First of all, the entire post is based on hearsay. Fay Vincent isn’t telling Chass a story about something that happened to him, he’s giving a second hand account based on what someone else told him happened. That’s the first, and biggest, red flag. Add in that the original source is now deceased, and a reputable journalistic outlet likely wouldn’t have ever published this, especially considering that Vincent has a well known axe to grind with Bud Selig. This is Journalism 101.
Furthering the list of ways in which Chass violates basic journalistic standards, the two people he calls to verify the story don’t verify it. Gene Orza states flatly that it isn’t true, and Randy Hendricks only corroborates it if you choose to read his comments in a way that confiems what you already believe to be true. The fact that he didn’t mention this in a book that included the subject matter should take precedence over a non-specific recounting of events 16 years after the book and 24 years after the act allegedly happened.
Finally, the entire story is a giant slap in the face to Occam’s Razor. Considering that the owners were conspiring to illegally collude with one another, why would they involve general managers in that? GM’s have to put winning teams on the field, so it’s not hard to imagine them not appreciating having their hands tied in that manner by an anti-competitive agreement amongst the owners. Moreover, what would stop a disgruntled for general manager from blowing the whistle on the whole thing once he no longer had a job? If this actually happened, why wouldn’t Ueberroth convey his objection through ownership instead of calling the GM directly? In addition to keeping the number of people who know about the lawbreaking to a minimum, this would put a plausible spin on things to everything outside of the loop; you could just say that the owner decided he didn’t want to spend that much money. Everyone might think the owner was being foolish, but it wouldn’t have any obvious signs of impropriety attached to it either.
Like I said, I can understand the tendency to not want to become biased when observing the work of someone you don’t like, but there’s no real reason to worry about that where Chass is concerned. And that’s because the problem with Chass isn’t limited to his anti-sabermetrics nonsense, it permeates everything he does at this point. Chass is a former Very Important Person toiling in irrelevancy these days, and he’s desperately trying to remain somewhat relevant by peddling these sensationalistic stories to get attention. The proper response to anything he writes is skepticism. Not because you don’t like him, but because he’s built a track record of poor journalism and dishonesty.