Ornery former baseball scribe Murray Chass is still adjusting to this newfangled internet thing. The learning curve is steep. Remember Intern Bill from last summer? This morning he sent us a link to this Murray Chass blind item going after an unnamed reporter. But Chass used a direct quote from the unnamed reporter’s story, and thanks to google, it didn’t take long to find out who he was going after: ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
What is wrong with the practice of soliciting anonymous opinions or assessments? It gives the respondents a free shot at the team – its general manager, its manager, whomever that executive or scout may not like – without fear of retaliation or condemnation. If he had to attach his name to the comment, the person wouldn’t say the same thing.
“A longtime NL scout,” for example, is quoted as saying, “They should probably get rid of the general manager and a lot of the people who have been there, and go in another direction completely. Just blow it up.”
Scouts are especially easy to seduce into making anonymous comments. They themselves are anonymous for the most part, and some are eager for the opportunity to say what they think. Ordinarily scouts are asked for their opinion only when their team’s general manager wants to know about a player on another team.
From Stark on September 4:
“They should probably get rid of the general manager and a lot of the people who have been there, and go in another direction completely,” said a longtime NL scout. “Just blow it up. But I’m not sure how. They’ve got a lot of players that people don’t want, guys who are making a lot of money, and they’re overpaid. And there’s not a whole lot in their system. So unless they outspend their mistakes, they’ve put themselves in a hole for maybe the next six to eight years.”
Worth noting (painfully, based on our history with the guy): Chass is right.