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Blogger Murray Chass attacks me for bad reporting, ignores quotes, evidence in doing so

Apr 24, 2014, 11:09 AM EDT

Murray Chass

Murray Chass, who actually was the foremost expert in the media regarding baseball labor issues in general and collusion in the 1980s in particular, decided to tear me a new one over at his blog today after I wrote about those potentially collusive statements regarding Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales a couple of weeks ago. Statements which led to Tony Clark launching an investigation into their source.

When someone told me Chass was on my butt about that I actually got worried. Because, for as silly and crazy as his writings have become over the years, you can’t knock the man’s expertise on labor and collusion. That’s his turf and I was legitimately worried that I made a dumb mistake in my posts on the subject. So, while it’s always the better move to ignore Murray Chass, in this instance I had to go read what he wrote to see how wrong I was!

You’ll be shocked to learn that he’s far more interested in taking me to task for being a blogger and and not a reporter. Which is awesome considering that he himself is a blogger* but we’ll let that slide for a minute. He’s particularly upset that I claimed that Tony Clark is trying to to investigate the source of those quotes about Drew and Morales and that, in doing so, he’s not going to win over any friends in the media:

In the hours before I wrote this column I was looking for something and found something else, one of the dumbest and most ignorant pieces of baseball writing I have read in years. It was a piece by Craig Calcaterra of NBCsports.com.

Calcaterra criticized Tony Clark, the head of the players union, for suggesting that anonymous comments from club executives about free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales could be a form of collusion . . . With his comments, Clark was not trying to sniff out sources or their identification.

Tony Clark was not trying to sniff out sources, eh? Better tell that to Tony Clark, Murray, because here was his official statement on the matter:

“I am angered that numerous baseball executives have blatantly and intentionally violated our collective bargaining agreement by offering to ESPN comments about free agent values of Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. These statements undermine the free agent rights of the players and depress the market values. Today, I have called upon the Commissioner’s office to investigate immediately and thoroughly the sources of these statements and to take appropriate action to enforce our agreement.” [emphasis supplied].

A few days later, Clark sent all registered agents a document retention order, demanding that they keep all records of their contact with reporters regarding Drew and Morales.

I suppose I’m crazy to see those things as Clark “trying to sniff out sources for their identification.” Unfortunately Chass — after lecturing me about ignoring relevant information in my writing — ignores both of those things in reaching his own conclusion on the matter.

Murray, you’re a Hall of Famer, and for all the work that put you there, I respect you. But you have no more business being out there engaging in media criticism than 83-year-old Ernie Banks has being in the Cubs’ lineup against the Diamondbacks this afternoon. Less so, actually. Because while neither Banks nor you are likely to be able to catch up to a fastball these days, at least Banks isn’t blinded by bitterness and rage about not being active anymore.

*I suppose there are many definitions of “blogger,” but the original and in my mind truest definition of the term is one who reads and synthesizes news and opinion on the Internet, forms his or her own opinions about it, links said news and opinions on his or her “web log” — which is where the word “blog” comes from — and talks about what he or she thinks about the matter.

While, today, bloggers such as myself may work for large media organizations like NBC, the original promise of blogging was that it gave people not affiliated with the mainstream media a chance to write and opine about the issues of the day.

In what way Murray Chass does not fit this definition is beyond me. He is a blogger in the purest and truest meaning of the word. In form — he writes a blog from his home in his free time — and in practice — he is using it to attack a writer from a large media organization — Chass is, in fact, the Platonic ideal of a blogger. He is keeping it so real as a blogger, he makes a guy like me — who considers himself a pretty decent blogger — look like some sort of sellout. A piker. Frankly, I’m a tad embarrassed at how much more of a legit blogger Chass is than me sometimes.

So I shall no longer call him The Blogger Murray Chass.” I shall call him “King Blogger Murray Chass, O.G. Pimp Daddy Blogger Par Excellence.”

  1. pbastille - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    You’re still my guy, Craig, Murray Chass be damned. Of course, its only because you and have the same glasses.

  2. ningenito78 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Nice groin shot at the end there Craig.

  3. bigdaddy44 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    I have got to admit, I enjoy when ultra libtards like you and Florio are attacked like this by anyone. It does not bother me if the attacker has no sense of reality. This is the exact M.O. that those with similar world views as yours on a broader spectrum outside of sport use to attack their enemies. Even though attacking someone with lies or misinformation is wrong and two wrongs don’t make a right, it is enjoyable seeing one of you squirm in my own childish mind. Don’t fret CC, I still love you and still owe you that $1.00 lobster dinner!

    • Old Gator - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      Good that you admit that you’re childish. Simplistic right wing positions always appeal to simple minds.

      • mazblast - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        In all fairness, Gator, simplistic left wing positions also appeal to simple minds. Neither is right, but they’re easy.

      • martywinn - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Who do simplistic left wing positions appeal to?

      • kyzslew77 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        “Even though Chass has no leg to stand on, because your politics aren’t like mine, I think this is pretty awesome.”

        #STRONGTAEK

      • umrguy42 - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        I’m sure I’ll get thumbs-downed for this, but…

        @martywinn – College students?

    • padraighansen - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      “Bigdaddy”‘s comment….pretty much just summed up what the GOP has, unfortunately, become: “I don’t care if the facts are correct, but I enjoy watching you being attacked by them!’. I’ll give BigDaddy kudos for the unforeseen and rare honesty….and then chuckle a bit before I shake my head in disbelief for the ignorance on which he forms decisions.

      • bigdaddy44 - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        My enjoyment could also be termed as turnabout being fair play. Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals’ has been the standard playbook for the radical left for just about every election and issue. Unfortunately, it is now being used by a much wider spectrum to the point where truth is rarely publicly spoken in these circles. Disregard for facts and using twisted half-truths or downright lies are constantly used to denigrate someone with a different opinion. This is done to influence weak minds, on either side of an issue or the aisle. It is a main cause of the massive amount of discourse in this country, because people believe the propoganda and it fuels hate rather than honest discussion. It also carrries over to sport when certain individuals, several of whom are in the PFT family, try to impose their view on others. Many use the tactic without knowing where it came from, just because they have seen it being used effectively. As for Chass, I don’t believe he used it as a tactic, he more likely just has a shaky concept of reality. As for Craig, I could have said just said “How does it feel when it happens to you?”, but I couldn’t resist taking the dig. With a friend like me, who needs enemies?

    • bolweevils2 - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      I don’t even know how one discerns a liberal baseball blogger from a conservative baseball blogger. My only guess is believing in sabermetrics makes one an “ultra libtard”, while a conservative baseball blogger would go more for RBI, wins and batting average.

  4. lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    I think what bothers Chass and most of his ilk is that the blogosphere has pulled back the curtain and exposed them. For decades, they thrived on the mythology that as sports writers they were keepers of the sacred flame of sports journalism, that their opinion mattered more than yours because only they were properly steeped and educated in the “game” and all of its intricacies and nuances. By advancing this mythology, they were able to make a great living and garner a rather respectable level of fame doing what they loved. Who wouldn’t want that?

    Well, guess what? Turns out that given an outlet to do so, lots of people can write interestingly and compellingly about sports. Who knew? I’ll tell you who. Murray Chass knew all along. He, and all of his colleagues, knew that writing about sports was not, in fact, rocket science. They spent many decades building the myth, and it got torn down in less than one.

    For a perfect example of what I am talking about, check out this article about a 2009 TV show called “Costas Now”, which featured an episode on bloggers. If you can find the episode online, I recommend you do it. Old guard sports journalist Buzz Bissinger’s head nearly explodes.

    http://nymag.com/news/sports/53975/

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      KenTremendous, aka Mike Schnurr, was interviewed before that segment too. His article on FJM about it is a must read:

      http://www.firejoemorgan.com/2008/04/few-words-on-internet.html

  5. sabatimus - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    I don’t even need to read the article. Once the words “Murray” and “Chass” were uttered consecutively, I knew that verbal diarrhea was going to ensure (on his part, not yours, Craig).

  6. nomoreliesfortoday - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    You sound upset.

  7. genericcommenter - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    This Blogger Murray Chass has got to be one of the worst Bloggers ever. He’s like the reason people think bloggers all live in their mothers’ basements. I’m tired of blogger Murray Chass giving sports and other bloggers a bad name. There are a lot of great baseball bloggers and real journalists who happen to blog, but this baseball blogger Murray Chass lacks any credibility and just really harms the stature of his fellow bloggers by association.

  8. hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    “In the hours before I wrote this column I was looking for something and found something else, one of the dumbest and most ignorant pieces of baseball writing I have read in years. It was a piece by Craig Calcaterra of NBCsports.com.”

    He must be new to the site…

  9. dylanthom2013 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Just sit down together somewhere and have a beer and get it settled. Nothing’s more lame than publicizing a tiff between two people no one gives a s_it about.

  10. andreboy1 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    So many guys in the media have such thin skin. You guys sound like vindictive, sanctimonious little beotches.

    You might be right, but Craig, you willl never be in the HOF.

    That’s the “check mate” in this hissy fit.

  11. tresh15 - Apr 26, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    I have one major problem with this piece, which is otherwise excellent. Chass is NOT a Hall of Famer. Where did you get the idea that Spink or Frick Award winners were HOFers? Certainly not from the Hall of Fame, which makes it very clear on their website that the winners are NOT Hall of Fame inductees. It is an honor, definitely, but certainly does not make the recipient a Hall of Famer. Otherwise, kudos.

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