Steve Wilkinson

(This letter is addressed to Sports Editor Mike T. Limpag)

I want to express my thanks for your coverage of the Feb. 21 softball tournament at the Aboitiz Sports Field. The pleasure that I felt from knowing the event was covered has been overshadowed, however, by my disappointment with the content of the article “Fastball Overtakes teams in Slow Pitch,” which was published on Feb. 23, 2010 and on page A26.

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First, the caption for the published picture begins, with “WINNER,” which prepares the reader to read more about the winner of the tournament. But then I was astonished by how it continued, “The Rebels Baseball Club Reunion won second place.” Then the accompanying photo above it was a picture of the team that was not the winner! Should the caption and its picture not have featured the team that actually won first place in the tournament, Team Fastball? As it is though, the winner’s accomplishment is at least obscured and at worst denied by a kind of bait and switch tactic.

The fact that the Sun.Star photographer and three other Sun.Star employees were members of the Rebels and that they personally appeared in the published picture suggest to me that there was bias in the selection of the one picture that was published.

I was there as a player on Team Fastball. I know that there was a picture taken of the tournament’s first place team. Why was it not published also?

Second, there is no mention of the tournament winners, Team Fastball, being undefeated in the tournament. The heading for the article—“Fastball overtakes teams in Slow Pitch”—implies that Team Fastball had to come from behind to win first place. The heading gives the reader an impression that is inconsistent with the winner’s record.

Third, the paragraph entitled “Most Feared” is an exhibit of biased, shoddy and confused composition.

What is the compelling reason to recall the decade-old glory of the second place team? It is bias in favor of Rebels, in my view.

“The Rebels are one of the most feared softball/baseball squad in early 2000” contains two errors. A statement about the team’s notoriety in year 2000 demands the past tense —“the Rebels were”—not the present tense. Also, the word “squad” should be plural—squads.

Furthermore, there is no historical connection between the first part of this sentence (what the team was like in year 2000) and the second part (the team’s win over the Jokers in year 2010).

By the use of “when” to link the two clauses, the sentence makes a false connection between the past and present: “The Rebels are (sic) one of the most feared softball/baseball squad (sic) in early 2000 when (sic) they first pulled a 25-12 win over team Jokers Arms in the opening match ...” This statement is conceptually and temporally confused and should not appear in a published newspaper.

This same paragraph (“The Rebels are ... 17-16 win.”) is also confusing due to its length and the mixing of reports of a game between the Rebels and Jokers and another game between Fastball and Banditos.

Fourth, the reporting of the number of games played and their sequence is unclear and confusing.

Fifth, as another example of the bias of the article, I count 10 total references to the Rebels, nine references to Team Fastball, five to the Jokers, and two to the Banditos.

Sixth, there was no mention of the organizer or sponsors for this tournament. They are the ones working to promote this sport among the people of Cebu, adults and children.

It seems to me that it would be appropriate to give some recognition to those who made this tournament possible and to credit those who provided backing for it.

I believe the Sun.Star can do better the next time it covers this popular and growing sport in Cebu.