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Friday, March 6, 2009

Murray Chass Has Bacne on the Brain

Posted By on Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 7:00 AM

I read on Deadspin that  ex-New York Times baseball columnist Murray Chass had a blog post up about possible Hall of Famer-to-be Mike Piazza's legendary bacne. After exceprting Chass' post thusly --

click to enlarge Murray Chass rocks baseball column writing old school. No blogs for him, nosiree. - WWW.MURRAYCHASS.COM
  • Murray Chass rocks baseball column writing old school. No blogs for him, nosiree.
When steroids became a daily subject in newspaper articles I wanted to write about Piazza's acne-covered back. I was prepared to describe it in disgusting living color. But two or three times my editors at The New York Times would not allow it. Piazza, they said, had never been accused of using steroids so I couldn't write about it.

But wait, I said, if I write about it, I will in effect be accusing Piazza of using steroids and then someone will have accused him of using steroids. No can do, I was told. I always took the veto to stem from the Times ultra conservative ways, but I also wondered if it maybe was the baseball editor, a big Mets' fan, protecting the Mets.

Whatever the reason, I never got Piazza's suspicious acne into the paper. Then all of a sudden the acne was gone. Piazza's back was clear and clean. There was not a speck of acne on it. His back looked as smooth as a baby's bottom.
-- the Deadspinners, as is their wont, made a passing reference to gay sex and moved on. I, however, moseyed on over to to read the March 4 post in its natural habitat.

Here's how it starts:

Baseball writers spend a lot of time in press boxes together, and the close and frequent proximity does not always foster positive relationships. For example, Joel Sherman of the New York Post and I do not have any kind of relationship. We have not talked for years. There's no need to bore you with the reasons why. But the other day his column caught my attention. Not many of his columns do. He writes them, after all, for the New York Post.
Gee, I always wondered what the sportswriters at the Times thought of the sportswriters at the Post. What do you think the sportswriters at the Post think of the sportswriters at the Times?

Be that as it may, as Chass accurately encapsulates, Sherman's column goes kind of like this: Sportswriter meets with retired ballplayer. Sportswriter brings up suspicions that ballplayer's gaudy offensive stats were steroid aided. Ballplayer dismisses rumors. Writer signs off, unconvinced.

What chafed Chass' ass is that Sherman invoked the image of Piazza's pimple-pocked back but then (evidently, anyway) failed to follow up by confronting Piazza about that piece of circumstantial evidence.

After all, Chass had wanted to write an exposé about Piazza and his bacne years ago but was repeatedly forbidden to do so by his killjoy editors at the Times. And here's this Post hack with a chance to address the issue and screwing it up!

Actually, though, Sherman did Murray Chass a favor. See, by bringing up the Piazza-faceback issue, Sherman allowed Chass to do what his overcautious editors wouldn't. Which is to say, to write a column about Mike Piazza's pus-encrusted back.

Not only that, but also to write said column without confronting Mike Piazza!

Better still is the fact that visitors to are admonished upon arrival: "Before reading these columns, please read about this Web site."

And who among us wouldn't want to read about Murray Chass on Here's a taste of Chass on Chass:

This is a site for baseball columns, not for baseball blogs. The proprietor of the site is not a fan of blogs. He made that abundantly clear on a radio show with Charley Steiner when Steiner asked him what he thought of blogs and he replied, "I hate blogs." He later heartily applauded Buzz Bissinger when the best-selling author denounced bloggers on a Bob Costas HBO show.
Also, Chass, evidently writing about himself in the third person, wants you to know that "E-mail comments are also invited, but visitors to the site are asked to omit the obscenities. 'I have spent my professional life in the print world, where obscenities don't see the light of day,' Chass said. 'They will remain in the dark here as well.'"

I don't know about you, but when someone confuses the term "blog" for the term "blog post," I know I'm not dealing with the sharpest tack in the drawer. And forgive me, but if the Mike Piazza piece on isn't a blog post -- and one in the most slanted below-the-belt-hitting mold of the very medium Chass seeks to cluelessly condemn -- then what the fuck would you call it?

P.S.: Here's a take on the back pimples from Rob Neyer, a man who knows what a blog is.


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