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By Murray Chass

April 24, 2014

In response to last week’s column about pitchers continuing to hurt their arms despite baseball people continuing to take precautions to prevent the injuries, a veteran member of the sports magazine business wrote:

“Great piece today. It’s about time somebody wrote it. Of course no baseball beat reporter would or could write it. They’re too busy asking inane questions like ‘How big was this win today?’ or ‘How excited are you?’ Sometimes they don’t even ask questions. ‘Talk about the game today.’ Not many of them think critically or challenge the banalities thrown at them. Sometimes it seems the beat reporter is an extension of the club’s P.R. department. That could be a future topic: the abysmal state of sports beat reporting and the awarding of so many dubious press credentials.”

Sadly I have to agree with the letter writer, but I would leave the word “beat” off the description of the group. I try to refrain from being critical of people in my business, but they don’t make it easy to ignore them.

The Internet has only exacerbated the problem. Everybody has become a writer – here a blog, there a blog, everywhere a blog clog – there is no accountability, good grammar no longer matters, knowledge is non-existent.

In the hours before I wrote this column I was looking for something and found something else, one of the dumbest and most ignorant pieces of baseball writing I have read in years. It was a piece by Craig Calcaterra of

Calcaterra criticized Tony Clark, the head of the players union, for suggesting that anonymous comments from club executives about free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales could be a form of collusion.

Clark’s comments, Calcaterra wrote, will do nothing for the players but could backfire on the union by antagonizing the news media:

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By Murray Chass

April 20, 2014

Readers may nominate other candidates, but my choice for the most significant baseball question that has no sensible answer is this:

Why do baseball people persistently pursue pitcher-pampering practices when pitchers keep getting hurt in spite of them?

My runner-up question:

Why do players persistently slide head-first when that practice produces unnecessary injuries to hands and heads?

This second question was prompted by Josh Hamilton’s recent head-first slide into first base. In so doing, the Anaheim outfielder …

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By Murray Chass

April 13, 2014

Did someone say collusion? That’s a significant word in baseball history not heard for a while, but the smell of it has penetrated the Major League Baseball air and needs to be addressed.

Without invoking the dreaded word, Tony Clark, executive director of the players’ union, raised the issue of collusion Friday in a statement about unsigned free agents. Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer, quickly rejected Clark’s suggestion in his own statement.

But as much as I respect Manfred, I have to say his response to Clark’s statement was …

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