Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cheatin' In Baseball

If you're Shank and it's a story about alleged cheating in baseball, you just have to mention the New England Patriots a bunch of times, don't you?
HOUSTON — The Houston Astros are the New England Patriots. They win a championship, and everyone thinks they are cheating.

The 2018 American League Championship Series took on a new dimension at Minute Maid Park this week when the Boston Metro first reported that a guy with a camera working for the Astros was kicked out of the photographer’s well by the first base dugout at Fenway Park during Game 1. Turns out the same guy got the heave-ho in Cleveland when the ’Stros were beating up on the Tribe in the Division Series.

Perfect. Spygate comes to baseball. Next thing you know the Astros will be accused of deflating baseballs.
Lame humor aside, the story short - MLB told the Astros - 'knock it off' and that was it.

But wait - there's more!
I am not the first to conclude that this makes Cora the new Eric Mangini.

You remember Mangini, right? Won a ring with the Patriots, was hired away by the New York Jets, then told NFL security about Bill Belichick’s camera tricks. The Jets caught the Patriots videotaping coaches’ signals at the Meadowlands and a price was paid. Mangini became dead to Bill, as in I knew it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.
For those of you keeping track of ancient pop culture references, Godfather II came out forty-four years ago.

Grand Slam

Dear Jackie Bradley Jr.:

Remember when I was ragging on you earlier this year? We're good now, right?

Your pal,

HOUSTON — This was a statement game and Jackie Bradley Jr. made the loudest noise.

On a day of a Spygate accusation hurled at the world champion Astros, scintillating plays (hello, Alex Bregman), questionable calls (did that Steve Pearce fly ball clang off the wall before it was caught?) and high-wire drama, JBJ put a stop to the suspense with a no-doubt grand slam off Roberto Osuna in the top of the eighth inning Tuesday. Bradley’s mighty clout blew open a tight contest and propelled the surging Red Sox to an 8-2, Game 3 victory over the ’Stros.

That’s 113 wins and counting for your Olde Towne Team. If the Sox can beat the Astros two more times in this ALCS, they’ll open the 114th World Series next Tuesday night at Fenway.
From there, a note of caution about the Astros (it will 'not be easy' to beat them two more times, etc.) and this little gem:
“We saw that coming in the middle of the season,’’ Cora said when asked about Bradley. “Now he’s more comfortable. Credit to him.’’
They saw it, and Shank didn't.

Monday, October 15, 2018

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - LXXI

Numbers - how do they work?

It's funny how, when the media make a mistake involving a Democrat it make them look good and when it involves a Republican, the mistake makes them look bad. Curious, isn't it?

Missed Opportunity

If I didn't know any better, Shank seems just a tad disappointed that the Red Sox won last night and didn't give him an excuse to light up David Price:
They got 14 outs from a former Cy Young winner. They got three big outs in the eighth inning from another former Cy Young winner. Meanwhile, the best pitcher on the staff was at Massachusetts General Hospital being treated for a stomach illness.

They got flawless work from the bridge bullpen guys. They got a bases-clearing double from their offensively challenged center fielder. They got a couple of doubles and an RBI from their MVP right fielder. They got another high-wire save from their suddenly skittish closer. And they got a full nine innings from their manager, who’d been ejected in the middle of Game 1.

It all added up to a 7-5, series-tying victory for the Red Sox in their ALCS with the world champion Houston Astros on Sunday night.
This is the part about Price's selection for Game 2 (which he was second guessing hours before the first pitch) and his subsequent performance:
Compounding all this, the Sox skipper elected to go with David Price in Game 2.

Yikes. In its moment of high anxiety, Red Sox Nation was forced to turn to one of the most buffeted hurlers in the history of postseason baseball. Price was 0-9 with an ERA of 6.03 in 10 postseason starts. His teams were 0-10 in his starts.

Given all of the above, there was serious concern that we might be heading to Fenway for the final time in 2018. Leaving Boston down, 0-2, to the dominant Astros was a tall order for any team, even for a team that won 108 regular-season games. It didn’t help when we learned that Sale was at Mass. General due to a stomach condition and would not be flying to Houston with the team after the game.
If the Red Sox lost last night, there's no doubt this column would have been harsher in tone.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Enjoying The Ride?

There seems to be a slight change in Shank's attitude after last night's loss by the Red Sox to the Houston Astros:
Joe McCarthy had Denny Galehouse. Don Zimmer had Bobby Sprowl. Grady Little went too long with Pedro Martinez. And now Alex Cora — with Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello fully rested — is giving David Price the ball in the biggest game of the Red Sox 111-win season.
Just a little preemptive second guessing here!
The world champion Astros thrashed the sloppy Red Sox (Boston pitchers walked 10 Astros and hit three more), 7-2, in Game 1 of the ALCS Saturday night at Fenway Park. Since Major League Baseball went to seven games for League Championship Series, no team has lost the first two at home and gone on to win the series. It’s do-or-die for Boston in Game 2. And the Sox will have David Price on the mound.


Or should I say, “Yuk”?
This is a pretty good column; he doesn't snark his way through this one so you don't mind reading it. Well, some of you anyway...

The end of the column - it's classic Shank:
I say this is the night Price finally delivers. And Cora will look like a genius again.

But if Price flops again and the Sox lose, it could be the last Fenway game of 2018. And fans forever will wonder why Price got the ball in the most important game of the season.
Let the second guessing begin!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Shanks Hot Take Of The Week

Every Friday, Awful Announcing gives out its awards for the five hottest takes of the week. Although we've covered it already, it's worth noting Shank's fifth-place entry one more time:
5. Dan Shaughnessy says the Red Sox need to…play like a good team: The Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Obviousness In The Field Of Obviousness goes to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, who, after the Red Sox’ Game 2 loss to the Yankees Saturday evened the ALCS, wrote a column that produced an amazing tweet from the Globe account:

“Good team should play like good team.” That’s some #analysis for you there, and it explains why Shaughnessy gets paid so much. Oh, and that wasn’t just an unrepresentative tweet. The whole “Red Sox need to be tougher to beat the Yankees” column is exactly what you’d expect:
NEW YORK — The Red Sox are playing scared.

They need to put on their big boy pants and start playing like the team that won 108 games this season.

They need to start playing like the team that effectively ended the American League East race in early August by sweeping the Yankees four straight at Fenway Park.

They need to start playing with the swagger and idiocy of the 2004 Red Sox, who beat the Bronx Bombers four straight times after falling behind, 3-0, in the ALCS.

“Big boy pants,” even. (Should “big boy pants” be hyphenated? I feel like it should; it’s a compound adjective describing the pants. But I’ve also put more thought into that than Shaughnessy put into this whole column, so.) And you just know that Shaughnessy was pulling a different kind of Monty Burns move after the Red Sox did, in fact, play like a good team in the next two games.

Also worth noting - Shank's now in ninth place for the year in AA's Hot Take rankings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 211
Skip Bayless – 191
Phil Mushnick – 157
Colin Cowherd – 74
Rob Parker – 44
Doug Gottlieb – 41
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Ray Lewis – 25

Keep up the 'good work'!

Shank On Jim Brown

Reader reaction is mostly like this:

He's a sports columnist who's used to being able to say things and not be challenged on any of it, that's who.

And the winner:

Back On The Bandwagon - XXV (At Least)

If they win tonight this fraud will hijack the bandwagon.

An evergreen topic with Our Man Shank:
How the Red Sox won us over, even (ahem) the skeptics
A little mea culpa there?
Our sports High Renaissance continues. We are the center of the pro sports universe.

This weekend, the ever-Super Bowl-bound Patriots play the undefeated Chiefs on “Sunday Night Football” in the most anticipated NFL regular-season game of recent memory. On Tuesday, the Celtics kick off a season that is expected to find them in the NBA Finals against the world champion Warriors. Off to a 3-1 start, the Bruins switched their Saturday night game to a matinee so Hub fans can watch the Red Sox against the world champion Astros at night.

Ah yes, the Red Sox — once again the hottest team in town.
The same team he's been shitting on for months now.
It seems that everyone is buying in on the Red Sox at this hour. I say that with some certainty because I was one of the last holdouts. I thought the Yankees would beat Boston in the American League Division Series. I worried the Sox would fade quickly after their 108 regular-season wins. After watching them fail in the first round of the playoffs two years in a row, I feared they might not survive the two nights at Yankee Stadium early last week.

I was wrong. After splitting two at Fenway against the Yankees — a result that felt more like an 0-2 deficit to local cynics — the Sox went to New York and made a statement, winning Game 3, 16-1, then erasing the Pinstripes entirely one night later. Boston never trailed in those last two games.

So there. Book me a seat on the SS Alex Cora.
More of the same at the link.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Asking The Important Questions

There's really no way to look that sort of thing up...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Shank On The Red Sox' ALDS Win

If they win tonight this fraud will hijack the bandwagon.

Sure looks that way, Jason!
NEW YORK — One week ago, Yankee Stadium fans were chanting, “We Want Boston!’’ while the Yanks were beating the Oakland A’s in the one-game wild-card playoff.

They got Boston.

With both barrels.

And full fury.
The relentless Sox beat the Yankees, 4-3, on Tuesday, winning their American League Division Series, 3-1. The Sox advance to the ALCS. They’ll have ace Chris Sale on the mound Saturday at Fenway for Game 1 against the world champion Houston Astros.

After finishing first in three straight seasons, the 108-win Red Sox won the franchise’s first playoff series since that championship season of 2013.
You know, the one Shank called a 'fluke'.

Let's skip to the fun part:
“A lot of people gave up on us after losing Game 2,’’ said Cora. “We showed up last night and tonight had our plan mapped out. At the end, he wasn’t the usual Craig Kimbrel, but he got three outs.’’
Just a guess - think he had at least one Globe sports columnist in mind with that remark?

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Another Shank Pirouette

The Red Sox crushed the Yankees last night, 16 - 1. Naturally, Shank's singing a whole different tune than he was yesterday:
NEW YORK — Take that, Aaron Judge!

The star Yankee outfielder had a little fun at the expense of the Red Sox after New York’s 6-2 win at Fenway Saturday night. On his way to the team bus in the underbelly of the ancient yard, Judge strolled past the Sox clubhouse with his boom box blaring Sinatra’s Yankee victory song, “New York, New York.’’

It was supposed to feed into New England’s worst fears. The 108-win Red Sox were going to roll over for the big, bad Bronx Bombers. Just like in the bad old days.
That's what Shank has been rooting for a couple of months, wasn't it?

Naturally, the column isn't without its' negativity and assholery:
Sweet. I haven’t felt this good about the Red Sox’ chances in a playoff series against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez took a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning of Game 7 at the Stadium in 2003.