Yahoo editor/blogger Kevin Kaduk was doing a Web search this morning for World Series hero David Freese. Up came some interesting stuff, directing Kaduk to a site he’d never before visited.
A writer at Ryanseacrest.com had quite a scoop about the World Series matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. Two guys in the bleachers to watch Game 6 — Dave Huyette and Jeremy Reiland — had been plotting all night long to corral any precious home-run balls. As the ryanseacrest.com piece explained:
“Every time there was a chance there could be a walkoff home run, Jeremy reminded me that there was a grassy knoll right next to us,” said Huyette, a 39-year-old radiologist from Maryville, Ill. “We’re out there and I just assumed the position to get ready each time. At one point Albert [Pujols] had the chance to win the game and we thought that was going to be the time that it happened. But it didn’t, he was intentionally walked.”
Then Freese came to bat in the 11th inning and made history, hitting a home run to win the game. The guys put their plan into action, came up with the ball and later presented it to Freese in exchange for some memorabilia.
The whole story rang familiar to Kaduk. That was because he had earlier posted a piece containing the very same narrative and the same quotes. Even the photos were the same.
Kaduk anchors Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog, a contract position that he has held since 2008. To deliver the ball-retrieval story, he was on location in St. Louis and acted on instinct to get the exclusive with the well-positioned fans.
Freese appeared at a postgame press conference, and Kaduk was among the throng of reporters in attendance. After the on-the-record reminiscing wrapped up, Kaduk thought to himself that there was a “chance that a guy could come by and trade off the ball.” So he followed Freese after the press conference. “Sure enough, the two guys were standing there outside the clubhouse. It was a risk worth taking to spend a few more minutes than I should have,” says Kaduk.
The Yahoo reporter was there to take down every detail, from the pre-home-run strategizing to the way that Huyette shoved the ball down his pants so that others wouldn’t know that he’d nabbed it.
Kaduk posted all of this delicious baseball lore on Big League Stew at 2:41 a.m. on Friday. Not twelve hours later, the lookalike story on ryanseacrest.com surfaced.
Time for a little side-by-side action. From Kaduk’s Yahoo story:
“Then Freese came up in the 11th and I heard the crack of the bat and everybody cheered and it was kind of in slow motion. I jumped over the fence and [the ball] kind of landed right there. I just tumbled around it, expecting to getting pummeled and beaten to death.”
“No, because what I did was shove it down my pants right away. I don’t think anyone realized I had it.”
That is, everyone but his buddy. Reiland slid on the ground behind Huyette and told him to stay put.
From the ryanseacrest.com story:
And then the big moment happen. The moment that could change everything. Dave also says, “Then Freese came up in the 11th and I heard the crack of the bat and everybody cheered and it was kind of in slow motion. I jumped over the fence and (the ball) kind of landed right there. I just tumbled around it, expecting to getting pummeled and beaten to death.”
You would think that the man who caught the history changing ball would get a lot of attention from the crowd. But no one even knew Dave had it. He admits, “What I did was shove it down my pants right away. I don’t think anyone realized I had it.” The only person who knew he had it was his friend, Jeremy.
Says Kaduk about the overlaps: “It’s a clear case that they just spun it for their own purposes.” He and his supervisors have taken up the case with ryanseacrest.com. Says Mark Pesavento, managing editor of Yahoo’s sports blogs:
Our legal team has sent [Ryan Seacrest Prod./RSP] a cease and desist letter. I’m not sure if they’ve responded to that, but as of 3:30p ET, the post is still up without attribution or linkbacks. That’s really all we’re asking for.
This happens with some regularity — rarely by pros, though. It happens mostly with content farms and inexperienced/non-professional writers who publish with little or no oversight.
The Erik Wemple Blogger has requested comment from the site. A recent tweet from @RSP says this: “@bigleaguestew @andrewenzy We’re looking into the issue, will resolve ASAP. Thanks for bringing to our attn, we apologize for the oversight.”