasn’t injured, the only news is that he, like hundreds of others every year, nearly hit a deer in the road and wrecked his car in the process.
* I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Like I stated at the outset, this is one of those great journalistic debates that come along now and then. I consider myself to be a stringent journalism, but the reporting on this particular story crosses a line for me. And I think it’s this kind of reporting that damages journalistic credibility.
* On to other things:
* Did you see the flare-up near the Morehead State bench by basketball coach Sean Woods? What a disgrace. Woods, who played at Kentucky and is in his first season as Morehead State’s coach, received a one-game suspension from the school Friday. Unless he calms down and controls his emotions, Woods won’t last long. Get a grip, coach.
* Meanwhile, it sure looked to me, watching the video replay, like Detroit defensive lineman Ndomukong Suh swung his foot purposely to make contact with Houston quarterback Matt Schaub, in the groin area, during a play in the Thanksgiving day game between the Lions and Texans. Suh, of course, has a history being a knucklehead. And history is often repeated. The NFL is going to look into the matter. I don’t think it looks good for Suh and if the NFL agrees with me, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of punishment the league hands down to a repeat offender.
* Yes, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz made a mistake in tossing his red flag after the officials failed to see that Houston running back Justin Forsett’s elbow and knee touched the ground before he got back on his feet and ran for what was initially ruled a touchdown. All TDs are automatically reviewed by a replay official upstairs on the press-box level. But if a coach throws a challenge flag, the review is canceled and his team is penalized 15 yards. Schwartz, obviously, got caught up in the moment. OK, so give him a 15-yard penalty. But what sense does it make to allow the wrong call to stand just because the coach forgot a rule? Apparently, the rule was implemented because coaches were throwing the challenge flag so they could use the stoppage in play to converse with officials, sometimes even berating them. But this rule goes way to far, since the stated reason for replay review is to make sure calls on the field are correct. In this case, the call on the field was wrong, yet it was ruled correct because Schwartz committed a wrong that he didn’t know was a wrong. Crazy.
* It’ll be a nice story if Bishop Carroll football coach Alan Schuckman wins his first state championship Saturday afternoon when the Eagles take on Bishop Miege in Emporia for the Class 5A title. Schuckman has been at this a while now and it’s a little surprising that with all of his success a state championship has eluded him. I expect that to change Saturday.
* Black Friday is, in a word, bizarre.
* Non-stop Christmas music makes me crazy. I enjoy a song here and there, but a solid six weeks of the stuff?
* Suddenly, Ebenezer Scrooge has taken over the blog. I apologize. I’m going to put my normal positive spin back on things.
* The NFL obviously works on any day. But it especially works on Thanksgiving day.
* Texas’ loss to TCU in Austin on Thursday night didn’t surprise me. I just haven’t bought Texas all season, not even during its recent five-game winning streak. And I expect Kansas State to beat UT soundly next week in Manhattan and win a Big 12 championship.
* That’s not a bad consolation prize for the Wildcats, by the way. Still, the sting of the Baylor loss has lingered.
* I’m planning a story or column in the near future on the two most damaging Kansas State losses in history, both of which most likely cost the Wildcats a chance to play in national championship games. Which do you think was worst?
* We’re getting a real Christmas tree this year. I thought that to be newsworthy. I’m not sure why. But it’s kind of exciting.
* I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thanks for checking in on the blog.