The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Murray Chass

… is old.

You may recall Murray Chass as the longtime baseball columnist for the New York Times. He got the boot a few years back, and now holds court on the interwebs as the world’s bitterest baseball blogger. He posted a piece today on the draft that is utterly thoughtless and wrongheaded.

Time for fun!

Sometimes you have to feel sorry for Bud Selig, just as you would for a child who watches other kids in the neighborhood playing with toys or games he wants but his parents won’t let him have.

Bud Selig makes considerably more money than almost all baseball players. Let that sink in for a second. No, Murray, I don’t feel too bad for Selig not getting everything he wants.

For example, Selig, the baseball commissioner, always wanted a payroll cap and in his zeal to get it, he was a pivotal participant in the ouster of his predecessor, Fay Vincent, and in the owners’ bargaining strategy that killed the 1994 World Series.

But Selig failed to get the payroll cap the other professional team leagues had.

You don’t need a new paragraph for every sentence, man. You don’t get paid by the column-inch anymore.

That said: true, Selig did not get the hard payroll cap he wanted. He did get a soft cap, though. Not to mention his other successes, such as the wild card, the World Baseball Classic, the huge surge in parity and attendance, and the utter ruination of Frank McCourt. So: not looking that tragic.

More currently, Selig wants a hard-slotting system that would reduce the bonuses for players selected in the annual amateur draft, but he faces another fight to get it. This is something the other sports have as well, and Selig says why not us?

In Murray Chass’ world, the fact that Selig has to negotiate with the MLBPA to get what he wants is newsworthy.

Unlike his disastrous experience with the payroll cap, Selig is confident he will get what he wants this time.

Speaking at Major League Baseball’s draft earlier this week, Selig said, "The clubs have voted, the GMs have voted, and everybody’s for slotting."

Pretty sure everybody on that list wanted a payroll cap, too.

The commissioner, however, is a little ahead of himself on two counts. First, everyone in M.L.B. does not favor a hard-slotting system. The Boston Red Sox have expressed opposition to it, and if the Red Sox are against it, you can bet the New York Yankees are, too.

After all, the constant agreement between the Red Sox and the Yankees is well-documented.

P.S.: No periods in MLB, Murray. Or MLBPA. Or like SCUBA, for that matter. Why did you think otherwise?

Second, everybody is not for such a system.

So, if I’m reading this correctly, the two reasons Selig faces opposition are:

1) First, everyone in M.L.B. does not favor a hard-slotting system.
2) Second, everybody is not for such a system.

I think you’ve left some territory unexplored here, Murray. Maybe write a sentence-paragraph about case 3) this system doesn’t appeal to everybody.

The person who would probably be most affected by such a system is Scott Boras, the high-profile agent who often represents many of the top draft choices and has made millions of dollars in agent fees.

Well, no, I’d say the person most affected by this system would be the number one draft pick, who will now get like a $100k bonus instead of several millions of money.

I called Boras to get his reaction to a hard-slotting system and reached him on his cell phone. But I apparently caught him off guard; he must have been expecting someone else.

Boras doesn’t like me – my questions over the years apparently have been too tough for his liking, just as my critical and questioning comments about him have displeased him – and after pausing for a second or two, he stammered, "I’m in a meeting. I’ll call you back."

But Boras did not prove to be a man of his word. Not surprisingly, he did not call me back. (UPDATE: Boras did call back two days later after this column was posted.)

I love this part. Love it. Chass’ self-importance and lack of perspective are utterly amazing. Let’s unpack this and look for meaning.

Scott Boras was not expecting to get a call from Murray Chass. But how can that be? Chass is the regular baseball coumnist for the New York Fucking Times! Oh wait, that’s right — not anymore, huh? Murray, honestly? Boras was surprised to hear from you because he didn’t realise you were still alive. He stopped paying attention to you when you got the axe at the Times.

Scott Boras doesn’t like Murray Chass because of his "tough questions?" How many tough questions does he raise in this post? More likely Boras doesn’t like you because you’re an uppity, self-important dick.

And then he didn’t call you back? What an ass! Doesn’t he know who you are? You’re the regular baseball columnist for a personal blog! Oh, wait — he did call you back! So what did he say?


Oh. You’re not going to tell us. Really, you didn’t care; this section’s just in there so you can make some nasty comments about Scott Boras, huh. Stay classy, Murray.

Here’s the great part, though. The date on this post? 9 June 2011. Today. And yet Chass makes that oddball comment about Boras calling him back two days after publication. What the hell does that mean? Is it more bitter sarcasm? Did Murray forget to publish this? Who knows?

But anyhow, the date on the piece is 9 June. Which means that not only did Murray Chass call Scott Boras out of the blue to insult him on a web site, but he did it either right before or actually during the Rule 4 draft! The man should not be this clueless. No wonder Boras didn’t have time to talk to you, dummy; you called him during his very very busiest time of the year just so you could chortle derisively at him on your blog. Yeah, man, he had better things to do.

In researching the subject of slotting, I came across an article by Sean Forman, the editor of, who makes a mistake common to observers who don’t understand the union’s thinking.

Murray Chass did not bother to link to this article or tell us where he found it. So we have no way of knowing how far out of context he’s about to take Forman, a man he hates.

The union, Forman wrote last August, "does not and can not care one iota for players not on the 40-man and does not in any way shape or form represent them. They are the major league baseball players association. Their responsibility is to guys who have made (or will soon) make the show – full stop. "As such, they would love hard slotting (assuming it isn’t a backdoor to the cap) that frees up money for major league vets, and they would love the removal of FA compensation, which only increases the value of existing major league free agents." (Weird quoting is [sic])

Forman, whose expertise is in statistics like WAR and VORP, strayed into unfamiliar territory, failed to see the connection between slotting and capping and demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of how the union overlooks no player, no matter where he plays.

Chass has nothing else to say about this topic. I mean at all — the next sentence-paragraph is about something totally different. But he was so blinded by his hatred of statistical analysis that he had to get one lame jab in. Fortunately for me — since it’s my job to make fun of him — he made like two hundred errors in that sentence-paragraph. Let’s examine a few of them!

Forman’s expertise in VORP might seem odd, since BR doesn’t carry it (it’s a Baseball Prospectus stat). But VORP is Murray Chass’ white whale. "He’s under 60 and thinks he knows about baseball? I’ll shove his VORP so far up his BABIP he’ll be FIPping wOBAs!"

Chass’ assertion that Forman "failed to see the connection between slotting and capping" is beautiful, though. Magical, even. Since not only did Forman positively see that connection, but Chass even quoted him talking about it!

Also, that last bit is insane. "The union overlooks no player, no matter where he plays?" Holy shit, Murray. Suck the union’s dick much? I guess that’s why the guys in AA make less money than I do — the union is looking out for all mankind!

The union apparently is even prepared to agree to a change in the draft rules that would allow teams to trade draft choices as teams can do in other sports. The commissioner didn’t mention that possible development because the clubs have always opposed the idea.

Wait, what? What does this have to do with anything?

For the owners to agree to the trade of draft choices, they would require the union to make one and possibly two concessions.

One would be the hard-slotting system. The other would be an international draft, covering players around the world who always have been signed as unrestricted free agents.

Yeah? Positively would be those two concessions? Even though you said earlier that some of the owners are downright opposed to hard slotting?

Besides the union’s opposition to it, an international draft would have to overcome the geopolitical obstacle of opposition from the countries whose young players it would affect.

Sure. Also: hostility from clubs that have put in the work to develop a decent international operation. Kind of a fuck-you to them, yeah?

Besides, why would the union oppose it? I thought they were looking out for everybody, no matter where he plays. I know I read that somewhere.

With the relationship between the union and the commissioner’s office at its friendliest ever, it’s possible that the two sides could compromise on two or all three of the draft issues.

"I expect the union would look unkindly on the hard slot and the international draft but would look kindly on trading draft choices," the man close to the owners said.

Caution: whiplash ahead!

That combination, though, would not seem to provide the ingredients for a compromise.

Wait, what? Chass has just spent like eleven sentence-paragraphs — many of which I didn’t quote — explaining how sure a thing this compromise is. Then out of fucking nowhere he whirls right around and says it’s impossible. And that’s the last line of the article!

Congratulations, Murray. It takes a truly bizarre bitter, delusional old crank to call bullshit on himself in the last line of his article.

June 9th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Brian Sabean is a retardate troglodyte

Apparently Sabean is of the opinion that it falls within his job description — which is, if you’ll recall, head bungling yahoo of the San Fransisco Giants — to banish players he doesn’t like from baseball forever. I mean, players on other teams. He gave a boneheaded, macho interview to that effect to KNBR. Here’s Tim Brown to give him the ol’ what-for. My job? Pile-on.

Leave the poor boy alone, Sabean. Aren’t there some valuable young players you should be packaging together to trade for A.J. Pierzynski? Or perhaps you should be figuring out whether to offer Joe Saunders seven or eight years this offseason.

June 3rd, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Duke Nukem Forever first impressions

Did I just say that? Did those words really just come out of my mouth? End times, man.

So, yeah, I totally just played Duke Nukem Forever. Can you handle it? Here’s another thing I never expected I’d actually say: Duke Nukem Forever is pretty goddamn good. It’s a very frenetic kind of shooter; don’t worry about conserving health, because Duke regenerates super quick, and don’t worry about conserving ammo, because there’s way lots more than you can possibly pick up. Just focus on jumping out of cover to blast dudes. Not only is there a shitload of ammo, but also Duke can only carry two weapons at a time, which is kind of a fun limitation — no more endlessly scrolling through your available weapons looking for the one you want.

There are lots of interactive comedy objects in the world, just like in Duke 3D, which is fun. Also, Duke talks constantly while you’re playing. I must admit I was a bit worried that Duke’s comedy would be stale this time — I thought they’d get stuck recycling comedy tropes from the previous game. Given Gearbox’s track record for comedy — by which I mean Borderlands was more awkward than funny — I think my concerns were justified. From what I’ve seen, though, it’s pretty decent; the reuse of old material never really rises above the level of "homage," and the new material frequently manages to be funny. At one point, some leaping antlion-y thing jumped behind me and attacked me, so I spun around and kicked its fucking face in, prompting Duke to yell "dick!" at it. That was awesome.

Technically, the game is sound, though it has its share of oddities. One: it has both a "mouse sensitivity" and a "mouse precision" slider, which, to the best of my knowledge, is the precise inverse. So you set your mouse sensitivity by trying to get two different sliders in proper balance. Great design! Graphically, the game has a lot of LOD pop-in weirdness and a bit too much brown, but looks better than any other game from 1999.

So is Duke Nukem Forever worth twelve years of waiting? Let’s hope so. If the whole game’s as fun as the preview demo, though, it’s worth the $45 it takes to pre-order.

June 3rd, 2011 Posted by | Games | no comments

This just in: Marlon Byrd has nuts

Remember when Marlon Byrd was drilled in the face by Alfredo Aceves? It looked like this. Bad scene.

So here’s what he says today, when some fool asked him if he’d wear some type of goofball face mask when he returns:

I’ll come back and put on a regular helmet and go to work. If I get hit again, it happens. There’s not much you can do.

Suck it, Dave Cameron.

June 1st, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments