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10 YEARS LATER …

By Murray Chass

July 15, 2018

Today’s column is being published on the 10th anniversary of the introduction of murraychass.com. Since the website’s first column, published on July 15, 2008, the site has hosted 920 columns. We thank you for being loyal readers.

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When the Atlanta Braves began their unprecedented run of 14 consecutive division championships in 1991, Alex Anthopoulos was barely a teenager. He was a 13-year-old boy growing up in Montreal, Quebec. Now a 41-year-old adult, Anthopoulos is the general manager who is directing the impressive but surprising rebirth of the Braves.

Hired only last November to succeed the scandalous John Coppolella, Anthopoulos has restored winning and dignity to an organization that for nearly three decades had epitomized baseball class. Under General Manager John Schuerholz and Manager Bobby Cox, now a matched set of Hall of Famers, the Braves had no equal. Now Anthopoulos has been assigned that role, and these Braves have responded with unexpected early success.

In second place in the National League East a game before the All-Star break, only a game and a half behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies, themselves a surprise, the Braves spent most of May and June atop the division. They slipped behind the Phillies only last week.

Contrast their 51 wins this season with the number of games they won each of the last three seasons: 67, 68, 72.

Because Anthopoulos arrived in Atlanta only last November, he can’t receive all of the credit for the team’s turnaround, but the Braves get credit for giving him the general manager’s job.

“When our general manager was dismissed by the commissioner’s office and our organization, Alex’s name came up early and often,” said Schuerholz, now the Braves’ vice chairman emeritus but an active participant in major decisions. “He was a bright and successful general manager in Toronto. When he was working with the Dodgers, it was the same.”

Anthopoulos was the Dodgers’ vice president of baseball operations for two years following a six-year tenure as general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, at the end of which they ended a 22-year post-season famine.

Although this past off-season proved otherwise (see Yankees, Red Sox and Nationals), a post-season position usually ensures …

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DINNER AT THE BOONE ABODE

By Murray Chass

July 1, 2018

Imagine the dinner conversation at a Boone family gathering on a Sunday evening in November. I’m not talking about the idea that Bob Boone, the brilliant, long-time catcher, is an executive with the Washington Nationals and son, Aaron, is the manager of the New York Yankees, teams that could conceivably meet in the World Series. Their roles would be enough to fuel a long evening of spirited conversation.

But throw the word and the concept of sabermetrics into the conversation and you’d probably be wise to duck behind your chair at the dinner table.

With infielder Ray Boone having died in 2004, 60-year-old Bob Boone is the patriarch of one of baseball’s few royal families, those that have produced three generations of major leaguers.

I call on Boone occasionally to keep my views of today’s baseball in perspective. I have found over the years that our views are …

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TWO OF A KIND AND WHAT A PAIR

By Murray Chass

June 24, 2018

I could never throw a baseball as fast as Rich Gossage. Goose, in fact, could probably throw two pitches from the mound to the plate in the time it would take one of my pitches to arrive there. I am confident, however, that I can write better than Gossage. On the other hand, he speaks a better game than I do, and all I can do is nod in agreement with his views.

Take, for example, the incident in 1982 in which he deftly turned an innocent question from me into one of the best all-time rants of his verbally raucous career, highlighted by the memorable statement to “take it upstairs to the fat man,” meaning George Steinbrenner, of course.

I might write harshly at times, but I don’t think I rant and rave. Nevertheless, Gossage and I find ourselves in a similar situation in our post-career lives. We have both made comments that have estranged us from our former employers …

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