From the Mail Bag. As our loyal readers know, the BasketCases recently presented one of our prestigious Golden Twinkie Awards for Journalistic Accuracy to Robert Weintraub of the New York Times. Rob, as you'll recall, wrote a piece about the upcoming NCAA Tournament published on March 2, 2008 in which he stated that Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese was due to give birth to twins in early March -- a full two weeks after the much-publicized births of Markus and Tyler.
Well, Rob recently sent us an email noting that he could not in good conscience accept the Golden Twinkie without an explanation. He has graciously given us permission to share his email with all of you. So here it is; we think you'll agree that Rob is not only one funny dude, but he's also a heck of a good sport:
I have been forwarded mention that I received the illustrious Golden Twinkie Award, handed out by your blog to the dismay of all of us who prefer to receive actual Twinkies (actually, give me Yodels or give me death).
However, in my defense, I feel compelled to point out that the article in question had to be written, for the sake of the long lead time Play (the NY Times sports magazine, in contrast to the daily NYT) demands for graphics and printing purposes, in early-February. The careful reader will note the vagueness of the copy, and the leaving out of teams and players that weren't tourney locks before Valentine's Day. Therefore, while I anticipated Brenda's birth would be premie, as most twins happen to be induced for (dubious, in my opinion) medical reasons, I could not guarantee it--hence, the word "due".
As it happens, Brenda gave birth the weekend of the final lockdown of the issue, and I passed along the good news of a safe birth to my editors. but it was deemed that the change would be too problematic to make, for layout reasons, at that late a date. This is a decision I was not privy to, and happen to not agree with--you should always make the change if you know it will look bad/inaccurate. However, there wasn't much I could do about it--I am a freelancer, not a Times employee, and therefore carry little weight in the offices of the Gray Lady.
So while I accept the trophy in absentia, I cannot, in good faith, keep it without the explanation.
All the best,