Today someone forwarded me a link to a New York Times story that hit, uh, close to home.
Reporter Michael S. Schmidt writes that Jack Smalling, the 68-year-old author of The Baseball Autograph Collector's Handbook (now in its 15th edition), has assembled the home addresses of almost 8,000 current and former major league ballplayers, "from Aardsma (David) to Zimmer (Thomas) -- with Bench (Johnny), Mays (Willie) and Pujols (Albert) in between."
Smalling's book, Schmidt informs us,
...goes out into a different world from earlier editions, one fearful of online and offline stalkers, and more protective of dwindling privacy. Just last month, Major League Baseball revoked the All-Star Game credentials of a St. Louis publication after it printed the home addresses of some current and former players.You don't say!
But Mr. Smalling, laboring in his Ames basement, seems oblivious to the paranoia of the Internet age.
"They are not buying the book to go see these people," he said. "They are just going to write them a letter.
"If you wanted to do any harm and go to their house and mess them up, you wouldn't need my book. You could just find it on your own."
Sure enough, Schmidt reveals, Mr. Smalling put his big list together the same way RFT put together our little one: via searches of public records.
But whereas Mr. Smalling's hard work is rewarded by a tidy Times writeup, ours met with a castigating phone call from the Rebirds' media-relations crew and the revocation of our press credentials.
That little spanking was followed by a flogging from the righteous vituperation engine that is the Internet.