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Dermatologists agree: Murray Chass is full of it

Jan 26, 2011, 3:59 PM EDT


Murray Chass’ “I know Mike Piazza did steroids because he had back acne” crusade has its charms, but sadly, it does not have much medical science on its side.

We know this, because Howard Megdal did some shoe leather reporting on the matter and was told by multiple dermatologists that (a) back acne is common; (b) it’s even more common in athletes who wear equipment like catcher’s gear; (c) there are multiple skin issues that affect backs that a lay person may confuse for acne; and (d) as many as half of all steroids users don’t have back acne anyway, so the correlation Chass is so hot for doesn’t work even if Piazza took steroids seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Money quotes:

All the dermatologists agreed on one thing: a lay person viewing Piazza’s back in a clubhouse setting isn’t a reasonable standard for diagnosing back acne, let alone asserting a connection between that problem and steroid use.

“I would say that conclusion is not fair,” Dr. Schweiger said.

“I would say no,” Dr. Davis said.

And Dr. Goldwasser, after a long pause, described Chass’s conclusion as “presumptuous. That’s the word I would use.” When asked if that was a polite word for the word she would use, Goldwasser laughed and said, “You could say that.”

So even if Chass is right about Piazza taking steroids, he’s just guessing.  But we knew that already, did we not?

  1. BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Murray Chass is a chipwich.
    (sorry had to be first on the bandwagon) :-)

    • Charles Gates - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:04 PM

      Howard Megdal is a burrito.

      • BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:10 PM

        Hey, wait a minute. I think someone called ME a burrito yesterday…..

      • Charles Gates - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        T’was me.
        You’re not the sole burrito. I give Megdal props for essentially calling Chass a chipwich.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:23 PM

        No, BC is a total Choco Taco.

      • Gobias Industries - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        You guys are making me hungry.

      • BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:53 PM

        No way dude. I’m this big puppy right here.

      • Jeremy T - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:55 PM

        I’m getting some serious deja vu

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:11 PM

        So, you’re wide, look tasty as hell, and give everyone a mean case of the shits?

        I like Taco Bell, but due to my strong urge to not be doubled over in pain blasting off on the porcelain throne with my head in the trash can, I haven’t eaten there in 16 years.

      • BC - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM

        Jonny5 – well, that’s what my ex-wife says, anyway….

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Chass is a cake eater

    • Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      He also is a musical theater aficionado.

    • BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      Bleep cake. Pecan pie all the way.
      PS. Chass is still a chipwich.

  3. shaggylocks - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Murray Chass is a disgrace to baseball bloggers everywhere.
    That’s right, Chass, I went there.

  4. zvsanders - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Did all the dermatologists really agree? Or did 9/10 of them agree?

    Commercials have forever jaded me.

    • clydeserra - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:42 PM

      I think 4 out if 5 is the gold standard.

  5. BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    OK. Can someone take Murray Chass, Bob Klapisch and Skip Bayless and sow them into a bag with a starved, rabid leopard and throw them into the East River? Or the Connecticut River? Or the Missouri River? Colorado River? The Danube?
    Sorry, maybe that was too blunt.

    • Charles Gates - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      I prefer frisky cobras, but either-or.

      • BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:59 PM

        Either that or a really hungry black bear. Been one roaming around my area apparently. Not a big one. But I’d need three or four guys to hogtie the bear, and someone else to get Chass, Klapisch and Bayless.
        OK, I’m officially suffering from winter cabin feavor.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    It’s nice to see someone in the mainstream media like Megdal finally take on these irresponsible bloggers. Just because they don’t have editors or anyone else to answer to does not mean they can just go throwing around unconfirmed bits of half-arsed “reporting.” These bloggers just don’t understand what it means to report for an honest to goodness, ink on paper kind of REAL media. It’s a cryin’ shame, I tell ya.

  7. Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Chass has no Class.

    And it’s very obvious to me that he’s a habitual crack smoker. Because he sounds like one. And that’s enough evidence for me. I think I saw he had chalky lips. Once.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:40 PM

      I saw him hanging with Tyrone Biggums at least a couple times.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:05 PM

        ” He who is without sin, cast the first rock. And I shall smoketh it.”

    • BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:01 PM

      Chass is either drinking too much or not enough. Needs to find his balance….

  8. thinman61 - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    We needed a group of dermatologists to tell us Murray Chass is full of it?

  9. vikesfansteve - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    One of the many unsavory side effects of steroid use, and this includes medically necessary and non medically necessary steroid use, is that it causes awful back acne. It can alos cause terrible facial and body acne, but one of the more common places for steroid-driven acne to show up is on the back. Back acne is particularly hard to treat because it is on an area of the body that is hard to reach. Have you ever tried to apply a zit cream to your back, and specifically in the places where you need to? It’s tough!

    It’s no wonder that so many have a harder time treating and keeping back acne under control than they do acne that is on their face and other easily reached areas. Often times prednisone, which is prescribed to patients for a variety of reasons causes back acne and has people who havent’ thought about acne in years searching for ways to treat acne that magically pops up on their back, shoulders, and sometimes chest. Hormonal acne is very hard to treat, see this recommended hormonal acne treatment for more information on that.
    Steroids cause massive acne because they cause imbalances in the female and male hormones in the body, and this disruption literally causes the skin to erupt. If you saw some of the pictures of men who have broken out in back acne specifically from steroid use, the cases are many times severe and need serious treatment to help them. They are often large, inflamed, red and puss filled acne lesions that are deep and painful, because they are so hormonally based

  10. baseballisboring - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    owned…best post of the day

  11. marinermousse - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Let’s also, however, be clear that using topical steroid creams (which can be used for a variety of skin conditions, some of which athletes suffer from) can also cause the same acne so the presence of back acne could be:
    a.) Acne and sweating and nothing to do with any form of steroids
    b.) Caused by topical steroids

    The last I checked Murray Chass was not treating Mike Piazza as his physician and my personal opinion is that he has been unqualified to write any sports columns…but is certainly unqualified to diagnose medical situations.

    Given all of the scuttlebutt, rumors, Canseco chat, MLB reports etc., Jeff Bagwell, Biggio and Mike Piazza have NEVER shown up and my guess is that all of those sources probably overstated who the actual users were, since Canseco went into speculative territory as well as what he claims are his own observations.

    It is a shame that a (IN MY OPINION) washed up hack sports writer sullies the reputation of someone who had more talent in the top joint of his pinky than Chass has in his entire body (for sure).

    • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:38 PM

      In a few more hours I’ll be in London, taking in plays in the West End, prowling antique bookshops on Great Russell Street, dining on the finest Indian food outside of India, quaffing real ale from oaken casks, absorbing jazz at the 606 Club, drifting lazily through one great museum after another, looking for a 400-year-old pub in which to watch the Super Bowl at 3AM with the locals and some still-rowdy old friends from my days as a happy and overpaid expatriate aviation insurance claims broker at Lloyd’s. Yes. And when I come home, pitchers and catchers will be a week away. Now, does anyone really believe that I give a spattering of birdshit on a rented Ford Focus windshield what a certified, credential-carrying asshole like Murray Chass thinks?

      • BC - Jan 27, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        Seriously, if you’re going to be in London, Gator, try this place.
        Finnegans Wake
        34 Gloucester Road,
        South Kensington,
        SW7 4RB
        0872 148 2532

  12. Old Gator - Jan 27, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Right down the street from my daughter’s flat. May well do it and will report back.

    If I ever get out of Minneapolis, I mean. Did you know that this airport is cryogenically preserved?

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