I can’t quit you.

January 23rd, 2007 → 8:46 am @ // No Comments

One more bit of Murray funness before we get on with our day. Last Sunday, apropos of absolutely nothing, Murray wrote one of the odder (even for him) pieces I’ve ever seen. Since I’d never be able to do it justice, I’ll just reprint it here in full:

Kicking About the Evil Empire

A report here last week about Devern Hansack, a Nicaraguan pitcher for the Red Sox, prompted an e-mail message from Sergio Maltez of Managua in which he recalled the head-to-head competition the Red Sox and the Yankees waged for José Contreras four years ago. Contreras had defected from Cuba and had established residence in Nicaragua so he could be a free agent.

The Yankees won the bidding, prompting severe vocal reaction from Larry Lucchino, the Red Sox’ chief executive, and severe physical reaction from Theo Epstein, the Red Sox’ general manager. Lucchino called the Yankees the evil empire. Epstein chose a different response.

‘It was true,’ Maltez wrote, ‘that Theo Epstein broke the door of the hotel with a kick when the Yankees signed Contreras and not the Red Sox.'”

Besides the fact that a Google search of Sergio Maltez turns up pretty much nothing (in English, anyway), this piece is weird because a) nobody had been talking about 2003, and b) Murray himself knows it’s not true! On December 29, 2002, in an early article in what became an ongoing series in which Chass condescended to Theo Epstein, the Times baseball columnist wrote, “Theo Epstein is the youngest general manager in baseball history, even if he does age a year today, but in his month on the job with the Boston Red Sox, not one of his fellow general managers has accused him of throwing toys across the table at them. Nor, he said, has he broken doors or windows or chairs, not in Nashville, not in Nicaragua. ‘I’ve never broken a piece of furniture in my life,’ said Epstein, who turns 29 today. Why the stories then? ‘It started in Nashville,’ he related, referring to the winter meetings earlier this month. ‘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.’ The image of Epstein as El Destructo emerged, too, from his failed pursuit of Jose Contreras in Nicaragua last week. This time, the tale went, he broke a door and a window. The Red Sox attributed it to Yankee propaganda, not as in ‘Yankee, go home,’ but as in the New York Yankees’ dirty tricks.”

Somehow, this managed to shock even me. In desperately casting about for his latest piece of irrelevance, Murray Chass actually printed something that he himself knew was a lie. Did someone mention the lax ethic of the sports section?

Post Categories: Murray Chass & New York Times

3 Comments → “I can’t quit you.”

  1. V06

    17 years ago

    “Who IS Sergio Maltez?!?”

    “Epstein broke the door of the hotel with a kick…” then, brandishing a machete, chased the staff through the hallways and out into the streets setting cars afire with molotov cocktails. The young GM’s rage knew no bounds, his fury could not be contained. And Boy Theo’s ferocious tantrums became the stuff of Red Sox Nation legends.

    Seriously, Epstein seems like he may be a rather gifted person in any number of areas, but doesn’t have the outward demeanor of a vandal. JP Riccardi, GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, would seem to me more likely culprit to kick a door down.


  2. vapodge

    17 years ago

    OK, Seth. You got me.
    I was one of those folks making Moby Dick jokes about you. But I see you don’t hate the man and you don’t want his job.
    You just don’t want to write for a living in a world when a columnist for the so-called paper of record can cite an email from someone as fact. If I emailed Maureen Dowd tonight and told her that Bush & Rice were having an affair two years ago, you think she’d print it? I say it’s so, so it must be true. Oh, and I live in the U.S., so you don’t need verify it before publication. Just cite me and it’ll be OK.


  3. Jenny

    17 years ago

    Not that this has any real relevance, because that story was a waste of space, but there have been rumors about Theo’s temper, too. He doesn’t cork off in public like Ricciardi does, but I’ve heard that messing with him when he’s angry is asking for trouble. He may well have broken that door. But, as with all things Chass, does it matter? Who cares? What does it have to do with anything?


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