Murray Chass is still writing a blog about how he hates blogs. It's pretty delightful, in an Away from Her kind of way. Sometimes he even writes about baseball. He's usually wrong. Let's say "fuck" a bunch!
By Murray Chass
This column is dedicated to A. J. Burnett because he is responsible for it. More precisely, his won-lost record gave me the idea for it. The idea centers on a question: how can a starting pitcher on a winning team have a losing record?
I'm going to spend the next two minutes, exactly, trying to come up with a less interesting question about baseball than "how can a starting pitcher on a winning team have a losing record?" Ready? Start the clock!
Why do they call it baseball?
Where does the word "glove" come from?
How can a player on one team play for another team in the same season?
Who is the tallest Baltimore Oriole?
Where can I get tickets to a baseball game?
Are some pitchers just total dicks?
What is John Olerud up to these days?
Why aren't the seats more comfortable at baseball games?
Does Felipe Lopez have a catchphrase, and if so what is it?
Does Carl Pavano like playing in Minnesota?
Has there ever been a home run that went, like, really far?
Did John Olerud ever hit over .300?
Have you heard that story about Rickey Henderson and John Olerud?
What is John Olerud's name?
How did I do?
Burnett, whom the Yankees lured to New York with an $82.5 million contract for the 2009 season,
(easily setting the record for the highest salary in the history of baseball)
has a losing record, 10 wins and 12 losses. With four weeks left in the season, he has been the losing pitcher in 24 percent of the 50 losses the Yankees have.
Yeah, because he's bad. He's a bad pitcher on a good team. This is worth writing an article about? This is worth me writing an article about Murray Chass writing an article? Well…fuck. This bodes poorly for both of us.
I asked Brian Cashman, the Yankees' general manager, how Burnett could have a losing record with a team as good as the Yankees have been.
"By the skin of Jesus Christ's penis, that is the worst question I've ever heard," Cashman said.
"What do you want me to say? He's not a good pitcher, but we have a good team. It's not that hard. It's such a boring…thing." Cashman walked away toward his office, then turned back just before opening his door. He continued: "The whole thing. You, the question, all of this. Just awful." Then he smelled me, carefully, like a mother sensing a newborn's illness. "Holy hell, Murray. Did you sleep in a pile of trash last night?"
"He's earned it," Cashman said of the pitcher he pays $16.5 million each season. "He had a good stretch, then he had a bad stretch, an extremely bad stretch. He's earned it."
Hey guys. dak's girlfriend here. dak fell asleep while reading something, and I came in to the room and found him asleep in his office chair. I tried to wake him up, but he just kept mumbling something in his sleep. Something like "so boring" or "sobering." It was probably "so boring" because then he clearly said "so, so fucking boring." Anyway…you guys talking about baseball?
Oh! He's up. Aaaand he's in a murderous rage.
After his first six starts this season, Burnett had a 4-0 record and a 1.99 earned run average. Even after May, Burnett had a good 6-2 record. The Yankees' euphoria, however, quickly evaporated. Burnett lost all five of his starts in June and had a 0-4 record in five starts in August. In June, July and August, Burnett staggered to a 3-10 record.
Then he lost one start, and then he won a start. Then he almost lost a start but he didn't. Then he won two starts. Then there was the All-Star break, which was fun. Then he lost a start. Then the Yankees' euphoria quickly evaporated. Then he won a start, but he shouldn't have. And then he lost like, I don't know, three starts. Oddly enough, that was all before he lost another start.
Burnett, though, is not the only starter with a losing record for a team with a winning record.
Statements about baseball more obvious than "A.J. Burnett is not the only starter with a losing record for a team with a winning record." Start the clock!
Babe Ruth is not the only guy in the Hall of Fame.
Baseball is not the only sport.
First base is not the only base.
People like baseball but some people don't like baseball.
More than 10 people hit home runs this year.
Albert Pujols likes At Bats.
If you go to a baseball game you can get a hot dog and you can eat it.
Ozzie Guillen is batshit crazy and a terrible manager.
Keith Hernandez does commercials for beards or something.
Not all games are played in the same city.
My mother does not comprehensively understand the balk rule.
John Olerud likes pizza.
The Atlanta Braves, who have been in first place in the National League East since Memorial Day, entered the weekend with three starters with losing records: Derek Lowe 11-12, Tommy Hanson 9-10 and Kenshin Kawakami 1-10.
You know, you start with a simple question, you do a little digging around, and you never know what you'll find out! This is why I consider 2010 to be the Golden Age of Baseball Discovery. Thank you, Murray Chass, for daring to ask the questions that the rest of us are too afraid to ask.
"I can only say in the case of Kawakami," [GM Frank] Wren said, "it seems every team has a pitcher who doesn't get support, and he's that guy for us. I don't know how to explain that but in his case he didn't get support. Two years ago it was Jair Jurrjens for us. He'd give up one run and get beat, and he'd give up two runs and get beat."
You know what? Everyone just play Angry Birds or something. I apologize.
Is it possible that Murray Chass has a weird disease that makes the people he's interviewing as boring as he is? Is that the same thing John Stossel has?
The team that has been doggedly chasing the Braves, Philadelphia, has one starter.
Really? You think we would have heard more about this.
Cole Hamels, under .500, and two starters, Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer, at .500.
Oh. OH. We're still talking about this incredibly non-fascinating phenomenon.
The 47-year-old Moyer, out since July 20 with an elbow injury, began July with a 9-6 record but lost three successive starts. Blanton lost 5 of his first 8 starts while winning only once and has been playing catch-up just to get to .500 ever since. He got to 6-6 Aug. 28, but he has won only 3 of his last 13 starts.
Hey, sounds like the Phillies' euphoria has evaporated since Aug. 28, if you know what I mean!!!
This is the kind of season Hamels has had. He lost three successive starts last month, dropping his record to 7-10, and two of the losses came by 1-0 decisions to the Mets six days apart. He has won his last two decisions for a 9-10 record.
The sad thing about this: it took Chass roughly 40 hours to collect the data for this article. Old Murray Chass was at the New York Public Library from open to close for a week, knee-deep in microfiche. Dolores, who's been working the front desk at the NYPL since 1966, would greet him at the door every morning. "Good luck with your research, Mr. Chass." They'd exchange pleasantries, share a joke about the weather, and then, as the weathered sportswriter marched off to do his work, he'd mutter under his breath: "Bitch."*
*This story has been verified as 100% accurate by multiple sources.
His record is similar to the one he finished last season with, 10-11.
I TAKE IT ALL BACK! HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS! GUYS!!!
A DUDE ALMOST HAD THE SAME RECORD THIS YEAR (SO FAR) AS HE DID LAST YEAR!
Murray Chass, you are a fucking baseball genius. I need to buy a lottery ticket — that's how lucky I am just to be alive at a time when this guy is writing a weblog that he claims isn't a blog about baseball!
Three other starters who have losing records are duplicating their 2009 performances. Barry Zito of San Francisco had a 10-13 record last year and has an 8-11 record this season. Kyle Lohse of St. Louis, 6-10 a year ago, has a 2-6 record now.
Guys, I just figured out one of the oldest mysteries known to man. Somebody call the Harvard Divinity School. Seriously. This is like Dead Sea Scrolls-level shit only crazier. Okay. Deep breath.
We got the Div school on the line? Great. Okay. Fuck it, I'm just going to put it out there.
You know those boring parts of The Bible where guys are just "begat"ing other guys and ladies for pages and pages on end? Go back, read those pages, then re-read this Murray Chass article.
Yes. That's right.
I'm saying: Murray Chass wrote The Bible.
Nick Blackburn had an 11-11 record for Minnesota last year and has an 8-8 record as a starter this season. But that changed to 8-9 when he relieved in the 13th inning against Detroit last Thursday and gave up a home run to Gerald Laird.
Great story, asshole.