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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rewriting History - III

Shank, as is his usual Tuesday gig, appeared on the Gresh & Zo radio show to deliver this absolute whopper:
“This start is somewhat predictable,” Shaughnessy said. “As I keep reminding everybody, they weren’t that good last year. They weren’t this dominant team that just steamrolled everybody. They were really good, they won 97, everything came together, they got super hot at the end.”
While I must note that Shank was careful in the wording of those statements, and with the possible exception of this February '14 column, I find no written evidence of Shank actually predicting, or mentioning, or hinting of a slow start prior to his Sunday column, and making what amounts to ex post facto statements of a slow Red Sox start renders the point moot, doesn't it?

As a matter of fact, Shank declared "Everything is Awesome" twelve days ago, and a glorious day for Boston the next day. He only started saying this stuff on Sunday, when the Red Sox were well into racking up more losses than wins. Once again, are you really standing on firm ground when, in typical Shank fashion, you jump on or off a bandwagon and make self-serving (and demonstrably misleading) statements two days later? Consistency has never been his strong suit.

Bruce Allen over at Boston Sports Media Watch must have lost a bet recently. He decided (or he was possessed by demons) to examine Shank's 100 most recent columns, the result being further support of the point made above - that Shank turned on a dime, wrote one column on Sunday pointing out the shortcomings of the 2014 Red Sox, then goes on local sports talk radio and basically misleads the audience with the barest mention of the timeframe in which Shank now draws this 'conclusion' of his. I sure hope some of the callers pointed this out while he was still in the radio booth.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baseball's Instant Replay System

... is not currently in favor with Red Sox manager John Farrell:
NEW YORK — Those of us who remember watching Jack Nicholson Five-Star Nutties by Earl Weaver and Billy Martin feared those days might be over with the introduction of manager’s challenges and video replays in 2014.

Not so fast. Red Sox manager John Farrell got into it with first base umpire Bob Davidson Sunday night and was ejected for arguing a reversed call that went against the Sox. The disputed play provided the Yankees with the deciding run in a nationally televised 3-2 victory over the reeling (losers of seven of 10), last-place Red Sox.

Lip readers were pretty sure that Farrell told Davidson to do something anatomically impossible with the MLB replay system.
I have much the same reaction after reading certain Dan Shaughnessy columns...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Abject Nonsense

Today we are treated to Shank's conversation with himself over the merits of the Red Sox, some 13 games into the 2014 Championship Season.

It's a column filled in equal parts with the patently obvious -- "it’s very early ... put baseball on the shelf and check back to see where the Sox are in mid-June when the Stanley Cup playoffs are finally over" and plain old "duhs" -- "with each day that passes we are reminded just how hard it is to win 97 games and just how unlikely that championship ride was last October."

But there's also lots of crazy projections from the man who wouldn't know a sample size if the urologist dumped it on his head: "They don’t have a leadoff hitter. They don’t hit with runners in scoring position. They are running into outs, don’t have much depth, and a lot of the career-year heroes of 2013 ... have come back to earth."

And he perverts the English language with a phrase -- "abject genius" -- to describe the Red Sox front office (yes, that's the same group that put together last year's World Series winners), a description that is as confounding as it is ill-suited. 

Peppered throughout the piece are references to Simon & Garfunkel and the theme song from The Lego Movie. Perhaps The CHB should start channeling that song from Frozen: "Let It Go." 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day Late, Column Short

Shank's Saturday column recaps the Thursday night usage of a 'foreign substance' by Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda:
NEW YORK — The problem is . . . everybody does it. Including the Red Sox. This is why Sox manager John Farrell was in no position to cry foul when the whole world saw the pine tar-stained hand of Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda in Thursday’s 4-1 victory over Boston.

Pineda was not “doctoring” the baseball. He was not using pine tar to make the ball do funny things. He was using pine tar to maintain his grip of a slippery baseball on a chilly night. Hitters actually don’t mind. There’s some comfort in knowing that a 6-foot-7-inch, 95-m.p.h.-throwing righthander has some control over where the ball is going.
Generally, you'd write about these things in a more timely manner, wouldn't you? Why not swap Friday's Ellsbury column with this one, or run the Ellsbury column before this series started? The Ellsbury column is one more suited to moving around, but the Pineda column looks to me like one you need to run sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rewriting History - II

Shank's Friday column takes a look at Jacoby Ellsbury, now a member of the New York Yankees. Now that the Boston Globe has finally dropped their paywall, you once again have the pleasure of reading Shaughnessy's unabridged works of art in their entirety. I'll just highlight the more amusing part(s):
Still, it would be great to have Dr. Charles Steinberg roll out an Ellsbury video montage when the Bombers come to Fenway. We’d love another look at his electrifying steal of home at Fenway against a stunned Andy Pettitte. We could watch all those homers (32) from 2011 when Ellsbury was runner-up for the American League MVP Award. Maybe we’d get another look at his four-hit World Series game against the Rockies when he was a Xander Bogaerts-like call-up at the end of the 2007 season.
Compare and contrast this seemingly affectionate tone about Ellsbury to that of a mere nineteen months ago:
Ellsbury has three homers in 62 games this year. He is hitting .268. Ellsbury is the greatest flight risk since Whitey Bulger, and the Sox are not going to contend next year with him in center field.

The Sox must trade Ellsbury this winter. Scott Boras thinks Ellsbury is a $20 million-per-year player. Maybe last year. But Ellsbury has missed 1½ of the last three seasons and is going the wrong way. He’s not even Carl Crawford this season. Trade the dude.
Back to today's column:
Ellsbury was a terrific player for the Red Sox any time he was on the field. The only problem was the slow healing and the long stretches when he was on the shelf. But let the record show that he played with a broken bone in his foot in the 2013 playoffs. And his major injuries came as the result of hard play — the collision with Adrian Beltre in 2010, and the shoulder-crushing play at second base in the home opener in 2012.
Jacoby Ellsbury, the terrific player in 2013:
We know the negatives. Ellsbury gets hurt and he’s slow to come back from injuries. He missed 144 games with broken ribs in 2010. He injured his shoulder and missed 88 games last year. Both injuries were results of collisions from playing hard, but he’s stuck with the image of a pampered baseball softy.
And when Ellsbury's not on the field?
Shank can't seem to write a story about positive things, like the Bruins' 3 - 0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, so instead he returns to beating the crap out of Jacoby Ellsbury. The reader is tipped off almost immediately:
This is not a rip job on Ellsbury. There’s no calling into question Ellsbury’s toughness or willingness to play hurt.
Then Shank proceeds to rip Ellsbury:
No need for MLB.com columnist Tom Werner to run to the keyboard and defend his player. Ellsbury missed the first two games of the Yankee showdown this weekend, but he’s played in 54 of 57 games in 2013. He’s practically been Cal Ripken Jr. Let’s call him Iron Man Ellsbury. Everyday Ells.
Nope, no rip job here!
Today's column is nothing more than Shank weakly trying to airbrush his previous columns on Ellsbury. I am becoming more convinced that Shank's being asked or told what to write, and in what tone to write it, when he does columns about the Red Sox. I believe his future columns this season will bear this theory out.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Opening Day

Shank's been unusually positive and upbeat in his past two columns:
Even in defeat, a glorious day for Boston

By Dan Shaughnessy

Living here is not easy. Sometimes it seems as though everything is a contest. It’s too expensive, traffic is unbearable, there’s no parking, and the interminable winter of 2013-14 makes every sane person wonder whether it’s really worth all the trouble.

And then we get a day like Friday and we are reminded why this is the greatest city in America. Even when the Red Sox lose.

Boston is a Hub of institutions, and a bunch of them intersected on the great green lawn at the corner of Yawkey Way and Brookline Ave. Friday.

Gathered in historic, heartfelt harmony, we had the Boston Fire Department, the Boston Marathon, Boston City Hall, the Boston Pops, the Boston Bruins, the Boston Celtics, the New England Patriots, the Dropkick Murphys, Irish stepdancers, the Boston Red Sox, and Fenway Park.

Oh, and we also had David Ortiz, a.k.a. Big Papi. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Another Boston institution.
David Ortiz - a person Shank once called a "sad sack of you-know-what". Anyone think he's under orders this year to write one non-negative column every week or two?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Weathervane - II

Two days removed from declaring the second freaking game of the season as a 'Must Win' game, Shank does what he does best - turns on a dime, conveniently forgets every word he wrote in his previous column and declares everything's just hunky-dory in Red Sox Nation.
The beautiful noise never stopped, and Friday we celebrate 2013 one more time.

In our (expletive) city, before the Red Sox turn the (expletive) page.

The worst-to-first Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, Oct. 30, triggering a five-month baseball bacchanal that will finally wrap when the bearded brethren get their rings before the 114th home opener.

We haven’t seen these Red Sox in Boston since the eve of Halloween, when champagne flowed on the Fenway lawn and Bob Marley’s lyrics, “Every little thing gonna be all right,’’ blared out of the loudspeakers. It was quite possibly the loudest night in the history of the 102-year-old ballpark.

“There’s no way it can be that loud again,’’ said Friday’s starting pitcher, Jake Peavy. “No way.’’
Impressive hyperbole, from beginning to end.