Thursday, June 21, 2018

It's been six years since Finebaum was served with Updyke gag order

Harvey Updyke

Before I really get this sports column cranked up this week, I don’t want to forget to apologize to Martin Lee II for leaving his name off the list of players who played for the Cardinals this week.

The Cardinals won this year’s Major League championship in Evergreen’s Cal Ripken Youth Baseball League, and the newspaper ran a picture of the team and listed the players and coaches in the June 7 edition of The Courant.

Martin’s mother dropped by the office last Thursday to tell us that we left her son off the list. Anyone who got the chance to watch the Cardinals this season knows that Martin is one of the team’s top players, and The Courant apologizes for leaving his name off the list.

My feeling is that as Martin continues to grow and improve, you’ll be seeing his name a lot more on the sports page when he moves on into junior high and high school. He’s already as tall or taller than the Cardinals coaches this season.

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Speaking of top baseball players, the Atlanta Braves have been looking real good lately. In fact, I’m not only predicting that they’ll make the playoffs, but that they’ll also win the National League pennant this year. It may be a little to early to predict that they’ll win the World Series, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that too.

Atlanta’s most recent victim was the San Diego Padres who visited Atlanta for a four-game series that started last Thursday and wrapped up with a Father’s Day game on Sunday afternoon. Atlanta basically went through San Diego like a hot knife through butter, going 3-1 over the four-game set.
Atlanta was scheduled to play two games in Toronto on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday), but they’ll be back at home tomorrow (Friday) for series against Baltimore and Cincinnati.

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Today (Thursday) is also the 21st day of June, and I was reminded earlier this week that it’s been six years since the night in 2012 that I got the chance to meet radio personality Paul Finebaum during a speaking engagement in Andalusia.

What was so interesting about that encounter is that about the time I walked up to shake Finebaum’s hand and introduce myself, a Covington County Sheriff’s deputy walked up and served Finebaum with the official gag order in the infamous Harvey Updyke case.

Many in the reading audience will remember that Updyke was accused of poisoning the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn and news of the poisoning first became public on Finebaum’s radio show when Updike called in to talk about it.

Later that night in Andalusia, not long before Finebaum took the podium to speak, I got off to the side with him and asked him about what happened. He actually pulled the gag order out of his jacket pocket and showed it to me.

Much to my surprise, Finebaum didn’t seem to be worried too much about it, and actually joked around about the situation. He said that even though he’d been given a gag order that didn’t mean he could show it to me. He laughed and said that I could talk and write about it all I wanted to.

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