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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Is publishing players’ home addresses going too far?

Where does the First Amendment end and the right to personal privacy begin?

In today’s world, lines are blurred as traditional media strives to be more edgy and accessible while new forms of media continually test long-established boundaries.

Heading up to the All-Star Game, an incident occurred that seems worthy of further review, sort of like how a questionable home run call now can rely on the use of instant replay.

Riverfront Times, a St. Louis-based print and online entity, fosters a “reputation for tweaking townsfolk in high places”. RFT also has a serious, professional side as evidenced by their recent “Guide to All-Star Week”, a document designed to provide visitors useful information about events, activities, restaurants and nightlife.

It seemed an admirable effort – with one possible exception. In a section whose subject was touring St. Louis-based baseball landmarks, the Guide included home addresses of a number of current and former Cardinals players, including Albert Pujols.

This reportedly incensed several members of the organization, including The Franchise, and as a result, RFT’s credentials for the All-Star Game and regular season were revoked by the Cardinals and MLB.

In an apology that seemed less than fully sincere, RFT not only pointed out that the source of the addresses was tax rolls available to anyone anonymously on the internet, apparently as a public service, they also provided the link. I guess that way in case you didn’t pick up a copy of the Guide, you can search out your favorite Cardinals’ home addresses yourself.

Sadly, in the world in which we live, public figures and their families need to be concerned about their security at all times. This certainly includes professional baseball players. Too many examples of senseless violence have occurred that could have been avoided.

Fans have every right to attend Cardinals games and cheer or boo their favorite or least-favorite player, but shouldn’t the line be drawn before we reach the point that they and their families’ homes become the target of an onslaught of gawkers like out of some cheesy Beverly Hills scene?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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