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Sunday, July 20, 2014

DHL Dan - XXXV

Is Shank getting ready for retirement, or does he have an understanding with John Henry? It seems like he's hitting ownership pretty hard in the opening full paragraph:
At this hour, your Boston Red Sox enjoy a friendlier environment than almost any of the 30 teams in baseball. The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as “perennial contenders.’’ The Sox can play nine games under .500 for the first 95 games and still have a Nation of believers thinking they can win the division, or compete for the phony second wild card. Sox owners can pare payroll ($72.5 million scheduled to come off the books for next year), stay well below the coveted luxury tax threshold, and listen to regional applause while fans pay the highest ticket prices in baseball. The Sox can get folks to buy into the notion that it’s foolish to compete in the open market for the services of their best pitcher. Sox tickets and merchandise are hotter than they were at this time last summer and Pat Moscaritolo, president of a Boston tourist group, says, “For the past 10 years that I’ve been tracking visitor spending and the economic impact of the Red Sox, it’s almost unaffected by the team’s performance.’’
The rest of the column is the typical picked up pieces fare; semi-interesting tidbits and enough stupidity (74 year old Joe Torre a 'terrific choice' for baseball commissioner?) to make you want to line your birdcage with it.

UPDATE, 7/21/2014 at 6:20 PM - Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch piles on. We will respectfully disagree with one point - Bruce says Shank forgets about the 2013 World Series win by the Red Sox. We are far less charitable here. We believe that Shank is indeed pissed that his little cottage industry of 'The Curse' has been toppled, and that it's more logical to assume that Shank deliberately ignores the success of the Red Sox (and that of other local teams, for that matter) in order to continue taking that Bud Light fueled piss on anything successful by local professional sports teams in the New England area. Just wait until the New England Patriots get revved up in a week or two as Exhibit 1,652.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

'Selig' Him Later

MLB Commissioner "[Bud] Selig is easily harpooned and mistakes have been made, but none of baseball’s other eight commissioners could possibly match his love for the game and respect for its history."

So says The CHB today, ignoring, for instance, Bart Giamatti, who when rumored to be a candidate for the presidency of Yale, responded, "The only thing I ever wanted to be president of was the American League," and who wrote several articles on baseball, including one for Harper's on Tom Seaver, and another called "Baseball and the American Character." (Moreover, unlike Selig, he actually dealt with problems that occurred on his watch.)

The CHB likes to talk about the inflated home run totals during the so-called steroid era, but ignores the fact that homers today are the same as in the 1990s on per ball in play ratio. (The only difference: more guys are striking out, thus fewer balls are put into play.) So was it the drugs, or something else? Shank doesn't know, and he doesn't care.

Shank is also still complaining about the "bag job" sale of the Red Sox to the Henry Group, even though the results has been three World Series crowns. Perhaps he's still upset over the end of his Curse of the Bambino franchise.

The only surprise? That The CHB could write a column on PEDs and not mention David Ortiz.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Disbelief

I'm having trouble believing this - a balanced, decently written column by Shank without the trademark trolling questions, petty, vindictive swipes, personal insults or axe-grinding agendas.
MINNEAPOLIS — Jon Lester was in a good mood as he sat at his interview station in a grand ballroom of the downtown Hyatt Hotel on Monday afternoon. The Red Sox southpaw was barely bothered while, a few yards to his left, dozens of cameramen and reporters elbowed each other for access to Derek Jeter’s table.

If not for a few Boston scribes asking about his impending free agency, Lester might have gone unnoticed during the mandatory media session for baseball’s All-Stars.

Lester’s contract status is going to be the big story in Boston baseball for the next few months. He is the ultimate commodity: a 30-year-old power pitcher who has won two World Series, never misses a start, has demonstrated he can perform in a tough market, and is having his best overall season (9-7, 2.65 ERA, 29 walks, 134 strikeouts in 129 innings).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What A Difference Four Years Makes

Shank devotes today's column to LeBron James, who returns home to Cleveland to once again play for the Cavaliers.
Bron-Bron is all grown up. And it shows.

Four years ago, LeBron James orchestrated one of the most selfish television events of this century, arrogantly telling the world he was taking his talents to South Beach and incurring the wrath of a nation. A No. 23 James jersey was burned on Cleveland Street, and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert characterized LeBron’s “Decision” as a “cowardly betrayal.’’ LeBron Hate ruled the day.
Would you care to guess who one of those 'haters' was?
Gag me. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned disdain for the opposition? How good can the competition be when the alleged "rivals" are in business together or planning to join forces at a later date?

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon who covered the 1918 World Series (Ruth really dominated the Cubs in that 1-0 game, didn't he?), sports was better in the days before the players all loved one another.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Recycling The Absentee Complaint - II

For the second time in a week, Shank bitches about Red Sox ownership in absentia, so he'll have to settle for Larry Lucchino.
Ownership has been hard to find while the Red Sox dropped out of contention in the summer of 2014. John Henry and Tom Werner haven’t had much to say about their tied-for-last-place team.

With the Sox heading out of town until after the All-Star break, I figured it would be a good time to hear from Larry Lucchino. According to Henry, Larry runs the Red Sox.
Forget baseball; second guessing is Shank's favorite pastime.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

And We Have A Bridge In Brooklyn To Sell You

Shank now claims he loves soccer, supposedly because the guys fixing his car love the game as well. Totally believable!
I gave it one more try. Mocked, ridiculed, and threatened by soccer krishnas around the globe, I pledged to give the Beautiful Game one more chance on the occasion of the World Cup semifinal featuring host country Brazil and Germany.

And it was ugly. Who knew this would end up being the equivalent of the 1940 NFL championship game that resulted in a 73-0 victory for the Chicago Bears over the Washington Redskins? Germany beat Brazil, 7-1, Tuesday. The Germans will play the winner of Wednesday’s Netherlands-Argentina match in Sunday’s World Cup final.

It does not matter. I am sorry for the disgrace of Brazil, but I now love Futbol. I love it because I have seen it through the eyes of the owners, workers, friends, and customers of J & K Auto Body, just a few feet from Oak Square in Brighton.
Liar, douchebag, hypocrite or world-class professional troll - take your pick, or just mix and match.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Sinking Ship

The 2014 Boston Red Sox are currently in last place in the A.L. East, so Shank comes out and puts a few more holes in the hull of the ship.
Identifying the low point of this train wreck season has become a parlor game throughout New England: Was it getting swept in the doubleheader at home against the Rays back in May; losing three straight to Tito’s Tribe; the 16-9 beatdown at the hands of Theo’s Cubs last Wednesday; or was it Sunday when the Sox couldn’t finish in 12 innings after rallying from five runs down against the first-place Orioles?

In good times and bad, Farrell has managed the Red Sox without creating any brushfires. He has dealt with highly paid, sometimes selfish and excuse-making players, an aggressive media, loud fans, multiple voices of ownership, in-house stat geeks, and great expectations without making things worse. He has a world championship in his pocket.
Which, of course, isn't good enough for Shank, who once again displays a gleeful attitude in his writing when a team's at its worst.

Recycling the Absentee Complaint

Here we go: Shank is setting his sights on the Red Sox "absentee" owners:

Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington are still talking about 2014. Meanwhile, we hear only the sounds of silence from ownership. John, Tom, and Larry — always around for the trophy presentations, the White House visits, and those hard-hitting sessions on NESN — have been virtually invisible while the Sox have run off the rails at the beginning of our summer.

Keep in mind he's done this before, most recently in his book (released last year), when the Red Sox were coming off their 2012 season and John Henry was looking to purchase more properties for his Fenway Sports Group. On Opening Day 2006, he declared Larry Lucchino "conspicuously absent.”

It's classic front-running CHB-speak.

And it's hard to take The CHB seriously when he's quoting as the voice of reason on free agency one Mo Vaughn, the same guy whom after he left the Red Sox was worth an aggregate -0.3 wins over replacement over the rest of his career (basically, you could have plucked anyone from the minor leagues and that player would have been more valuable than Mo). Believe it or not, Boston generally has made the right call on which players to let walk, Roger Clemens being the notable exception. Just wait until Lester pitches a couple of bad games in a row and Shank starts calling him a prima donna.*

*On second thought, that would never happen, given that Lester is white.