35 Years ???? WOW!

I’m heading out to Citi Field today but before I enter the ballpark I will stop at the Seaver entrance for a moment of quite thought and reflection of the worst day in the history of the NY Mets, June 15th 1977 the day Tom Seaver was shipped off to Cincinnati by the Incubus , M. Donald Grant and changed the fortunes of the Mets franchise.  35 years have passed and I still get a pain in my gut over this awful event.

On a much brighter note, today is also the anniversary of Keith Hernandez joining the Mets from the St Louis Cardinals and the 10th anniversary of the Mets-Highlanders and the first hook up of Piazza-Clemens since the infamous 2000 World Series bat tossing incident. Mets fans waited in anticipation for pitcher Shawn Estes’ drilling of Clemens as he stepped to the plate, but to our disappointment Estes gave a half ass attempt and threw behind Clemens ample ass and not his chin, oh well, maybe a jury in D.C. will gives us vindication.

For this and other events that happened on this day check out Chris Jaffe’s column at The Hardball Times.

Murray Chass is an ass. Today, Meshuga Murray is back on the” Mike Piazza is a juicer bandwagon”. Piazza is coming out with a book in February and Chass thinks Piazza is waiting for the results of the Hall of Fame vote to release his tome. For this Chass is on the war path, campaigning for HOF voters to bypass Piazza on their ballot. If Meshuga Murray has the goods on Piazza then why not let the world know? Maybe he’s saving it for a book?

I have a correction for the Tuesday appearances by former Mets Art Shamsky and Ed Charles.  The Glider will be at the Citi Bank branch at 485 1st Ave in Manhattan (just off E 27 St) and Shamsky will be at the Citi Bank branch in Middle Village at 78-09 Metropolitan Ave. Both players will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans from 12 Noon to 1:30 PM.

Isn’t it crazy how things work, for the next three days we have to root for the Highlanders as they head to D.C. to take on the Nationals. What can you say, that’s baseball Suzyn!

 

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OLD MAN CHASS ON BOBBY VALENTINE

Murray Chass The Jack Ass-curotsy of pitchershiteighith.com

I received a link today of a post that Murray Chass (the big dumb ass) wrote about Bobby Valentine and how he can’t stand BV and BV couldn’t stand him either. Chass it seems felt it was his duty to call Larry Lucchino the Red Sox CEO, to find out how the Sox managerial search was going. I guess after screaming at his grand kids and staring out the window for hours making sure no one parked their car in front of his house, Chass decided he needed to know if Bobby Valentine was THE GUY the Sox were ready to hire as their field boss.

From reading the post it’s clear Chass has an agenda, in fact since Chass was canned by the NY Times he’s had a hard on for lot of people and he’s in denial that he has gone from being the National baseball writer for the Old Grey Lady to a blogger . Chass will never identify himself as a blogger but that’s all in the denial side of his old ass life. Anyway, Chass has gone and dug up gossip and innuendo from Valentine’s days as Mets manager using the one player that Valentine really had no use for, Todd Hundley to make his case but back to Chass calling Lucchino. The Sox CEO told Chass that Valentine had a great interview and then wanted to know what Chass thought of BV, I’ll let Chass tell you in his own words his feelings on Bobby V:

I would rather not have people I am interviewing ask me questions. In this instance what I thought about Valentine or any other candidate shouldn’t matter. I am not the one hiring and paying the new manager.

On the other hand, Lucchino asked a reasonable question, and the primary problem I had with it was whether I should offer some vague, non-committal comment or answer honestly. Of course, I chose honesty because I expect honest answers from the people I question.

“I have found him to be the most disliked man in baseball,” I said. And I added, “He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him.”

I didn’t offer any details, but if Lucchino wants to know why I made those statements, I will enlighten him here, which is a more appropriate place for a reporter or columnist than the telephone.

One thing we know about Valentine is there is no middle ground when it pertains to how people feel about him. I admit to be being a big fan of his but I can see how his personality could grate on one’s nerves if you had to deal with him on an everyday basis but what I take issue with Chass is his view of Valentine is personal not business.  No place in his column does Chass give Valentine credit for being an outstanding bench manager.  You can hate the guys guts but you lose credibility when he don’t acknowledge that Valentine gets more out of what he’s given than anyone in baseball.   

Chass really embarrasses himself when he critiques Valentine’s managerial record by harping on the fact his teams never had a first place finish:

Valentine undoubtedly talks a good game; that’s why ESPN hired him. But ESPN doesn’t have to worry about a won-lost record. While it’s a fact that Valentine managed the Mets to two consecutive wild-card berths in 1999 and 2000 and the World Series in 2000, it’s also a fact that in 14 years with the Rangers and the Mets he never managed a team that finished in first place.

 

Presumably, the Red Sox, who have not participated in post-season games the last two years, have studied Valentine’s history (and not just tested his knowledge of Jamesian sabermetrics) and know that he ranks third in history among managers who have managed the most games without finishing in first place.

 

Valentine took over a Mets team in 1996 that had stopped to listening to Dallas Green whose method of motivation was to scream at his players “to look in the mirror” and man up. Valentine’s main strength was getting the most out of his 25 man roster but he had to deal with a few clubhouse lawyers who became very comfortable living the high life in the Shea Stadium clubhouse one in particular was Todd Hundley. I’ll get to Hundley in a minute, Chass just kind of glosses over the fact the Valentine won a pennant with the Mets and if not for the shit the bed performance by Kenny Rogers would have had back to back pennants under his belt. Someday Chass should let us know what he thinks of Bobby Cox whose teams finished in first place 14 times but has one World Series flag to fly? What about the greatest manager to ever put a pen to a lineup card Tony LaRussa, winning a World Series with a wild card team?  What Chass doesn’t get is all you have to do is get in the tournament, who cares how you got there? I’m sure there isn’t a Cardinals fan out there complaining how their favorite team got to post season as they are reveling in their successful post season tour.

Back to Todd Hundley, it was no secret back then that Valentine wasn’t a fan of Hundley and Hundley felt the same about BV.  Hundley talks about his relationship with Valentine:

 In Hundley’s view, the problem with Valentine began when the manager appeared to be jealous of the player’s standing with the fans. ”He comes into a whole new situation and goes right after I guess the most popular guy,” Hundley said. ”It’s not my fault I’m the most popular guy.”

Hundley was especially upset at the timing of Valentine’s comments on his sleep habits because his mother was being treated for cancer and his wife was pregnant.

”I’m talking to my mom while she’s going through chemotherapy,” Hundley said, ”and I’m helping my wife with taking care of our two kids and he’s saying I’m out and about.”   

 

It’s true that Valentine gave a”wink-wink, nod-nod” statement about Hundley not getting enough sleep which was Valentine speak for Hundley being a hard partying guy. I have no proof that he was or wasn’t but I’m sure it was the manager sending a message to a player and the player reacted negatively. If it’s true that Hundley wasn’t getting sleep due to worrying about his mom and wife then Valentine was dead wrong to bring that up but what we saw with Hundley was he was not a true team player. When Mike Piazza was brought over from the Marlins it was Hundley who was affected the most and it hurt Hundley to no end that Piazza was coming to the Mets and was the new starting catcher. Hundley felt he was the most popular Met (I think Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson and of course Edgardo Alfonso were right there as popular Mets) but now with a super star like Piazza on the team he had to take a back seat in fact he had to find a whole new place to play, as Hundley was exiled to left field.  That’s when Hundley ceased being a Met. His play on the outfield was one of indifference; you knew his Mets days were over. Was Valentine the reason? Maybe part of it but the mostly it was the acquisition of Piazza that was Hundley’s problem.

Without a doubt Valentine is a very polarizing person, but he has a track record of turning teams around when he occupies the mangers office. I’m not sure that Valentine is the guy to run the Red Sox bench as I feel their problems run a lot deeper in that clubhouse but you know the Red Sox will be prepared and they will be interesting.  Valentine vs. the Boston Media will a show all by itself.

 

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MURRAY CHASS TOOK AN AX, GAVE BASEBALL BLOGGERS 40 WHACKS

I’ve told my kids, if I start to get crotchety and nasty when I get old they have permission to dump me at the Port Authority and never worry about me again. I don’t think Murray Chass made that deal with his kids.

As you see on the right hand side of this site, I am a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and I should say a proud member. I am also honored to be a member from the beginning when Daniel Shoptaw, writer of C70 At The Bat (a St Louis Cardinals blog) sent me an e-mail about his idea. I could not write back to him faster to say “thanks for asking me and yes, I’m all in”. It was one of the best moves I’ve made since I started blogging.

The BBA has grown so much between writing, podcasting and having our own SABR chapter that I guess with success comes the slings and arrows of jealousy. That’s where Murray Chass comes in.

Even though he wrote with a pro-Highlander slant, due to being the Highlander beat man for the Times until 1985 when he was bumped up to the National baseball beat. His baseball columns in the NY Times were always must reads. When labor strafe hit baseball, no one had the access and the coverage of the negogation like Chass. He is also in the Baseball Hall of Fame by way of wining the J.G.Taylor Spinks Award in 2003. Chass “retired” from the NY Times in 2008. I put quotation marks on retired because it was more a buy out that a voluntary decision on Chass’ part. Chass was in poor health for awhile and I can sincerely say I am glad he is back to full strength and healthy once again.

But I do have a problem with Chass and that is because he has a problem with me. Well, not just me, but baseball bloggers in particular. The BBA sent out a press release which had a few spelling, math an grammar errors on them. Instead of just hitting the delete button, Chass thought this would an excellent time to prove his point that bloggers are an embarrassment to the written word. He pointed out every grammatical mistake and ridiculed the spelling errors. He laughed  at the BBA because we felt that with Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven getting 74.468 % of our votes in the BBA Hall Of Fame, because we rouned the number off to 75 %. Chass berated us for not having basic math skills.

Now, when Daniel sent out the response he received in a e-mail from Chass that made the bloggers of the BBA seem to uneducated buffoons, my first response was to act like an uneducated buffoon. I was ready with a post filled with F-bombs, and disparaging remarks about his employer showing him the door, but one of the best reasons to be a member of the BBA is I was the only uneducated buffoon to act this way.

See, even though Chass has a strong dislike to the folks who make up the BBA because we don’t have a college degree in English or Journalism, or some of the membership write and analyze baseball via Sabermetrics, or the fact that some of us are just fans who have played, coached, or watched baseball our whole lives and have now found a new way to express our love for the game, just like Ol’ Murr. In fact, while old thinkers like Murray Chass are sent to the showers, the NEW kids on the block are getting hired for jobs at websites to show their graphs with pitch f/x, UZR, VOPR BABIP and all the other facts and figures that not only give insight to fans but to front offices all around baseball as well, to that the old fedora, cigar smokin’ writers react to like Dracula to a cross.

The other thing that set the BBA apart is they know how to respond to such slights. As I said, I was ready to go jihad on old Murray, but Daniel Shoptaw said “no” and so did a bunch of other members. What Shoptaw did was send Chass a reply e-mail, thanking him for pointing out the errors in the press release and for making him send out future releases for proof reading by other members of the BBA before the are published. Clear, rational, ADULT behavior but Daniel Shoptaw proved that he is twice the man that Murray Chass is.

Oh by the way Murry, I see you have a website now and I really shouldn’t link to it since you can’t stand me or what I do but I link to your site as a public service to my readers to show what you wrote about the BBA and to hopefully show my readership it’s best to grow old with gracefully.

I apologize for any grammatical mistakes or spelling error in this post. I’m not a writer, I just play one in cyberspace.

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