Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Book

Okay, I read it. 5 hours. It's very, very good. Quick impressions: John Henry comes off really well. So does Tom Werner, who is a lot more likeable than I first imagined him. Larry Lucchino, not so much, though the portrait is pretty balanced. It's clear that Mnookin appreciates what he is, even if that includes being kind of a shit on occasion. He is incredibly sensitive. Theo Epstein is also represented quite well, but appears to have the unfortunate tendency to deal with everything but his own issues until he goes crazy. Kevin Millar comes off as a total ass, as does Nomar, who is paranoid beyond belief.

And CHB? You know you were all waiting for it. Well, here it is: I did not believe I could think any worse of him than I did before.

I was wrong.

I assume Mnookin probably has some pre-formed bias against him, also being a member of the media, which he habitually manages to discredit, but. . .wow, just wow. CHB comes off the worst of any character in the book, by far, even though he doesn't actually get all that much mention. It's a total of maybe 5 pages, although I guess if you consider that he's just a columnist, that's kind of a lot. I don't want to reproduce stuff here, because it's probably a copyright violation, so I will try to summarize the stuff that was not in the free excerpts.

You all know about the Dirty Laundry stuff. I mentioned it in a previous post. Nothing really new to add there, except that the Red Sox conducted an internal investigation to determine Steinberg's role in the leak, and he was effectively muzzled from there on out. Jeremy Kapstein, whose most notable feature seems to be wearing the same windbreaker 24/7 and stealing people's sandwiches (no joke), also seems suspicious.

The kicker, though, is the stuff Mnookin writes on CHB's Jan. 20 column. You know, the one where he says Theo is holding the Red Sox "hostage" and that Henry should tell him to "get lost."

Apparently, CHB went to Henry before he ran the column to tell him what was in it, at which time Henry told him Theo was coming back and they were just waiting to announce it until they talked with the limited partners over the weekend. So CHB told him tough shit, the column was running the next day. Here, I will write one quote:

"He was going to write things that were nasty," says Tom Werner. "And false."

So the Red Sox rushed the announcement because Henry was worried that Theo would get upset again. Here, Mnookin writes that, "Shaughnessy seemed to take the announcement as a personal affront." At which point we got an amended version that called Theo "at best immature and at worst duplicitous."

I'm sorry, the Globe needs to fire this guy. He's gone from being a relentless negativist to actually causing harm to the subjects he writes about. If a scientist is performing an experiment and starts interfering with the results, he doesn't have a job much longer, because he sucks at it. The same thing should apply here, I think. It is not a columnist's job to be the news or to cause the news. It is to react to the news. In the span of 3 months, we have CHB publishing deliberately crafted cartel propaganda that causes a high-ranking executive to quit, and we have him publishing his own falsified crap to try to sabotage the return of this executive out of spite. Such a personality clearly isn't cut out to be a columnist, much less in Boston. Get him out of there before he does something worse. I'm absolutely disgusted.

Other tidbits from the book:

-On the afternoon of Oct. 31, Lucchino apparently came storming down to the basement and started yelling hysterically at Theo about the PR mess he was causing right in front of the entire baseball operations department. I imagine watching everybody try to shrink into the wall would have been extremely fun.

-Manny Ramirez sticks his cell phone camera down his pants and takes pictures of his. . .you know.

-There is an extremely funny anecdote in there about the Curt Schilling saga that involves Jed Hoyer coming down with a stomach virus on the last day of the negotiations and projectile vomiting all over Theo's hotel room merely after drinking Gatorade. Sounds like he threw up in a suitcase. Charming.

In conclusion: CHB is a turd. Buy the book.


Objectivebruce said...

"Steinberg's role in the leak"

--What leak? Exactly what was "leaked?"

"publishing deliberately crafted cartel propaganda"

--How is one columnist's opinion deliberately crafted cartel progaganda?

"try to sabotage the return of this executive out of spite"

--What did he do to sabotage anyone or anything? Voicing an opinion that one party or the other may not like is sabotage?

"publishing his own falsified crap"

--exactly what was falsified?

The Red Sox reacted to the imminent publication of a column that they didn't want to read by rushing an announcement they weren't originally prepared to make. How is this a columnist's fault? And if Shaughnessy was publishing deliberately crafted cartel propaganda, why would he suddenly do what he wanted rather than what hte club wanted?

Someday this idolatry about the Red Sox and your heroes will be tempered by maturity and experience. Public figures win acclaim, but they also get their lumps, it's the live they choose to lead. Knee-jerk hatred for someone who doesn't follow your unqualified adoration is not a very attractive trait.

Beth said...

That's it. Objectivebruce HAS TO BE Dan himself. Because there is no one--NO ONE--else who would write off what the Chief just wrote about with "knee-jerk hatred for someone who doesn't follow your unqualified adoration." This post was actually a well-reasoned outline of what the book said, and he listed several good reasons for why Shaughnessy's behavior in the whole Theo affair overstepped what The Chief believes to be his bounds as a journalist. The Chief made an argument based on his own beliefs about journalistic ethics, and "Objectivebruce" slammed it--obtusely, lazily and unfairly--as "knee-jerk hatred."

Hmm...Obtuse, lazy and unfair? Who does THAT remind me of?

In case you haven't noticed, "Objectivebruce", this blog has been running for quite a while now, carefully laying out all the arguments for why Dan Shaughnessy is an irresponsible, sometimes dangerous and often just plan bad columnist from a consumer of the Boston Globe's product who feels they could do better. Such an effort on The Chief's part may be many things, but one thing it is not by definition is "knee-jerk".

Soxfan living in enemy territory... said...

We need people like objectivebruce to add some spice to this blog.

I would suggest him to read the book so he can speak to the questions he's asking intelligently.

Jenny was just making us aware of what's in the book without spoiling it for us.

I'm getting my copy today.

PS - I'm re-reading the A Tale of Two Cities book and there is an interesting passage about Nomar and how difficult it is for him to be himself. When asked "Are you getting married?" by reporters he could have said YES and instead he went rambling and making no sense of what he was saying.

The Chief said...

To give credit where it's due, this post belongs to Jenny, not me.

Again, it's clear that Shaughnessy lacks the insight to see he's just a pawn that was manipulated, and heavily, by certain Red Sox executives. And I have to wonder whether the Globe saw an advance copy or word leaked about how he would come off in the book and have taken measures to reduce his visibility.

fadedredsoxhat said...

I think I wrongly gave CHB the benefit of the doubt. Turns out that he was a willing tool! He finishes off Theo with the Dirty Laundry column just as we was instructed to do. Then, when he hears that Theo is coming back, he flips out and takes matters into his own hands.

Would Bob Ryan do that? Jackie? Montville? Gammons? Answers: no, no, no, and no. I don't even think Borges is that low.

jenny said...

"What was leaked?"
-The wrong version of the Colorado trade. The rest of it was Steinberg's opinion trying to masquerade as CHB's. The book makes this abundantly clear.

"How is one columnist's opinion deliberately crafted cartel propaganda?"
-When it didn't originate as his opinion, but as Charles Steinberg's. This is fact. The Red Sox investigated it. Deal with it.

"What did he do to sabotage anyone or anything?"
-He deliberately ran a column savaging Theo's integrity, a view which is not backed up by facts of any sort, as he didn't know what really happened, with the prior knowledge that such a column had previously caused Theo to quit. He was all about ruining the moment. I don't see how this isn't blatantly obvious. Read the book, Bruce.

"Exactly what was falsified?"
The book is not clear on this. Tom Werner states outright that things contained in the column were "nasty" and "false." Given a choice, I'm going to believe Tom Werner over CHB every day of the week and twice on Sundays, especially since he had a lot more knowledge about the situation and knows Theo a lot better than CHB does.

Objectivebruce said...

For some reason I feel the need to again quote the great Frazier.

I think i'm gonna 'fro up.

Let us deal with some of the bigger absurdities:

The criticism on this blog is classic knee-jerk. Every column is condemned, and the youngster who who is now the substitute blogger refers to the process of deciding what to write as putting crap through a strainer. Every column is viewed with an eye toward writing a smarmy post condemning it. Go look up knee-jerk in any reputable dictionary.

What evidence is there that the Shaughnessy version of the Colorado trade is wrong, other than a book written by someone sought out by the Red Sox to write a book?

What evidence is there to support the theory that an opinion column originated as the team's marketing guru's opinion? Vague references to unattributed "sources" overhearing snippets of conversations is speculation, not evidence.

And go right ahead believing the spin of people such as Werner, who have a vested interest in having you believe their version of events. Interesting how you can blindly adopt Werner's opinions to foster an argument that Shaughnessy blindly adopted Steinberg's opinions. Tsk. Such hypocrisy.

AS for the rather illogical rant of something entitled "Beth" claiming that I am Shaughnessy, such an accusation should be viewed as nothing more than the last refuge of someone who cannot make a cogent argument. I'm not. The conspiracy theory that because someone takes a vacation in July means he is being removed from the public eye is beyond absurd.

And I'm not sure what is meant by the phrase that Shaughnessy was manipulated "heavily."

What is the big complaint with Shaughnessy? From what I read it is that his opinions caused Master Epstein to reject a contract offer from the Red Sox. For this he is "dangerous?" If anything, it's evidence that he's doing his job, rather than doing what the sycophants who populate this site apparently believe is the duty of a columnist: to lend aid and support to an entity for which they have undying adoration. That's not his job.

"Ruining the moment"??? Talk about adoration. Just because someone doesn't follow what you apparently perceive the public agenda of the news media ought to be, "supporting" a baseball team, is not sabotage. Columnists opine. If people have a visceral reaction, and take actions based on what the columnist says, that it their problem, not the columnist's.

The Chief said...

Bruce, please stop boring everyone. You're worse than, ahem, Dan.

Another day, another Bob Ryan Red Sox column. Methinks Dan be in some hot water. And Bruce has started writing daily again. Coincidence?

jenny said...

When did I ever say he should be a sycophant, Bruce? Observe. You'll notice the use of the words "propaganda" and "falsified." This implies that what he writes is not based on facts. It's fine to have an opinion based on facts. But when you make things up to fill in the gaps or substitute for the truth entirely, and THEN you opine on that, that's wrong. His negativism isn't based in reality.

And I don't know why I bothered writing a civilized response. It's clear I won't get one back. It's like talking to a brick wall.

fadedredsoxhat said...

Bruce, why be a sycophant for CHB? What has he done for you?

Anonymous said...

Just finished the book--informative and highly readable. As Ms. Chief Jr. says: "Buy the book." Mnooken shreds CHB'S integrity and credibility beginning with his fabricated, poorly researched "The Curse of the Bambino." But that's beside the point. The book is a great read through and through. I would recommend it for any and all baseball fans.

jenny said...

Oh my gosh, I totally forgot to include the part about the Curse book. Basically Mnookin says it was trite, simplistic, and full of misinformation. There's more detail than that, but I'd really encourage people to buy the book and see for themselves, since it's pretty lengthy (no, I'm not in Mnookin's pocket). It's very clear that he thinks CHB is a shit.

troywestfield said...

ob, do you use Find and Replace, or does writing in the third person come naturally to you?

The only way you're not Shaughnessy is if you're someone for whom Shaughnessy has personally done something nice. Or his boss. Because no one else could pretend to think his writing was any good. Remember: Doing something nice is not the same as writing well.

'Something called "Beth" ' is probably a person named Beth. So if you're really that stupid that you didn't know that, now you do. If not, show some respect, jackass.

League Minimum said...


What columnists "do" is to offer opinion and insight that isn't borne out in the game story or box score, or to comment on an unfolding drama. What Shaughnessy does instead is inject himself into the situtation, create drama where none exists and/or try to influence the events themselves, rather than just influence the public's opinion of those events. That's not journalism - in fact, that violates the very tenets of journalism.

To Dan, there is no virtue to which he cannot try to cast a shadow upon. "When it's sunny, he wants it shower... if it's innocent, it need be deflowered." (Lyrics courtesy of A. Hyra & K. Bush).

Apparently the "idolatry" and "adoration" of Theo Epstein was such that Dan saw fit to tear him down...because that's 'the other side of the story' he feels that it's a columnist's job to write. Never mind that Theo Epstein earned all of honors he's been shown by both the fans (who Dan believes are mindless "sychophants" to be manipulated if only he provides them the real "truth") AND Theo's peers in baseball (who have all caught onto Shaughnessy's one-trick pony and avoid him as best they can). Can it be coincidence that through the whole "Theogate" saga the ONLY writer in the United States to impugn Theo and desperately seek to cast him in a negative light was The Shank himself?

The only man who could get away with inserting himself into the subject in which he covered was Hunter S. Thompson, and even he didn't call his writing "journalism" but "gonzo journalism". To put Dan Shaughnessy is the same sentence Hunter S. Thompson is almost an insult to the good Doctor.

fadedredsoxhat said...

I love seeing new people leave comments here. The Dan Shaughnessy Watch just keeps on growing. Keep up the good work, Chief. Don't stop until Shank is shanked.

Objectivebruce said...

I would respond to Jenny's 1:22 a.m. missive, but its uncharacteristically incoherent, no doubt a product of the hour

As for league minimum, the less said the better, although I must say that I don't quite understand how voicing an opinion injects one into a story, even if he refuses to heed the requests of those who don't want to see him publish his thoughts.

And while I'm at it, I'm not sure that young Master Epstein "integrity" was sabotaged. He wrote a column that said this kid isn't the most brilliant baseball executive ever. That's an opinion just as it may also be an opinion that St. Theo did not know more about baseball than, say, Bill Lajoie, Lee Thomas and Mike Port. It's also undeniable that Duquette acquisitions played a big part in the World's Championship.

Shaughnessy took an unpopular stand and that means he "inserted himself into the subject?" That makes absolutely no sense. With that sort of logic, anyone holding a view that doesn't match the conventional wisdom is "inserting" him/her self into the story.

Isn't the pap about me being Shaughnessy a bit tired by this point?

Not Shaughnessy. Never met him. Just a guy who is sick of the blog world seizing on half-truths, misconceptions and unsubstantiated gossip and repeating it to the point where it develops a life of its own.

Disagree with me all you want, but raise it to a higher level than the puerile namecalling into which the blogger, his assistant, and some of the less mature commentators seem to enjoy slipping.

The Chief said...

8:38 a.m. is apparently too early for you to be able to think clearly, Bruce. No one questions Shaughnessy's right to an opinion. Again, the point has always been that he allowed himself to be used by various Red Sox execs and despite 30-odd years in the business did not even consider to question the blatant bias and fallacies of their propoganda.

And it's clear that the Globe has put Dan on a tight leash ever since news of the book's contents were leaked.

Finally, it's you who's been tossing off names and insults like a 3-year-old.