After Marvin Miller came within one vote of making the Hall of Fame, there were naturally some questions about who said nay. Miller himself discussed the matter with Murray Chass, the former New York Times writer who now, in semi-retirement, publishes what he calls “columns” on his own “web site.” Miller passed a rumor to Chass — apparently erroneous — that SI’s Tom Verducci was a “no” vote. Chass published it, and harrumphed while he was at it that Verducci wasn’t very good at reporting on baseball labor relations, anyway. This seems to have gotten under Verducci’s skin, because last night he took the unusual step of publishing a response on Notably, in this riposte, Verducci refers to Chass as a “blogger” seven times. Why is this notable? Well, first and foremost, because Chass himself, if you recall, hates bloggers. In fact, the “about” page of his so-called “web site” (the term he prefers to “blog”) is so clear on this point that we at UmpBump thought at first that the site was a brilliant, Fake Steve Jobs-esque hoax. A taste:

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.”

I should note that, when I phoned Chass to ask him whether the site was his, thinking I could get a fun scoop for the Boston Metro out of it, he was very cagey about the answer. When he finally did admit to ownership of the site, he told me it was only because I wrote for a real, paper newspaper that he was willing to answer. But once he confirmed the site was his, I had no more story (not even one that the Metro would publish) so I shot off a long email to the UmpBump staff and considered it case closed. One of those staffers abridged my account (though not quite the way I would have told it) and posted it here. Shortly thereafter, I was treated to a true right of passage for any baseball blogger: an irate phone call from Mr. Chass himself.

So perhaps understandably — though not particularly charitably — my first response to reading Verducci’s column was to relish the schadenfreude. But my second response was….hey. Wait a minute. Tom Verducci is leaning on the b-word (blogger) as a way of discrediting Murray Chass, even though he’s still primarily known as the former columnist for the Gray Lady. (The WSJ picked right up on this in their coverage of this silly spat.)

So this may be one of those rare occasions where, by some trick of the light, Chass and I appear to concur. Tom, as someone who blogs (and tweets, and writes for print publications) herself: I’d appreciate it if you didn’t throw that word around like it’s some kind of insult. The writing makes the writer, not the medium — and that’s true whether they’re chiseling traditional stone tablets or using that new-fangled papyrus. Every journalist will sometimes make an honest mistake; and a few will sometimes make dishonest ones. And this isn’t 2002 for crying out loud; there are plenty of bloggers writing better stuff than what you’d find in between those dwindling classifieds.

But of course, none of this really matters in the case of Murray Chass, because Murray is not a blogger. He 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.” So don’t call him a blogger, and get off his lawn.

One Response to “Verducci Calls Out “Blogger” Murray Chass, Annoys Actual Blogger”

  1. Chass’s “About” page is a thing of beauty. It truly, truly is a wonder to behold. After reading it, how could you possibly take offense at Verducci’s use of the dreaded “b-word?” I don’t think he’s calling Chass a blogger to discredit him, I think he’s intentionally using a label he knows Chass is going to hate. He stomping around on Old Man Chass’s lawn because he knows it pisses him off. So what if he runs across your lawn a bit in the process?

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