Local journalists warmed to the challenge of another big story in their back yard. Reporters in and around the Mets' training camp in St. Lucie County had gotten accustomed to the glare of the national spotlight during coverage of the AIDS death of Kimberly Bergalis and the rape trial of William Kennedy Smith just a few miles down U.S. 1.
In the media blitz that erupted when the investigation was announced in March, the reports ranged across the ethical spectrum from the restraint of the Miami Herald, which virtually buried the groundbreaking news of the identity of two of the Mets involved, to the no-holds-barred tabloid treatment of the New York Post, which delved into the background of the woman and chased players into nightspots to tell about their exploits with "baseball Annies," or groupies.
On March 13, the St. Petersburg Times was the first newspaper to publish [Dwight] Gooden's name as one of the accused players. The Times had a confirmation on the record from Gooden's agent and a "Yeah, I've heard that, too" from Gooden's attorney. But Times editors still wanted their attorney to approve the story, and they had a reporter try to track down Gooden at the ballpark and in bars in Port St. Lucie for his comment before agreeing to print the story.