FIRE JOE MORGAN: Murray Chass Bewilders Me


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Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Murray Chass Bewilders Me

Murray Chass has covered baseball for over 40 years. He was the recipient of the 2003 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, presented annually "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing."

And his latest article for the New York Times is meandering, intermittently mean-spirited, and as far as I can tell, poorly titled. It's called

'04 Postseason: Dissector's Cut on DVD

and yet it includes the paragraph

A boxed set of a dozen DVD's arrived at my door recently: seven games of the American League Championship Series, four games of the World Series and a bonus disc. Which A.L.C.S.? Which World Series? Last year's, of course. Red Sox-Yankees, Red Sox-Cardinals. What's on the bonus disc? Don't ask me. I don't own a DVD player.

>> Now, if this article is supposed to be about the DVD box set, why didn't Murray (or the Times) pony up the thirty bucks for a DVD player? You can buy one here or here.

If it's not about the DVDs at all, then that title is not an especially good fit. And why does it sound like he's boasting when he says he doesn't own a DVD player? Is this an Andy Rooney column?

Oh, I get it. It's a play on the phrase "Director's Cut." And he's dissecting the '04 postseason. Wait. No, he is not.

Instead, Chass then takes a sharp left turn and begins lecturing both the Yankees and the Red Sox about how they shouldn't feel like they're guaranteed the wild card this year. That's a valid point, albeit one I've heard ad nauseum already.

Next, for no apparent reason, Chass takes a shot at Red Sox fans.

A warning was issued in this space earlier in the season that Red Sox fans shouldn't assume that the wild card, if not first place, was theirs. And if they are looking at the races sensibly and not fanatically - as if they are capable of having any other kind of view (emphasis mine) - they know the Red Sox have to play two months of top-tier baseball to return to the playoffs.

>> I don't know where to begin. Is that a playful joke? I think it fails in that respect. Since when is it the reputation of Red Sox fans to arrogantly assume their team will come through? Isn't that the exact opposite of what they're known to do?

Red Sox fans, on the other hand, aren't thinking wild card. Who needs the wild card when you have first place? The Red Sox have been in first place for nearly six weeks, except for one day, since June 24, and their supporters are confident that they will remain imbedded there for the remainder of the season.

>> Thank you for telling hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of total strangers what they're thinking.

I'm sure there are many, many Sox fans out there ready and willing to tell Mr. Chass about their myriad concerns -- about the bullpen, about Trot Nixon's oblique muscle, about Curt Schilling's ankle, about Keith Foulke's mysterious decline, about Kevin Millar's season-long slump, about starting second baseman Tony Graffanino ...

If the Yankees don't maintain their regular-season mastery over the Red Sox, the reason will be clear: the inability of their $64 million rotation to stay healthy and to perform. But if they do - and it says here they will - the Red Sox will face greater embarrassment than in the years before 2004.

>> Embarrassment? Because they finished second to the Yankees, a team with, let it be said again, a payroll of $208,306,817 (as of April 7 of this year)? Yes, the Red Sox have the second-highest payroll, but with the Yankees' money you could field the teams from Boston, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and many of the gentlemen who play for Pittsburgh. That would be a pretty good team (well, not really, but still ...)

Also, I don't see the point of saying it will be more embarrassing for the Sox to lose the division this year. I seem to recall this being a recurring theme of Chass', and I can't for the life of me figure out where he's coming from, or why that "fact" would matter to anyone.

The Red Sox were wise holding on to Manny Ramirez. He might be a bad human being, but when bad human beings drive in 150 runs they are good players, and good players are what teams need to win.

>> "He might be a bad human being"? What? Why is that statement in the New York Times? You could say that about anyone on Planet Earth. Has anyone close to Manny Ramirez even hinted at his being anything other than a flaky, overgrown man-child? Now he's a "bad human being"?

And what happened to the review of the DVD set?

Without watching it, I'm sure the DVD set shows Ramirez's contributions of last October. As hot as Ramirez was in the World Series, the DVD set has been a hot seller in the few weeks it has been available.

>> Oh. Right. You didn't watch it. Well, what do you think you're going to call this article, Mr. Chass?


You do realize there's only a tangential mention of the'04 postseason --


But like you keep saying around the office, you don't even own a DVD player --

All right.


No, I like it. It's great. Great article. See you tomorrow.

Whenever you feel like coming in is okay.

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posted by Junior  # 3:54 AM
I want Chass in the FJM death pool.
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