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Murray Chass continues to beat on Mike Piazza over steroids

May 27, 2010, 10:45 AM EDT

Mike Piazza Mets.jpgFormer professional baseball writer Murray Chass created a bit of a stir last year when he wrote a couple of blog posts saying that Mike Piazza clearly did steroids. His reasoning: backne. As in Piazza had a lot of it when he played, it cleared up when drug testing kicked in and that means Piazza was a ‘roider.

And maybe he did do steroids. I have no idea. Chass doesn’t either, however, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to beat that drum.  Today he unloads on Piazza for not talking to the media during his recent appearances at Citi Field, and presumes that’s because he doesn’t want to answer steroids questions.

Except he already has answered them. Here’s Piazza in the New York Post last year:

For the record, Piazza says he was a clean player. “Absolutely” is the
word he used. He claims he is not on the now infamous list of 104 failed
steroid tests from the survey phase in 2003. “No, not that I know,” he
said.

Maybe he’s lying. Like I said, I have no idea. But if so, it’s going to take more than Murray Chass’s continued innuendo to establish it.  It’ll take some sort of evidence, the kind which Chass freely admits he does not have.

And, it should be noted, the kind of evidence mainstream writers — the kind Chass used to be — constantly tell bloggers they need to have before talking about things as innocuous as trade rumors, let alone steroids allegations.

I suppose one response is to say “who cares? It’s just Murray Chass.”  But Murray Chass still has a Hall of Fame vote for some reason, so I think it’s worth highlighting this sort of thing when we see it.

  1. Head Bee Guy - May 27, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    So should I expect Ken Rosenthal to go ballistic on Chass, or should I not hold my breath?

  2. Professor Longnose - May 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Back acne is evidence. It’s not a lot of evidence, and it certainly doesn’t prove anything by itself. But if there were a trial that for some reason was attempting to determine if Mike Piazza used steroids, couldn’t that be used as evidence?

  3. Okobojicat - May 27, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    No, its not evidence of anything at all related to steroids. Its evidence that Piazza had back acne. That’s it.
    .
    Evidence linking Piazza to steroids would be needles, or prescriptions or Jose Canseco saying “I shot up Piazza when he was in the minors” or something like that. There is nothing to that sort.
    .
    Acne is not evidence of steroids, its evidence of acne.

  4. Moses Green - May 27, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    You know who gets backne? Catchers with hairy backs. Check and check. Piazza’s backne probably disappeared around 2003, the last season he played as many as 63 games at catcher.
    Murray Chass is a fool and a disgrace. Even his keyboard shudders now at the thought of his delusional ramblings.

  5. Andrew Vazzano - May 27, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Don’t call what Murray Chass writes a “blog.” He’ll have your head for that.

  6. trampslikeus - May 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    I have no idea if Piazza juiced. What I DO know is that his major league power numbers (and this is from memory so I know someone will correct me if I’m wrong) never saw the type of sudden, unexplainable and huge. Like Bonds and Sosa. Palmeiro. Pudge Rodriguez. Brady Anderson. Boone when he suddenly drove in 141 runs in Seattle. There has never been a period in MLB history when so many so suddenly increased their power by so much. That was always the smoking gun I looked at first (well that and when a guy’s shoe size went from 10 and a half to 13). I’m just not buying this….and Chass is trash (hey, I made a rhyme) for saying it. These bozos can just write whatever they feel like, with no evidence or proof. They’re basically like us, the people who write their opinions on these pages…they don’t mean diddly but we don’t have a national platform to cause harm with. The difference between a journalist and a joke is, journalists use research and sources and stand as accountable for their words. This guy is a bum, plain and simple.

  7. partytime - May 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    How about the so-called champs of the blosox of 04 , and 07. A total group of roid heads.

  8. john pileggi - May 27, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Does anyone really care at this point? We know what the era of sterioids was, and the numbers (hitting and pitching) were impacted. Let’s move on.

  9. Alf3 - May 27, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    I agree that we should move on, and I think most fans agree as well. The problem is that Hall of Fame voters like Murray Chass will not let it go. He, and others who think like him, will continue to not vote for anyone they think may have used PEDs. So a guy like Piazza, who has never tested positive, will be blackballed by Chass, et al despite his achievements.

  10. Benny Blanco - May 27, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Piazza was always a big guy. I saw him at Citifeild last week and he is still a big guy. Doesnt mean anything but correct me if you think I am wrong. Steroid use normally makes these guys bigger. Visibly bigger. Steroid accusation from a “journalist” with a Hall of Fame vote just on back acne? Makes you wonder what Chass has a against Piazza.

  11. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 27, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    And the winner of the 2010 Geoff Baker Rigidity Award goes to Murray Chase!

  12. Garbage Sniffer - May 27, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    How about the so-called champs of the blosox of 04 , and 07. A total group of roid heads.

    Nasty Boy, you gone and changed handles? You’ve posted this exact same message about 63 times in the past two months. Not getting tired of it?

  13. scatterbrian - May 27, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    “Now as naive as I might have been about steroids, the one thing I knew was that use of steroids supposedly causes the user to have acne on his back.”
    His argument is based on knowing something supposedly exists.

  14. nps6724 - May 27, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    From 1993-2002 (ages 24-33), Piazza hit 35, 24, 32, 36, 40, 32, 40, 38, 36, and 33 HRs. He had played over 1000 games by this point (1,316 at catcher to be exact) and most catchers drop off around 1000 games caught. He never had a huge spike in HRs, never suffered the types of injuries typically associated with steroids (in fact, he played in 135 or more games in 8 of those 10 seasons and at least 100 in all 10), his body never grew abnormally to unheard-of size, and his OPS+ was above 100 in all but 1 season, his last one.
    There is NOTHING that points to steroids for Piazza besides the fact he hit a ton of HRs. He was consistent throughout his career, plain and simple.
    FWIW this is coming from a Braves fan who hated Mike during the heated Mets-Braves rivalry.

  15. Ben - May 27, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Those HRs matter though, and so does his roiding, if only because the argument we’re going to be having for the next 10 years is “who was the greatest catcher of all time, Joe Mauer or Mike Piazza?” and Piazza’s numbers were probably steroid induced.

  16. Tom - May 27, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    How do you know Joe Mauer’s aren’t?

  17. Richard Dansky - May 27, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    So his evidence is that a big dude from suburban Philly had complexion problems? Clearly Mr. Chass has never been to Philly – or seen what horsemeat and velveeta can do to the fairest epidermis.

  18. Ben - May 27, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    We don’t know 100% on Mauer, obviously. But, we can look at different eras, pervasive use in the mid-to-late 90s, different testing regimes, etc.. There are many more reasons to think Mauer is clean than Piazza. That’s no proof, but it will probably be the best we’ve got, unless we see that 2003 list some day. I guess I’d be surprised of Piazza makes it into the hall first ballot, or at all. The thing going in Piazza’s favor is those batting averages-it’s hard to imagine steroids doing that much for straight average.

  19. Yankee49 - May 28, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    For the record, Murray Chass is a non-voting member of the Hall. He received the Spink Award, but no longer votes, as he has stated in interviews and online.

  20. Professor Longnose - May 28, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Steroids can cause back acne–there’s plenty of information about that available. Therefore, back acne is evidence of steroid use. It’s not proof, but it IS evidence. You may not think it’s convincing (and by itself, it isn’t), but it IS a mark of steroid use. I really can’t see how you don’t think it’s evidence.

  21. Justice Scalia - Jun 2, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    I had horrrible cystic acne on my back and shoulders into my 30s.
    A trip to a dermatologist, and he put me on a regimen of Acutane, which cleared it up permanently in about 3 months.
    Who’s to say Piazza didn’t visit the dermo in the offseason, when he got tired of the painful cysts, and bloodied shirts?
    Bring the proof against him or shut up about it and put him in the Hall.
    End of story.

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