Thursday, January 3, 2013

Murray Chass proves again he's part of baseball's dying breed

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
@Philabaseball

How far the mighty have fallen.

For the better part of two decades Murray Chass sat atop the baseball media landscape. A talented baseball writer with the Associated Press and the New York Times, he retired in 2008 but not before receiving the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for his fifty-plus years of covering the sport. 

Fast-forward to today, Chass resembles little more than an embittered writer grasping for the days and times of yesteryear.

In an article posted today on his Web site, Chass says he voted for Jack Morris on his Hall of Fame ballot and contends he will do the same next year before giving up his right to vote. 

"The time has come to relinquish my right as a 10-year (actually 50-year) member of the Baseball Writers Association of America to vote in the Hall of Fame election," writes Chass.

Renouncing his right to vote is Chass' prerogative, but his reasoning is turgid at best.

Jack MorrisChass laments the enviable right to vote, acknowledging the scrutiny that comes with such a privilege; "[A voters] reasoning has to be flawed and open to challenge," he writes.

Chass makes a legitimate point discussing the conflict of interest that comes from writers creating news via their determination of Hall of Famers (see this article for my thoughts on the issue), but to claim the steroid issue clouds the ballot to the point of self-resignation is asinine. 

He also slams sabermetrics, claiming "new-age stats guys" are jealous of himself and other members of the BBWAA because of their ability to vote on enshrinement.

"Though I don’t believe there is a more qualified set of electors, certainly not the new-age stats guys who are envious of the writers and believe they should determine Hall of Famers, I don’t think reporters and columnists who cover and comment on baseball news should be making baseball news," writes Chass.

Absurdity is nothing new to Chass. He thrives on the vitriol he creates denigrating indepdent media, sabermetrics and analytics.

"I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative," Chass infamously wrote in the New York Times. "But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game threatens to undermine most fans’ enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein."

Chass resembles everything that's wrong today with the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He's an individualist with a holier than thou attitude. 

His foresight to question and suggest changes to the voting process deserves an emphatic applause, but Chass' self-righteousness is a major reason why the sport has passed him by.

- Patrick Gordon is managing editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Follow him on Twitter @Philabaseball or e-mail him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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