I'll preface the complaints I'm about to make by saying that I generally like Charley Walters. I did a telephone interview with him for a class a couple years ago, and he was very friendly and interesting. I also like the fact that he once (very briefly) pitched in a Twins uniform many years ago, an experience which would seem to lend him more credibility than some other sportswriters in this town.
Unfortunately, Walters' credibility is dwindling fast, at least in my mind. A longtime columnist of in the Pioneer Press, Walters has always had a habit of inserting seemingly baseless little rumors and tidbits in his columns that never end up containing a shred of truth. Recently, however, his column has been featuring some pieces of information that are so blatantly false that one might be led to question the credibility of the entire publication.
First, Walters reported the following "news" in his column a couple weeks agoThis isn't so much false as it is inane. Walters basically was reporting that someone will be playing center field for the Twins next season, which is not the type of information anyone needs to purchase a newspaper to learn.
If the Twins can't re-sign free agent Torii Hunter, plans are to trade, sign a free agent or go in-house to find his center field replacement.
A few days after that masterful tidbit, Walters reported that the Twins had offered Carlos Silva a three-year contract worth "slightly more than $7 million a season," citing "a little birdie" as his source.
A couple days later, Joe Christensen said he made a call to Silva's agent and was told that the Twins had not made an offer of any kind. "You can quote me on that," Silva's agent told Christensen.
Yesterday, Walters offered up the following piece of breaking news:
The Cincinnati Reds snapped up pitcher Alexander Smit when the Twins took him off their 40-player roster the other day.This is true, actually, except for the part about the moving take place "the other day." The Reds claimed Smit off waivers from the Twins back in July.
I suppose it may appear that I'm unfairly leveling my criticism at the Pioneer Press in this instance considering that the Star Tribune's own Page 2 columnist, Sid Hartman, has his own ethically questionable journalism practices. I guess I just hold Walters to a higher standard because I actually know him to be a nice guy and I don't believe he's completely senile.
It just seems to me that in cases like the ones listed above, Walters should follow the advice that labels a portion of his column: "Don't Print That."