FIRE JOE MORGAN: Q: When Is A Blog Not A Blog?


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Q: When Is A Blog Not A Blog?

A: It's still a blog. Its author is just in denial.

I felt a lot better about giving the Flooky and the Beans guy a boost in traffic, but I feel like it's our duty to report the following news: Murray Chass has started a blog. It's about shodo, the ancient Japanese art of calligraphy. Well, not really. Primarily, so far it seems to be a blog about hating blogs. At least that's what the very first words of its mission statement proclaim:

This is a site for baseball columns, not for baseball blogs. The proprietor of the site is not a fan of blogs.

Let me translate that into confusing ChassOrwellian-speak:

This is a blog for baseball columns, not for baseball blogs. The proprietor of the blog is not a fan of blogs.

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. This blog is not a blog. Ceci n'est pas une pipe.

He made that abundantly clear on a radio show with Charlie Steiner when Steiner asked him what he thought of blogs and he replied, “I hate blogs.”

[shaking fist] You hear that, James Fallows, Malcolm Gladwell, and Murray Chass? I hate what you do. I hate it because of what it's called. It sounds funny. I hate it because there are some bad blogs. Meanwhile, there has never been a bad newspaper column, book, magazine, painting, mobile, or stele. Those forms of expression are fine.

Keep watching the space at to receive updates as to which types of media are acceptable. (Conundrum: has recently ruled that websites are now, in fact, unacceptable. So should you visit again? It's up to you.)

He later heartily applauded Buzz Bissinger when the best-selling author denounced bloggers on a Bob Costas HBO show.

He was alone, watching in his living room, but he remained convinced that the television machine had an applause input microphone (A.I.M.) that would allow Mr. Bissinger to hear his ovation. No amount of research on the nonexistence of the A.I.M. would convince him otherwise.

Bloggers, however, are welcome to visit this site; so are stats freaks, fantasy leaguers and Red Sox fans. How else will they know what is being said about them by a columnist they love to hate?

I, for one, am sick of wrongheaded writers telling me I love to hate them when in fact I hate to hate them. A note to Baylessian contrarians: you should take no joy in being so wrong about something that throngs of people rise up as one to denounce you. This should not be what it means to be a writer. When thousands of people write you angry emails about something you said or wrote that was wrong, you should not shrug your shoulders and say, "I must be doing something right if I got so many people interested!" No, sir. Sir, no. You were wrong. That is the end of the story. You were so wrong you made people angry. There is no glory in your profound wrongitude. Please stop doing this.

Otherwise, this site will most likely appeal primarily to older fans whose interest in good old baseball is largely ignored in this day of young bloggers who know it all,

Ignored? I would argue that no matter what kind of baseball fan you are, there is more baseball writing, research, opinion, and debate than there ever has been in the sport's history. Verducci is still writing some excellent, longer pieces for Sports Illustrated. Gammons writes a thing or three every week. Your man Buzz is still kicking around. Reilly, if you like his sort of thing, just signed an 18-year, $400-million deal, mainly (we hope) for writing. Every time I write a post, a Roger Angell column does not disappear from this plane of reality.

and new- fangled statistics (VORP, for one excuse-me example),

May I remind people that in this fateful piece for the New York Times, Murray Chass wrote "To me, VORP epitomized the new-age nonsense" and "For the longest time, I had no idea what VORP meant and didn’t care enough to go to any great lengths to find out." and "Finally, not long ago, I came across VORP spelled out. It stands for value over replacement player. How thrilling. How absurd. Value over replacement player. Don’t ask what it means. I don’t know."

So it is possible -- no, probable -- no, certain -- that Murray Chass still does not know what VORP means, and yet hates it with every fiber of his wizened being. This is the equivalent of a person who's lived in Muncie, Indiana his whole life hating a specific dish in a restaurant in Doha, Qatar.

which are drowning the game in numbers and making people forget that human beings, not numbers, play the games.

February 27, 2007, New York Times: "People play baseball. Numbers don’t."

Maybe Murray Chass just doesn't have that much more to say. That's okay. He's had a long, storied career. He's won awards. He was inducted, as he tells us in his biography, "into the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Pittsburgh." But there's no need, Murray, to spit such vitriol at new ways of enjoying sports simply because you aren't interested in them.

E-mail comments are also invited, but visitors to the site are asked to omit the obscenities.

Remember, this is a man who several paragraphs earlier informed us that he "heartily applauded Buzz Bissinger when the best-selling author denounced bloggers on a Bob Costas HBO show." Bissinger began his applause-worthy, highly informed, well-reasoned, level-headed argument by telling the gentleman next to him "I really think you're full of shit."

“I have spent my professional life in the print world, where obscenities don’t see the light of day,” Chass said. “They will remain in the dark here as well. It will be a good test for bloggers and Red Sox fans to see if they can control themselves.”

"The time for obscenities is on national pay cable television, where a grown man and father of three can ambush an unsuspecting young writer with a torrent of spittle-accompanied expletives, thoughtlessly and carelessly excoriating an entire medium without retribution or moderation from the host. That is where obscenities belong, and that is where I applaud them. Shouted at other people, on television."

Mr. Chass: you're angry at nomenclature. Really. Ideas are ideas. Writing is writing. By starting this blog, you're acknowledging as much. Welcome to the blogosphere.


posted by Junior  # 2:38 PM
Even before writing this post, I considered that the site might be a fake. I mean, the photos, the layout, the writing...

If it is fake, then, dear faker: what a mild, mild parodist are you.
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