Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Game

Shank took in the Harvard - Yale football game yesterday. In an otherwise decent column, Shank mounts his Shetland pony high horse a couple of times.
It’s not as pure as it was when players hailed from New England, wore leather helmets, and folks in raccoon coats exhorted them to “fight fiercely,” and “demonstrate your skill.’’ These are no longer the days of Ted Kennedy catching a touchdown pass and George W. Bush carrying a megaphone. But Harvard-Yale is still a nice break from the hideous big-time money machine that masquerades as college athletics, blighting and corrupting our sports landscape.

When you’re talking Harvard-Yale football (as opposed to Florida State football or Kentucky basketball, for example), most of the cash lives in the stands rather than in the closets and kitchens of the “student-athletes.”
Typical of a number of his columns, Shank gets one major fact wrong, further proof that he lacks an editor and the Globe just doesn't care about it:
That was no problem for Harvard senior quarterback Conner Hempel, who connected with Andrew Fischer on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds left on the clock.

“Honestly, this game makes my career,’’ said Hempel.

That’s the way it is for just about every player in The Game. There is no tournament. No BCS. No wait for the polls. There is no NFL on the horizon. There is no proverbial “next level.’’
Forget about the fact that he mentioned Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard's most notable NFL player in recent memory, earlier in his column. When his name is mentioned on ESPN, Chris Berman falls all over himself to remind viewers of his alma mater. This Google search took approximately thirty seconds, and this one took about ten more seconds. Fifty-four is a larger number than zero, is it not? Why let facts get in the way of a melodramatic end to a column?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forget Me Not

So Jon Lester is the antidote, the savior, the solution. Just spend whatever it takes to get him, and that's the panacea the Red Sox are seeking.

Don't get me wrong: What's not to love about Lester? He's been a big part of two World Series wins, and he's held up under severe scrutiny during and after the "chicken and beer" controversy.

But he'll be 31 when the season starts next April, he has a lot of mileage on him, and he's going to be very, very expensive. All of which are trivialities The CHB mocks, per usual, pointing to John Henry's comments from last spring about what empirically constitutes a good or bad baseball deal, and emphatically arguing "hopefully [that] philosophy is out the window."

How painful it must be for The CHB to continue to be proved wrong. Three World Series titles in 10 years ... doesn't that make Henry and Co. perhaps just a little smarter than your average baseball guy? Not one iota, according to His Shankess. The 2013 World Series win was a "fluke," he says, as if it's possible to win 97 regular season games (tied for the best record in baseball) and then go 11-5 in sweeping three playoff series on luck alone.

Outbidding the world on Lester comes down to "being competitive in the marketplace," argues The CHB, again forgetting those three trophies. (Since he is so clearly suffering from dementia, I've posted a photo below to help jog his memory.)

Should Red Sox management go long and deep on Lester when there's actually a better, younger pitcher available on the free agent market? Readers will never know, since Shank doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Max Scherzer.

And yes, The CHB appears to have forgotten his own questioning of Lester's integrity back in February.

I don't know what's ahead for the Red Sox, but I see a dementia screen in Shank's future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dan Shaughnessy Orgasm Watch

OK, maybe you can do without that visual, but look at whom the Boston Red Sox just made some offers:
Free agents Jon Lester and Pablo Sandoval have been offered multiyear deals to play for the Red Sox, according to a major league source.

Lester, who met with Red Sox owners last week in Atlanta, is believed to be looking for a six- or seven-year deal in the range of $23 million-$25 million per year.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox offered him between $110 million and $120 million over six years, which would average $18.3 million-$20 million a year.

Lester also visited with the Cubs, who along with the Red Sox were expected to be the most aggressive in their pursuit, and the lefthander will meet with the Braves Thursday. He also could make trips to Toronto and St. Louis. It’s not clear where the Yankees stand in all of this, but they, too, could enter the Lester market.

Sandoval is seeking six years for up to $20 million per year, and the Red Sox and Giants appear to be the front-runners for the third baseman’s services. Details of the Red Sox’ offer to him were unknown.
Shank had a major hard-on for 'The Panda' a month ago; let's see what he says a) if he's signed by the Sox and b) if he's signed, what Shank will say about Sandoval with his first serious batting slump, despite his insincere "promise never to rip Sandoval for being out of shape or going on the disabled list."

An Early Christmas Present From DSW To Shank

The next time you want to rip a local professional athlete, here's how you do it.

You're welcome, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ryan in the Sun

Here's the title and deck from The CHB's column today: "For Suns GM Ryan McDonough, sports is in his blood" / "The son of sportswriting legend Will McDonough is making a name for himself in the NBA."

Before I click on the link, I'm going to guess what Shank writes. Then let's see how close I came.

1. Retelling of Will McDonough's toughness, including the time Willie punched out  Patriots defensive back Raymond Clayborn, an event that spoke more to how weak the Pats were at the time than it did about McDonough's right fist.
2. Reference to Ryan's brothers Terry and Sean, the latter once a voice of the Red Sox.
3. Mention of Sean calling the 2011 Red Sox-Orioles game which sealed the fate of Terry Francona and countless other "beer and chicken" players.
4. Recounting of history between Suns and Celtics, including name players (Paul Westphal, Dennis Johnson and of course Danny Ainge) who suited up for both teams.
5. Mention of the incredible 3-OT Game 5 between the C's and the Suns in the 1975 NBA Finals.
6. Mention of Ryan's runnerup finish for the NBA Executive of the Year Award.

Here we go!

1. "He studied sports at the right hand of his dad — the toughest, most street-smart and knowledgeable sports reporter of all-time." Point!
2. "I wasn’t nearly as good as Sean [Ryan’s brother is ESPN’s Sean McDonough], but I missed the competition. I wanted to have something to do with winning and losing.’’ 1/2 point!
3. Swing and a miss. 0 points.
4. No game mentions, but Danny Ainge is all over the piece. 1/2 point!
5. No mention. 0 points.
6. It's there. 1 point

Well, three out of six. And the rest of the piece is a montage of Ryan's youth and early days with the Celtics. Utterly predictable.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Let The Debate Begin

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers won a squeaker over the Boston Celtics last night. Shank naturally focuses his column on the man who gave us 'The Decision':
He looks older now. He really does. We’re not talking Morgan Freeman or Danny Glover in “Lethal Weapon 10,” but LeBron James will be 30 years old next month and he’s got a few lines on his face these days.

LeBron made his first trip back to the Garden as a Cleveland Cavalier Friday night and scored 41 points as the Cavs overcame an 18-point, fourth-quarter deficit and beat the Celtics, 122-121, in a wildy entertaining game that ended with Rajon Rondo dribbling out the clock as time expired.
So, LeBron's a good player. Thanks for sharing!
We live in an age of instant analysis and GOAT (greatest of all time). There is a rush to anoint the latest as the best and there’s been a premature push to position LeBron as the best basketball player of all time.
So, where does Shank come down on that question?
GOAT? We’ll look at LeBron again when he’s got some gray hair and a few more lines on his face.
Way to go out on a limb there....

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

It's not often we say it around here, but here's some good advice from Shank (except for the part about getting a copy of the Globe):
No sports Tuesday. No games in Boston. Power down your computers and cellphones, find an actual newsprint copy of the Globe, turn to the obituary page, and look for the little flags that accompany some of those obits. Those are the men and women who served our nation so that we would have our freedom to watch ballgames and do everything else we do. Read some of their stories. The Department of Veterans Affairs calculates that we are losing more than 550 World War II veterans every day.

We lost Ted Williams (World War II and Korea) in 2002. Warren Spahn, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge before coming back to record the bulk of his 363 victories, passed in 2003. The great Bob Feller, who served aboard the USS Alabama in the North Atlantic and South Pacific, died in 2010. Johnny Pesky, a World War II vet, died at the age of 92 in 2012. Yogi Berra, a gunner’s mate on a rocket-launch craft during the D-Day invasion, is 89 years old.
Normally, this site would rip Shank for making himself part of the story. Today is not that day.
My dad, who died in 1979 at the age of 64, never played Major League Baseball, but he was part of that Greatest Generation and I think of him at this time because he was born on Nov. 11 before it was Veterans Day.

One hundred years ago Tuesday.

William J. Shaughnessy was the oldest of five children in a family that lived on Kirkland Street in Cambridge. My dad played some baseball, hockey, and football at BC High, but wasn’t any kind of sports star. At Boston College he dabbled in track and occasionally rowed, but I had trouble finding him in team photos from the dusty yearbooks. He graduated from BC in 1936, class treasurer in a class that included Thomas Philip “Tip” O’Neill.
Read the whole thing. Seriously.

Saturday, November 08, 2014


With the Patriots in their bye week, and thus not having an opportunity to second guess or goof on coach Bill Belichick, Shank makes his occasional half-assed effort to justify his salary in the form of the Picked Up Pieces column.

But hey, why let that inconvenient fact stop His Shankness from taking a crap on current Public Enemy Number One, Patriots owner Robert Kraft? It doesn't take a lot of imagination to translate the following sentence, does it?
Don’t you love how Bob Kraft saved his midlife transformation for his 70s?
Class act all the way, Shank!
Has there ever been a sports pinata like Alex Rodriguez?
Does that include the two or three dozen athletes he ran out of town during his career? Just curious...
This from Bill Parcells’s just-released authorized biography: “Kraft’s sons, who worked as Patriots executives, despised Parcells, convinced that he was trying to make their father look foolish. The owner’s family and inner circle occasionally used a demeaning nickname among themselves when referring to Parcells: ‘Fatty.’ ’’
Expect Shank to reveal more of this from Parcells' book, if there are any more anecdotes like this one.