Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No Pedro column yet?

Oh, darn. Guess I'll have to deal with that one tomorrow morning. Anyway, I might have a little trouble with today's contribution, because I wasn't born in 1986. So please forgive me for largely leaving the historical stuff out, and feel free to pick away at it in the comments, because I'm really not going to know the difference. We all good? Okay.

Today's piece is intended to be a smarmy, heart-warming work about the 1986 Red Sox, the infamous Bill Buckner posse. Unheralded! Fantastic! Surprising! Soul-crushing! You get the idea. Right off the bat, we get such nonsense as this:

The Red Sox? They were well below the radar, coming off a thoroughly boring 81-81 season.

Okay, I don't live in Boston, and I wasn't around then, but have the Red Sox ever been below anybody's radar? I have trouble believing this. And since when is 81-81 boring? Seems pretty exciting to me. The season could go either way after that. But what do I know?

There was no Nation, no Monster Section, no pink hats, no ``Sweet Caroline", no Curse, and no automatic sellout for every game.
Minor nitpick: "Sweet Caroline" was written by Neil Diamond in 1969 (yes, I had to look that up). So technically, it was there. Just not at Fenway. But I know what he meant.

Major nitpick: Yup, people, there's that "Curse" again! It wasn't there yet because a certain ugly curly-haired columnist hadn't yet come up with a completely stupid way to make money by writing a book about an odd coincidence! And here he is, pimping it! Yay for CHB!

Also, why does he list things that have only occurred since the Henry/Werner/Lucchino group took over? Nation? Monster Section? Automatic sellout? Not exactly ancient history, Dan. Most of us can remember back farther than 4 years.

They've all been treated unfairly, of course, and I'll own up to my contributions in this area.
Oh my gosh. Is CHB apologizing? Look at this! Oh, wait. He says "I'll own up to my contributions." Future tense. Then he never does. Never mentions anything he said previously. I should have known better.

Now, we get to the most ridiculous paragraph I've ever seen:

These men who'll be honored tonight engineered a comeback every bit as unlikely as what the '04 Red Sox did against the Yankees. Trailing the California Angels, three games to one, they came back from a 5-2 deficit in the ninth inning of Game 5 in Anaheim. And it was Buckner who started the rally with a single up the middle in the ninth. A home run by Dave Henderson became instant Boston folklore as the Sox rallied to win Game 5, 7-6, in 11 innings.

They won the next two in Boston with ease, then took the first two games of the Series in New York.

Holy shit, Dan. No, they didn't. The '04 Red Sox had the most unlikely comeback in the history of sports. Coming back from down 3-0 in the series had never happened before. Please don't tell me you've forgotten all this already, how magical it was, how unexpected: it was two freaking years ago! Coming back from down 3-1, winning one game in extras, and then the other two "easily" is nowhere near as unlikely as coming back from down 3-0, never done before in MLB history, winning two games in extras, winning a game with a pitcher who probably shouldn't have been able to walk at all, and then winning the fourth game easily. Utter BS. Just wow.

The 1986 team deserves credit, not just for coming back against the Angels, not just for making it to Game 7 of the Series, but for putting big league baseball back on the map in New England.
I firmly believe this to be a hot load of crap, but I might be wrong.


fadedredsoxhat said...

Jenny, I never once imagined that I was reading a teenager when reading you.

I'll give CHB credit for getting Buckner on the phone. It was good to read his quotes. The rest of the column was loaded with things that he found online or in his own book. Its mostly just another play by play column by CHB.

Anonymous said...

I *am* old enough to remember the 1985 comeback (and 1975, and 1967), and while the overall magnitude of 1985 (3-1 down not 3-0, Angels not Yankees) was less, Hendu's home run, after two out, on the road, was truly a magical moment. Even now, the hop in Hendu's step after he realized it was going to clear the fence is vivid in my memory.

The Chief said...

I think that The Impossible Dream season of 1967 put baseball back on the map in New England.

The Red Sox were in the race almost every one of the Carlton Fisk/Bill Lee/Yaz years, and we all know about 1975, 1978 etc.

Dan is really reaching here.

Thank god the New York papers don't do this every time there's an anniversary of something. The world would have no trees left.

Anonymous said...

hey anonymous, it was 1986.

you should also point out to CHB that the sox won the last 2 games on the 04 ALCS in Yankee Stadium, the most hostile arena for the Red Sox and their fans in all of baseball. much much harder than 2 "easy" games at home.

jenny said...

On a scary note, Peter Gammons, who has often been a target of CHB, was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm today. Terrible news. If CHB says anything even approaching negative about this, I will absolutely fry his inbox.

The Couch Potato said...

Baseball took a bit of a backseat in the early '70s (Bruins) and early '80s (Bird & the Celtics) but to say that they fell completely under the radar is just pure horse-dookie.

I almost choked on my bagel when I read that half-a**ed "apology" to Bill Buckner. Freakin hypocrite.

*sending up a prayer for Peter Gammons' recovery*

Justin C said...

I usually don't post comments, send emails to columnists, etc. Normally I view it as a waste of time.

anyway, I emailed CHB after yesterday's "Let's dredge up 1986 al over again" fiasco of writing. Didn't call him names, didn't use profanity

(although I did say that if he needed inspiration for writing, he should ask Bob Ryan, Peter Gammons or Bill Simmons for a few pointers)

anyway, he wrote back and was very eloquent (sarcasm) and verbose (sarcasm)

his response was "your parents let you use the computer?"

nice, CHB. way to go. apparently, 3rd grade playground insults are what passes for debate. I'm expecting a 'your momma' joke next or 'I know you are but what am I?'

we should mail him a pacifier and a rattle...

jenny said...

He was fairly civilized to me when I wrote to him, considering that I accused him of being at the same journalistic level as the Pyongyang Times (this was about the Dirty Laundry column). But given the responses I have seen other people get, I'm starting to think it's because I'm a girl. One person was accused of being an idiot with a worthless opinion, someone else was accused of being a mental patient off his meds. Somebody should collect these and send them to Richard Gilman.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what is more offensive. Shaughnessy's occasional venomous rantings or the half-baked conspiracy theories posted on this vengeful blog.

Anonymous said...

shaughnessy on gammons:

'Gammons has done more to influence the way major league baseball is covered than any columnist or beat guy of the last half-century. He is, and forever will be, the de facto commissioner of baseball. He is to our craft what Ted Williams was to his: When Gammons walks through a press box, any scribe who knows history should point and say, ''There goes the greatest baseball writer who ever lived."

Hyperbole? Maybe. Men named Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Red Smith, Dick Young, and Harold Kaese certainly established a standard of excellence and served as role models for generations of baseball writers. But Gammons, who started at the Globe June 10, 1968, changed everything about baseball coverage and his innovations and style spawned a legion of like-minded writers who bring you the game stories and notes today. They are Gammons Youth, even though some of them might have never read him.

The Chief said...

I never thought of Gammons as a great baseball writer. That would be reserved for those whom you mentioned, plus Roger Angell and a few others.

I think of Gammons as a great baseball reporter and promoter, however, perhaps the best around today.

Anonymous said...

well you aren't as insane as I believed. I'd never have expected to come across Roger Angell's name on this site. But the wit and poetry of Angel's best essays completely collide with and contradict the spirit of this adolescent, pointless blog.

The mere act of despising Shaughnessy - not to mention spending hundreds of hours monitoring and rooting on others' hatred - has become a tired cliche.

The Chief said...

If that's how you feel, I have an easy solution for you: don't come here.

SoxSweepAgain said...

I was 20 in 1986, and I assure you that Shaughnessy is correct in saying that it put the Red Sox back on the map.

In 1986, you could walk up to the ticket window at game time and buy four field box seats without a problem, unless it was a Yankee game, and even then you could get tickets.

In '86, the Celtics owned Boston, and only 20,000 fans showed for a run-of-the-mill Sox game.

It was a whole different atmosphere.

The Chief said...

In 1999, I bought three tickets to a sold out Red Sox-Yankees game featuring Pedro vs. David Cone on the street outside Fenway for $20 each -- about 4 bucks or so above face value.

The real craziness didn't begin until a few years later.