Former professional baseball writer Murray Chass created a bit of a stir last year when he wrote a couple of blog posts saying that Mike Piazza clearly did steroids. His reasoning: backne. As in Piazza had a lot of it when he played, it cleared up when drug testing kicked in and that means Piazza was a ‘roider.
And maybe he did do steroids. I have no idea. Chass doesn’t either, however, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to beat that drum. Today he unloads on Piazza for not talking to the media during his recent appearances at Citi Field, and presumes that’s because he doesn’t want to answer steroids questions.
Except he already has answered them. Here’s Piazza in the New York Post last year:
For the record, Piazza says he was a clean player. “Absolutely” is the
word he used. He claims he is not on the now infamous list of 104 failed
steroid tests from the survey phase in 2003. “No, not that I know,” he
Maybe he’s lying. Like I said, I have no idea. But if so, it’s going to take more than Murray Chass’s continued innuendo to establish it. It’ll take some sort of evidence, the kind which Chass freely admits he does not have.
And, it should be noted, the kind of evidence mainstream writers — the kind Chass used to be — constantly tell bloggers they need to have before talking about things as innocuous as trade rumors, let alone steroids allegations.
I suppose one response is to say “who cares? It’s just Murray Chass.” But Murray Chass still has a Hall of Fame vote for some reason, so I think it’s worth highlighting this sort of thing when we see it.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.
I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.
“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.
Four. More. Years.