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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Murray Chass on Sports: GUILTY IN COURT OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Postsportswriter writes presponse about Mike Piazza.

Had Piazza agreed to an interview this week, I would love to have had the opportunity to ask him about his back and the timing and disappearance of his acne. But the guy who just published an $800,000 book, isn’t doing interviews.

Why should he care about book sales? He got his money. The publisher, on the other hand, should care for the same reason, but neither Mr. Simon nor Mr. Schuster wants to ruffle Piazza’s feathers, you know, the ones left from the steroids.

I know from experience that when I write about Piazza and steroids, especially the acne part, I can expect to be inundated with a torrent of e-mail responses from Piazza’s zealous fans.

There’s never enough time to answer all of the e-mail so I decided I would try something different. I am going to reply to reader mail before I receive it. A writer friend suggested I could call it not my response but my presponse. So here is my presponse:

I know that you don’t agree with my view; in fact, I know that it offends you. But I calls ‘em the way I sees ‘em. You certainly are entitled to your opinion, and I don’t begrudge you your opinion. But you are not objective, and you are willingly blind to whatever your hero might have done.

If he cheated, he cheated, and he deserves whatever negative consequence that befalls him. If you want to ignore the acne and make excuses for it and invent reasons for its sudden disappearance, please feel free to engage in any fantasy you desire.

Repoz Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:24 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blog, blogger

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4369416)
Let us beat the dead horse that is Chass beating the dead horse of Piazza's backne. Baseball for the "thinking" fan.
   2. GregD Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4369418)
This story of Mike Francesa pontificating on whether Piazza would be the best homosexual catcher of all time captures the man's idiocy perfectly:
pranking Francesa
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4369429)
But the guy who just published an $800,000 book, isn’t doing interviews.


That's an expensive book!

More seriously, what would interviews do? I haven't read the book but I imagine the answers Piazza would give to any questions are in the book. Chass and others may not like the answers but he does address the issues. A NY Times review includes this;


“It shouldn’t be assumed that every big hitter of the generation used steroids,” Piazza says in the book. “I didn’t.”


Does Chass really think asking him about bacne is going to cause Piazza to break down and confess all manner of steroid usage? That he doesn't like what the book had to say doesn't mean Piazza didn't address the issue.
   4. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4369434)
If Chass didn't exist, Repoz would have to invent him
   5. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4369436)
Had Piazza agreed to an interview this week, I would love to have had the opportunity to ask him about his back and the timing and disappearance of his acne. But the guy who just published an $800,000 book, isn’t doing interviews.

Piazza was on the Daily Show on Tuesday promoting the book. Maybe he just doesn't do interviews with bloggers. Or maybe it's people who in the past have gone out of their way to write multiple hit pieces on him.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4369438)
If Chass didn't exist, Repoz would have to invent him

I'm not sure that he hasn't.
   7. zonk Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4369440)
It's always a good thing to start your christmas shopping early -- and it's pretty obvious that Chass is pining for a crate of Clearisil so he can continue his eternal struggle against clogged pores.

If anyone wants to go in halfsies, drop me a line...
   8. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4369445)
Piazza refused to be interviewed for my Myspace page.
   9. Dale Sams Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4369449)
I am more than willing to let Chass ask me about my boil.
   10. HowardMegdal Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4369450)
He's also been on MLB Network, I believe WFAN as well. Did an interview with the NY Times this weekend, but that's the paper that Chass says didn't let him write about the discredited back acne stuff, so they don't count.
   11. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4369451)
Backne is a kind of evidence...
   12. Tricky Dick Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4369455)
Maybe he just doesn't do interviews with bloggers.

I was about to say this. Chass sometimes appears to forget that he no longer writes for the New York Times. Maybe it would be surprising for an author to turn down an interview request from the Times...but why submit to an interview from a blogger, particularly one whom you know will have a negative bias.


If you want to ignore the acne and make excuses for it and invent reasons for its sudden disappearance


The backne suddenly disappeared? And he knows this how?

   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4369458)
MIKE PIAZZA DID NOT USE PROACTIV MR. PRESIDENT
   14. DL from MN Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4369460)
Piazza should have never written that book
   15. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4369469)
e-mail responses from Piazza’s zealous fans.

I read this as "pizza-jealous fans".

"Hey! You have pineapple on your slice! No fair...!!"
   16. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4369476)
You could always write your own book, Murray. Describing in detail your personal pain at being held at bay, unable to escape the bacne story, and focusing on the psychological torture at being the only man wise enough to see it. Call it "The Zit and the Pensioner."
   17. Guapo Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4369487)
If you want to ignore the acne and make excuses for it and invent reasons for its sudden disappearance, please feel free to engage in any fantasy you desire.


OK, if you say so....

I'm wearing a red evening gown and stiletto boots as I descend the stairwell of an ancient castle, my path lit only by cobweb-draped candelabras. At the bottom, I come to a steel door. Upon opening it, I discover an elaborate dungeon, filled with what appear to be hundreds of sophisticated torture devices. Splayed out on a love seat, his wrists and ankles shackled, and furiously blogging is Murray Chass, wearing only a leather thong and a gasmask. Just then, a unicorn prances into the room, approaches Chass, and begins violently licking his feet.
   18. John Northey Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4369493)
It would be entertaining if Piazza sued Chass for defamation of character...could probably sue for millions as he is the only writer pressing the backne story and I'd bet it is a large part of what will keep Piazza out of the HOF for a few more years.
   19. Bug Selig Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4369500)
I like how he assumes that the only way you could see a link between backne and anything other than steroids (like kneeling in the dirt for hours a day while sweating your ass off) means you are a blinded-by-love fanboy.

Jesus, Murray. Come up for air.
   20. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4369501)
If Murry Chass features in any fantasies of your desire, you need some better fantasies.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4369528)
It would be entertaining if Piazza sued Chass for defamation of character.


"If you find a zit, you must acquit!"
   22. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4369550)
Piazza was definitely using illicit chemicals... just look at his head!
   23. JJ1986 Posted: February 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4369554)
It would be entertaining if Piazza sued Chass for defamation of character...could probably sue for millions as he is the only writer pressing the backne story and I'd bet it is a large part of what will keep Piazza out of the HOF for a few more years.


Chass's next column will be about how Piazza must be guilty because he hasn't sued him.
   24. Depressoteric Posted: February 14, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4369555)
If Chass didn't exist, Repoz would have to invent him

I'm not sure that he hasn't.
Score one for Andy.

God Chass is an insufferable ass. Even worse, he's a discredit to anyone who legitimately opposes PED usage in baseball. I read him and I almost want to say "go grab your needles, boys! F**k this guy!"
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4369567)
But I calls ‘em the way I sees ‘em.


I don't think that is proper English.
   26. Chicago Joe Posted: February 14, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4369569)
But the guy who just published an $800,000 book


Come on!

MURRAY CHASS DOESN'T WEAR A $5,000 SUIT, MR PRESIDENT.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4369570)
God Chass is an insufferable ass. Even worse, he's a discredit to anyone who legitimately opposes PED usage in baseball.


I'm not sure there's a "legitimate" opposition to PED usage in baseball, any more than there is a "legitimate" opposition to homosexuality. It will always exist, because it is a natural state. Athletes competing at the highest levels have always tried to gain an edge, will always try to gain an edge. And not just a few of them, but scores of them, which renders the whole "legitimate opposition" utterly silly. I mentioned in another thread that I recently watched ESPN's 30-for-30 on Ben Johnson and the 1988 Olympics. While Johnson will forever be villified, how many people know that four _other_ athletes in that same 100-meter race were later involved in their own PED scandals?

This is what athletes competing at levels above beer softball leagues do. And it hasn't hurt attendance or revenue one bit, so ultimately it is accepted. And there is no reason to be obsessed about it.

What sport has gone extinct because fans wouldn't stand for PED usage? None. Yet PED usage has been rampant in the NFL for fifty years, in MLB for fifty years, in the Olympics, in cycling, in big time college football.
   28. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 14, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4369583)
He's crossed the line from clown to scumbag.
   29. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4369600)
I don't see why Piazza would grant him an interview. First, he's a blogger. Second, why discuss an issue with someone who has already concluded that you're guilty and has shown no indication that he's willing to reconsider? This calls to mind the saying that "your friends need no explanation; your enemies will not believe you." So there's no point in discussing it with Chass, a man who has already written defamatory things based on the silliest of 'evidence' and has shown no willingness to be fair. No matter what Piazza says to Chass, he will not be believed.
   30. RJ in TO Posted: February 14, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4369605)
I mentioned in another thread that I recently watched ESPN's 30-for-30 on Ben Johnson and the 1988 Olympics. While Johnson will forever be villified, how many people know that four _other_ athletes in that same 100-meter race were later involved in their own PED scandals?

Years back, the host of a local sports radio show found himself seated on a plane next to one of the trainers (possibly Ben Johnson's - I don't remember exactly) for the runners in that race. He asked the guy why, given that Ben Johnson got nailed for cheating, the other competitors themselves didn't make a bigger stink about it. He was told that they didn't want to draw any extra attention, as the only guy who was running clean in that race finished last.

I don't know how true it was but, given what you've already noted about the other guys who have been caught, it seems like a reasonable story.
   31. bunyon Posted: February 14, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4369715)
I believe Murray Chass' mother smoked, drank and took pills while she was pregnant with him. I know most of you zealous fans of Chass' mother don't want to believe it but I calls em like I sees em. I don't see how anyone who isn't blinded by their fanhood could interpret his shitty writing any other way.
   32. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4369776)
Years back, the host of a local sports radio show found himself seated on a plane next to one of the trainers (possibly Ben Johnson's - I don't remember exactly) for the runners in that race. He asked the guy why, given that Ben Johnson got nailed for cheating, the other competitors themselves didn't make a bigger stink about it. He was told that they didn't want to draw any extra attention, as the only guy who was running clean in that race finished last.

I don't know how true it was but, given what you've already noted about the other guys who have been caught, it seems like a reasonable story.


Reminds me of what Ben Johnson's coach, Charlie Francis, said in 2000 when asked how many of the top 10 100-meter dash runners were juicing: 11.
   33. Ron J2 Posted: February 14, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4369812)
#27 Professional cycling hasn't become less popular with the fans. It has had significant problems with sponsors and that's at least as important. As currently structured, the sport is dependent on sponsors. Not to say it couldn't adapt -- there's certainly a viable market.

As I've mentioned before, sponsor actions have almost completely eliminated therapeutic use exemptions (at it's height. ~40% of the field had some for of TUE)
   34. Walt Davis Posted: February 14, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4369828)
On a semi-serious note: Piazza did cop to using everything else under the sun that wasn't roids. Is back acne a side effect of andro for instance?

EDIT: A quick search for "back rash catcher" (I can't wait to see by sidebar ads for the next month) turned up that Posey suffered from shingles on his back early last year. So he goes into the roid pool this year. :-)
   35. I Am Not a Number Posted: February 14, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4369829)
He's also been on MLB Network, I believe WFAN as well. Did an interview with the NY Times this weekend, but that's the paper that Chass says didn't let him write about the discredited back acne stuff, so they don't count.

He also did the Daily Show earlier this week. Maybe it's just bloggers with whom he is not doing interviews.
   36. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 14, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4369840)
#27 Professional cycling hasn't become less popular with the fans.

It hasn't? I honestly don't know a single person who still pays attention to cycling.
   37. bunyon Posted: February 14, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4369855)
It hasn't? I honestly don't know a single person who still pays attention to cycling.

Me either. Of course, I never knew anyone who followed the sport.
   38. zack Posted: February 14, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4369871)
I stopped watching cycling when literally every winner kept getting caught, and haven't gone back since they started rigorous testing.
   39. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 14, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4369888)
It hasn't? I honestly don't know a single person who still pays attention to cycling.


I do, but I pity him. If not for Facebook, I wouldn't have known about it, & I'd think much more of him.
   40. Canker Soriano Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4369927)
You expect the guy who published the $800,000 book to talk to the guy who writes his headlines in all caps??

C'MON!
   41. bobm Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4369928)
Piazza was definitely using illicit chemicals... just look at his head!

Finally -- a link worthy of a website called "Bleacher Report"
   42. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4369937)
I stopped watching cycling when literally every winner kept getting caught

The mid-60's?
   43. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4369950)
It hasn't? I honestly don't know a single person who still pays attention to cycling.


I do, but I pity him. If not for Facebook, I wouldn't have known about it, & I'd think much more of him.

He must be a foreigner. A bad foreigner, not a good one.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4369952)
Back to Chass. What do people think might be the BTF market for a T-shirt or sweatshirt that had "I REFUTED MURRAY CHASS" in giant letters on it?

I'd spring for one myself just to give to Ray. Honest effort deserves some sort of tangible reward.
   45. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 14, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4369960)
More seriously, what would interviews do? I haven't read the book but I imagine the answers Piazza would give to any questions are in the book. Chass and others may not like the answers but he does address the issues. A NY Times review includes this;


Well, it's customary to give interviews along with the release of a book, movie, and often a bad sign when someone doesn't play along with the pr game. The writer or star doesn't like the final cut, doesn't like the push the distributor is giving the work, had her feathers ruffled by someone or, not to give fuel Chass's argument, doesn't want to deal with follow up questions.

By far the likeliest reason, though, if Piazza's making the big rounds such as The Daily Show, is that his agent didn't even bother to mention Chass's request to Piazza, unless he was looking for a giggle.

It's not unusual for a guy to do a 'targeted negative interview' where he'll sit down with an interviewer known to be hostile. He gets to focus, gets to get it done, gets to say he dealt with it. Chass wouldn't be that negative interviewer, though. You want someone not completely deranged, someone you trust to report accurately

I'm in awe of post 17.
   46. madvillain Posted: February 14, 2013 at 07:33 PM (#4369974)
Sure, let the guy in the 800,000 dollar book do it!
   47. Lassus Posted: February 14, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4370046)
I'm in awe of post 17.

Seriously, I only just saw it. That didn't get nearly enough credit.
   48. Walt Davis Posted: February 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM (#4370058)
I'm in awe of post 17.

Really? I mean it's a fine humorous effort but it invokes the image of Guapo* in an evening gown and stilettos playing bondage games with Chass (in g-string and gasmask). That's enough to give me nightmares for well over a month. And, when you dream about them, unicorns are definitely not unicorns.

Also he beat me to the joke and took it much farther than I was willing to go and that makes him history's 67th greatest monster.

* I know not Mr. or Ms. Guapo but, seeing as how he/she has adopted the nickname of Rich Garces, I am not expecting good things in the evening gown competition.
   49. Bruce Markusen Posted: February 15, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4370108)
As someone who has written books, I would never turn down a request to do an interview. It's self-defeating (turning down the opportunity to promote your own material free of charge). Furthermore, it probably would not please the publisher, whom I would like to maintain as a possible future employer.

But then again, I'm not a big name like Mike Piazza, who has likely been inundated with requests and is forced to pick and choose which ones to do. Murray Chass' blog involves such a smaller audience than WFAN or the MLB Network that the choice becomes relatively easy. Another concern Piazza might have would be Chass' ability to edit his comments or misquote him completely, as opposed to doing a live interview on radio and TV where his words are not as easily twisted.

Bottom line: if you're a celebrity or a high-end bestselling author, you can pretty much do what you want. As for the rest of us, we need to do every interview that becomes available.
   50. Morty Causa Posted: February 15, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4370111)
17 is marvelous. Guapo and Gonfalon need to collaborate.
   51. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 15, 2013 at 01:20 AM (#4370121)
The only way #17 could have been hotter is if it had included option J.
   52. shoewizard Posted: February 15, 2013 at 02:34 AM (#4370134)
He's crossed the line from clown to scumbag.


Thats not a recent event.
   53. robinred Posted: February 15, 2013 at 02:48 AM (#4370137)
crossed the line from clown to scumbag.


This would make an awesome handle, or, an awesome T-shirt.

You could also probably get it embossed on a leather thong.

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