Friday, September 19th, 2014

Mailbag: PolitiFact reader swears Longoria catch was real

Did Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria really make this catch?

PolitiFact Florida readers weighed in on several of our recent fact checks, including our debunking of that "catch" by Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. A person sent us a note saying he was there, and that Longoria is telling the truth. Others asked us about Florida Gov. Rick Scott's plan to drug-test state employees, and we also heard about changes to election laws that could make it more difficult for some people to vote. (Comments are edited for length and style.)

Longoria's catch 'no party trick'

"Regarding your article about Evan Longoria's spectacular, barehanded catch, it was my honor to serve ESPN/Gillette, Maggie Vision/MRB Productions as 1st Assistant Director when this video was filmed. This means I was standing right next to the camera and only a few feet away from Mr. Longoria when this segment was recorded.

"As an eyewitness, I can assure you that Evan Longoria is telling the truth when he says this really happened just as it was filmed. The video accurately records the event. However, the brain of the average observer may perceive that the viewer sees more than is really there. This 'trick of the brain' is a common phenomenon -- think about a kid's birthday party.

"However, the outstanding part of this video isn't any perceived illusion. It is the incredible feat of skill and endurance performed by Evan Longoria. I can attest that this shot was done after a very grueling day of filming for Gillette. Everyone was exhausted. Yet Evan demonstrated the same skill that makes him a baseball giant and did this last shot in less than five minutes and he did it flawlessly. This was no party trick."

Reader says Secretary of State about-faces on elections bill

"Read your PolitiFact about Secretary of State Kurt Browning -- you could do a Part II comparing the statements of Browning during the legislative session to his comments after the Governor signed the legislation.

"During the legislative session, as I recall, Mr. Browning was completely against the proposals. He stated just why each proposal wasn't needed, there was no evidence of voter fraud in Florida, there was a 40-year history of amending a voter's information at the polls, etc, etc.

"In some ways, I think the voter should have amended the record previously when their driver's license was brought up to date as they moved or got married. This is a problem on college campuses all over the country. Students claim they hadn't amended their voter registration as they moved too often as students but more important, they obviously hadn't amended their driver's license."

Another suggestion related to the voting bill

"If states are demanding picture IDs in order to vote, they should be the ones providing it at their expense."

Aspirin analogy in abortion debate

"RE: 'You can't give a child an aspirin in school without permission. You can't do any kind of medication, but we can secretly take the child off and have an abortion.'

"I find your finding of 'True' is misleading, because the statement implies the 'you' and 'we' is the school administration, teachers and nurses.

"Many schools across the country have a zero drug policy for student that includes OTC drugs like Midol or Tylenol.

"Your posting the entire quote and marking it true implies those same teachers, school administrators and nurses can 'secretly take the child off and have an abortion.' I see nothing in your article to back up the implication that anyone associated with the school can take a child away for any medical purpose. Anyone who takes PolitiFact at face value will believe you have stated that part of the statement is also true.

"Based on your findings, the statement is only half true as stated."

Finally, a question about drug testing

"I've been hearing that Gov. Scott wants to drug test all state employees ... Is this true?"

Yes, Scott issued an executive order requiring random drug testing of state employees. You can read all about it here.