Sportswriter realizes it wasn't such a hot idea to write a witty column about a woman who was kidnapped, raped and held captive for 18 years

Jaycee Dugard, meet Mark Whicker.

Or better yet, don't.

Dugard is the woman who was abducted at age 11 by a sexual psycho, raped, impregnated, mentally tormented and imprisoned in backyard dwellings for 18 years.

Whicker is a sportswriter with the Orange County Register who thought it might make for a clever lighthearted column to compile a bullet list of all the fun sports stuff she missed -- Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, the Red Sox -- and the "deprivation" she endured because she "was not allowed to spike a volleyball. Or pitch a softball. Or smack a forehand down the line. Or run in a 5-footer for double bogey."

His final paragraph: "Congratulations, Jaycee. You left the yard."

Red Smith, he's not.

The smirky scribe has since admitted he "clearly offended and outraged large portions of our readership," but he recognizes the bell can't be unrung.

So where were Whicker's editors? Chuckling over his priceless prose?

Calling it the worst sports column, ever, anywhere, Alex Massie offers his perspective:

He made a terrible mistake, but his editors are equally culpable for not saving Whicker from himself. Something to remember next time you hear someone sounding off about how the blogosphere doesn't have the checks and safeguards that make newspapers so much better than anything produced by online scribblers