Murray: I Hate Your Team

Yesterday was such a light news day that the Times sports editors have given over the lead column of their section to a batshit-crazy column from Murray Chass. Murray notes the Yankee charge over the past 10 days, and wonders what would happen if the Yanks eventually catch the Sox. The premise is solid, but Murray’s off the rails from the start. “Can you imagine the fireworks in the Red Sox’ front office, their dugout, their clubhouse, Fenway Park?” Can you? Are you ready for a new chant at the Stadium? Murray suggests “Nineteen-seventy-eight.” Not exactly euphonious (though we appreciate the sentiment.) Murray’s received enough letters over the past couple of months—nevermind blog entries and emails; he’s not reading those—to anticipate the backlash to this column, so in an attempt to forestall, we get this:

This seems to be a good point for a disclaimer. Lest anyone think I am rooting for the Yankees to win the division championship, be assured that I don’t care which team wins. The New York Times Company owns 17 percent of the Red Sox, but my continued employment by The Times does not depend on my allegiance to company products. Contrary to what any number of Red Sox fans think, I am not a Yankees fan either. I have never been a Yankees fan. As a reporter who covered the Yankees for more than 16 years, I could not have survived had I also been a fan.

No, what Murray’s rooting for is “a good story.” Which begs a question: When is he going to write one?

24 comments… add one
  • Thank you, YF.
    How long until Dan Shaughnessy writes the exact same column? (or has he already?!)

    SF June 12, 2007, 8:19 am
  • Question:
    Why would a “1978” cheer have any impact whatsoever, considering what happened in 2004? If the chant involves events far in the past which predate even more ignominious history going the other way, then what weight do they have?
    What an idiot.

    SF June 12, 2007, 8:22 am
  • I am with you SF, why the heck would anyone chant “1978.” First off the tourists that go to Yankee games wouldn’t be smart enough to even know what that means. Secondly the hole that the 2007 Yankees are in is their own fault for the most part. Let’s not contact Disney just quite yet for this new story of how an “Underdog” with the highest payroll in the game and the single most expensive player in the game’s history came back and won the Wild Card after being 14 games back. Keep playing good baseball and see what happens from there.
    Off topic, but hysterical none the less.

    John - YF (Trisk) June 12, 2007, 8:44 am
  • The 78 cheer would have “impact” as it was an analagous collapse. It’s a dopey cheer but it makes sense. Not sure why 2004 has anything to do with it.

    YF June 12, 2007, 8:49 am
  • ” the hole that the 2007 Yankees are in is their own fault for the most part.”
    Not sure what you’re getting at here, Trisk. Wasn’t the hole in ’78 the team’s fault as well?
    And I must admit – it’s really hard not to like someone as “out there” as Manny…

    Andrews June 12, 2007, 8:58 am
  • I was 3 in 1978, so to be 100% honest I don’t know how the Yankees got in the hole in 1978, but that ’78 team didn’t have All-Stars at every position. So there was an element of accomplishment there. My point being this, I would be proud of this team if they did come back and contend for a playoff spot, but it’s not some feel good story where they would have overcome adversity to get there (2003 Marlins). So I personally think the chanting of 1978 is just dumb. Just my opinion.

    John - YF (Trisk) June 12, 2007, 9:09 am
  • The idea of a stinging cheer would be to recall something that has the same sting that it has always had. So “1978” just doesn’t work, it doesn’t sting at all. 1978 has been lessened as a tragedy for many fans because of 2004, that’s the relevance, YF. A cheer of “1978” would be smirked at, YF, due to what happened in 2004. The idea that it has impact because it is an analog is simplistic and silly: when you want to insult a team or it’s fans you hit them where it hurts, and yelling “1978” just doesn’t hurt nearly so much anymore. It’s dopey, as you say, but the idea itself is also devoid of any understanding of what would make a good jibe.

    SF June 12, 2007, 9:10 am
  • You know times are tough when Yanks fans are considering what to chant if – if! – they finally make it back to first place. Win another World Series, then you can talk about chanting again

    Matt SF June 12, 2007, 9:22 am
  • not sure where to start…murry-bashing seems to be as contagious as arod-bashing…andrews seems to be the only one that gets it…murray’s the sportwriters’ version of manny…he’s a clown, and i think he knows it…with no “news” to write about on a day off, he took a somewhat whimsical approach to a “what if” scenario, and the result was guys [readers] like us, reacted…i’ll say it again: he got exactly what he wanted, a reaction…while mostly negative, it was nevetheless a response…i always figured that if someone wasn’t worth paying attention to, you just didn’t pay attention to them [it feeds their ego to be able to elicit reactions]…you know, like you guys ignore me from time to time to shut me up…but murray’s just got a spell on some of you so that you just can’t stay away…he’s a genius really…
    yf, you are right about the 1978 comeback correlation…’04 is irrelevant in that context…and, to answer trisk’s comment, the debate is still undecided about ’78 as to whether the yankees had blown it, then won it, or the red sox had it won, then blew it…if the same miracle happens this year [and it’s unlikely, for the record], i suspect we’ll have the same debate, probably right here…

    dc June 12, 2007, 9:22 am
  • Not buying it SF. We’re along way from such a chant being relevant, but if the Sox blow a 14 game lead AGAIN, I think it would be resonant, and who cares what’s happened in the interim (nb: 4 yankee world series victories vs. 1 for the sox). But we’re a LONG way from getting there.
    As for the 78 Yanks: there were no shortage of all-stars. This year the Yankee all stars will (probably) be Derek, Alex, Jorge. In 78, Gossage, Guidry, Nettles. HOFers Catfish and Reggie were not on the AL team, nevermind Munson, Randolph, Lyle, etc… The knock on that team, or one of them, was that it was the first of George’s blockbuster FA purchased teams. So 2007 is, in its way, a product of 78.

    YF June 12, 2007, 9:23 am
  • PS: I agree with DC re Chass. Spot on.

    YF June 12, 2007, 9:25 am
  • Matt, Yankee fans aren’t deciding what to chant. Read the article above, it’s not us. We are simply commenting on the article.

    John - YF (Trisk) June 12, 2007, 9:26 am
  • PPS: I agree with DC re Chass. Spot on. But the thing is, when the NYT editors turn over that kind of real estate to him, we kind of HAVE to respond.

    YF June 12, 2007, 9:27 am
  • It has resonance for YOU, but from many SFs you’d get a laugh and a smirk, and then a flash of something reminiding you of a more monumental collapse in the playoffs. It’s just not a strong insult. “1918” had much more resonance, it was succinct, it was stinging, and it hit us right where it hurt. “1978” is nothing, frankly. Four years ago, it might have had power – remember, you’re talking to someone whose 10th birthday was the day Bucky Dent went deep in Fenway – but now it doesn’t. I would know.
    You have as tin an ear as Murray, YF.

    SF June 12, 2007, 9:30 am
  • i posted while some subsequent comments were being made, so let me add that all the jeers and insults are stupid…”1978″ is no different…neither side gets a particularly high score for cleverness, originality, or effectiveness…i’m sure the drunks in both ballparks will come up with something creative that will fit the circumstances however this turns out…

    dc June 12, 2007, 9:30 am
  • I agree with “dc” (not “DC”!) too. And I actually read this column early this morning (four month old up at 525am) and refrained from posting. I was glad YF did respond, though, as Chass is a Hall of Fame member and this kind of column has become too familiar: incoherent, insulting, and gleeful in it’s desire for Red Sox or Soxfan pain.

    SF June 12, 2007, 9:37 am
  • sf, you may say that you will “smirk”, but if the yankees actually get close enough to make a “1978” comparison relevant, i suspect the look on your face won’t be a smirk…and i don’t buy the age most of us were in 1978 being an issue…i doubt any of us were around in 1918 either, although i agree with you that 2004 has significantly altered yank fans’ ability to get under the skin of sox fans with any chant…the aaron boone stuff just isn’t as funny any more either, for example…but, you have to admit that a second [3rd really if you count last year] late summer collapse by the sox would draw so many comparisons to 1978 by the media that you will quickly become an expert on the players and what happened that year, regardless of what age you were…it is then that the chant [still stupid] will be relevant…

    dc June 12, 2007, 9:40 am
  • If Chass is just a clown and knows it, I guess the Hall of Fame would be justified in asking for their award back.
    I agree that he’s a clown. I’m just not so sure he knows it.

    Paul SF June 12, 2007, 9:44 am
  • This is a silly argument. Of course it will be ‘relevant’, but the question is ‘will it hurt?’? And I maintain that a hypothetical collapse will hurt, not a cheer. The cheer is just too easily retorted to.
    A good, effective cheer or razz is one that leaves an opposing fan silent. “1918” was that cheer, until 2004 at least. There was nothing to come back with. “1978” just doesn’t work.

    SF June 12, 2007, 9:44 am
  • “There was nothing to come back with.”
    you haven’t been to the stadium lately, sf
    …i didn’t really mean that the chant would hurt your feelings, but the events leading up to such a chant even being relevant would sting a bit…the chant’s just a reminder, as lame as it is…like i said i’m not a big chant fan…i once responded to a sox fan friend who was a bit too in my face about ’04 by simply calling him “wild card” for the rest of the night…childish and petty, but for some reason it was effective, and [disclaimer]: this isn’t some weak attempt to stir that pot again…i prefer winning for silencing my team’s critics…haven’t had that chance in recent years…

    dc June 12, 2007, 10:12 am
  • Fair enough, John.
    I think we also have to consider whether losing the lead would constitute a “collapse.” It really depends on how and when the lead is lost, doesn’t it? If the Yanks pick up six, seven games in the last few weeks of the season to take the division, that’s a collapse. If they slowly chip away and eventually catch them, that’s just baseball.

    Matt SF June 12, 2007, 10:18 am
  • interesting point matt…by definition, collapse implies a sudden dramatic event…however, a collapse can be caused by slow erosion over time…

    dc June 12, 2007, 10:29 am
  • It would still require a sudden, dramatic event, no? If the Yanks catch the Sox in mid-September one day, and win the division by three games, not much of a collapse there. Just a sad, slow, sickening slide.
    Last year, the Sox collapsed, but they did so in August, and THEN commenced a horrible slide. The word is probably overused in the sports lexicon, every analyst trying to find the next historic event.

    Paul SF June 12, 2007, 4:31 pm
  • either way paul, if the sox blow a 14.5 game lead, that’s a big deal if not a “collapse” by definition….

    dc June 12, 2007, 10:46 pm

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