Murray Chass vs. RSN

You get the sense that Sox fans and Murray Chass don’t like each other. From Murray Chass’s latest love letter to the Nation:

"You would think that when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, it would have liberated their fans, enabled all of them to smile and laugh."

Murray is referring to a joke he made in one of his most recent columns. You know, this one:

“If both contracts were to fall through, the Red Sox could sign Bonds to play left field and move Manny Ramírez back to his original position in right.”

Pretty straight forward joke material. Actually, it’s a comedy template, along the lines of, "So a rabbi, a priest and a horse walk into a bar." But Red Sox followers didn’t get the joke, or so Chass writes.

85 comments… add one
  • Chass simply should not be trusted, and his "it was a joke you didn’t get" is basically the last refuge of the unfunny or the dishonest.

    Chass shouldn’t get any benefit of the doubt (and most YFs at this site have been critical of Chass, as well, so it’s not just a SF thing I don’t think). The tone of that column was not humorous, and Chass’ track record is terrible. Let me guess, the Epstein hatchet job regarding tampering with the Dodgers, sourced horribly, was that a joke too?

    Go to Seth Mnookin’s blog and follow Chass’ reactions (or antagonisms) to Sox fans – it seems that Murray is the one who is the most humorless, and also the most defensive. In addition to being a terrible speller.

    And Mnookin documents another Chass lie here, perpetuating a myth that sullies Theo Epstein’s reputation.  What is it with Chass’ obsessive dislike, advertised from a supposedly journalistic perch?  The guy’s a a piece of garbage (I hate to malign someone so pointedly) at this point.  Why are we supposed to believe anything he says?

    SF January 23, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • “Chass simply should not be trusted, and his “it was a joke you didn’t get” is basically the last refuge of the unfunny or the dishonest.”
    You’ve used the same line many times on this sight after inflaming Yankee fans.
    But more importantly, if you actually read the second article you sighted, Theo uses the same excuse with respects to the broken chair:
    “There was a chair in our suite that was broken when we got there. We placed it outside the room. One of the writers asked about it. I said we came close to a deal and it didn’t happen. It was an attempt at humor. One writer didn’t get the humor.”
    Or was your entire comment a joke I didn’t get? It’s really getting confusing with respects to who is supposed to be funny and who isn’t around here.

    lp January 23, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • Geez, one NYsportswriter decides lately to pick on the poor Sox and everyone in the Nation goes nuts. Get over it, you whiners! He writes for a NEW YORK paper. How many Sox sportswriters have dissed the yankees over the years? For that matter, half the NY sportswriters slag the yankees! Did it ever to occur to anyone that Chass is poking at the sox to get the exact reaction that is happening? Maybe to show how overboard the sox fans are about their team? maybe he just doesn’t like the sox. that’s allowed, you know, even if you don’t like it. there are many sox sportswriters who don’t like the yankees–that’s allowed too.

    dt January 23, 2007, 2:05 pm
  • Chass is NYY’s answer to Shaughnessy.
    Now if we can only direct Shaughnessy’s ire toward the Yanks and not to the Sox..

    Scott SF January 23, 2007, 2:21 pm
  • lp and dt, showing why thinking before typing is always a good idea. At least lp actually seems to have kept himself up to date on the situation before smearing SF with an accusation the basis of which I cannot remember SF ever using.
    Chass is a New York sportswriter who appears to fabricate stories and sources in an effort to smear a team not based in New York on issues in no way (except in the tangential mutual-interest sense) related to a New York team. Blech. I have yet to read Shaughnessy or Ryan or Callahan or anyone in Boston for that matter (or anyone else in New York) carp on another team, featuring whole columns that break “news” unrelated to something taking place in the rivalry. It’s truly amazing.

    Paul SF January 23, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • To his credit though, Chass does self deprecate a bit, acknowledging that maybe he didn’t tell his “joke” well. Yes, well, clearly.

    Paul SF January 23, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • …i’ve said this before, sf’s tend to be overly-sensitive…no shock that chass is being demonized…you keep forgetting that the guy is in the hall of fame…i don’t think they let just anybody in there, but who knows based on some of the conversation i’ve seen about “deserving” candidates this year…his spelling “mistakes” look like typos to me…something we’re all guilty of on occasion, so insulting the man’s intelligence seems a bit low, but it’s used to validate his real sin: he doesn’t have the right reverence for the sox, so he must not be very bright…if he’s not telling the truth about certain situations, why hasn’t there been more outcry [and/or lawsuits] from the targets of his criticism?…he’s no comedian, as the “joke” about bonds/manny proves, but that aside, there is room for dissenting opinion…no?…lp has a point, the jokes are only funny when the yankees are the punchline…

    dc January 23, 2007, 2:47 pm
  • lp:
    I have told jokes that people didn’t get, that’s true. There’s no crime in being unfunny, which is not the basis for my annoyance with Chass. It’s the clear grudge he holds that can be historically documented, and then a weak copout of an excuse for a column that was greeted horribly by fans of both Y and S Nations. It’s also important to note that I don’t write entire columns in 1,000,000+ circulation newspapers calling out a fanbase for not getting my weak attempts at comedy.
    The big issue with what you write is that I am not a Hall of Fame journalist, one who has an extremely privileged position in an extremely powerful newspaper. Chass’ column is presented as journalistic, however misguided it is to think of it that way at this point. This is my hobby; I have never considered myself anything but an amateur with a relatively measly public forum. I am happy that you hold me to the standards that you do a professional, lifelong New York Times baseball writer, though I am not sure it is entirely fair. I won’t use the crutch of “I’m no professional”, since I willfully write in a public forum, but I do think it is important to distinguish between the position of privilege that Chass has and this blog. They are different, and trying classify my writing here as having some kind of equivalency to Chass’ is off, I think.

    SF January 23, 2007, 2:55 pm
  • lp has a point, the jokes are only funny when the yankees are the punchline…
    Really, dc, do we have to get into this? I think if you look through just the last several days of posting, you’ll see a few posts by, uh, me, with the Sox as the butt of the joke.
    Check our “humor” category, too.

    SF January 23, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • “At least lp actually seems to have kept himself up to date on the situation before smearing SF with an accusation the basis of which I cannot remember SF ever using”
    I recall at least on two occasions where he used the ‘Can’t you guys take a joke’ backtrack. In fact there was a lenghty thread in reaction to one instance in the past month. Other commenters even labeled it as his “MO”.
    Just because you can’t remember, doesn’t mean it NEVER happened.

    lp January 23, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • …it’s typically pretty one-sided sf, with the yankee jokes being somewhat mean-spirited…i don’t consider the hot dog joke very controversial…however, i do think you do a great job managing this site whether you consider yourself a professional or not, and i do appreciate your tolerance of my opposing viewpoints…keep up the good work…

    dc January 23, 2007, 3:05 pm
  • lp:
    There’s a difference between trying to weasel out of a really dumb idea by ascribing it to being a joke and a joke that misfires. Supplementing that weasel-out with insulting emails doesn’t exude professionalism, in my opinion, but that’s just me.
    You can consider me a liar, but my “MO” is not the former, and I will defend myself against that charge no matter how many times it is levied here. There are three+ years of posts and comments at this site that you can scour and I think you’ll find that isolating an instance where I think a joke wasn’t gotten and calling that an MO is pretty damn unfair. The latter charge I can cop to: I have written plenty of jokes that haven’t come off. But as they say, you throw enough stuff against the wall, some of it sticks, right? ;-)
    As for Chass, he’s not a humorist, never has been, and he’s written nothing but nasty things about the Sox for a few years running now. That’s the context in which he’s being judged.

    SF January 23, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • SF,
    You must admit, it’s a little hypersensitive and one-sided to go off on someone for invoking a line that you, me, Chass, Theo and EVERYONE uses at one time or another.
    Chass is probably biased, no doubt. But anyone who covers or roots for these teams has a bias that comes through in their columns or posts. To claim otherwise at this point, after roughly 100 years of animosity between these two teams and, in part, these two cities over their respective sports team(Knicks/Celtics, Jets/Pats) is silly. This is a rivalry and the only objective voices are those that have no interest in the outcome whatsoever.
    Let’s please stop pretending.

    lp January 23, 2007, 3:07 pm
  • okay. Group hug.

    Brad January 23, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • You can consider me a liar…
    For the record I don’t. However I think you, at times, can dish it out but not take it.
    And BTW, you have personally called my credibility into question when I dared to knock the Dice-K move – and it was in a rather lenghty post as well. And that’s what I ultimately remember when stuff like this occasionally comes up here.
    My ultimate point still stands and that is being pissed off because someone takes shots at your team, when it comes from both sides of the fence is lame.

    lp January 23, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • I can name several sportswriters who don’t allow their biases to infect (not “affect”) their work, in Boston and New York. Vecsey (G, that is), Anderson, Edes, Bradford. Buster Olney’s been doing a really good job of late, and Gammons, however much people think he’s Boston-biased, never ceases to throw out plaudits to the Yankees, criticize the Sox, or talk about whoever is in his radar at the moment (it’s a big radar, granted) with great professionalism. And that’s a key here: professionalism. What is it about Chass’ utter lack of professionalism that you are willing to forgive, just because there’s a rivalry?
    Please stop moving the goalposts: you called ME out. But now it’s all just the rivalry? Is the rivalry now the de facto excuse for shitty sportswriting? Does this mean I am off the hook? ;-)

    SF January 23, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • …it’s called “intellectual honesty” lp, and you are 100% correct…i admit my yankee bias, because i’m not ashamed of it…i try to be fair, but have to admit that my love for my team colors my comments…that’s when i’m subject to the most criticism from sf’s…chass may be a yankee fan or not, but one thing you have to say for him, he knows how to strike a nerve and draw attention to himself and his writings…some would call that genius…

    dc January 23, 2007, 3:16 pm
  • chass may be a yankee fan or not, but one thing you have to say for him, he knows how to strike a nerve and draw attention to himself and his writings…some would call that genius
    I honestly do not care if he’s a Yankee fan. I know (and even love!) many Yankees fans. Some of them are great writers (see my co-blogger, for one). Being a good journalist and being a Yankee fan are not mutually exclusive, though some in my family up North might disagree.
    The funny thing is I have (mostly) stopped reading Chass (this column I missed entirely, despite being a Times subscriber), and the only reason this came back to a discussion is because of Nick (a YF!) posting it. Ironic, eh?

    SF January 23, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • What actually IS funny is how Chass writes, “…but only one of more than two dozen readers who responded via e-mail messages seemed to figure it out.” He’s calling out all Red Sox fans based on a couple dozen emails? Get real, Murray.

    pastorsteve January 23, 2007, 3:22 pm
  • There’s also a difference between jokes, lies, and slander, but hey, whatever, right? Just because a guy can and does influence thousands of people with words is no reason to ask him to be held to any sort of standard.
    Show me where in the original column Chass’s even attempting humor was evident. I guess he’s either horribly not-funny or lying. Without doubt, he’s an embittered old man. So at least that’s funny anyway.
    Anyone wanna point me toward some joker who rags on the Yanks ad nauseum for no reason, lies or badly sources when reporting on them, and (and I think this last is important) is supposedly a professional journalist? ’cause I’ll be happy to join you in your moral outrage against him or her, Yanks fans.
    I don’t read Chass ’cause he pisses me off.

    Devine January 23, 2007, 3:26 pm
  • yep…it might surprise you, but i know [and even love] many sf’s…in spite of our many differences, i love you, and admire the passion you have for your team and this site…i’ll say it again, you and the other guys do a good job with this site…it would be no fun if we agreed all the time…

    dc January 23, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • …it was statistical sampling pastor steve…you might argue that a few dozen people who might actually e:mail a sportswriter [who does that?] isn’t representative, but it probably does mirror the rsn reaction…
    …devine, if chass’ writings are “slander”, where’s the lawsuit?…

    dc January 23, 2007, 3:32 pm
  • dc:
    It’s unlikely that those who agreed with Chass are going to email him to say “hey, nice job suggesting Manny for right, Murray”. It’s like when networks get 340 phone calls nationwide complaining about content, and this is cited as evidence of almost universal distaste for a program, when it’s obvious that none of us who are pleased with the programming call in to praise the station. I’d say that Murray citing only 24 emails is evidence that he was scraping for a column, and used these as material for wasting more precious ink on something that doesn’t deserve an entire column in the New York Times. To repeat, this is an important qualification: this is a man with an extraordinary and privileged position writing a column about a few angry Red Sox emailers, and blanketing that across an entire fan base.

    SF January 23, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • The other irony is that the person who posted this thread, and who expresses some skepticism (If I read his “template” wisecrack correctly) with Murray’s attempt at humor is NICK! a YF!!!
    But yet it’s us SFs who are attacked for questioning the humor.

    SF January 23, 2007, 3:40 pm
  • SF,
    I will NEVER EVER let you off the hook – at least before 5PM M-F, when it’s time to leave work and I lose my T1 connection.
    Admittedly, I tend to stay away from opinion columns in general and Baseball Tonight specifically for the simple fact that the standards have slipped tremendously over the past 10 years. People really will say almost anything to sell papers and score ratings. In fact watching ESPN has cost me dearly in my roto leagues in the past simply because they are about pure hype and roto is about pure stats. (I get burned EVERY time I flip to that station.)
    I must say I have a tremendous problem with Gammons and many others on your list with how the steroids issue has been dealt with – and that’s my real standard of measurement over and above Yanks-Sox things. (Not that he hasn’t shortchanged the Yanks on occasion – but in a very professional way) How these guys reported the issue in ’98 and how they are reporting it now speaks volumes for their credibility. It’s almost like it was a massive cover-up and a subsequent exploitation on the back end. Really slimy.
    In terms of your amateur status vis-à-vis so called professionals, I will say that I prefer to get news and opinions from my peers than from “professional” columns. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone, given your site traffic. I find the insight of commenters on this site and others like it to be equal to or greater than that of the establishment. Seriously.
    I can never get inside your head or those of the other Sox and Yanks fans here, but I’m pretty certain that what’s said here comes from a place of pure love for their respective teams and the game and not for the purposes of satisfying an editor or towing the editorial line or getting bumped up to the national desk.
    The establishment should be disregarded altogether.

    lp January 23, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • Forgive me, dc…it would be “libel” we’re talking about in this case, not slander (says one site on the definition of libel…”to misrepresent damagingly in written form”). This is without reference to the legal definition.
    If Colletti’s (sp?) responses to inquiries on the state of talks between the Dodgers and the Sox don’t show that Chass was either completely misrepresenting the situation or at least not getting info from the best source, then what else can I say? You could argue Colletti’s lying and Chass is the one who has the inside truth, but my, the spin there is incredible.
    Again, yes, I know about this guy because he bashes the Sox, but I’m perfectly ready to get bent out of shape on bad reporting anywhere, including against the Yankees.
    Or say, someone who participates in bending a terrorist attack into a reason to attack a country that had (as far as anyone can verify) nothing to do with the terrorist attack. Just for perspective.

    Devine January 23, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • Sorry, dc, I dropped statistics when I got the chicken pox in college. It just seems like a pretty small and skewed “sampling” to me, from what I learned in political science.
    SF, looking back in your original post about Chass’s article, I notice that YF agreed with you also.

    pastorsteve January 23, 2007, 3:59 pm
  • sf, murray only got a couple of dozen e:mails from which to gauge the reaction…could be that the other several million sf’s got the joke and chose not to respond?…it’s ironic that one did [sort of]…i have to admit that i didn’t get the joke either…in fact i’m embarrassed to admit that my son and i actually spent an hour talking about it the other day…i think we convinced ourselves it was bs, but we still had the conversation [ugh]…i’m ok with the criticism of chass…he does seem like a boob [despite being in the hall with the likes of gammons], but those who are attacking his alleged spelling miscues seem a bit off topic and petty…by the way, i meant my 2 compliments, or do you think i’m an insincere liar like murray?…
    devine, slander, libel, so where’s the lawsuit?…

    dc January 23, 2007, 4:08 pm
  • Non-legal definition, as I said, dc. And I imagine the Sox FO have somewhat bigger fish to fry in the legal realm, let alone in attempting to build a team.

    Devine January 23, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • could be that the other several million sf’s got the joke and chose not to respond?…
    Probably not. More likely that most Sox fans either can’t afford an internet connection or simply couldn’t spell Murray’s email address correctly. badump bum.
    (How’s that for taking the piss out of my own ilk?)
    More likely, nobody got the joke because it was horribly bad and Chass has no track record of ever making jokes, or, it wasn’t a joke. Hence the skepticism he’s being met with when he claims it was a joke.
    But I think this topic has been beaten to death at this point.
    (so when’s his next column coming out?!)

    SF January 23, 2007, 4:13 pm
  • …it’s not libel anyway since there’s a burden to prove damages…

    dc January 23, 2007, 4:17 pm
  • …i agree sf…it was an unfunny joke and we’ve wasted too much time discussing it already…i see you have a new post out there, so it must be time to move on…

    dc January 23, 2007, 4:19 pm
  • Chass is a national baseball writer so anything is fair game. To ask why he is writing about the Sox is silly. The man is a HOFer and a well respected journalist for many years. I would say he has credibility on his side in almost all cases. You think he would destroy a long and distinguished career based on a rumor?

    Seth January 23, 2007, 4:30 pm
  • Seth, that’s a bit naive. The Times employed someone named Judith Miller. What’s she up to now?

    SF January 23, 2007, 4:31 pm
  • Jason Blair. Mike Barnicle.
    Using the reasoning that because someone works for a nationally respected publication, they must be 100 percent accurate and trustworthy and honest and ethical all the time is very dangerous indeed. We’re not talking nit-picky stuff here. Wer’re talking about a journalist who’s in the Hall of Fame reporting things through sources we cannot verify, and the sources we CAN verify (“we” being other reporters and bloggers) deny his account — in fact, say just the opposite.
    That’s not nitpicky, it’s lying. As a journalist, there’s no greater offense.

    Paul SF January 23, 2007, 5:45 pm
  • …it’s lying because it’s anti-sox…end of story…

    dc January 23, 2007, 6:35 pm
  • dc:
    Paul’s a journalist, and I think it’s unfair to be so patently dismissive of his opinion. The fact is that Chass’ style of “journalism” has little to do with journalism, and more to do with a grinding axe. There’s nothing wrong with Paul pointing out this dishonesty, and it applies to writers of all ilks, not just Chass.
    Like I have said many times, standards are standards, and they aren’t necessarily dependent on one’s allegiances.

    SF January 23, 2007, 6:40 pm
  • I’ve been in class so I’m just catching up with this thread, having read a few of the posts here. I can’t accept people somehow drawing a parallel between SF and Chass. I don’t know what SF has to do with Chass. I don’t know why SF was attacked when he was merely expanding on my original implied point, which is that Murray is being sketchy in this instance. I think Chass’s story is BS. My guess is that he’s lying, but even if he isn’t, his failed joke is not evidence that Sox fans lack a sense of humor.

    Nick-YF January 23, 2007, 7:29 pm
  • …nick, no problem if you need to catch up…i wasn’t attacking sf at all, so i don’t know who you’re referring to, in fact i’ve been very complimentary of sf on this very thread…he may not want to acknowledge or accept that, but it’s the truth…and i wasn’t dismissing paul’s post as i was falsely accused of doing…my only point is that the claim of “lying” and “libel” are pretty strong accusations without proof…and i stand by my claim that anti-sox writings/opinions are viewed with a different standard by many on this site…chass is in the hall of fame…as far as i know none of the rest of us are…i’m not defending him, because i don’t know if i’m wrong about him, but he’s innocent until proven guilty…i am defending his right to speak his opinions and repeat rumors as long as they’re characterized in that manner…

    dc January 23, 2007, 7:47 pm
  • Tony Perez is in the Hall of Fame too. Jim Rice is not.
    Do we really want to defend Chass on the basis of whether he’s in the Hall? — because that’s about like saying Jeter’s a great defender because he won the Gold Glove. Being in the Hall doesn’t make you a great writer — the PERCEPTION of being a good defender is what gets you a Gold Glove. Not the other way around. And the perception of being a great writer gets you into the Hall (and maybe Chass used to be a great writer; Shaughnessy was once). Chass wrote a story using the blindest of blind sources (no positions, no officials close to the incident, just officials from around the league), accusing the Sox of an illegal activity. The actual sources most closely related to the alleged incident deny it and offer a practical, obvious reason for why the allegation isn’t true (the Sox and Dodgers were working on a Manny trade and thus talking constantly, clearly not perturbed by the Sox’ signing of Drew). When approached with this seeming contradiction, Chass responded by saying he had a lot more years’ experience in journalism than the e-mailer.
    None of what I described is 1. allowed by the ethics policy of any creditable newspaper in America, 2. the proper way for a professional, “Hall of Fame” journalist to conduct himself, or 3. a good way to convince people you don’t have something to hide about your ability to accurately report a factual story.
    My opnion has nothing to do with Sox vs. Yankees. It has everything to do with a “journalist” doing everything the wrong way, then arguing that he is the cream of the journalistic crop and is above criticism. The day I respond to a reader/critic by noting smugly that I clearly knew much more about the topic in question than they is the day I clearly need to find a new job.
    Let me put all this another way, since this is clearly something I’m passionate about. A journalist proves how good he is at his job not by his awards but by how quick he is to admit his mistakes. (Readers don’t give a crap if you’ve won the Pulitzer, but they sure want to be able to trust what you write). Chass has proven in this whole mess that he is incapable of admitting mistakes and is therefore not a good journalist. Period.

    Paul SF January 23, 2007, 8:10 pm
  • I found this interesting even if it’s not exactly pertinent. Chass has come under a lot of fire of late, and I was wondering about his history. Here’s an excerpt of the press release for his winning the Spink Award:
    “Covering the Yankees for the Times from 1970 through 1986, Chass was one of the first beat writers in the country to cover the organization as a whole, not just report the games. His Times colleague, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dave Anderson, described Chass thusly: “He and Dick Young were the two best reporters I’ve been around in 50 years. I’d hate to be the President of the United States if Murray were covering the White House.”
    Chass’ impact has gone far beyond the quality of his work. When Murray moved to the Times’ national baseball reporting job in 1986, only 2000 Spink Award winner Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe’s Peter Gammons were doing similar work. Not only did Chass establish the standards for national baseball reporting jobs, his work in the area of business and labor relations have been unparalleled. ”

    Nick-YF January 23, 2007, 8:26 pm
  • …you gotta drag jeter into this to make your point?…damn paul, you’re better than that…jeter is a good defensively because he is…period…i’m merely defending chass’ first amendment right to report, because it’s the right thing to do…i don’t think we’d be seeing the outrage on this site if he were “making up” stories about the yankees…maybe you and sf feel you have proof that his stories aren’t substantiated, but what you haven’t told us is what is his motive…why does he have an ax to grind with the sox, and why make up stuff when there is so much news to report?…this site is full of guys who won’t admit they make mistakes, so please don’t throw that stone…i agree that chass is probably a jerk, but he’s a jerk who’s been given the right to report, whether its facts, his opinions, or rumors…it’s up to us to sort that out and filter out what we don’t want to believe…i stand by my belief that sf’s don’t want to hear anything that may put the sox in a negative light, even if it’s fact…period…
    …interesting comments nick…thanks for some unemotional perspective…

    dc January 23, 2007, 8:33 pm
  • dc:
    You are missing the point, I think. The issue is not Chass’ “rights”, but rather his responsibilities. Because he has a job as a writer for the paper and seniority, I imagine he has the right to produce almost anything he wants baseball-related. And his reputation and HoF credential probably gives him leeway that other writers don’t get. But his reponsibility as a journalist goes beyond these rights or privileges. Paul summarizes those responsibilities very well. His “reporting” recently has been terrible, and that’s a critique that has been leveled at this site by Yankees fans AND Sox fans, it’s almost universal. It’s not about biases, no matter what this site’s theme might be.
    Nick: thanks for the support.

    SF January 23, 2007, 8:56 pm
  • …fair enough sf…i could agree with you if he is passing off unsubstantiated rumors as facts…as far as i can tell that’s not the case…i still don’t understand his motive, or how he keeps his job…any theories?…

    dc January 23, 2007, 9:06 pm
  • Theory? I don’t really have anything of any substance, since I don’t know any of the players. But there could be countless ideas why Murray is ticked off at the Sox or someone in the organization. Maybe he got bad information from someone and this is payback. Maybe he has always disliked the Sox as a franchise (not as a fan, but as a journalist – different thing), perhaps they treated him like crap when he was on the beat. Honestly, I don’t really know, dc. But there are tons of reasons why professionals behave poorly, for all sorts of reasons. Guys like Chass probably have long memories; they’ve met a lot of people, many who are probably egomaniacs and treated him with the same contempt he seems to be treating a number of his readers. And Chass clearly has some measurable anger in reserve for some of his readers, as evidenced by his email responses to what are basically pests.
    The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter why he’s doing this, what matters is the fact that he IS doing it. He has a position where he can print what he wants under a guise of anonymity (certainly important for journalists, and I wouldn’t ever want anyone to think I am against anonymous sources), but refuses to acknowledge that those sources failed him once the full story comes out. Remember, he printed that Ned Colletti wouldn’t return Theo’s calls because he was so pissed, but that has been utterly disproven by Colletti himself. This is not journalism, whatever Chass’ past skills as a journalist might have been. Instead, Chass continues to antagonize Sox fans, having already printed disproven hatchet jobs and supposed analysis now disavowed as humor. This is not someone who continues to deserve the benefit of the doubt. Rather, this is someone who deserves skepticism.

    SF January 23, 2007, 9:24 pm
  • A good point gone bad…no need to take a pot shot at Jeter. I hate to generalize but sox fans wonder why Yankees fans get so angry with them. Instead of proving a point with very good data or proof a leaving it at that, you need to add a dig about a Yankee. Jeter’s overrated, I know, he also sw*llows and circa early 2000’s Nomaaah’s better……

    Triskaidekaphobia January 23, 2007, 9:25 pm
  • Guys, the Jeter thing was just a joke…
    Hehe. Not sure how it somehow destroys my argument, considering many Yank fans on this site acknowledge that Jeter was undeserving of the award. Unless of course you’re just as partisan as you’re accusing me of being.

    Paul SF January 23, 2007, 9:47 pm
  • …jeter wasn’t undeserving of the award…there is no criteria so it’s entirely objective…anyone who’s actually seen jeter play would [should] agree that he is solid, sometimes spectacular…bringing him into the debate doesn’t destroy your argument, it just cheapens it, because jeter is irrelevant to this discussion…you just saw another chance to take a shot at him…it seems petty…besides, you all said the awards were bogus and unimportant, so why does it matter now…i still don’t have a reason why a [previously] respected journalist with decent credentials would resort to the tactics chass is being accused of…there are some allegations, but nothing of substance…why would he risk his reputation and career just to take some cheap shots at the sox?…i’m trying to understand…and while you’re at it, explain to me the apparent fine line between fact, rumor, and opinion, and why it’s not ok for a journalist, provided he or she declares up front which is which, is not allowed to publish those thoughts even if they are not to our liking…

    dc January 23, 2007, 10:18 pm
  • i meant “subjective”

    dc January 23, 2007, 10:22 pm
  • Funny, I’m watching Yanks/Sox from May 24, 2006 on Yes Yankees Classics while reading this thread. That “mediocre at best” ss Jeter just made an incredible stop, really deep in the hole, of a ball hit by Lowell, then did his patented in the air throw to first to end the game. HaHa. Perfect timing :)

    Andrews January 23, 2007, 10:32 pm
  • “because jeter is irrelevant to this discussion…you just saw another chance to take a shot at him…it seems petty…besides, you all said the awards were bogus and unimportant, so why does it matter now”
    Well said dc.

    Andrews January 23, 2007, 10:36 pm
  • I think Chass has an axe to grind with everyone that he doesn’t see in his bathroom mirror.

    Andrews January 23, 2007, 10:41 pm
  • “jeter is irrelevant to this discussion…you just saw another chance to take a shot at him…it seems petty”
    Well, you’re right there, dc. I did just want to take a shot at him. Sometimes I can’t control my baser side. Sorry. The overall point still stands though, and I do stand by the argument that just because Chass is in the Hall doesn’t mean he’s a Hall of Fame writer. Often, incorrect impressions linger long enough to be enshrined officially, particularly it seems in baseball. Or perhaps he WAS a Hall of Fame writer, but he isn’t any longer. I find that more likely.
    As to why he’d risk his reputation, that assumes he believes he would be risking his reputation. After 30 years of being told how great he is, I don’t think he feels that’s possible — witness his responses to those who dare question his “facts.” And witness the silence and lack of corrections to the obvious distortions in his stories from his bosses. Clearly, he has good reason to belive he is esentially untouchable — much like Barnicle and that other columnist (for got her name) did at the Globe. You see this quite a bit with reporters for major publications who have been in the game so long they feel they’re above it, and thus above the rules that the rest of the reporters must live by. It’s intellectual hubris, pure and simple, and it’s ugly.
    I’m not saying Chass goes around plagiarizing quotes or pulling Jason Blairs, but I am saying he played up a rumor/conjecture he probably heard from a GM at the winter meetings into a muckraking story toward an organization he clearly doesn’t like. When challenged, he bristled instead of aswering the substance of the questions.
    Why would he do something like this? As SF said, who knows? I guess he has a grudge against the Sox either as a team or as an organization or as a fanbase. But we don’t need a motive here. The evidence is plain as day. He hates the Sox, and it’s costing him his journalistic integrity.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 12:11 am
  • …well said paul…i’m not sure i agree though since his hatred of the sox and supposed grudge is pure conjecture…you may be more on track in guessing that he’s gotten sloppy, lazy, and over confident, and probably even grumpy in his old age…my only point was that all of these reporters pass along rumor and innuendo as though they had some inside track on information that no one else has…check out espn: nearly all of their non-game programming is full of morons telling us what they think, what they heard, what they wish might happen, all of them hoping we’ll bite on their stupid opinions and rumor-mongering…and that’s from some of the more “respected” guys…i’m ok with all of it in the name of entertainment, as long as they’re not trying to manipulate the stories so that the rumors and opinions are represented as facts…that’s wrong, but as far as i can tell, chass did not do that…no, i still believe that the real beef with chass is not his journalistic skill, integrity, or credentials…rather, it’s his focus on publishing unflattering information about the sox…that seems to be his niche…he gets a lot of attention for it…just like a negative comment or 2 on this site draws out the angry sf’s like bees after a bear stealing honey from the hive, murray knows who is audience is and he’s milking it…just so you don’t feel alone, we’ve got that jackass lupica taking the same kind of cheap shots against the yanks…i just don’t bother to read his column anymore, and i stopped watching that unwatchable “sports reporters” on espn…
    …as for jeter, i overreacted by even bothering to defend him…frankly i could care less what folks think of him as long as he helps us win…he was just your example that a guy’s reputation can be partly an illusion, and you’re right about that, even in jeter’s case…

    dc January 24, 2007, 8:51 am
  • i’m not sure i agree though since his hatred of the sox and supposed grudge is pure conjecture
    But dc, there’s lots of evidence. It’s not just conjecture. At some point, there’s simply too much in writing showing that Chass has animus towards the Sox and their fans to dismiss it as “conjecture”.
    But to me that’s still not the point. The issue here is a journalist’s responsibility to the truth, to check sources, to acknowledge when sources are incorrect, to make the public record right. In this regard, Chass has failed, no matter whether he likes the Sox or not. I frankly think the least of his sins is not liking the Red Sox.
    As for the Jeter dig, I think Paul did himself a disservice, distracting from what are almost universally correct thoughts – Paul’s perspective as a journalist is very important, I think, and it has great weight.

    SF January 24, 2007, 9:22 am
  • dc, There remains a great difference between television and print journalism, although sadly that line continues to blur. Evn in sports print journalism, where that line is most blurry, reporters are expected to clearly delineate the difference between rumors and opinion and fact. Chass, as a reporting columnist, is in a unique and difficult position, as he may report news and comment on it at the same time. I’m pretty uncomfortable with this. But that’s life. It’s pretty universally accepted — the NYT and WaPo run news analyses all the time; I’ve even written some myself on my beats.
    Reporting unsubstantiated rumor as fact — which is exactly what Chass did in accusing the Sox of tampering — is clearly out of bounds for print journalism. It might not be on ESPN, but it should be in The New York Times.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 9:26 am
  • paul and sf…i respect both your opinions…i agree that chass [or any journalist] should come out and correct the record when necessary, and not leave it up to somebody else to clean up for him…sf keeps referring to you paul as a real journalist, so i doubly respect your opinions about quality writing…i’m certainly no journalist, so i won’t pretend to know where the high ground is…your background probably makes you a better reader than i am too, but i don’t recall at any time in reading the tampering article getting the feeling that he was representing it as more than just a rumor…it was as if he overheard it in the stall next to him in the men’s room…nothing more than that, and to me perception is as important as the actual words used…i have no doubt that there was some discussion along those lines that was shared with him, but his reluctance to reveal his sources [and they may have been some low level people, or even non-baseball people, so there’s some embarrassment on his part] should be applauded not ridiculed…he does owe us an explanation however…a good journalist would try to find out why his story blew up i would think…and, i don’t know why he’s decided to pick on the red sox, just like i don’t know why the dirt dogs seem to portray the sox in an unflattering way, but i’m not sure i buy the grudge thing without some real evidence…maybe we don’t need a motive, but it would be nice to have one…i’m not so willing to assume that he “hates” the sox, and has some sinister grudge without facts to support it…another theory to consider is mine: that he knows he can strike a nerve, get a reaction [albeit negative], and get a bunch of people talking about his column…it’s a cheap tactic to say the least, but not as nefarious as you’re making it out to be…

    dc January 24, 2007, 10:22 am
  • “.another theory to consider is mine: that he knows he can strike a nerve, get a reaction [albeit negative], and get a bunch of people talking about his column…”
    A very good theory, one that I ascribe to Dan Shaughnessy, who is much like Chass in that he finds ways to trash the Sox, even if he knows what he’s writing is untrue. I think your theory on Chass would work better were the NYT more widely distributed in New England. It’s a national paper, sure, but his audience on the sports page is decidedly from New York and most of his readers are fans of New York teams. If anything, they’d enjoy his trashing of the Sox and actually have very little reason to complain or otherwise do the things that boost the readership of his column.
    “sf keeps referring to you paul as a real journalist”
    Hehe, I guess I am. I know I’m not a fake one anyway. I cover City Hall and politics for a newspaper, fwiw.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 11:23 am
  • “at any time in reading the tampering article getting the feeling that he was representing it as more than just a rumor…”
    Indeed, I heard a ton of talk around the time of the winter meetings about the alleged tampering – some even said the dodgers were considering filing charges, but backed off because it would be so hard to prove. Like it or not, it is possible that the rumor is true, but that is obviously beside the point. SF, you say that Chass “lied”. I beg to differ – repeating a rumor is not lying.
    I’m no fan of Chass, believe me, but I think too much is being made of this particular issue.
    And whether he really meant it as a joke or not, the idea of bonds in LF and manny in right did bring a smile to my face. :)

    Andrews January 24, 2007, 11:26 am
  • Repeating a rumor and not describing it as such when you’re a “Hall of Fame columnist” for the New York freaking Times is certainly deceptive, and in journalism, there’s no difference.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 12:03 pm
  • But in the context of the article, it was clear that the “tampering allegation” was rumor, and would stay that way given the difficulty, or better yet, impossibility of proving the charges.

    Andrews January 24, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • So you guys do not believe anything Chass writes? What about his article last week on Hansack. Was that all lies? Chass has many connections throughout the baseball world. The guy has tons of credibility. His articles usually have strong quotes from good sources. I have not seen any strong evidence to the contrary and when Murray says he has heard so and so I am one to believe him. (could he hype things up sometimes? yes, but I dont think he would lie). Maybe important people who have agendas are telling him bad information (Sox brass or other agents and execs). It does seem like your are picking him out for only lying when talking about the Sox. Does he lie on other topics as well?

    Seth January 24, 2007, 12:29 pm
  • Paul, my apologies, I just get defensive (no pun intended) of Jeter. You seem like a pretty cool guy regardless of your Jeter comments.
    As for journalists, in the year 2007 are they really held as the all knowing insiders that they used to be? I respect what they do and yes there are a few that could probably make my head spin with their knowledge of the game, but then there are guys like the gentleman who writes for the Record (and ESPN) who shall remain nameless, Chass, Shaughnessy and Lupica. In today’s day and age with all the information that is available to us as fans do we really need to watch “Sports Reporters” any longer to gather our opinions? There are a few sites I read, NoMaas being my favorite, when the information is cutting edge and pertinent. Take what these guys have to say with a grain of salt. This isn’t 1950 where any and all info we got came from Joe Schmo the reporter for the Daily Chronicle.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 24, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • last week murray tried to stoke the “jd drew deal will fall through and the sox will make a move on bonds” flames. i guess murray forgot bonds thinks boston in the most racist city in the world. daddy bonds has trouble hailing a cab one time and all the sudden david duke is a sox season ticket holder. nice logic from both murray and bonds.
    paul is in my personal HOF. but thats just cause i have an unexplainable interest in north texas local politics.

    sf rod January 24, 2007, 2:37 pm
  • Made me laugh out loud at that one, sf rod. Thanks.
    FWIW, I’m in my own Hall of Fame as well.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 2:43 pm
  • Let’s all revel in the credibility, with this great blast from the not-so-distant and laughable past. This guy has no axe to grind with the Sox? Who’s kidding who?

    SF January 24, 2007, 3:30 pm
  • What strikes me most about that column is how badly written it is. It meanders all over the place, addresses at least three topics that only barely have anything to do with the Sox’ “need” to win the division, then doesn’t really support why such a necessity exists. Because it’s “the only thing left to do”? That makes no sense, unless you’re trying to find the one thing the Sox have not been able to wrest from the Yankees since 2003.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 3:47 pm
  • Boo hoo. Murwee doesn’t wike the Wed Sox.
    Like all Boston reporters, and blog owners, are fair and unbalanced on the subject of the Yankees.

    john January 24, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • Way to not read any of the posts, John. Thanks for that.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 4:15 pm
  • That IHT article didnt have any lies (I am no fact checker, but nothing was glaring). So is Murray bad because he occasionaly writes about the Red Sox (in this case via a international sports page where the readership probably knows 5 teams total) or that he is a bad lying journalist. Yes this IHT article sucked. His few red sox articles over the last month (Bonds joke and JD Drew tampering) are mixed with many other columns, which to my knowledge very rarely get criticized. I did not like when he wrote his “Red Sox Foil Yanks in Bidding for Pitcher ” article. My opinion on his topic choice does not make him a bad journalist.

    Seth January 24, 2007, 4:48 pm
  • “This guy has no axe to grind with the Sox? Who’s kidding who?”
    Like I said earlier, Chass has axes to grind all over the place – not just with the sox. Some of his articles on the Yanks and others have left me seething.
    ” the one thing the Sox have not been able to wrest from the Yankees since 2003.”
    Paul, I can’t let this go without asking a question – other than the 04 ALCS, what have the sox wrested from the yanks since 2003?

    Andrews January 24, 2007, 5:06 pm
  • Is there anything else the Sox needed to wrest? The ’04 ALCS and World Series took care of “the curse” and the “1918” chants. The way they did it took care of the onus that the Sox always collapse, and specifically collapse against the Yanks.
    The only thing left — and we’ve heard it here a lot from YFs — is that the Sox have yet to win the division since 1995. Can’t say that breaks me up so much.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 5:22 pm
  • I think one more thing would be: to narrow the considerable gap in the number of WS titles :)

    Andrews January 24, 2007, 5:28 pm
  • If that’s what we’re waiting for, we’re screwed. That gap is not gonna look much narrower even 5 Red Sox WS titles down the line (however many years that takes–even assuming the Yankees won none in the meantime). Me, I’ll go for recent success (and that includes the Yankees’ run of championships in the late 90s in my mind).

    Devine January 24, 2007, 6:05 pm
  • PS…Andrews, how ’bout a share of the division lead in ’05? I dearly wished there had been a one-game playoff for the honor of the division title, but under the rules, ah well (10-9 Yanks-Sox season series…that year was really a frickin’ battle).
    Me, I’d REALLY like the division title some time, but not at the expense of a WS of course.
    Sorry for the double post.

    Devine January 24, 2007, 6:09 pm
  • “I dearly wished there had been a one-game playoff for the honor of the division title”
    That makes 2 of us Devine – that would have been incredible…

    Andrews January 24, 2007, 6:46 pm
  • …you sf’s can’t let go…the yanks have dominated you, as murray so accurately and eloquently pointed out, except for 1 stinking fluke wild card moment in ’04, it’s killing you…be honest for once…1918 lives on whether you like it or not…

    dc January 24, 2007, 8:58 pm
  • dc is champing at the bit for the season to begin today!

    Nick-YF January 24, 2007, 9:01 pm
  • uh huh

    dc January 24, 2007, 9:06 pm
  • As a point of fact, that article was originally published in the New York Times. The IHT republishes articles from the Times, as it is owned by the Times Company. Linking to that article was the best way to show it without requiring people to go behind the Times’ firewall.

    SF January 24, 2007, 9:07 pm
  • How many Sox fans reflexively defend Dan Shaugnessy, or Tony Massarotti? How many of us accept that our writers are always best-intentioned? I certainly don’t, no matter whether the writer loves or hates my team. Frankly, I don’t care.
    The amount of nearly blind trust in Chass, the willingness to simply ascribe our criticism as naked partisanship is startling to me. With columns like those that Chass has pumped out over the past three or four years, a skeptical readership is absolutely vital.

    SF January 24, 2007, 9:12 pm
  • …sf, he’s a sportswriter, these days they’re nothing more than entertainers…don’t take what he says seriously any more than any of us take each other seriously…it’s all in good fun, all for fun, and just to provoke conversation…relax and enjoy the ride…

    dc January 24, 2007, 9:27 pm
  • “…you sf’s can’t let go…the yanks have dominated you, as murray so accurately and eloquently pointed out, except for 1 stinking fluke wild card moment in ’04, it’s killing you…be honest for once…1918 lives on whether you like it or not…”
    Enjoyed the joke, dc.
    Did I not just write a post saying, “Stop Embarrassing Yourself, Nick Cafardo”? I’ve criticized him now three times on this blog for that uncorrected (but since edited from the Web archives) David Murphy catastrophe. We’re equal-opportunity bashers when it comes to poor journalism here at YFSF, I think.

    Paul SF January 24, 2007, 10:03 pm
  • hee hee

    dc January 25, 2007, 12:25 am
  • …i’m an excellent journalist…

    dc January 25, 2007, 12:27 am

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