Friday, December 30, 2005

Dave Barry He's Not

The man with the Will Ferrell perm's tongue-in-cheek take on the headlines of 2006 is notable only for its lack of humor.

He does manage to flame nemeses past and present including, in order, Bob Kraft, Jim Rice, Peyton Manning, Theo Epstein, Bill Parcells, Manny Ramírez, Johnny Damon, the Red Sox, Theo Epstein (again), the Red Sox (again), "dome-bellied Curt Schilling," the Celtics, Nomar Garciaparra, Charlie Jacobs, Theo Epstein (again), and the Red Sox (again). And he throws in a few buddies -- well, Larry Lucchino, four times -- for balance (or lack of creativity).

Dan, you may look like Will Ferrell and you may dress like Will Ferrell, but you ain't no Will Ferrell. And if you must rip off Dave Barry, it helps to be funny.

Larry Bird watch: "Dec. 7: FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- Larry Bird turned 50. He said he still loves Ron Artest."

Sensitivity watch: "A couple of 30-something fanboy bloggers posed as reporters, but were banished when they used their notepads to procure autographs (the Schilling jerseys gave them away). One of their moms picked them up in a minivan." I guess the CHB is not happy about this site. Wonder why?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dr. Dan

One of the things I've learned from being married to a neuropsychologist is that it’s a long expensive process to become one. If only they knew what Dr. Dan knows, they'd skip med school and go straight into column writing. The latter pays better, and they'd avoid all the student loans too.

On to today's column.

In February 2004, the son of former major league pitcher Jeff Reardon died of a drug overdose. This week, Reardon was arrested for allegedly robbing a jewelry store. In today's piece, amid odd tangents on Reardon's pitching career, Tony Dungy's dignity, Dan Duquette and Tony Fossas, Dr. Dan dissects whether the two incidents were related. Judging by the evidence, Dan lingered a little long at the yuletide eggnog bowl.

Let's start with his conclusion. "No need looking for explanations," he writes. "It will never make any sense. Jeff Reardon's world stopped making sense in February of 2004."

Dr. Dan apparently forgot what he wrote just three grafs earlier: "But it's clear that the once-dominant pitcher never got over the death of his son. And why would he? Why would anyone?"

And he apparently forgot that in the second graf he wrote: "No. It wasn't about money. It wasn't about debt. In all likelihood, it was about loss."

Mmmmm ... ten cent psychoanalysis ... mmmm.

It's hard enough for professionals to analyze a patient, and no professional worth their salt would make an assessment from afar. More worrisome, though, is that Dr. Dan -- who has always struggled remembering what he wrote weeks and years before -- now can't seem to recall what he wrote a few sentences earlier. (Personal note to the good doctor: If you want some memory help, I'm sure my wife could hook you up with a few good specialists.)

And finally, let's, er, bury once and for all this idea that somehow racking up high saves totals means you were a good pitcher. The save rule is a joke, and if that's the only case one can make for a pitcher's worth, then they are better off not making it at all.

Dan Watch Interrupted

Sorry for the lack of posts; my 11-week-old son was hospitalized for a few nights. Will be back later today with some updates.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Dan Interrupted

With Dan off today, we take a moment to remind readers just why this blog exists.

Contrary to what you might think, this is not a fan blog. This blog exists to add weight to the widespread thinking that Dan Shaughnessy is a devil who must be stopped.

Now I'm not saying he is The Devil, big d, red tights, goatee. Nor am not saying he has a forked tail (although he might, and as the overwhelming evidence shows, he certainly has a forked tongue). No, he is a devil, small d, a symbol of all the negativity, poor judgment and hysteria that plagues journalism.

Here's my take on how Dan researches a piece. He listens to talk radio for a couple of hours, gets a sense of the prevailing winds based on a small and hysterical bunch of morons, and writes down the best one-liners. He then goes to Fenway, eavesdrops in the lockerroom while freeloading a meal, then wanders up to the booth where he eats a few more times. Somewhere around the 7th inning, he cuts out and heads for home or the bar.

That night, the Red Sox lose. In the paper the next day runs some brilliant analysis about how the season is over and what went down was "a bag job," whether it was the sale of the Red Sox or the MVP vote. And when the hate mail starts pouring in, he shrugs it off, saying "I'm paid for opinions."

That's the classic fallback and it's why writers love to be columnists: They don't have to think. They don't have to understand (let alone use) math or logic. They are, in essence, paid to do nothing.

I think of the times in the middle of the day when I've seen him in the Borders Bookstore at the Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill looking at his own books, and I wonder, How is it that guys like Jay Jaffe can hold down day jobs and still write scintillating, revealing columns, while guys like Dan are making the high salaries?

And, is this really the best Boston can do?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

No Goodwill in Dan's World

I was curious what would happen in Dan's World if and when Damon left. Who would he trash: Red Sox management, or Damon? (That Damon simply felt that the best place for him would be New York would never have crossed The CHB's mind, of course.)

The answer: Red Sox management!
Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing. ... So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue. It's fair to say this is becoming a winter of discontent in Red Sox Nation. Ben and Jed and Craig and Larry and Tom and John and Crosby, Stills & Nash can spin this anyway they want, but Sox fans can't escape the conclusion that there's chaos at the top. The Josh Beckett trade bought some goodwill and glad tidings, but losing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow to the foundation of the Nation.

Pouring it on a little thick this morning, aren't we Sybil? Want to pick a few nits? OK, let's go!

"[N]o Theo and no clue." Here's what Dan wrote on Nov. 29: "Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota, and an overpaid Mike Lowell for two Double A players and two Single A players? Back in the days when Charlie Finley was strip-mining the Oakland A's, commissioner Bowie Kuhn used to block these kinds of deals. Could the trade have been any sweeter if Theo were still on the job?" Not to mention that in his infamous Dirty Laundry column, Dan made the case that Lucchino, not Theo, has been the brains behind the operation all along.

"[L]osing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow." Was it just April 2, 2005, when Dan wrote: "Then there's Johnny Damon, who wants to be a movie star and gives a whole new meaning to the term 'idiot.' "

"Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing." That's a switch. Less than two months ago, in his infamous Dirty Laundry column, Dan/Sybil wrote: "It was downright hilarious to read agent Scott Boras and Johnny Damon claiming the Sox weren't communicating with them because of Theo's own contract status. This from an agent who likes to make his deals on the eve of spring training. If there's silence from the Sox regarding Damon, maybe it's because the Sox are waiting for Johnny and Scott to get off their ridiculous five-year contract demand."

Indeed, if there's "chaos at the top," maybe it's because Lucchino, Steinberg et al are spending all their time looking for an intern.

Leave it to Dan to get hysterical. Cult of personality notwithstanding, the Damon of today is just another player, on the decline due to age and injuries. The Yankees are paying for past performance, and by the end of this contract will likely be getting little return for their investment. But in Dan/Sybil's world, every story has a villian. Some perspective, please.

2 p.m. edit: A great breakdown of the signing here by Joe Sheehan. Excerpts:
Despite all the attention paid to him, however, Damon is not a superstar, or arguably even a star. ...

As much as anything else, Damon looks like a lesser version of the center fielder the Yankees recently became so disenchanted with. ... Damon, like Nomar Garciaparra, got a big boost from Fenway Park, on the order of 50 points of batting average and OBP the last three seasons. The Yankees aren’t really getting a .310/.370/.450 guy so much as they’re getting a .285/.345/.425 guy. ...

Like many free-agent contracts, the problem with this one isn’t the immediate future. Damon is enough of an upgrade on the available options to help the Yankees in 2006. As he declines, however, he will present the dual problem of hurting the team in center while not hitting enough to be a viable option on an outfield corner. I don’t see where a 34-year-old Johnny Damon is going to return enough value to be worth $13 million, meaning he’ll be just another aging Yankee in decline at the back end of this deal.

The Red Sox could actually end up huge winners here. There’s a rumor making the rounds that they’re trying to deal Matt Clement to the Mariners for Jeremy Reed. If they can do that, they will have replaced Damon with, essentially, a Damon Starter Kit, complete with functional arm and 25-year-old legs, and saved $20 million a year in the process. ... If they get Reed, they’ll never miss Damon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New York Post State of Mind

Here's the start of Jay Jaffe's column today on relief pitchers and the Hall of Fame.
In the past quarter-century we've seen a drastic change in pitching usage patterns. Not only has every team gone to a five-man rotation, but starters rarely pitch complete games anymore. Instead they routinely yield to a bullpen which, if the lead fits into a narrow box outside of which 95 percent of all managers are afraid to think, passes the baton to a one-inning specialist imbued with mystical powers that relievers of an earlier era somehow did not possess.

If this specialist, called a closer, is successful--and for the most part, such success is as attainable as that for an NFL placekicker--he collects a statistical cookie called a save (mmm, cookie) and is exalted by the media. Meanwhile the closer’s fireman predecessors, who often pitched two or three frames at a clip and entered when the score was tied or (heaven forbid) tilted in the other team’s favor, receive little love from the Hall of Fame electorate, which has trained itself to value an 80-inning/40-save season more highly than the 110-inning/25-save ones of that bygone era.

We shouldn’t be fooled by high save totals; it’s the runs that matter, and due to the limited innings they throw, the Davenport numbers tell us that it’s nearly impossible for the best late-model relievers to be more valuable than the best everyday players or starting pitchers. Annual Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP3) totals above 10.0 are common for elite players at their peaks, but the best relievers--of either variety--top 8.0 only in a rare Mariano Rivera/Eric Gagne-caliber year. The three enshrined relievers (Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, and Dennis Eckersley) have a combined two seasons above 8.0 as relievers (Eck topped 8.0 twice as a starter).
Jaffe goes on to explain the arguments for and against enshrining various relievers and the methodology behind it.

Also today, Joe Sheehan posts an elegant piece arguing that Nomar will not be a good buy for the Dodgers. Unlike a few folks we know, here's the most inflammatory line: "Garciaparra is at a point in his career where you have to question his ability to both stay on the field and be a productive player when he does so." Sheehan then makes the case that L.A. will be paying more (and getting less production) than it would had it just stuck with its incumbent first baseman.

We bring this up only because they are shining examples of what strong and relevant columns are being written today.

Then there's the CHB (aka Sybil). Today's missive, likely written on a napkin over lunch, is on the selling of various Manny Ramirez memorabilia.

What, is Shaughnessy primping for a spot on Page Six of the Post?

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Sybil Award (More Dan-isms)

Quick: What’s the significance of May 1, 2003 in Boston sports history? Would it help if I narrowed it down to the Celtics?

“If you are the Celtics, you have to hope you win tonight, or even Saturday. Win either game and the horrors of Game 5 at Conseco Fieldhouse become nothing more than a footnote. But . . . If the Celtics lose two more times, then Tuesday's nightmare in Indianapolis goes down in infamy. It will simply never be forgotten. It will take its place in the New England Sports Museum Hall of Shame alongside Bill Buckner's error and Too Many Men on the Ice.” (Boston Globe, May 1, 2003. For the record, the sixth-seeded Celtics beat the third-seeded Pacers. Big deal, wasn’t it?)

Based on the 1500 or so hits received after our first column on Dan-isms, perhaps we should throw out a few more:

“So, what exactly were the Houston Astros thinking when they shipped Carl Everett to Boston in exchange for minor league prospects Adam Everett and Greg Miller? Everett had three more hits and four RBIs in yesterday's 14-2 rout of the Oakland A's. In 10 games with the Red Sox, he's hitting .444 with a team-high four homers and 13 RBIs.” (on Carl Everett, Boston Globe, April 16, 2000)

“Could this have worked out any better for Carl Everett and the Red Sox?
Doubtful.” (Boston Globe, May 27, 2000)

“Carl Everett was the Ebola virus of the Boston clubhouse. The Sox should have dealt him for a sack of doorknobs if that's what was offered." (Boston Globe, Dec. 13, 2001)

Based on what we have seen in April of 2002, the best move by the loathed and deposed general manager was the December 2001 trade in which he dumped nutcase Carl Everett …” (Boston Globe, May 1, 2002)

“The best man for the job is getting the job. ... Such a concept.” and “It makes so much sense. How can it be true?" (on the hiring of Dan Duquette, Boston Globe, Jan. 27, 1994)

“The Red Sox in this holiday season have become Fools 'R' Us.” (on Dan Duquette’s offseason moves, Boston Globe, Nov. 27, 1998. The Red Sox made the playoffs in 1999)

“Dan Duquette has gone from doofus to genius in less than 24 hours.” (on signing Manny Ramirez, Boston Globe, Dec 13, 2000)

“But spare us the tears, Dan. Where was all that emotion when you heartlessly bulldozed dozens of people in the organization and ran the team in a completely bloodless, corporate fashion?” (on the firing of Dan Duquette, Boston Globe, March 1, 2002)

“Fourteen starts. Three wins. Roger Clemens is never going to be confused with Mr. October. Clemens is Wilt Chamberlain and the postseason is one gigantic free throw. Last night, he was given the ball with a chance to close out the Oakland A's in the fourth game of the American League Division Series. (on Roger Clemens, Boston Globe, Oct. 8, 2000)

“The hair on his head is starting to thin, but Roger Clemens still throws 96 miles per hour, hits all the corners, and wins more than any pitcher in the American League.” (Aug. 31, 2001)

“How could anybody miss that butt?” (on Shawn Estes’ attempted beaning of Roger Clemens, Boston Globe, June 16, 2002)

“Roger Clemens is 40 years old and will be a free agent at the end of this season. … The new Red Sox management should explore the possibility of mending fences and signing the Rocket to a one-year contract. Sox fans may hate the guy, but a Pedro Martinez-Derek Lowe-Roger Clemens top three would look pretty good next spring.” (Boston Globe, Sept. 4, 2002)

“But now it’s time to come back to his basketball roots. It's time to return to the land of Jack Leaman, Dr. J, Al Skinner, Dave Gavitt, Ronnie Perry, Joe Mullaney. It's time to come home to the New Garden where Red and K.C., and the Cooz and Tommy Heinsohn still prowl. It's time to come back to New England to rescue the once-proud Boston Celtics.” (on the hiring of Rick Pitino, Boston Globe, July 7, 1997)

“Thanksdad Gaston has to be wondering if he made a wise move when he turned over complete control and $50 million to a man who we know is a terrific college coach, a snappy dresser, and a top-shelf motivational speaker.” (on Rick Pitino, Boston Globe, May 25, 1999)

“The Cowboy Uppers of last year did not bring a World Series to Boston, but few would argue that it was among the most thrilling of all Boston baseball summers, taking a place alongside pennant-winning years of 1967, 1975, and 1986. All three of those embraceable teams flopped badly the next year and the 2004 Sox are threatening to do the same thing.” (on the Red Sox, Boston Globe, July 1, 2004)

“The Red Sox really are put on this earth to torture and test the faith of their fans. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more hideous, the Sox did it again last night. The Red Sox really are put on this earth to torture and test the faith of their fans. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more hideous, the Sox did it again last night.” (on the Red Sox, Boston Globe, July 2, 2004. Four months later, the Red Sox were World Series champions)

“But hubristic Bill erred when he dealt Bledsoe to a division rival. It was the football equivalent of telling Roger Clemens he was in the ''twilight'' of his career. And let's not forget a transaction 82 years ago when the Red Sox sold their best player to a division rival from New York. That one hasn't worked out too well, either.” (on Bill Belichick, Boston Globe, Nov. 3, 2002. Since the trade, the Patriots have a regular season won-loss record of 46-16 and two more Super Bowl wins; Bledsoe has a regular season won-loss record of 31-31)

“The University of Belichick takes its rightful place alongside Harvard and MIT. And the New England Patriots of the 21st century are established as an NFL dynasty on par with the Packers of the 1960s, the Steelers of the '70s, the 49ers of the '80s, and the Cowboys of the '90s.” (following the Patriots’ third Super Bowl Win, Boston Globe, Feb. 7, 2005)

“A fourth straight one-and-out would expose the myth of Billy Beane’s ‘ Moneyball’ A’s.” (during the AL playoffs, Boston Globe, Oct. 6, 2003)

“Having the top payroll doesn’t guarantee that you're going to win the World Series, and we worry about the small markets, but we’ve seen Oakland compete in the last couple of years with teams that finish in the first place. … You need good management in addition to money; having the money is not enough.” (on WGBH Forum, March 30, 2004)

Lock Down

"The greatest Patriots victory of them all."

Was it Super Bowl XXXVI, a upset of the heavily favored Rams? Was it the Snow Bowl, which took a dizzying combination of elements (not the least of which was 40+ years of animosity between the Raiders and the NFL) to pull off? Was it the back-to-back wins in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX?

No, claims Dan-O today. "The Patriots are going to beat the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs Jan. 15 at the RCA Dome. Set aside the Super Bowls, Tuck Rule Games, and annual playoff conquests in Steeltown; in the long, lofty reign of His Hooded Holiness, this will be the greatest victory of them all."

I don't think I can summon the energy to point out all the things that are useless about this column. Let's just recall this column from June 26,, where Dan wrote:
It's OK to say it. Don't worry about jinxing them. The 2005 Red Sox are going to win the American League East. By a landslide. Come late September, this is going to look like Secretariat at the Belmont in 1973.

Sounds like he's a little behind on his Christmas shopping, so he just updated an old piece. Nice work.

Inane baseball reference alert: "In 1986, Red Sox lefthander Bruce Hurst missed more than a month in the middle of the season with a groin pull. The good part of the injury was that it enabled him to be strong in October when he pitched better than Roger Clemens, who was worn out after going 24-4. These Patriots in December (and January) look like Bruce Hurst in October of '86."

Inane basketball reference alert: "Remember when the 1969 old-guard Celtics finished in fourth place, then rallied in the playoffs and won Bill Russell's final championship? They beat a Lakers team that had Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor. And they won Game 7 on the road. That's a little bit what this will be like."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Mueller's Tale

There's nothing quite like the media complaining about a subject's lack of press.

Dan's take today on the departure of unsung Red Sox 3B Bill Mueller is characterized by a pair of eyebrow-raising comments:

"How could anyone fly this far under the radar while playing a big role in the success of the Red Sox at a time like this?"


"The Sox manage to make big news almost every day, even when they do nothing but turn the light on for Theo."

No kidding. Remind me, how many times has Dan mentioned Bill Mueller during his three years in Boston? (Answer: Sixty-seven.) Of those, how many were anything more than a shoehorned-in afterthought? (Answer: One. Today.)

Let's look at a recent sampling of Dan's Bill Mueller mentions:

*Oct. 9, 2005: Tony Graffanino certainly deserves another look, and the Sox may try to work out a short-term deal with Bill Mueller, though that's unlikely.

*Oct. 8, 2005: The Sox are bound to undergo a major makeover before they next meet in Fort Myers, Fla.; well-known characters such as Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, Mike Timlin, and maybe even Manny Ramirez are likely to be gone.

*Oct. 7, 2005: If the Sox lose today, it could be Damon's last game with the Red Sox. Same goes for Bill Mueller, Millar, and maybe even Manny.

*Sept. 3, 2005: If not for a tough error on Bill Mueller, all four Oriole runs could have been earned.

Why so little press for the man the CHB calls the "Sox' Stealth Star?" We need look only to Aug. 14, 2005, when one Dan Shaughnessy wrote: "Sorry, Bill Mueller fans. Your guy is simply too boring for words."

That one instance in three years that Mueller rated more than a footnote in a Shaughnessy column? July 25, 2004, after he hit a walkoff homer to beat Mariano Rivera and the Yankees.

In fact, on the Dan dedicated column count, Mueller is tied (at one) with hitting coach Ron (Papa Jack) Jackson, one behind Framingham Lou Merloni.

Wholly disengenuous.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


"I always say I look at the bright side." (ESPN Outside the Lines, Oct. 22, 2000)

And yet ...

"Imagine a 2-0 lead and Pedro Martinez hasn't even started yet? However, if you are old enough to remember 1986 or 1978, maybe you are not so certain." (Boston Globe, Oct. 26, 2004)

"Personally, I already miss the old Red Sox a little. ... They never again will be the cuddly team on a near century-long, quixotic quest. ... Buckner and Friends are off the hook. All of them." (Boston Globe, Oct. 29, 2004)

"In my mind there's no question that the O'Donnell group was the way to go." (to USA Today, Jan. 22, 2002)

"[T]he bag job of a major league franchise sale..." (on the Henry group, Boston Globe, March 27, 2005)

"[David Ortiz is] a giant sack of you-know-what ..." (on WWZN, Jan. 4, 2003; link unavailable)

"I don't care." (quoting Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, to Marjory Eagan on 96.9 FM, when asked how he felt when the Sox recorded the final out of the World Series. Dan replied he had a perfect analogy, referring to Jones' glib response to Harrison Ford when the erstwhile "Han Solo" says he didn't kill his wife; Oct. 28, 2004)

"Why does this stuff always happen with the Red Sox? Why can't it just be about the baseball? Even for one day." (on Pedro Martinez leaving a game early, Boston Globe, April 6, 2004)

"It is therefore no surprise that [Dr. Charles] Steinberg took an interest in the young Theo Epstein. By 1992, he was the Orioles' director of public affairs, overseeing four departments. He'd reviewed 10,000 resumes and interviewed more than 1,000 young candidates when Epstein went to see him during spring break in 1992." (Boston Globe, March 27, 2005. Ed. note: Ten thousand resumes, at one minute per resume, comes to 166.67 hours, or a little more than four workweeks. One thousand interviews, at roughly 30 minutes per candidate, comes to 500 hours, 12.5 workweeks. Combined, that equals nearly 17 workweeks -- one-third of the working year -- devoted to finding a single unpaid intern. No wonder the Orioles were such a mess. Or maybe Dan just made it all up.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Before and After

Dan, on Roger Clemens, Dec. 14, 1996:
But on this day of new beginnings and inestimable wealth, there was no glory, no grace in either Toronto or Boston. Clemens bolted Boston and he spit on Fenway on his way out the door.
... Let the record show that The Rocket is 34 years old and went 40-39 over the last four (injury-filled) seasons while earning $20 million. Despite those numbers, he's now the highest-paid pitcher in baseball (Atlanta's John Smoltz got $31 million for four years). ...He didn't take any lumps yesterday. He took $31.1 million. And he dumped all over the Boston Red Sox, who were good to him for 13 big league seasons.
Dan, on Roger Clemens, following the Red Sox-Yankees playoff game/beanball war:
Which one would you rather have now, Sox fans? Roger Clemens -- who kept his composure and behaved like a professional Saturday night, winning the game for his team despite his obvious anger? Or Pedro, the baby who hits a guy after he blows a lead, then points at his head and at Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, threatening "you're next"?
And on May 13, 2005:
Roger Clemens is the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball. The Red Sox should do whatever it'll take to bring him back home for the stretch run in 2005.
On Pedro Martinez, Aug. 26, 2003:
He's the greatest pitcher we've seen since Sandy Koufax. ... Too bad he got it in his head that we don't respect him. Too bad he wants to leave.
On Pedro, Feb. 21, 2004:
... the Dominican Diva ...
On Curt Schilling, Nov. 29, 2003:
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.
On Schilling, Feb. 21, 2004:
The day he signed with Boston he said, "I guess I hate the Yankees now." He has already looked at the schedule and concluded it'll be his turn to pitch when the Yankees first come to Fenway April 16. He spends time in cyberspace, conversing with Red Sox fans. ... Any wonder Curt Schilling is a hit with Red Sox Nation?
On Schilling, Nov. 9, 2005:
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. ...
On Nomar Garciaparra, July 10, 2000:
In Boston, there never has been a ballplayer like him. Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said it best two years ago when he observed, "It’s like he’s been here before." True. Sometimes it seems as if Garciaparra is the reincarnation of Tris Speaker or Rogers Hornsby - an old hardball soul in a young man’s perfect baseball body.
On Nomar, June 10, 2004:
By any measure, Garciaparra is one of the most popular Sox players of all time. He's the fourth-leading hitter in franchise history, trailing only Ted Williams, Wade Boggs, and Tris Speaker. He has played hard for every inning of every game since he first got called up at the end of the 1996 season.
On Nomar, Aug. 1, 2004:
Thank the baseball god, he's gone. We no longer have to watch Nomar Garciaparra pretend that he cares about the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox.
Now that the Red Sox need a shortstop, will Dan next write about how they need to bring back Nomar? Stay tuned.

The Recycler

Tom Brady and Larry Bird must be the same person. After all, Dan says so: "This was one of those days when Tom Brady -- and we've said this before -- was Larry Bird."

Just like he did less than three months ago. And one year ago. And on Feb. 4, 2002.

Not to mention on Feb. 3, 2004, the notorious day when Dan ripped off Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. Here's what Dan wrote:
HOUSTON -- Get out the chisels and sand blasters. Time to put Tom Brady's handsome face on Boston's professional sports Mt. Rushmore Monument.

This is no small honor. Only four men have had their faces carved into the side of our imaginary mountain -- Ted Williams, Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, and Larry Bird. Four seemed like the right number when Bird went up and we thought his big beak might be the last nose sculpted on the side of Mt. Fame.
And here's what Guregian wrote -- the day before (no link available):
HOUSTON - If someone were to sculpt a Mount Rushmore of Boston sports legends, the faces of Ted Williams, Bill Russell, Bobby Orr and Larry Bird would hold some serious rock space.

Prior to last night, there would be no Patriot players etched in stone. There would be no football representatives getting face-time on our pretend mountain.
Coincidence, I'm sure.

He also pitched the idea on Bob Lobel's show in September 2002.

Indeed, Dan's Dec. 4, 2004, column reads an awful lot like today's, rife with comparisons between the Celtics and the Patriots. I know, I know...different sports, different eras. Just don't tell Dan that.

(As an aside, Jackie McMullen used the same tired cliche following the 2005 Super Bowl: "He is unbeaten, untied, and unequivocally the king of the football world. Tom Brady may not have been voted the most valuable player of last night's Super Bowl, but he is the quarterback of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (again), and when all the dynasty talk begins in earnest this morning, it starts with the former sixth-round draft choice from Michigan, who has earned his rightful place among Boston legends Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, and Ted Williams." Time to give it a rest, guys.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Forget Me Not

Dan hates the world of online journalism. Except, of course, when he needs it to do his job.

Here's what Dan wrote on Nov. 9:
It's not a suggestion from Curt Schilling or any of his little late-night, on-line [sic] friends.
Here's what Dan writes today:
The closest the Sox have come to ruling out a return of Epstein came when Henry went online with the Sons of Sam Horn Nov. 22 and wrote, "Theo was clear in his press conference when he opted not to close the door to the future. But life is constant change and for the most part it is exceedingly unpredictable. He is not going to return as our surprise GM in this process. We are proceeding carefully to make the right choice. There are more potential candidates than is known simply because a number of people prefer to avoid, if at all possible, a highly charged, circus atmosphere that ends with only one candidate being chosen."
So when it's Schilling -- whom Dan despises because, well, he won't talk to Dan (wonder why?) -- the Sons of Sam Horn board is mocked. But what happens when those "little late-night, on-line [sic] friends" happen to do Dan's work better than he ever could? Simple. He steals it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Predictable World of the CHB

That didn't take long. On Saturday, Dan advocated for Jeremy Kapstein as Sox GM. On Wednesday the Globe's Gordon Edes shot that down, writing in his blog:
Jeremy Kapstein, who at one time cut a deal with Larry Lucchino to do the job on an interim basis, was telling people here that he is no longer in the picture.
Of course, Dan gave himself an out. Here's what I wrote Saturday:
But he also writes, "This typist strongly doubts the Sox will turn to Kapstein, even on an interim basis ..." So if Kapstein falls by the wayside, Dan has his out. Brilliant.
Rarely do things fall in place so quickly, except in the utterly predictable world of the CHB.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dan Plagiarizes Nomar?

It's not my job to help them [sportswriters] do their job. Nomar Garciaparra, winter 2003.

"It's not their [athletes'] job to help us [sportswriters] do their job." Dan Shaughnessy, Dec. 6, 2005

Is Dan finally coming around? He even sucks up to Jim Rice in today's piece. Not surprisingly, it wasn't long ago he was trashing the former Sox slugger:

* On Jan. 11, 2004, Shaughnessy says in an interview that he votes for Rice “even though he was borderline, because I don’t want that charge leveled at me”: that reporters penalize Rice for being uncooperative, surly and even intimidating toward them. ... Shaughnessy laughs: “So there’s a vote for him because he was a churl.”

* On Jan. 9, 2002, he wrote in the Globe: "[Rice was] a one-dimensional, no-speed, no-defense left fielder ..."

There's more, much more, but I'm on another deadline today.

So when it comes to Jim Rice, is DS full of BS? Or is he really just courting the graces of the Red Sox (who for the first time are pushing Rice's nomination hard)?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kicking the Pig(skin)

Adam Vinatieri takes over the Patriots all-time scoring record. In itself, it's not that big a deal. The top 20 scorers all-time are all kickers. And he's not even halfway to the NFL record of 2,448 points, held by Gary Anderson.

Still, in discussing Vinatieri's "feat" (get it?) today Dan recycles for the millionth time Vinatieri's famous game-tying kick against the Raiders in the playoffs, comparing it to " 'Havlicek stole the ball,' and Dave Roberts's steal and Curt Schilling's sock and Bobby Orr's dive through the air.

And in just a wee bit of hyperbole, the CHB intimates that, sans The Kick, the Pats might as well be sporting Houston Texans jerseys: "[I]t led to a championship. Maybe three." OK ... maybe I'm not looking at this right, but football always seemed to me to be a lot harder than that.

Can't wait to see what Dan writes when Adam finally misses one and costs the Pats an upset over the Colts in the playoffs come January.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Every Which Way You Go

This one will be fun to watch. Dan, per usual, plays it both ways in today's column on the Red Sox' GM search.

Scenario A is the status quo. He writes: "Why not just stay with the old guard (Bill Lajoie, Jeremy Kapstein), new guard (Ben Cherington, Craig Shipley, Jed Hoyer) Gang of Five that worked so well making the biggest baseball trade of the offseason thus far?"

Of course, he then immediately shoots it down: "I don't think that's an ideal structure," Lucchino said yesterday afternoon ..." If A comes about, Dan will say it's his idea. If it doesn't, he was speaking rhetorically. Neat, huh?

Scenario B is Bill Lajoie. Dan gives this one the least play. Per Dan, Lajoie said, "We go day-to-day with our present system and it seems to be working pretty well. We are working together and getting along." Dan doesn't give this a thumbs up or down, but shoehorns it in, just in case.

Scenario C is Jerry Kapstein. His candidacy gets more than 800 fawning words of the 1217-word piece. Kapstein is called a "brilliant, likable, veteran baseball man." Dan quotes Carlton Fisk as saying, "No one knows more baseball than Jerry Kapstein." And he digs up a statement from the late Twins owner Calvin Griffith from 1976: "Sure, I'm afraid of him. ... He can decide who wins pennants. He can regulate the structure of baseball." If Kapstein gets the gig, Dan has his in, the maker of kings.

But he also writes, "This typist strongly doubts the Sox will turn to Kapstein, even on an interim basis ..." So if Kapstein falls by the wayside, Dan has his out. Brilliant.