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.