Crowned AL East champions for the first time in their history last night, the Tampa Rays are contending with some sensational, if not screwy local tele-journalism writes the St. Petersberg Times’ Marc Topkin :

A so-called “exclusive” report by WFTS- Ch. 28 that OF Rocco Baldelli has muscular dystrophy is “erroneous,” according to Dr. Allan Weiss, who has been treating Baldelli.

“The report is erroneous,”  Weiss said in comments relayed through the team. “It is incorrect terminology. He has mitochondrial myopathy, not muscular dystrophy.”

Asked directly before Friday’s game if he had muscular dystrophy, Baldelli said, “No.” And of the report, he said, “That’s awful.”

Rays president Matt Silverman issued a statement calling  the report “irresponsible” and requesting an apology to the Baldelli family: “The report issued by WFTS-TV Channel 28 is irresponsible and erroneous. We expect an immediate retraction and an apology to Rocco and his family.”

WFTS touted the story by Wendy Ryan on its website ( and in a press release with the headline: EXCLUSIVE: Rays Rocco Baldelli disgnosed with Muscular Dystrophy.”