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Monday, December 05, 2016

This Bud's For You, Boston

At first, I thought Shank was just being his occasionally parochial self when he writes somewhat convincingly about Bud Selig doing the Red Sox fans a huge favor:
If you are a Red Sox fan, Bud Selig was your friend.

The predictable howling started across baseball America when Selig was elected to the Hall of Fame Sunday, but Sox fans should be sending him thank you notes for a lot of the good things that have happened to the Boston franchise in this century.

Maligning Selig is a popular parlor game on sports talk radio and across the ever-expanding band of social media. Bud gets blamed for steroids, the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, the All-Star tie in Milwaukee, late-night World Series games, four-hour games, ticket costs, and David Price’s inability to win a playoff start. Swell.
Shank spends a little time on sports talk radio from time to time, and nearly all of that time is spent bashing an athlete, some sports team or some combination of the two. I wonder what Selig bashing might be in those archives?
But the totality of his 23 years as commissioner amounts to far more positive than negative, and here in Boston, Selig gets an assist for the championships won in 2004, 2007, and 2013.

It’s simple, really. When the Red Sox were for sale in 2001, it was Selig who assembled John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino and maneuvered the sale in the direction of the Henry group.

“I had nothing to do with any of that,’’ Bud once told me, before adding, “But someday you’ll thank me for it.’’

Selig had a lot to do with it. It was Selig who connected Lucchino with Henry when Henry was dealing with ballpark and ownership issues with the Florida Marlins. Henry was working on selling the Marlins and buying the Angels in 2001. Lucchino, who knew Werner from San Diego, put Henry together with Werner, who was then trying to buy the Red Sox with underfinanced partner Les Otten.

At the urging of Selig, Yawkey Trust boss John Harrington agreed to accept the bid of the Henry group. When MLB owners voted to the approve the sale, Bud Selig made sure the vote was unanimous. Henry, Werner, and Lucchino were Bud’s guys.
That makes complete sense. I was checking on one of the bidders for the Red sox that year to look up Frank McCourt, who I knew Shank has slammed good in hard in the past. There were also two other bidders:
Folks in Boston knew McCourt would be a disaster for Major League Baseball. He was a smooth-talking, nicely-dressed, well-mannered guy with parking lots and delusions of grandeur. He fancied himself as a serious bidder for the Red Sox in 2001 when the Yawkey Trust put the team up for sale, but nobody in Boston took McCourt seriously because he didn't have enough of his own money.

The "sale" of the Red Sox turned out to be a bag-job of the highest order. Cable czar Charles Dolan submitted the highest bid, while Boston businessman Joe O'Donnell was viewed as the local favorite to get the team.

Tire-kicker McCourt was never in the running. In December 2001, Selig announced that John Henry's bid was the winner. Selig was beholden to Henry (former owner of the Marlins) and put him together with Tom Werner (former owner of the Padres) and Larry Lucchino (former Orioles and Padres boss).

Bag job, indeed! No reason it can't be both a bag job (the bidding process) and a rousing success. I was also wondering about how adequate Joe O'Donnell's bid was. A few people bring up that point in the comments, so I went to research it. Boy, did Shank really, REALLY HATE this deal when it went down!
The Red Sox are a public trust. They are the heart and soul of New England. They are as important as any local institution. And last night they changed hands for the first time in 68 years.

Michigan-born, Yale grad Tom Yawkey rescued the franchise in 1933, and now we have unknown men named Henry and Werner taking charge of this most-cherished local team.

I wish I felt good about this and I hope I’m wrong. I wish I could get on the bandwagon and believe good things will come of this. Maybe John Henry and Tom Werner will be the best Boston sports owners since Walter Brown. Maybe they will build a new jewel of a ballpark in South Boston and reward us with a string of championship teams in the next decade.

But forgive me if I don’t trust these guys. Any of them ever been to Durgin Park? Any of ‘em know that the L Street Brownies swim in the ocean on New Year’s Day? Any of them know the meaning of Curt Gowdy and “Hi, neighbor, have a ‘Gansett?” Any of them know who hit Tony Conigliaro with that spitball in 1967? And that the pitch was thrown Aug. 18, a Friday night?

Shame on John Harrington. The cowardly little accountant had a chance to do something great and important here. This is the man who befriended Mrs. Yawkey all those years ago and - on that relationship alone - became CEO of the Red Sox and a Big Player in Major League Baseball. The record will show that when it came time to step up, Harrington caved to commissioner Bud Selig and the Lords of the Sport. He chose to serve the Boys in the Club rather than loyal, long-suffering, top-dollar-paying citizens of Red Sox Nation.
...
So now we have this band of carpetbaggers, taking charge of our most cherished institution.
...
This was a bag job from start to finish. Bud got his man. The Trust got its money. John Harrington secured his fraudulent place in the Men’s Club of Major League Baseball. And the Red Sox were turned over to people who don’t know Fenway Park from Jellystone Park.
Looks like we have our answer on the 'maligning Selig' parlor game question!

So, has Shank mellowed with age, or is this another convenient lapse of memory? You make the call!

UPDATE AT 8:36 PM - Added the 'carpetbaggers' and 'Jellystone Park' bits from the last link. Reading all the way through that old column was priceless for tidbits like that...

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Return Of The Tomato Cans

So, this is how Shank writes a column after All World tight end Rob Gronkowski has surgery on his back - listen to Felger & Mazz for a few days, pretend to put a positive spin on the situation, and - voila!
No Gronk. No problem. The Patriots are still going to the Super Bowl.

Everybody loves Rob Gronkowski. The big galoot (sorry, Curt Schilling! - ed.) is tons of fun, on and off the football field. We root for his full recovery from a third back surgery and hope there are more rumbling, smashmouth/stiff-arm touchdowns and spiked footballs in his Patriot future.

But everybody needs to calm down regarding what this does to the Patriots’ chances. Of course the Patriots are better with Gronk than without him (don’t underestimate Gronkowski’s contribution to the running game), but take a good look around the AFC. Who is better than the Gronk-less Patriots? Nobody, that’s who. Even without one of the greatest tight ends of all time, the Patriots still have a clean, clear path to Super Bowl LI in Houston in February.
And you know what that means:
It’s clear by now that there are no dominant teams in the NFL. The 11-1 Cowboys are the flavor of the month and it’s nice to see the Oakland Raiders make some noise on the left coast. But the Patriots’ schedule this year — clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right — tells you everything you need to know about where this is heading. After late-November road wins against the hideous 49ers and Jets, the Patriots return home Sunday to say hello to the 4-7 Los Angeles Rams — the sui generis of Tomato Cans (Bill Belichick has beaten Rams coach Jeff Fisher by an aggregate 104-7 in their last two meetings).
New England will be 10-2 after Sunday’s layup and should finish no worse than 13-3.
How'd Shank's prediction work out last week? Anybody?

Just a reminder - Shank isn't exactly writing this column because any of the things mentioned about the Patriots are true. He's writing this column to do what he does every single year - in order to take a world class shit on the Patriots, Bill Belichick and especially the Kraft family should they fail to win the Lombardi Trophy in February.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Compare And Contrast

Dan Shaughnessy, in his latest mailed-in column:
■ Count me out on Curt Schilling. I have held my nose and voted for the Big Blowhard in recent years (11-2 in postseason, ridiculous walk/strikeout ratio), and he was up to 52.3 percent (75 percent required) last year, but I shall invoke the “character” clause this year. Schill has transitioned from a mere nuisance to an actual menace to society. His tweet supporting the lynching of journalists was the last straw for this voter. Curt later claimed he was joking. Swell.
Shank's fellow members of the media, on civil political discourse. I guess he's cool with that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Reasons To Be Worried

A few things to note here - during the first quarter of the Patriots - Jets game, Shank tweeted 'beatdown of epic proportions' and '#73 - 0'. Today things are described quite differently.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — You have seen this game one million times. Maybe two million.

The Patriots struggle. The other team plays over its head. It looks like we might witness an upset loss for the team from Fort Foxborough. And then all the usual elements emerge and the Patriots cut out the hearts of their rivals. Tom Brady plays cool, flawless football down the stretch, the Patriots wait for the other guys to step on banana peels, and New England walks out of another enemy stadium with a hard-fought victory.

“It says a lot about our team,’’ Bill Belichick said Sunday night after the Patriots trumped the Jets, 22-17, at MetLife Stadium. “Their resiliency and mental toughness. How they execute under pressure. A lot of games in this league come down to the last series or the last plays or whatever it is. You battle it out for 59 mintues and it comes down to one or two plays . . . We’ve had a lot of those come up.’’
Now check out this paragraph (emphasis mine):
The Patriots beat you because they are smarter and tougher. They never take the apple. If you are from Buffalo, Miami, or the Meadowlands, they take away your will to live. They make the plays when the plays need to be made and they wait for you to tie your shoelaces together. Which you inevitably will do. It is all so predictable.
...says the columnist who predicted the exact opposite at the start of the game. Schmuck.
This is a year in which there are no great NFL teams, and in that spirit the Patriots are certainly in the Super Bowl hunt . . . but the Patriots hardly looked championship-driven for most of Sunday afternoon/evening in the Meadowlands. Those of us who trade in analysis and negativity will have much to chew on this week.
I think the Dallas Cowboys, currently at 10-1 and the Oakland Raiders, tied with the Patriots at 9-2, might have something to say about that. Does Shank expect the 1985 Bears or the 2000 Baltimore Ravens to be resurrected somehow? And when is the last time Shank offered up anything remotely resembling 'analysis'? At least he got the last part right about trading in negativity, him and his asshole colleague Ben Volin.

Can't wait to hear Shank regurgitate this column tomorrow morning with Bettle & Zolak - riveting radio, everyone!

UPDATE AT 8:00 PM - Minor spelling error corrected in the penultimate paragraph of this post.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Boston Globe Asshole Update - II

Isn't it interesting how Shank's stopped tweeting once the game got tight?

Boston Globe Asshole Update

This tweet went up a few minutes before Tom Brady tied the game at 10-10 as well as hitting 60,000 career passing yards:

Would you mind letting the fucking guy play the entire game before you second guess him? Thanks.

Lack Of Knowledge

Now that the Jets have a 10-0 lead, let's note Shank isn't banging out any more smug tweets right now. He conveniently forgets to mention the recent history of close games between the two teams in order to keep peddling this bullshit.

Let The Stupid Tweets Begin! - II

Right on schedule...

Let The Stupid Tweets Begin!

Hot off the hot take presses, everybody!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What Do You Mean 'We', Kemosabe?

Shank continues to ride high atop the New England sports bandwagon (emphasis added here and there):
Be thankful, New England fans, for our bounty of success

You are a New England sports fan, and it’s Thanksgiving week, and there is so much for which to be thankful.

Ours truly is the best region for professional sports watching. The blessings are many. I was thinking of this back in October while watching the Cubs and Indians in their epic World Series. The Cubs hadn’t won a championship in 108 years and the Tribe are still sitting on a 68-year drought. The city of Cleveland went from 1964 until this year (Cavaliers over Warriors) without winning anything. And here in Boston we get agitated when the Bruins go two straight years without making the playoffs.
I'm pretty sure it's mostly Boston sportswriters and Michael Felger who get agitated when that happens.

In any event, the rest of the column's a good read and he makes a halfway convincing case, to the extent he avoids using 'I', 'we' and 'our' when discussing the local pro sports teams. We've' seen this sort of writing way too many times before from Shank to believe one word of it is sincere in any manner. We won't get fooled again.

There is one other thing that's been pissing me off for years:
The Patriots certainly play in a terrible division,
Compared to what? This is simply a lie that Shank keeps peddling because he doesn't have any editors that will call him on this, and I'm getting sick and fucking tired of having to keep pointing out the bloody fucking obvious. Go look at the records of all of the divisions this year. There are two divisions that have three teams at or above the .500 mark - the AFC East and the NFC East. In 2015 there was one division that met this criteria, and in 2014 four divisions met this criteria. In the past three years the AFC East seems to be the division that consistently comes up with the most wins, doesn't it?

You know what? I take the praise of this column back. Everything that guy just said, is bullshit! Thank you.

Bonus - No Larry Bird reference, but there is a Clive Rush reference!

UPDATE, 1:57 PM - On a second pass, this little bit of arrogant condescension jumped out:
...and management has a penchant for style-over-substance and pandering to Pink Hats,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most of the people you see in the stands wearing pink hats... aren't they all women?

Why is the Boston Globe baseball section such a hotbed for misogynistic intolerance? Shame on you, Mr. Shaughnessy! Shame!