You’d think a life-long, red-feathered St. Louis Cardinals fan like Will Leitch would have to be 100% certain before spreading a rumor about one of the names redacted in the Jason Grimsley indictment — especially knowing that the name in question, that of former Royals strength & conditioning coach Chris Mihlfeld (above) would ultimately be linked to the former wrestler’s client and pal, the Cards’ All-Universe 1B Albert Pujols.
(Leitch. Not shown : Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme, fed-up parents)
As it turns out, 80% sure is close enough. From Pitch.com’s Ben Payner (link courtesy Repoz)
Will Leitch, the New York City-based, full-time editor of Deadspin.com, stands by his story. Leitch has a journalism degree from the University of Illinois and says he has written for Sporting News, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The New York Times. Last year, his site was lauded in a Sports Illustrated piece about credible online sources. But Deadspin is part of Gawker Media, a blog company that has a reputation for using questionable reporting methods and sources.
Leitch says his source was operating on secondhand information leaked by another person who claimed to have seen an unredacted version of the Grimsley affidavit. Leitch acknowledges that the mainstream media wouldn’t have considered the source legitimate. But he says his site did annotate the report by explaining that its credibility was an eight on a scale of 10. “Is The New York Times willing to run with that story? Probably not,” Leitch admits. “But we said upfront there’s a possibility that we’re not 100 percent on this. I have no choice but to stand by my source just like any other journalist would.”
Pujols (above) has also offered to cover Mihlfeld’s legal fees if the trainer does file a lawsuit against those who have accused him of having a connection to steroids. “Definitely, because I know the guy and I know he’s innocent,” Pujols says. “I just wish the stupid people who wrote whatever they did about the guy, they should have found out the facts before they wrote their stupid article. But that’s just how the media is, and that’s something you can’t control.”