Tuesday, April 07, 2020

The Hank Finkel Column

I guess Clive Rush wasn't around, eh?
Ex-Celtic Hank Finkel could give Jarrett Stidham an idea of what he might be in for

Hey there, Jarrett Stidham. Want to know what it’s like to take over the starting job in place of the greatest winner in the history of your sport . . . in front of Boston fans accustomed to championships every year? Give Hank Finkel a call. I can get you his number if you want.

Hank is 77 years old, lives north of Boston, and is uniquely equipped to tell you what lies ahead. Nicknamed "High Henry'' by Johnny Most, the 7-foot Finkel replaced Bill Russell as the Celtics center for the 1969-70 season after Russell won his 11th championship in 13 seasons.
So far so good, right?
Russell didn’t play out his contract and leave New England for Tampa. He flat-out retired. And it was pretty obvious that things were not going to be the same once he left.
Now why do you suppose he said that, other than to just be a jagoff? It's probably that, combined with his continuing animosity of the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft, so saying anything remotely negative suits this purpose.
With no Russell, no Sam Jones (who also retired), a rookie coach in Tommy Heinsohn, and newcomer Finkel starting at center, the defending champion Celtics went 34-48 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons. Boston fans were not happy, and Finkel got far too much of the blame.

"When you win in New England, the fans love you,'' Finkel said via telephone this week. "But when you lose in New England, they want to run you out of town''
Are we sure that Shank wasn't working at the Globe in 1969?

The rest of the column is solid.

Monday, April 06, 2020

When The Boston Globe Had Real Sportswriters

I whiffed on this one a few days ago, but Shank actually cranked out a solid column:
Remembering our maestro of the sports department: Ray Fitzgerald

There are no games in these dark, scary days. Here in the toy department, we spend a lot of time looking back. We watch grainy footage of World Series played in 1967 and 1975. We watch Larry and Magic in their short-shorts battling in three NBA Finals in the 1980s. We watch "Malcolm, go!'' and 28-3.

We blow the dust off old books, once again savoring Roger Kahn’s "The Boys of Summer,'' David Halberstam’s “The Breaks of the Game,” and anything by the estimable Roger Angell.

Today I am here to celebrate Ray Fitzgerald, the best sports columnist to grace these Globe pages in my lifetime.
Allow me to point something out:
All of us in this business who were fortunate enough to have read him regularly feel the same way. I grew up reading the Globe and have been lucky to work with a deep roster of Hall of Fame talents, but Ray was the best of those best. Like the man, his columns were funny, thoughtful, sensitive, creative, self-deprecating, and never mean.
The lack of self-awareness in some people is astounding. If Shank was capable of dropping that one attribute from his columns, there's a very good chance this site doesn't exist. Some people are natural born assholes; we now know who one of them is not that.

With that said, I didn't read many actual columns about Ray Fitzgerald, but his reputation was redoubtable. Also, this part is laughable (at least for me):
On the Boston Marathon: "Our city’s contribution to the legend of sport, a day when all America pays homage to the shin splint . . . As someone who reaches the brink of physical exhaustion merely by driving from Boston to Springfield, I find the thought of running 100 miles a week simply inconceivable. You might as well tell me they ride a bicycle to the moon for a bottle of milk.''
Great sportswriter, but a complete driving wimp!

I love driving for the most part - my personal record for a one day drive was 1,013 miles from Sarasota, FL to just outside of Baltimore, MD. I left Sarasota at 11 AM (and I was one very pissed off man when I started the drive, hence the motivation) and got to Baltimore around 3 AM the next day. The one thing that kept me going on that last leg - there was live Van Halen on some FM station and it went on for four hours. Of course, this was a long time ago; I'm not sure I could pull that off now, but I'd give it a shot if I had to. The other good one was from Mt. Ascutney, VT to Quincy in approximately 2 hours, 11 minutes. I charged down I-91 in a 1996 Dodge Intrepid (that car was a fucking beast - really solid V-6 engine and an excellent wheelbase for handling) like no one's business, then took Rt. 2 to Rt. 128, then the Mass. Pike and finally the Southeast Expressway. Google suggests a different route but by my reasoning the more time you spend on interstate highways or something similar, the faster you get there even if total miles is greater than the alternative routes. It also helps a lot to hold 95-100 MPH on that stretch of I-91 about half the time. That car, maybe fortunately, had a governor preventing me from going over 105 MPH, but I-91 was a fantastic stretch of road, no question about it.

Turn On A Dime Dan, A Continuing Series

In his columns about the Astros / Red Sox cheating scandals, it's amazing to see Shank go from 'ban them all for life' to a complete 180 with this lump of horseshit:
Alex Cora back as manager of the Red Sox? Without ever missing a regular-season game?

It’s far-fetched, but it could happen.

Here’s how:
The short answer - pull something out of his ass!

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Imagination Used

If reading bullshit like this is what we're going to see from Shank during the Wuhan Virus slowdown, it's gonna be a long stretch of time, and painful to read.
Fantasy baseball: Here’s how I imagine I’d be previewing Opening Day at Fenway

(This is the column you might be reading today if not for the coronavirus pandemic.)

Stunned at being swept by the suddenly surging Baltimore Orioles, the 1-6 Red Sox will face the Chicago White Sox at 2:05 p.m. Thursday in their 109th Fenway Park opener.

"It will be good to finally get back to Boston,'' Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke might have said after Wednesday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the upstart Orioles. "I’m pretty sure we’ll turn this around quickly when we get home to Fenway.''

Roenicke did not identify the Sox starting pitcher for the home opener.

“Could be Austin Brice, could be Marcus Walden, could be Heath Hembree,'' Roenicke said. "Chaim and the analytics guys will give me a name in the morning.''
Yup - it's that bad, and only gets worse from there. Read it, if you're into limo wrecks and that sort of thing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


In these difficult times of zero live sports entertainment, Shank knows what ought to happen now:
This would be a good time to release the findings on the Red Sox and Patriots investigations
I think he's right on there - clear the deck of past events and concentrate on what kind of baseball season we're going to have this year. The months of April and probably May are scratches, so alternatives can be drawn up.

But you know Shank's got his own angle on things, right?
▪ Now is a perfect time for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to drop the hammer on the 2018 Red Sox. The commish says that the investigation has been completed, and nobody is really paying attention, so let’s get it over with and get on with our lives.

The Sox’ transgressions are unlikely to be anywhere near Houston’s trash-can cheating of 2017, but they likely weren’t “nothing” as the Sox have claimed. Best to learn of their punishment now. It will allow them to strike “interim” from manager Ron Roenicke’s nameplate, and we’ll finally learn how long MLB plans to bench Alex Cora.
I bolded the massively contradictory parts - Shank wants to have MLB punish the Red Sox, whose owner pays his salary. That's a big bowl of awkward right there, to borrow one of Shank's favorite phrases. He's arguing for the Red Sox to get punished worse than the Houston Astros were punished by MLB (i.e., a slap on the wrist) even though he readily admits the Sox did far less in the transgressions department.

That's enough bullshit for this cat right there. Further punishment, dear reader, can be borne by clicking on that link.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - II

If this is any indication (and I believe it is), ad revenues are drying up:
This tweet is courtesy of Boston Radio Watch. He's a sharp, insightful sort who pays serious attention to this sort of thing, and he watches that particular metric (ad revenue) pretty closely, as it's a prime factor into a company's revenue in the newspaper industry. The Globe just shitcanned 50 employees, want to get rid of 55 more through buyouts and now a primary source of revenue is under serious threat. One wonders how long John Henry continues to prop up this money-losing company.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Demanding Dan, A Continuing Series

Every now and then Shank writes the occasional and annoying type of column where he pounds his fists on the table and he wants answers, dammit!
The Red Sox owe us some answers on Chris Sale’s surgery

The Red Sox’ refusal to disclose anything about Chris Sale’s elective elbow surgery in the middle of a national medical-supply shortage is unacceptable.

New York Mets righthander Noah Syndergaard was scheduled for Tommy John surgery Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Mets said that team doctor David Altchek would perform the surgery, even though the Florida governor has barred nonessential elective medical procedures in the state.

Doctors in Florida are empowered to determine what is essential, and a Mets official told the Wall Street Journal, "This condition fits within the essential surgery guidelines.''
I'm not disagreeing on wanting the answer, just the semi-imperious manner in which Shank is, um, asking for it.

A little further on:
It’s an unfortunate response while we are in the middle of a global pandemic, with surgical supplies limited and citizens sensitive to the notion of rich and powerful folks receiving preferential medical treatment.
This will work for Shank - he'll complain now, not knowing whether specialized doctors like renowned Tommy John surgeon Dr. James Andrews (who's in private practice) or whoever performed Sale's surgery are required by professional codes to abandon their practices, cancel what may or may not have been previously scheduled procedures in order to assist hospital staff elsewhere. Same goes for Dr. Altcheck, being an employee of the Mets. Maybe they volunteered to help other medical facilities, but I think these are important points to consider. Shank does not because that allows him to piously jump down the throat of the Red Sox. In the case Sale did not have surgery, he will use that to criticize the team and Sale for delaying the surgery and thus Sale's recovery. Either way, he'll also get to bitch more the longer the Sox string this out.

Diabolical trolling genius - Shank's at the top of his game, folks!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

There's No Guessing Like Second Guessing

It's just Shank engaging in one of his favorite past times:
The Red Sox’ handling of the Chris Sale elbow situation could hardly have turned out worse.

Boston’s ace lefty needs Tommy John surgery. It appeared to some of us that he needed surgery last summer when he was shut down with elbow pain. But the Red Sox and Dr. James Andrews waited — a decision that appeared to be based on hope more than reality after the Sox signed Sale to a whopping contract extension before the 2019 season.

When Sale again felt pain at the beginning of this month, the Sox waited again after Andrews and at least two other experts viewed Sale’s MRI.