All I can say is wow: ol’ Murray impresses once again

March 28th, 2007 → 11:32 am @ // 9 Comments

He’s taunting me. That’s the only explanation I can possibly come up with.

The “he,” of course, is our old friend Murray Chass. He’s finally moved on from his Ahab-esque obsession with the J.D. Drew signing. (At least Moby Dick was an actual whale; Chass appears to have come up with the object of his obsession in his own muddled mind.) But he has not, to absolutely no one’s surprise, been able to move on from the Red Sox.

To wit:* today’s gem, titled “Boston Got What It Wanted, Or So It Seems.” Give Chass credit for one thing: he is consistent…in his ability to use odd, unnamed sources to prove a point, even when it’s contradicted by both the evidence and any number of people who are willing to be quoted on the record. Today, he writes that the Sox’s main motivation in bidding for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K was that they wanted to keep him from the Yankees. How does he know this? Well, supposedly one of the Henry-Werner-Lucchino trio told “a person who works as a consultant in Major League Baseball that had they been unable to sign Matsuzaka to a contract, they would still have considered the enterprise a success because he wouldn’t be on the Yankees.”

This remarkably thinly sourced item — and to call it sourced at all is generous — is apparently worth a column. Despite the fact that John Henry told Chass this was “malarkey” and “utter nonsense.” So to review: someone who is a “consultant” to MLB told Chass the Sox wanted to keep Dice-K out of New York. Not a consultant to the Red Sox, mind you. Not an MLB official. A “consultant.”

That’s not even the best part of the column. Check this out: “The Red Sox, according to the account that Henry is denying, figured that they would get the negotiating rights to Matsuzaka but would probably be unable to negotiate a deal for him with his agent, Scott Boras, who can be particularly tough to deal with in high-profile bargaining.”

This would seem to be a problematic formulation, and does nothing so much as to refute the entire premise of Chass’s column, because, of course, the Sox did sign Dice-K. How to explain that? According to good ol’ Murray, “[a]s the negotiating progressed, the Red Sox grew intrigued, and they offered more than the $5 million to $6 million a year they had originally planned as their ceiling.”

Wow. This is a player the Red Sox spent years scouting. For most of last season, there were two team employees who followed Dice-K more or less full-time. Never mind all that; Murray’s convinced, on the basis of absolutely nothing, that it was only as the negotiating progressed that the Sox grew “intrigued.”

A couple of weeks ago, Murray got some attention (and not just from me) when he bragged about his insistent ignorance regarding baseball. Now, once again, he’s come up with a column that is contradicted by all the facts and has no real sourcing. And so once again, I’m left wondering: why does the Times print this dreck? And will they ever get sufficiently embarrassed to pull the plug? Past history doesn’t give us much reason to be optimistic. But I’m holding out hope…

(As reader scotthp49 points out, I left out the best part of the article, where Chass points out that Wakefield “had a losing record last season that might have made the difference between the Red Sox making and not making the playoffs.” The Sox finished 11 games behind the Yankees and nine games behind Detroit for the wild card; Wake, who started 23 games, ended the year with a 7-11 record. (It’s worth noting that his peripherals weren’t that out line with the past couple of years…but we know Murray doesn’t much care for “numbers.”) Which means, assuming Wake got the same number of decisions in his starts, he would have had to put up a 15-3 record. (It’s 15 wins and not 16 because one of those losses was to Detroit, meaning if Wake won that game, the Sox would only need to make up 8 games total.) Clearly, the fact that Boston didn’t make the playoffs in 2006 was Wakefield’s fault.)

* Nevermind…


Post Categories: Daisuke Matsuzaka & Murray Chass & New York Times

9 Comments → “All I can say is wow: ol’ Murray impresses once again”


  1. scotthp49

    10 years ago

    You missed the best part of the article, where at the end he blames the Sox’ missing the playoffs on Wakefield’s losing record. I normally don’t get too hung up in your comments about Murray, but after reading this article I can see why he drives you nuts.

    Reply

  2. TPIRman

    10 years ago

    Re: “to whit” — Where did you learn this? I can’t find any source that says that the “whit” spelling is correct, while countless list “to wit” as the correct spelling. It comes from the Middle English, in which the word “wit” was used as a verb. The verbal usage has survived only in the idiomatic form. Hence “to wit” means, approximately, “to know.”

    Reply

  3. tym

    10 years ago

    I think you should hold a secondary competition for a Murray impersonation or best email response to a “I don’t understand how you have a job” email sent to him.

    Reply

  4. MarshallDog

    10 years ago

    The worst part of all this is Buster Olney’s ESPN blog links to this story as if it were news, or some kind of “revealing” story. I hope Seth is not the only person in the mainstream media that realizes that Murray’s full of crap. His articles aren’t news because they don’t make sense as news. They only make sense as part of a obsessive, concentrated effort to demonize everything the Red Sox try to accomplish. In what other context does quoting unnamed sources that contradict all available evidence become anything more than a contrivance?

    Not sure if my rant makes any sense… It’s just that when I read his pieces, I can’t help but think to myself, “My god, he just makes it up as he goes!” Don’t people usually get fired for that?

    Reply

  5. tym

    10 years ago

    I saw the column through Olney’s blog too (and used that comments feature to lament the man having a job) – I’d be curious what wider perception is of this hack. Buckley alluded to this blog after the article was mentioned on EEI as being entertaining reading during the offseason with all the Murray Chass stuff.

    Olney was Chass’s editor (I think he was an editor) for a few years, right?

    Reply

  6. TPIRman

    10 years ago

    Just so subsequent readers don’t think my previous comment came out of left field, the earlier version of Seth’s post said that he had discovered that it was “to whit” rather than “to wit.” So I was wondering/questioning where he had discovered it, not just lecturing him for the sake of pedantry.

    Totally true — that’s why I kept the asterisk next to it…but I should have been clearer. Anyway, thanks; I’d rather be corrected once and know forever after then go around looking like a boob…

    -Seth

    Reply

  7. carnett

    10 years ago

    Seth,

    After I read that article I knew you’d have something to say on your blog. Mr.Chass is great, his articles are informative, intelligent, and utter bullshit. My advice to you is to forget about him. Stop writing about him. He is dead to you Seth! You must move on. The powers that be have major issues about keeping him on payroll. Accept that fact. Stop wasting time blogging about him. Give the old school fans insight on the Sox. Your gettin pretty famous in downeast Maine.

    Reply

  8. mattymatty

    10 years ago

    No, Seth! Don’t move on. Keep at him! Mur-ray sucks! Mur-ray Sucks!

    Reply

  9. tmorgan

    10 years ago

    I think the other part that deserves mention is how wrong he was about the money issues. While he says: “Not that the Red Sox were going to negotiate in bad faith; they just figured that Boras, who wanted them to treat Matsuzaka as a free agent and not as a player who could bargain only with the Red Sox, would make demands that the Red Sox would be unwilling to meet.” But then seems to think that if the RS had offered only 5-6 million per year it would have been in good faith. It seems pretty clear to me that a final offer of under the posting fee would not have been in good faith.

    Reply

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