Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ringing Familiar

The Mailman's back, and we don't mean Karl Malone. Dan sends in yet another one from the couch in Newton. (Note: His copyeditor doesn't even try to disguise it, titling it, "Leftovers on menu today.")

It's a jumble of tossed out one- and two-liners, none of which would earn him a nickel if he were on the comdey club circuit. Here's a curious bit:
If you want to know Belichick, buy David Halberstam's ''The Education of a Coach." Disclosure of a particularly salty sideline exchange between Belichick and Bill Parcells (when they were still working together) is worth the price of the book."
We wonder whether Dan actually read the book (unlikely), or whether he happened to read ex Globe writer Jeff Sullivan's blog, which just yesterday referenced the same passage.

And Dan takes a swipe at Theo Epstein, perhaps forgetting that on Nov. 9 he wrote a piece proclaiming the ex Sox GM the best man for the job ("The Red Sox should offer the job to Brookline native Theo Epstein."). (Of course, that came just days after he flamed Theo, then complained that his son could no longer take out the garbage without passersby hurling insults.)

He does ask one relevant question, though: "Has there ever been a greater waste of man-hours than the Terrell Owens hearing?" Answer: Yes -- the time some poor typesetter spent laying out this so-called column. (Talk about setting yourself up.)

Edit (3:09 pm): Why is it that the several contributors at Baseball Prospectus can write three or more columns each a week, some as many as 2,000 words, using lively prose and fresh, data-filled arguments, all while covering a single sport, whereas the Boston Globe can't find one columnist capable of the same?

Monday, November 28, 2005

More Puke

More on Dan's regurgitated column.

Here's what he wrote on Oct. 3, 1999, after an interview with Pedro Martinez"
He is proud of his fluency in a second language. The joke around the pressbox is that Martinez speaks better English than Clemens. It's not far from the truth.
And every fifth day from April to October, Pedro Martinez takes his tiny frame to the major league mound and humbles hitters with his 97 mile per hour fastball.
Martinez makes the Red Sox a threat in any short series. ... But teams don't want to play the Sox because Martinez can pitch (and win) twice in a five-game series.

Hmmm...praises Pedro, trashes Clemens...praises Schilling, trashes Pedro...praises Beckett, trashes are getting very will read what I write because I am the great Dan Shaughnessy and the Boston Globe continues to publish my dreck....

Post Thanksgiving Regurgitation

Dan's mancrush on Josh Beckett knows no bounds. Spewing love for the new Sox ace from the opening line ("Time for the Red Sox to reissue old No. 21, don't you think?"), the next 875 words are a collective big sloppy French kiss to the ex Marlin.

But there will be a new sheriff in town when the Red Sox hit Fort Myers in February. He's a big, strong Texan ...

The new Sox ace said all the right things in his introductory conference call with the media ...

There he is, ladies and gentlemen, your new stopper. The torch has been passed from Clemens to Pedro to Schilling to Beckett. Time to pass along No. 21 now.

Ugh. Jump him now, Dan, and get it over with.

It's instructive to recall what Dan said about Schill when he was the Red Sox ace du jour.

He was gracious toward Pedro Martinez and was happy to accept the role as No. 2 starter.

Think Schilling would blow a 5-2 lead in the eighth against the Yankees, then throw his manager under the bus? Which guy do you want pitching Game 7?

That's the beauty of Schilling. He lives for the big games, has played in the big games, and won't take the apple if things get a little tight and testy in this town without pity.

Schilling is back with the Red Sox. Oh, happy day. Son of Tito can leave Schilling on the mound to pitch the eighth and ninth and no one will call for the manager to be fired.

To recap: Dan 1) warms quickly to the new guy while 2) trashing the old one. Nice. Looks like he simply regurgitated his post Thanksgiving column from 2003. What's the Globe policy on self-plagiarism?

The column is also memorable for two blatant Danesque errors:
1. "[Beckett] said he talked to Don Sutton about pitching in Fenway and Sutton told him that the small venue made life exciting for a pitcher." Interesting hypothesis, but, like Dan, outdated and wrong. Baseball Prospectus' analysis puts Fenway as a "slight hitter's park." According to BP, Fenway ranks at 1.010, with a 1.00 being neutral. Seems the abundance of new, smaller bandboxes have displaced the Old Ballpark as hitters' Edens. But why let the facts get in the way of a column?

2. "With no hope for a new stadium, the Marlins are strip-mining the franchise, much the way Charlie Finley did with his Oakland A's in 1976." As Nate Silver argues here (subscription required), "Each team can enter the hot-stove season with one of three potential strategies: buy additional talent, sell off talent, or hold about the same level of talent as before. The key behind this choice of direction is performing an objective evaluation of how many wins the existing stock of talent is likely to provide, and the attendant probability of making the playoffs. The Marlins won 83 games last year. They had a couple of players, like Juan Pierre and Mike Lowell, who underperformed, but others like Dontrelle Willis and Todd Jones who overachieved. PECOTA projected the Marlins to win 81 games; their Pythagenport record was 79-83. By all indications, they were a .500 club."

Silver's research found that "a team that wins fewer than 82 games will essentially never make the playoffs, while a team that wins more than 96 games will almost always make the playoffs." So the critical range is 86 to 94 wins. And if you can't make it to 86 wins, better to save your bullets and regroup.

The Marlins are guaranteed to lose AJ Burnett (at a cost of about 5 wins, which takes them to 76-78 wins). A team projected to win 77 games will actually win exactly 87 games 2.4% of the time, and it has a 24% chance of making the playoffs when it does, and will win exactly 88 games 2.1% of the time and have a 34% chance of making the playoffs when it does that, Silver finds. His conclusion: "But the fact of the matter is that selling makes sense for the Marlins, and it makes sense in this market. It especially makes sense if they can get some true blue-chip prospects in return, but even without that, it makes sense from a profit-and-loss standpoint, and it does so by a fairly wide margin."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

To the Grave

Steve Belichick died. None of us have ever met him. You may have heard of his son: the coach of the New England Patriots.

Dan wrote a polite and respectful piece on the funeral today. Polite, respectful -- and intrusive. Would have been nice for coach Bill, I imagine, to lay his father to rest in peace, away from the media's prying eyes.

Cover Up

One of the nauseating traits of so-called professional journalists is their knack for looking the other way from each other's misdeeds. That is, when they aren't kicking their own when they are down. Yet another is their misplaced logic.

Sometimes, those three aspects swell together in what I would call the Perfect Contrivance.

Take the controversy surrounding Bob Woodward. The still-sober half of Richard M. Nixon's favorite reporting duo is taking heat in some media circles for not disclosing his role in Plamegate. (Never mind that to the rest of America this is a big snooze.) And certain Globe op-ed writers are among those throwing darts. To wit: On media critic and visiting Northeastern journalism professor Dan Kennedy's blog this week, the Globe's Joan Vennochi wrote:

[T]his is my last comment. Tell me, how do you serve two masters? Your book and your newspaper? You don't. Woodward needs to choose and the choice seems obvious to me( as well as to nearly all my emailers).

And by the way, what, exactly, does the Post get from an author whose loyalty is to his book publisher, not to his newspaper publisher?

And here's my response:

I would disagree with this. There's clearly no internal pressure on Woodward to choose. And there was no external pressure, not until this came up anyway.

If Woodward were made to choose, then wouldn't that Globe blowhard Dan Shaughnessy have to choose too? His column, it can be argued, is simply a vehicle for him to promote his contrived books. Let's see your column on that.

I have a feeling I'll be waiting forever for that column.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Right or Wrong?

I'm paid for opinions, says Dan. But are they accurate ones? I'm charting a list of his predictions and will post the results here soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Red Sox Owner Calls Out Shaughnessy (Sort of)

This from Dan Shaughnessy, in the infamous Dirty Laundry column:
Lucchino-bashers, and they are legion, maintain that he repeatedly has undermined Theo and on occasion killed deals made by Epstein and the minions. There was one, for sure. When Theo's assistant Josh Byrnes (hired by Arizona as GM Friday) made a deal with Colorado, Epstein thought he had a better deal with another club and requested that Lucchino fall on the sword and invoke the ownership approval clause to kill the Rockies deal. Accustomed to people hating him, Lucchino took the fall, killing the deal and saving Epstein.

This from Red Sox principal owner John Henry, last night on the Sons of Sam Horn board:
In the Colorado deal late one night I called Theo with questions about that deal in comparison to the one the we actually ended up doing. I preferred the one we did. I didn’t want to give up prospects when we had a comparable alternative that involved paying dollars in lieu of prospects. It was that simple and that innocent. How Larry or anyone else got the blame – I have not a clue. What I didn’t know at the time was that Colorado made a trade thinking I was going to rubber stamp it that night, because that is usually what happens. It’s never been reported that I stepped into the middle of that. I wrote a note of apology to Josh over it, but Larry received the blame in the following days in the media. Then Theo took responsibility a few days later but the stories still continue about it.

Column No Pretty Picture

Today, that essence of hip, Dan Shaughnessy, trashes the Bruins. In a truly weak attempt to be cool he makes this reference to Mike O'Connell:
"It's good of Harry not to cut the legs out from under his GM, but The OC might be the one who gets canceled if the Bruins don't start winning some games.

Cute. Not funny. But cute. Like an iguana.

Amid the piling on, Dan finds time for self-pity: "Sadly, Bruins president Harry Sinden has nothing to say about any of this. Yesterday, for the first time ever, he rejected this typist's request for an interview." Maybe Harry recalls the fallout from the Dirty Laundry column and is wisely keeping his can closed.

Surprise of the day: No reference to Bobby Orr. I'm shocked! Shocked, I tells ya!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Through the Wickets

How many errors can Dan make in a single column? Let's count:

1. "Atlanta's Dayton Moore took himself out of the running for Red Sox general manager Tuesday, joining Kevin Towers, Doug Melvin, J.P. Ricciardi, Brian Sabean, Terry Ryan, Chris Antonetti, and Tony LaCava in the long list of those who've said "not interested" to Larry Lucchino."

Melvin, Ricciardi, Sabean and Ryan are under contract, so saying no was really their bosses' decision, not theirs. And Ricciardi's "no" came three years ago, pre Theo.

2. "Lucchino addressed the GM search -- and a few other issues that have made him a New England dartboard on par with Haywood Sullivan after Sully forgot to mail Carlton Fisk's contract."

No, Dan is a New England dartboard. Lucchino is just disliked intensely.

3. Lucchino: "We're not going to have any further comments on Theo. ... I believe Tom [Werner] said it's time to turn the page on that."

Dan: "So the Sox aren't saying yes or no on the Theo rumor that won't go away."

Wrong. The Sox said "no." Repeatedly. You just don't listen well.

4. "They obviously waited too long to negotiate with Theo and now they look like George McGovern trying to find a running mate in 1972."

They obviously made a mistake in leaking info to Dan. The rest of that statement is unprovable.

5. "This is the first time the current ownership group has been blasted in Boston."

The Henry group was torched before they even put their names on their office doors. Dan should know: He led the torching.

6. "Now they know a little about how Bob Kraft felt after he alienated Bill Parcells, got too involved, and suffered through the Pete Carroll era."

Gee, that sure worked out poorly for the Pats, didn't it? i guess if they don't alientate Parcells, they win four straight Super Bowls, instead of the lousy three that they got.

7. "They can put all the positive spin on it they want, but this represents the first crisis for this ownership group."

See no. 5.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Saturday, November 12, 2005

All Over the Place

Quick: What's today's subject? In the first 129 words of today's column, Shaughnessy mentions (in order) Bill Parcells, Drew Bledsoe, Roger Clemens, M.L. Carr, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

So if you guessed Tim Duncan and what life would be like had the ping pong balls bounded the Celtics way, you'd be right.

Cliche watch: "Clemens had just left the Red Sox for the Blue Jays after being told he was in the twilight of his career."

Bird watch: "[Ainge] played in many of the games in which the Celtics beat the Spurs -- 20 straight -- Back In The Day of Bird, Chief, and McHale."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dan the Stalker?

"I have never intentionally read Dan Shaughnessy."
--Rafael Palmiero, Nov. 10, 2005

No column from Dan today, but if you want a good laugh, read this comment on the CHB from Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch. The last line is priceless:
Gordon Edes and Michael Silverman report that the Red Sox are not trying to lure Theo Epstein back into the fold, so that rumor can be put to bed. Sean McAdam also reports on the rumors, but apparently prior to the announcement last night by John Henry and Tom Werner that they were not pursuing Theo. Part of me says that these rumors of the Red Sox trying to get Theo to change his mind are coming from the Red Sox, as an effort at damage control. Even with the denial last night, with recent events you can't help but think that. Do you think the irrelevant one, Dan Shaughnessy, wrote that column yesterday on his own? He can deny to his grave that he wasn't told to write, but events of the recent (and distant) past put a cloud of doubt and distrust over that claim. It can't be pointed out enough that Shaughnessy used a Red Sox owner (Werner) to get his daughter a Hollywood internship. You don't think he "owes" them big time? And don't email me, Dan.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dan Defies Logic (Redux)

In his now famous Dirty Laundry column, Dan wrote: “The only unfortunate aspect is that the embers will smolder for years to come.”

Here's what I wrote in response: "Darn right. Dan himself will see to that."

That prophecy didn't take long to come true. Writing about the Red Sox' vacant GM position today, the CHB offers this novel thought: "The Red Sox should offer the job to Brookline native Theo Epstein."

"This is not as stupid as it sounds," he goes on to say. Question to Dan: Just how badly did that curling iron burn your brain?

He goes on to recite the names of several persons who "left and came back" Billy Martin, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Harry Sinden, Ray Bourque among others. Let's look at that list: Martin was fired over and again; Bourque was traded; Jordan's father had just been murdered; Ali was brain damaged; Sinden never recaptured his early coaching success. Great comparisons, Dan.

And how about this bit of unfettered nastiness:
It's not a suggestion from Curt Schilling or any of his little late-night, on-line friends. ... It's just something that makes sense.

This is a thinly veiled reference to the Sons of Sam Horn board -- which Dan doubtlessly reads and probably leans on for ideas. Wonder if he knows that Eric Van (IQ 143) is one of those "online friends"; the same Eric Van who provides analysis for the late, great Sox GM for whose return the CHB is lobbying. Confused yet? Dan sure is.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Go Back to the Sox

I always look forward to the days when Dan doesn't write about the Red Sox. Unless, that is, he writes about something else.

Today's topic: The Celtics. He writes: "Certainly if the Celtics continue to play like this, they're going to matter again around here..." And like the one-man SI jinx he is, as soon as these words hit the street, Gang Green managed to drop its second in a row -- to the hapless Bobcats.

In a bit of irony, the column is titled "They sure got our attention." Of course, for Dan, who must share a brain with Benjy from The Sound and the Fury, 1,000 words is too long to possibly stick to any one subject. Sure enough, the piece invokes, on multiple occasions, the Patriots and (who else?) the Red Sox.

Sox mania isn't about to subside and the Patriots are preparing to play the Game of the Year on "Monday Night Football," so it's going to be difficult for the Celtics to get your attention.

Darn right, especially when you keep interjecting unrelated items from other sports into your columns.

Bird Alert: "It wasn't always like this, of course. There was a time when the Celtics were No. 1 -- when Larry and Chief and Kevin and a guard named Danny Ainge walked through that door and patrolled the parquet."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Milking It

No Dan yesterday or today, but look at this: The Globe still has The Column displayed high on its Red Sox page, along with the Tuesday NECN clip of the columnist-cum-multimedia man. (Nothing's happened since then, guys? Like Theo's press conference, for example?)

Seems the Globe either doesn't recognize -- or doesn't care -- of its ace columnist's role in all of this. Whetever happened to journalists reporting the news, instead of making it?

Edit: When I checked back at 11:50 a.m., the link to The Column had been removed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dan Being Dan

From this morning's appearance on the Dennis and Callahan show on WEEI (850 AM).

John Dennis: Was there a purpose to feeding the salary info to Edes and Snow?

CHB: I think the guys on our paper did their work and reported what they knew. It’s insulting to say it was spoonfed to them.


JD: So you don’t think the column should have pissed off Theo?

CHB: He’s 31. ... Nothing was leaked. I did my work. Most of that stuff in the column was stuff that was out ... in my book.

Gerry Callahan: The only thing that changed after the deal was almost done was your column. They agreed not to talk ... Someone violated that trust.

CHB: If that’s true, they have to work them out themselves. It’s not my job ... we’re not in the business of filtering out that stuff. All I did was write what I believe. The facts are facts. ... A lot of it’s opinion.

JD: When you have a longstanding mole, does it change the veracity [the need to always challenge that source]?
CHB: I suppose that’s true, but you have to guard against that. If you’re talking about the Colorado trade situation, I had more than one source.


JD: Did it occur to you as you wrote that piece that it would get the attention of and piss off Theo?

CHB: That was one of things in the column. Too much was out there. Maybe I knew too much. They would have to answer that. ... I know both of these guys pretty well ... and Larry’s side wasn’t getting out there.


JD: You might not regret it, and I know it's not your job, but do you think the sides involved regret it?

CHB: I write for the readers. I thought there had been too much, complete negligence, Larry was being portrayed as a bean counter, not a baseball guy, and in my opinion that’s not true.


JD: ... Do you use [take advantage of] your sources?

CHB: I don’t know. That’s a little scary. I can’t quite make that connection. Everybody uses their sources.

JD: Do they use you?

CHB: You try not to be used.


CHB: Most of this has been written before. It’s old stuff.

JD: What about the Colorado thing? That was new to me.

CHB: That was new. ... And I know it was absolutely true.

Caller: What possible motive could you have had, even if you had written them before? Sometimes when you are arguing with your wife, it’s best not to bring up things that happened in the past.

CHB: My job is to tell the readers what’s going on, about the relationship between these two guys. ... I can’t believe it’s that shallow, that kneejerk.

GC: You’ve said that Larry’s not your source. Or that you had other sources. That your source wasn't Larry.

CHB: I don’t remember if I said that.

JD: Do you think that Larry knew of, or approved of, what your source was doing?

CHB: No.


JD: One last time, Larry Luchino was not the source of your Sunday column, and Larry approved of, or knew of, Sunday's actions?

CHB: To the best of my knowledge, that's correct.

Note the revisionist history. In The Column, Dan says too much about the individuals and the contract talks has already been said. In trying to defend himself, he says "Larry’s side wasn’t getting out there." Which is it?

Obviously Dan the Samaritan felt sorry for poor Larry Lucchino, whose high school baseball prowess wasn't getting its due. So he writes a piece glorifying the baseball genius that is Lucchino. Left unasked: Must it be a zero-sum game? Couldn't he have penned a piece that lauded Larry without trashing Theo in the process?

Answer: Of course not; it was just Dan being Dan.

Columnist, or Talking Head?

Dan doesn't pen a column today, but when would he have the time? Here's a rundown of his media appearances:

Nov. 2
Kiss FM (Kiss 108FM-radio)
WTKK (96.9FM-radio)
WFAN New York (66AM-radio)
ESPN Radio (890/1400AM-radio)
NECN (tv) (interviewed for sports news spot)

Nov. 3
WEEI (850AM-radio)

Question: Will Oct. 30 go down in Boston lore as DS-Day?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Poor Logic, Run Amok

Today Dan offers his sentiments on a deal gone dead, and in defending his role -- which he spends much of the 906-word column doing -- he distorts and twists logic in a way that would make Scooter Libby proud.

Let's roll the tape.

There's been a lot of talk about cartels, smear campaigns, and taking sides, but the fact is that only two men know the truth about the proposed Rockies trade: Lucchino and Epstein. And both know that one of them is spinning a story in an effort to make himself look good and the other look bad. The Epstein camp had its version out there all summer. Lucchino's camp responded Sunday. Still, no one has disputed the version put forth by the Lucchino camp, and one could view that scenario in a positive fashion -- an example of two men who can make things work without worrying about who gets credit or blame.

This last sentence is the clincher: Dan regurgitates a bit of old gossip that is not germane to, well, anything, then makes the dubious case that because no one contested it (also dubious, never mind that Epstein was clearly adhering to an earlier agreement not to wage a media battle over his contract), that means it must be true!

By that thinking, since no one disputed that Dan is Gordon Edes' "Curly Haired Boyfriend," then that must be the case. Enjoy the Perrier tonight while watching Extreme Makeover, boys.

Finally, let's not forget that this entire recounting occured in a column in which Dan calls for everyone to leave the two parties alone!