Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shame on the Boston Herald

This isn't Shaughnessy-related, so if that bothers you, please feel free to ignore this and come back when Dan writes again.

There is rampant speculation all over the Internet right now that Jon Lester may have cancer. Said speculation was triggered by this Tony Massarotti article, published late last night in the Herald.

A lot of people are expressing extreme displeasure with the Herald for putting this out there, and I would like to jump on the bandwagon. The article shows an appalling lack of respect for Jon Lester and his family. Massarotti reveals that Lester has "enlarged lymph nodes" and has information from--you guessed it--unnamed sources, and the Herald publishes the sensational headline, "Lester tested for cancer."

First of all, whoever leaked this information should be fired. If it was a Sox official, I want them gone. If it was a health professional, I want them gone and I want them arrested for a HIPAA violation (yes, you can be jailed for that).

And, that said, the Herald should be ashamed of themselves for such an alarmist headline followed up with almost no backing in the article. There are dozens of causes for enlarged lymph nodes. Cancer is only one possibility. Yet that was the one they focused on? There is no information whatsoever in the article besides the illegal revelation that Lester is being tested for cancer. One sentence: "Such a symptom can be caused by an array of issues, from infections to cancer. " No other information given, so here it is: an infection is FAR more likely than cancer. So much more likely that such a headline is ridiculous. The vast majority of swollen lymph nodes are caused by exactly this. I should know, I had lymphadenitis this summer. Pretty much anything can cause swollen lymph nodes.

Yet in this article, we get "Lester tested for cancer!" followed by one sentence about how it could be an infection and a whole pile of smarmy BS about his prospect status. Utterly irresponsible. And what's worse, every news outlet then picked up on it and it's on top of the ESPN site. So Lester, who is probably scared out of his mind, has to deal with the entire world knowing about this when it may not even be true? Shame on you, Boston Herald. You had nothing to go on besides information from sources who legally should not have given you this information, and you published this. Shame on you. Once a tabloid, always a tabloid, I guess.

If it turns out that Lester, God forbid, DOES have cancer, this won't change my stance one bit. It won't justify this.

Irresponsible headline update: Today's article comes with the headline "Lester in Sox' thoughts: Team confirms diagnosis." Does this not make it sound as if they've confirmed the CANCER diagnosis and everybody's now freaking out for him? Is that not what the implication seems to be here? Yet there's really no new information, except that everyone is scared for him (me, too) and that he's had other symptoms like feeling lousy and losing weight (look, more HIPAA violations!). I feel sick enough about what might be happening, why do they have to make it worse?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Poor Terry Francona

It took some willpower not to give this post a diarrhea-themed title in celebration of the fact that Dan apparently has the verbal runs, since I think he's had a column a day for the past week. But some of you probably read this while eating, so I decided against it. Trust me, it was not about tastelessness. Anyone who read the Stacey Lucchino joke should realize that isn't one of my major concerns (hi, Bruce!).

Anyway, today's piece is about the woes of Terry Francona, and there are many. Let us ignore the sickening cleverness of the canine-themed title and first sentence. I don't see what it has to do with anything, as the theme is not continued.
The last time the Sox lost 17 games in a month, they fired Jimy Williams in mid-month and replaced him with Nutty Professor Joe Kerrigan. The last time they lost 18 games in August, they finished in the basement and were managed by Daddy Butch Hobson.
There is something awkward about the way this paragraph is written. The parallel structure doesn't really work. The cutesy nicknames are irritating. Et cetera (uh-oh, a sentence fragment!). Not much to see here, except that I think Dan is really starting to force it, sort of like Bill Simmons and his increasingly contrived pop culture references on ESPN's Page 2.

And what is this doing to Terry Francona, the manager of the 2006 Sox? He was coughing up blood and spitting it into a towel while he answered questions after yesterday's loss.

``I might have OD'd on my blood thinners," explained the beleaguered manager. ``I think I took too much."

Something about this passage is incredibly disturbing. Is Dan seriously telling us that the media is just standing around watching Francona spit up blood? And then when he tells them he's overdosed on blood-thinners, they shrug and continue to hammer him with Manny questions? What would they do if they were interviewing Theo and he suddenly passed out at their feet? Write "the strain of a failed season in which nearly every move has been questioned finally got to Epstein yesterday blah blah blah" and walk away? If I'm talking to a guy who is coughing up blood into a towel, I'm going to stop talking to him, ask him if he's OK, and find somebody to help him. I'm sure as hell not going to keep asking him questions. This is really weird.
Filling out his lineup card has become more difficult than organic chemistry.
He wanted to make an analogy to the hardest thing he could think of and all he came up with was organic chemistry? That's the hardest thing he could think of? What kind of courses did he take in college?
The Sox-Held-Hostage-By-Manny-Tour takes a toll on everyone.

This is not to suggest that Manny Ramírez is faking, but his curious on-again, off-again availability -- coupled with the increasingly frequent necessity to remove him from games -- gives the manager fits and is taking the team down.

I actually do appreciate his clarification of the "Sox-Held-Hostage-By-Manny-Tour" reference, and I think it's fairly accurate, but let's not fool ourselves, faking it exactly what he's suggesting that Manny's doing, even if he doesn't want to say it. And that phrase is completely ruined by having too many hyphens in it. Maybe if he used quotation marks?
When the lineup's finished, Francona talks with pitching coach Dave Wallace to see who's available in the bullpen and who can start the next day. The bullpen situation is ever-dicey. Mike Timlin has morphed into Steve Crawford, Keith Foulke is always hurt, and the others besides Jonathan Papelbon are either not ready or over the hill.
And then whatever the answer, Francona inevitably misuses them. Perhaps Dan should tell him that Mike Timlin has morphed into Steve Crawford, because I don't think he knows. I've been pretty disgusted with the bullpen management the last few nights. Where is Manny Delcarmen?
Jon Lester was sent home yesterday because his back hurts in the aftermath of a car accident last week on Storrow Drive. Reminds me of the 1970s when Reggie Cleveland and Rogelio Moret both got into crashes and Bill Lee said, ``We don't need a pitching coach, we need driver's ed."
Lester was rear-ended. It was the other guy's fault. He doesn't need driver's ed.
Still wondering why Theo Epstein never signed his contract? The young GM was in Seattle with his free-falling team over the weekend, and who could blame him if he took a cue from those Southwest Airlines commercials that feature an embarrassing moment followed by the question, ``Want to get away?"
First of all, do we need to be reminded that Theo is "young" in every single paragraph about him? At what point does this stop? Yes, Dan, we know that he is only 32, which is younger than you. Given that he has accomplished a lot more than you have in two-thirds the time, you shouldn't exactly be advertising this fact. It's not making you look superior to him.

Also, this contract business again? Why? Does Dan know for sure that it hasn't been signed? Theo has been more secretive than a Swiss bank when it comes to his private business, so I don't know how anything has been added to this story since Dan "broke" it in May. And why do I get the feeling that he is indirectly accusing Theo of planning to cut and run?
Oakland tonight. Day 8 of the Sox Held Hostage By Manny Tour.
Ah, he took my advice about the hyphens. Thanks.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Brewing Manny: Attack of the Clones

Why the title? Because a)this column is a clone of last week's, which the Chief put under "Brewing Manny," and b)Star Wars Episode II was a terrible movie, just like this column.

I guessed in tonight's SoSH game thread that Dan would have a field day right after Manny failed to slide into third base. Sure enough, here it is.

First of all, he fails to mention that Manny should have been safe. The third baseman was juggling the ball. If you do not have control of the ball while making a tag, the runner is not out. But most reporters will probably miss this, so whatever.

What kills me is that he makes a chronological list of everything Manny has done wrong dating back to last week, then has the audacity to write this:
Bloggers, e-mail friends, fanboys, and other wonderful Globe readers: Please, this is not a Manny rip job.
Sounds like we're getting noticed. Dan allegedly writes for the readers, but when they call him on his BS, he can't take it. And if this isn't a rip job, what is it? Everything he writes is a rip job in some form or another, and he can't claim that making a list of every Manny miscue over the last week coincidentally right after he fails to slide into third base isn't an indirect rip job. Don't even bother, Dan; you lost the benefit of the doubt decades ago.

After paragraphs bashing him, we get this cursory mention:
These are facts. Manny Ramírez is hitting .326 with 34 homers and 100 RBIs. He has played in 123 of Boston's first 129 games, which makes him something of a iron man in today's game. As previously stated, he is a modern-day Jimmie Foxx, a certain Hall of Famer, and he works hard at his craft. He has chosen not to talk to the media this year, and we don't care if you don't care. Even when he's not talking, Ramírez is polite, and his presence is anything but a disruption in the clubhouse. He goes about his business in his private orbit and doesn't bother anybody.
True, all that. Yet it gets 6 sentences and the rest of the column is. . .I'm not going to bother to count, that's a waste of time. . .a lot longer.
But his silence and his history provoke suspicion, and ours is a most cynical Nation.
This is so ironic I think I'm going to vomit. How can anyone read this and not laugh?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

How touching

After some peaceful weeks earlier in the summer, it sure seems like we're getting an awful lot of Dan lately. This column about David Ortiz's recent hospitalization for an arrhythmia is more news than anything else, so all in all, it's not too bad. However, there is one paragraph I object to:
Incredibly, Ortiz's visit to Mass. General went unreported for almost an entire week. He is one of the most famous (and largest) citizens of New England, and yet no one dropped a dime on his hospitalization until it was reported on an obscure website ( while the Red Sox were in California. Ortiz confirmed the report in a conversation with the Herald's Tony Massarotti Thursday and last night agreed to discuss the matter for the first time.
1)Yup, the media dropped the ball here. Dan is part of the media. Therefore, Dan dropped the ball.

2)"Largest citizens of New England?" Are we seriously picking on his size? That's really inane and unnecessary. Yes, every time he slides into third base, I expect to see a headline the next day reporting that the ceiling of the Fenway basement collapsed and injured some baseball ops staffers. But it's all in good fun. With Dan, you can be sure that no jab is in good fun.

3)Now that he's linked this blog on the Globe, it is no longer going to be an obscure website. Free advertising!

4)"Last night agreed to discuss the matter for the first time." Added: "With me! Dan Shaughnessy! Massarotti may have put out a blurb, but I got the scoop! Me! Dan Shaughnessy! Sure, I had to lock David's daughter in an E-Z Storage unit and threaten to put out Photoshopped images of him going down on Stacey Lucchino (I have a lot of pictures of Stacey Lucchino!) but I got the scoop first! Look, here it is!"

As far as I can tell, this arrhythmia thing is just a complete non-story specifically designed to scare Red Sox fans, who are already frazzled enough, thanks very much. Let it die.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A cut below

I apologize for the lame titles. It's hard to come up with something witty all the time. This column actually wouldn't be that bad on its own, except for the fact that Dan has been crapping all over Beckett this year and keeps flip-flopping. Doeshe suck? Is he an ace? Is he a young pitcher who sometimes sucks but will eventually figure it out? The third one is the reasonable one, so you know right off the bat that Dan will take one of the first two views. Today, he's an ace. Last week he sucked. I give up.
Tuesday, the estimable Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, a scribe not given to hyperbole, wrote, ``Josh Beckett is to Boston what Jeff Weaver was to the Yankees: the ace that never was . . . Beckett's head isn't ace-quality. He looked like a raw high school pitcher on Saturday, paying no attention to runners . . . and continuing to get his fat fastball smashed around."
Complimenting Tom Verducci, who is "not given to hyperbole," then citing this rubbish heap of a paragraph, makes me laugh. Jeff Weaver and Josh Beckett are not comparable players at all, except that they're both right-handed pitchers. And declaring that "Beckett's head isn't ace-quality?" How would he know? Is Beckett 40 and at the end of his career? Is Verducci a psychiatrist? Give me a break. And let's not pretend like this is only his opinion. Dan cites other authors when they say something nasty that he wants to say, yet claim he didn't say it.
In late July, he signed a contract extension that will pay him $10 million a season for three years. His troubles started shortly after inking the new deal.
First of all, it was signed before the All-Star Break, which makes it early/mid-July. Second of all, he was already having problems before that, although maybe Dan doesn't remember because the extension was announced the day he pitched the 1-0 shutout over Kansas City. Before that, he had a 5.12 ERA. Now, it's 5.21. Not much difference. But I think this is just a way of indirectly crapping on Theo, anyway.

This column was less poisonous than the other recent ones, though.

Edit: Found this nice piece on the Oldtimers charity game, which raised funds for cystic fibrosis and cerebral palsy, last night. The kid in the picture is Dan's son, Sam. Let's hope his participation in this event means the apple is falling far from the tree.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Brewing Manny

The innuendos and related tripe Shaughnnessy flings toward Manny for a variety of imagined slights are made interesting only by the uncovering of this May 30, 2004, column, in which The CHB compared Ramirez to Mr. Coffee himself, Joe DiMaggio.

In it, Shaughnessy notes:

* Both were [sic] the strong, silent type.
* Both are shy and would never brag.
* Both were [sic] Hall of Fame ballplayers.
* Both played through injuries. [!!]
* Both were mysterious superstars. Biographers were never able to get a handle on either.

He also wrote, "Both accepted the calls of umpires without complaining." Either Shaughnessy forgot he wrote that [as if!], or perhaps believes that doesn't extend to official scorers.


I do apologize for the incredibly banal and immature title. But it's 4:00 AM, I'm sick, and these three letters are the only things that come remotely close to conveying my bewilderment and disgust at today's column.

I don't know what happened; my guess is that Dan has been bombarded with complaints about his negativism in the wake of his recent abortions about Theo and Manny, and that this column is the result. It's quite possibly the most sickeningly sarcastic piece of rubbish I've ever had the misfortune to read. I don't even know where to start, or if I should even bother. Let's start here, though:

Remember what Theo Epstein told us Sunday night as he stood on the Fenway lawn before Game 4 of the Carnage by Lansdowne Street: ``We're not going to change our approach and all of a sudden try to build an uberteam and all of a sudden win now at the expense of the future."

There you have it. Let's not win now. This should help you enjoy the remaining 36 games of 2006. Just relax and check out Dustin Pedroia's footwork around second base. It's not about 2006 anymore. It's about the future.

Looking at this quote in isolation brings me to the conclusion that Dan's interpretation of it is asinine. Theo did not say "let's not win now," nor did he imply it. In fact, this isn't what he said at all. The last part of the sentence is mere paraphrasing and Dan has conveniently left out six subsequent sentences that better explain the point Theo is trying to make. By consensus of other reputable articles on the same conversation, here is what Theo actually said:
"We're not going to change our approach and try to build an uber-team and all of a sudden win now and discard the future. That's not an excuse. I'm not trying to throw a cloak over the clear holes on this team by talking about the future. I'm not. Our goals are now, and our goals are to put ourselves in a position to win every single year. That's the reality. It's going to occasionally leave us short."
Had Dan included these other sentences, the impression given would have been vastly different. But it also would have been kinder to Theo, and we can't have that!

Dr. Charles Steinberg is already working on some promotional material for the final Fenway homestands of this season. At this moment he's reviewing three prospective ad campaigns for the non-stretch drive:

``Save that pricey trip to Fort Myers and come see our prospects closer to home."

``Where Would We Play Bobby Abreu?"

``Red Sox: It's called Bruins."

If the first slogan is meant to be negatively sarcastic, it fails: I think a lot of Red Sox fans actually appreciate this. The second one is a valid question to be discussed, not made fun of. And the third slogan is so absurd and lacking in perspective that I won't even try to address it. I assume everyone has enough familiarity with the current state of the Bruins to understand how stupid such a comparison is.
The 2007 Red Sox go to Seattle after Minnesota and the Sox could sweep at Safeco. I wouldn't be surprised if they win their first six games. We might even be calling them an uberteam by the time they get to Fenway. The Sox make four trips to the West Coast and I think they're going to win every game. It'll be sweet to see Theo's '07 Machine march through Chavez Ravine. Take that, Grady Little! And those home games with the Yankees? Forget about everything that just happened. The Sox are only going to get better while the Yankees will only get worse. It's obvious if you really know baseball. So stop fretting about what just happened and take the long view for a change.
Who exactly is he talking to here? Who set him off like this? The sarcasm is just incredible. He sounds like Joe Morgan ranting about Moneyball.
It's very exciting. Future-rama.
I believe the name of the show is actually "Futurama."
And here at 17 percent Daddy Globe we plan to bombard you with happy stories about all the great ballplayers the Sox refused to trade July 31, 2006. Trust me when I tell you that someday soon you're going to be glad to have Manny Delcarmen instead of Roy Oswalt.
The first sentence is sour grapes. The second sentence represents a fundamental misunderstanding about what happened at the trade deadline, either due to ignorance and laziness in regards to actually doing research on it, or due to the fact that no one in the front office will tell him. If it's the former, which I suspect it is, shame on him, and how typical. If it's the latter, I applaud everyone who said "no comment." In case you were wondering, though, Dan, the Red Sox were willing to trade prospects for Roy Oswalt. It was the Astros who weren't willing to deal Roy Oswalt for prospects. It's kind of hard for Theo to make a deal when there's nothing on the table, huh?
If you can't see what's happening here, it is your own fault. The Red Sox, like the Patriots, are simply smarter than every other organization.
Ah, the easily identifiable stench of a man who has been pushed to his breaking point by an overload of responses defending the front office and feels the need to fire back by making even more ignorant, insulting remarks.
They have vision while the rest of the baseball world wears bifocals.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but people with bifocals also have vision, no?
And they rely on a flock of fans who are willing to pay $12 just to walk into an empty ballpark and look at the ancient poles.
I went on that tour last year. I had a blast.
Let's face it: 2004 bought a lot of patience and solidified Epstein as a hardball genius. These are days of Camelot at olde Fenway and there's nothing that Edgar Renteria, Matt Clement, Coco Crisp, Rudy Seanez, Julian Tavarez, or Josh Beckett can do to change that.
You know he was just dying to add "unfortunately" to the end of that paragraph. This is all about him trying to turn the fans against Theo and the fans not following his lead. Irksome, isn't it, Dan? After all this time, they still like Theo better than you. All that effort, gone to waste; you haven't managed to single-handedly tear him down yet.
Cynics might wonder about the rest of this year. Nattering nabobs might take issue with the top prices in baseball when it's all about the future. Cheapos might ask the Sox to scale back prices since we're no longer worried about '06. Not me. I have seen Baseball Future and its name is Boston Red Sox.
I think he needs to be medicated.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Contradictions Abound

The other downside of a Red Sox losing streak is that it brings the slumbering, slobbering idiots out of their alcohol-induced comas. You know, guys like The CHB.

We are treated this fine morning to the many talents of Dan Shaughnessy. Let's take a look.

Dan, the legal eagle: "Minutes later, Francona bobbed and weaved like Sugar Ray Leonard when asked about the conspiracy theory. The manager ... never flatly denied the contention that Ramírez had to be talked into playing Saturday."

Dan the medic: "[We]'re pretty darned sure Manny has faked it in the past to get out of All-Star duties or maybe just to pout when Pedro Martínez was getting time off for dad's birthday."

Dan, the psychologist: "Terry Francona isn't about to challenge Manny. It's simply not worth it. Tito knows how this works. You want to keep Manny happy, so you let him sit when he wants to sit."

Dan, the voice of the players: "For sure, none of Manny's teammates will call him out now because, like Francona, they know there's no upside to challenging Ramírez. ... But you can be pretty sure they're wondering what is going on with the savant slugger as he rests his hamstring while the team is freefalling."

Believing all that means believing the same guy who on June 26, 2005, wrote that the Red Sox would win the AL East in a walk; the same guy who named Josh Beckett the heir to Roger Clemens only to reverse course and practically slander him in the process; the same guy who called David Ortiz "a giant sack of you-know-what"; the same guy who on Dec. 13, 2000, wrote that the signing of Manny Ramirez boosted Dan Duquette "from doofus to genius in less than 24 hours.”

Sounds great Dan! Where do I go to drink that Kool-Aid?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

SS Dan runs aground

There are three categories of Dan Shaughnessy columns, roughly proportioned this way:

1)Good (2%)
2)Boring (58%)
3)Offensive (40%)

This latest "effort" falls into the third category. After a few weeks of mostly boring, occasionally good columns, I was harboring a bit of hope that maybe he had been reigned in. But this last column dashed all those hopes.

The good: he really hasn't written anything quite this obnoxious in awhile. The bad: this one is REALLY obnoxious.

I knew we were in for it when I read the opening lines:
The Red Sox brass set sail on John Henry's big boat last night. The owner held a party to celebrate the engagement of his star general manager, Theo Epstein. Nice gesture. Toasts all around, no doubt. A three-hour tour.
So John Henry threw a party for Theo, huh? That was really nice of him. Given how rich he is, I'm sure it was a great party. Wait, "no doubt?" That means Dan doesn't know for sure. Which means he wasn't invited. Which means that he's going to be in a snit.
It was undoubtedly nice to get away for a few hours, but there is no safe place for Epstein and Sox management at this moment -- not even on the high seas. The SS Red Sox is sinking fast in the American League.
I beg to differ. They got away from you, didn't they, Dan? That qualifies as a "safe place," I think.

Also, is this supposed to make me mad at management? Because all it does is make me mad at the idiot fans who can't get enough perspective to realize that losing three horrendous games to the Yankees is not the end of the world. There's "no safe place?" Yeah, that's something to trumpet. That's something we should be proud of in this town!
The sun no longer shines on the handsome head of young Theo (wonder if he's signed his much-celebrated contract yet). The computer-geek management style has been thoroughly exposed in the last two days and there's a perfect storm brewing upstairs on Yawkey Way.
I don't even know what to do with this. "Handsome head of young Theo?" This is either some creepy fake gay vibe or Dan being mad that he's uglier than Theo. If it's the latter, he must be mad at the whole world. Oh, wait! I've solved him!

Also, "the computer-geek management style has been thoroughly exposed?" Yeah, like it was in 2004, huh? Two days is plenty of time to completely invalidate a philosophy that has brought the Red Sox nothing but success for the last 4 years.
The way things are going, Young Theo might don that gorilla suit again, but this time he might need it to hide from an angry Nation of paying customers who want to know why nothing was done at the trade deadline and how you try to win a pennant with no lefty in the bullpen and a collection of dead arms and dead presidents (Mr. Van Buren, I presume) posing as major league pitchers.
Yup, this is completely justifiable behavior from the fan base! Why should Theo be allowed to come out of his house and live like a normal person WHEN THE TEAM HAS LOST GAMES? He should be forced to skulk around in fear, because "nothing was done at the trade deadline" and we don't have any lefties in the bullpen! Except for Craig Breslow (when he gets called back up) and that Javier Lopez guy. Oops. I injected facts into the discussion. My apologies. Don't the Red Sox have such a fantastic fan base and media corps? You know it's awesome when the team's losing games and the front office feels like they're in personal danger.
We are now officially in the middle of ``Son of Massacre" weekend. In 1978, it was 42-9 over four games. The Sox were outhit, 67-21, and committed 12 errors while losing four straight at home to the Bombers. The first three games of this series have been equally hideous.
Huh? What? How can it have been equally hideous when the score stands at 39-20, like you said barely 3 sentences earlier? The Sox haven't made 12 errors. This isn't remotely that bad.
Oh, and is anybody rethinking that Johnny Damon decision now? On a day when Coco Crisp was rested, Damon continued his Big Bang tour through Boston with three more hits, all doubles. Damon is 9 for 18 this weekend, with three doubles, a triple, two homers, eight RBIs, and five runs. Quite a statement.
No. I'm rethinking Crisp, but not the decision to let Damon walk. Let's continue our habit of making sweeping generalizations from little tiny sample sizes! 3 games is plenty of time to decide we should have given him $52 million for the next 4 years!
Odd that Henry would be celebrating Epstein's engagement at a time when the honeymoon is officially over for the most popular and bulletproof general manager in Boston sports history.
Yeah, how ironic. It's completely unacceptable for either man to continue with their personal lives in the midst of this baseball disaster! No parties, no girlfriends, and who the hell needs to eat when the Red Sox are doing so badly?The whole engagement thing should be called off completely. What is this celebrating garbage? There's a war on!
The cruise is over and so is the free ride for Theo. No disgrace in that, it happens to all of them, but the Sox need a quick turnaround to keep Epstein out of the shark-infested waters that devoured the likes of Lou Gorman and Dan Duquette.
Let's play a game called "Name the Differences Between Lou Gorman, Dan Duquette, and Theo Epstein."

I'll go first. Theo won a World Series. Gorman and Duquette did not.

The free ride is over, but that one little difference is a good enough life raft, I think.

Who didn't see a column like this coming?

8/21 7:15 PM
: Edited for removal of line about Jed Hoyer's personal life. It was true, but it was a violation of his privacy and in bad taste.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Red Sox aren't very good right now

Thanks to Dan for pointing this out. I'm not going to blame him for the rambling incoherence of today's piece, because game 2 did end really late and both games were hideous to watch (I won't even mention this afternoon's abortion), but I will point some of it out.
When in doubt, it's always easiest to blame Javy Lopez (was he, per chance, involved with the work on the Big Dig?).
Huh? What? Why would we blame Javy Lopez? Why would we blame any position player? The offense scored 15 runs yesterday. He only caught ONE of the games where the pitching gave up double digit runs. Why would we blame him? I mean, I don't like the guy, but that's just weird.
The Boston brass takes the hardest hits for this indecent exposure at the Fens. The Sox fell to 3 1/2 games out of first place (four in the loss column) and the blame goes to Theo Epstein and the minions. Guess they really are thinking about 2007 and '08.
Did you see all those walks Jed Hoyer gave up? Jeez. And that bases-clearing double didn't help, either. How did he get to the majors with a 16.18 ERA and a 2.14 WHIP? I demand that Jed Hoyer be designated for assignment.

Seriously, blaming the front office for the pitching staff being several orders of magnitude worse than every Little League pitcher I watched yesterday is asinine. No one in their right mind could see them being so bad over a 3-game stretch. They hadn't been great all season, but 39 runs in 36 hours? That's 100% on the pitching staff, not on Theo or Jed or anybody else. Yes, the front office signed them, but they can reasonably expect a better performance than what we saw yesterday. These guys aren't good, but they aren't as bad as what they've been showing, either. They haven't been performing up to the lowest of reasonable expectations, and that is in no way the front office's fault. They can't pitch for these guys.

Damon's demonstration thoroughly exposed counterpart Coco Crisp, who went 0 for 5 in Game 1, losing his leadoff job again with his latest in a lengthening line of performances as ``The Invisible Man."
First of all, Coco shouldn't have a leadoff job. Him "losing" it is more a reflection of Terry Francona finally turning his brain on than a reflection on Coco (although he hasn't been any good). Second, I could point out the racial undertones in the "Invisible Man" reference, for those of you that have read it, but I'm sure it wasn't meant that way. He's not that clever. I just felt the need to point out that I managed to slog through that book in 11th grade.

Bobby Abreu, deemed too expensive for the Red Sox when the Yankees dealt for him at the trading deadline, went 6 for 9 with two walks. He reached base in 9 of 12 plate appearances.

Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, and Craig Hansen, the Baby Bulls deemed too precious to trade at the deadline, all failed miserably in their trials by fire against the Bronx Bombers.
Let's evaluate every single non-move at the trade deadline based on various players' performances in 2 games! That's a really good way to do things!

Clearly, neither of these teams is anywhere near complete. Both pitching staffs are pourous and any New York-Boston battle of bullpens shapes up as something akin to a Battle of the Bands at the Hampton Beach Casino. Long, loud, and ugly.
This is true. Now, let's play a game of "Find the Spelling Error." Hint: it's in the 2nd sentence.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Apparently, when Dan was at John Henry's mansion last week, he did a little more than suck some of the man's soul out with his mere presence. He also stole Henry's silverware.* No motive was given, but sources tell me that it was out of the goodness of Dan's heart, as he wanted to give a little something to Theo Epstein's wedding registry, and a pipe bomb seemed too ostentatious.** The Globe undertook it as a public service to publish half of said registry on their website today, thus fulfilling their dual function as a Boston newspaper: publishing creepy stalkerish stories that violate the privacy of public figures on many levels, and boosting the regional economy by ensuring that approximately 400 linen napkins/creme brulee sets/fritatta pans are purchased as gifts by asstard Red Sox fans. These will have to be sent to 4 Yawkey Way (Boston, MA 02215, for those of you who need it), as in a shocking omission of reportage, the Globe failed to publish Epstein's home address. For shame. Now how will Dan know where to take John Henry's forks?

*Note to lawyers: He didn't really steal anything. Don't sue me. Thanks.
**Note to lawyers: This is a joke.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Did you know?

The Tigers are good. They have not been this way for a very long time.

Jim Leyland is a cool guy. He is old-school. He chain-smokes and curses in front of women. He doesn't use computers, unlike that Mike Gimbel nerd! Oh, wait, sorry, wrong year. I meant Bill James. Same difference. They both suck! Everyone should prefer a guy who does not know how to use the internet and said the following about computers: " "I don't like computers. Period. I don't even know how to turn one on. They intimidate me." (Baseball Prospectus, an evil publication)

I would write more about this incredibly boring column, but my computer just ate one of my hands.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Don't waste your time

It's Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox play at 2:00, and if Boston has weather anything like Maryland right now, it's 75 and sunny out. Do something else with your time rather than read this. This column isn't any fun to pick apart; it's that boring.

It always drives me nuts when the Globe publishes this kind of stuff. There is a game recap RIGHT ABOVE this column. We don't need another one. Especially not one written by CHB. Everything in this column has already been said 800 times in other recaps and it brings absolutely nothing to the table except a life lesson in how to abuse metaphors and similes. For example:

Sometime next winter, when you crack open the Whitman's Sampler of Red Sox 2006 Walkoff Wins, you'll no doubt remember a stunning Saturday in the Park when anything and everything was possible. On a postcard-perfect afternoon, the slumping Sox got back on track, at least temporarily, with a 10-inning, 8-7 victory over their favorite cousins from Baltimore.
How clever! He's comparing it to a variety box of chocolates! That's amazing. Except that compared to some of the walkoffs from this year, this one was not so dramatic. I'm not sure we'll "no doubt remember a stunning Saturday." I'm sure I won't remember what day of the week it was. "Anything and everything was possible?" Can we be any more cliche?

Also, those Whitman sampler boxes only have 4 chocolates in them. The Red Sox have what, 8 walkoff wins? Make that 2 boxes, Dan.

It hurts to say this, but it's hard to imagine the Sox re-signing Trot Nixon in the wake of Wily Mo's recent performance.
Book it: 4 months from now, we'll get a maudlin column about "true dirt dog" Trot Nixon that reams Theo for not re-signing him. Or just reams Theo. I know how this works.

Mass. Pike drivers, already trained to operate in fear, have new concerns when heading eastbound if Peña is at bat.
If every driver on the Turnpike operated in fear, everyone would be a defensive driver and Boston would not have the reputation for having some of the country's shittiest drivers. Just pointing it out. Yes, Boston drivers do suck. I'm from DC, I know what bad driving looks like. But Boston drivers don't operate in fear; this is exactly WHY they're so bad. Or at least a lot of them.

The rest of it is rehashing the recap above. Read this instead.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Uh-oh, it's almost football season

Sorry I'm late on this one; I don't usually read any part of the Globe except for the Red Sox part of the site. Thanks to the commenter who alerted me to look deeper.

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL???!!!!

OK, I couldn't resist. For the first time in awhile, Dan drones on about the Patriots. Get ready for the shocking revelation: The Patriots failed to win the Super Bowl this year! Oh my God!
The last time we saw the New England Patriots on television was eight months ago when they were thrashed by the Denver Broncos, 27-13, in their second playoff game of the 2005 season. The loss snapped an NFL record 10-game winning streak in the playoffs and humbled Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of Patriot Nation.

It was somewhat shocking. Undefeated playoff performer Tom Brady threw two interceptions. Troy Brown fumbled. The Patriots turned the ball over five times and Adam Vinatieri missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.

Eight months later, Vinatieri is gone, Willie McGinest is gone, Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch is holding out, and Tedy Bruschi is recovering from wrist surgery as the Patriots return to the field tonight (8, Channel 4) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in their 2006 exhibition opener.

This whole section definitely needs to be reprinted. A ton of times, in fact. It's incredibly insightful, and it can't be repeated enough.

Actually, it can. Are we writing a column or pasting in some AP recaps and using the AutoSummarize function to give us 3 worthless paragraphs? Anybody who would bother to read this part of the paper knows this stuff already.
The timing is perfect. When the Patriots folded in January, we noted ``pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18," and now the Patriots are kicking off at the same time the Red Sox are free falling in the American League East. There must be a sports god.
The timing was perfect because the Pats' season ended and over a month later, spring training kind of started for the Red Sox? Yeah, that 5-week dead period is just great timing. Also, during that period, about 75% percent of Boston didn't really give a shit about the Patriots, because they were too busy fretting about the clusterf*ck in the Red Sox front office.

And I don't see how any of his statements offer any evidence that there is a "sports god."
Come to think of it, Tom was drafted as a catcher by the Expos when he was in high school -- think he could spell Javy Lopez when the Yankees come to town?
I know this is a joke. And it's retarded, so I'm going to pick on it. Tom Brady just turned 29 and hasn't played catcher since he was 17. This is such a dumb idea that it doesn't even merit joking about. If we're going to make stupid attempts at humor like this, why don't we suggest that Jed Hoyer be placed on the 25-man roster? He's in 3 spots on this records page, after all.

Oops, I did 20 seconds of research based on a little bit of background knowledge. That isn't allowed. My apologies.

``This is a chance for us to see where we're at," said Brady. ``It's one thing to do everything in practice, but we always want to start up against other opponents."

``This will be the first time putting on the pads since Denver," added All-Pro defensive lineman Richard Seymour. ``It's definitely a little different. It's a new season now, everyone's 0-0. That's the good part. We have another opportunity to do some great things this season. Hopefully, we can get it down this time."

These are really informative. To recap: they're going to play against other players while wearing uniforms, which is not the same as practice, but the games don't count, although they hope it'll be good mojo for later. Got it? It's pretty complicated. Read it a few times, it'll come to you.
For those who think we exaggerate the Patriots' paranoia/self-importance, check out the Patriots' doorstop, 500-page ``media guide"; try to find out what happened to Rodney Harrison last year. Harrison's six-page bio contains no information regarding the three knee ligaments he tore in Pittsburgh last September. It read, ``placed on injured reserve (9/25/05) and Pittsburgh (9/25) Started at safety . . . collected one tackle before leaving the game in the first quarter." This would be like reading a summary of Tony Conigliaro's 1967 season and finding, ``Hit 20 homers through Aug. 18, then spent the rest of the season on the disabled list after facing Jack Hamilton in a victory over the Angels."
The Red Sox media guide is 660 pages. Just FYI (I own one; Charles Steinberg has hands-down the shittiest picture in there. It makes him look like an orange man with 3 chins).

Also, since when is Rodney Harrison's injury at all comparable to Tony Conigliaro's? We have yet to see if Harrison will come back as a mere shell of his former self. Only when that happens can this comparison be made.
The Dome supplies climate control that hasn't been available in Foxborough.
Ooh. Zing. Robert Kraft was PWN3D!!!!!!!

Go ahead and return to old Foxboro Stadium, Dan. You'll be crying for the non-climate-controlled Gillette Stadium (it's still that, right? I get confused by all these mergers) in no time.
Meanwhile, Kevin Faulk is still chugging along and should get some carries.
What an utterly moronic, meaningless piece of analysis. Essentially, "Kevin Faulk is still on the roster." OK, thanks for that.
Brady backup Matt Cassel no doubt will be making many of the throws.
Why? Patriots backup quarterbacks have, over the last few years, gotten almost NO playing time Is Brady going to get hurt? Is every game going to be a blowout? I don't think Matt Cassel will get many of the throws at all. I think he'll get almost none.
Harrison, returning from surgery on his left knee (don't check the media guide if you want to know how that happened), is unlikely to play.
Call me crazy, but I'm going to guess that the Patriots are assuming here that their fans are able to read something other than the media guide to get their news. This really isn't that onerous, Dan. It's called Google, or maybe watching the game where it happened and having some kind of memory.
And a time for New England sports fans to look away from the reeling Red Sox for a night.
Does anybody really think that a significant number of fans are going to turn off an August Red Sox game for a meaningless, stupid Patriots preseason game? Come on, now.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dinner with John Henry

I don't really know what to make of this. Dan's column today is a slightly overwrought account of his dinner at John Henry's mansion on Tuesday night. My first reaction was: Why the hell would John Henry ever invite this guy over for dinner? Looking at what happened this offseason and CHB's involvement in it, looking at the already questionable ties between the Red Sox and the Globe, what is the point? I'm guessing Henry is trying to head off any future nasty columns before they go to print, but he really should know better.

The first part that jumps out is this:
Looking rested, ever pale, and relaxed in blue jeans and a short sleeve shirt, John greets me in the kitchen and I give him a signed copy of a Red Sox book I wrote a long time ago. What else do you bring when you go to dinner at a billionaire's house? A bottle of Kendall-Jackson? Fruit salad?
Can you believe this? This is absolutely priceless. CHB has dinner at Henry's house, and gives him an autographed copy of what I assume was "The Curse of the Bambino." How arrogant. And silly. Henry is a numbers guy, as Dan aptly points out in the first three paragraphs. He does not believe in curses, and now that the 2004 World Series is two years in the rearview mirror, this gift is even less appropriate. I think fruit salad or wine would have been a much better idea. Good grief.
I am allergic to none of it, but I am a little worried about the two cats -- big as turkeys -- prowling around inside.
It appears that Dan is allergic to cats. I have a cat. I will mail her to Morrissey Boulevard as soon as I figure out the postage. Also, "big as turkeys?" That's a pretty strange simile.
As yes, the Theo winter. I remember that.
Really? You do? Congratulations.

John works the remote and within seconds we see Tina Cervasio and her dazzling teeth reporting live from Kansas City.
OK, I'm sorry. I laughed at this. Yes, it's a backhanded shot, but come on, it's right on point. My favorite Tina moment was an interview of Theo in which she asked him a question, smiled at him, and he flinched and backed up. She's just brutal. "Dazzling" is actually putting it nicely. Bring back Eric Frede, please. Or better yet, scrap the concept of the sideline reporter entirely.
The Red Sox owner is a nocturnal creature. He stays up until 4 in the morning, then sleeps until 10.
That makes two of us.

Like any good sports fan with a clicker in his hand, Henry switches to the Yankees game during commercials. The Yankees are in a dogfight with the White Sox and Henry is rooting hard for Chicago. I tell him that might be a mistake. Seven weeks from now, he might be wishing the Yankees beat the White Sox on this night. That seems to be the way things are going. But like most Sox fans, he cannot bring himself to root for the Yankees. And he will not admit that the American League East is lost.
Wait, the AL East is lost? The season ends on August 10 now? Crap! I was looking forward to another month and a half of baseball. That's a real bummer. Oh, well, we'll get 'em next year.

Anybody who thinks the AL East is lost right now, please get the f*** off the bandwagon and don't come back. The whining is hurting my ears. Although I think Dan jumped off back in the 1970s.
In an unrelated ownership anecdote, he tells me he first talked to Lucchino in 1989 when he wanted to use the Orioles' minor league park in Fort Lauderdale for his team in the newly formed Senior Professional Baseball Association.

``Larry said `no' and that kind of ticked me off," recalls Henry. ``I didn't even know what he looked like. I pictured him being a short, bald guy."

So Lucchino was a jerk back in 1989, too, huh? I'm shocked. Also, I wonder if he knows he comes off as a short, bald guy over the phone.
At 10:30, I stand up and tell the Red Sox owner that polite company would be leaving right about now. He won't have it.
Wasted opportunity, John. Wasted opportunity. Shame on you.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This isn't so bad, either

CHB has been a bit more tame as of late. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but while it's still up in the air, let's save some of the fury for when it's really deserved.

Today's column
is the inevitable piece about Sox inaction at the deadline. It's about a week late, but if you take the view that the real impact of the deadline non-moves won't be known until the end of the year or even the end of the next few years (as I do), it's still too early. However, he had to write something, right? There are only a few parts I have an issue with, and it's nothing major. In general, this column is exceedingly boring. I have noticed this about pretty much every piece that relies heavily on quotes from Theo Epstein. Aside from that hilarious remark about the World Series trophy and Paris Hilton, he's not really a good go-to guy for interesting material. He's too careful.

Anyway, what I had issue with:

On the hot seat for the first time in his big league career, Epstein disputes the notion that the Sox have been intransigent at the negotiating table because they've fallen in love with their prospects.
He's joking, right? He doesn't really think this is the first time Theo's been on the hot seat? I think 2005 was one giant hot seat, and I don't even know what the offseason was. Spontaneous combustion? Nuclear meltdown? The entire summer of 2004 was a hot seat; if the Nomar trade had backfired, Theo would probably be either scouting for the Pirates or trying investment banking right now. Actually, his entire job is a hot seat. I find this little fragment ridiculous. I mean, Dan makes my point in the last paragraph:

But if the Sox fail to make the playoffs, Epstein knows that July 31 will be cited as the beginning of the end of Boston's chances for 2006. And he'll be blamed. That's a fact of life when you are general manager of the Red Sox. There is no escape from the sound and the fury.

This seems a bit contradictory to me. I'm also annoyed by all the "The Sound and the Fury" references, since I hate William Faulkner (thanks to "As I Lay Dying," hands-down the worst book in my high-school curriculum save maybe anything by Willa Cather), but that's Theo's fault. He opened the door. Boooooo, I say.

Really, it's not a bad piece except for that one stupid remark. It's just very, very bland.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This is good

This snippet from Dan today on the subject of whether or not the Red Sox will regret not making a move at the deadline:
This question can't be answered fairly for several years. If the Sox finish second for the ninth straight season and fail to make the playoffs, there certainly will be some local gnashing of teeth. But we don't know precisely what deals were turned down, and it'll be years before we can measure the importance of holding onto prospects they were unwilling to trade. There was certainly some bad luck involved when two veterans from the starting lineup went to the disabled list in the wake of the non-trades, but that's just bad timing and bad luck. Still, if the Sox don't make the playoffs, the silence of July 31 will be cited.
I'm going to give credit where credit is due. This is an excellent, reasonable position and I agree completely. In fact, I'll go so far as to say it's one of the better takes I've seen on the situation from the idiot, sky-is-perpetually-falling Boston media (hi, Tony Massarotti!). I like it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Walkoffs! [insert cliche here]

Today's column informs us that the Red Sox seem to have a lot of walkoff hits this year, and when they do, it's kind of cool.

Really? I had no idea.

First, we get this abortion of parallel structure:

Michael Jackson has the moonwalk. Hollywood Boulevard has the Walk of Fame. Marc Cohn had ``Walkin' in Memphis." Johnny Cash walked the line. And the Red Sox make their opponents walk off the field in abject agony after another winning hit by the local nine.

Ugh. Then we get this:

Wonder why traffic is so bad around Fenway after the games? Because nobody ever leaves the ballpark, that's why. Only a dope would walk away from a Sox game before the final out is registered.
You know what? You could insert the name of any team in baseball here (except for maybe the Dodgers). It's a worthless statement. Traffic is bad around every park after games. Only idiots leave before the end of the game, unless it's 14-0, in which case I think Sox fans would vacate the premises as well.

Intent on finding out if Fausto Carmona has the makeup of a closer (he doesn't), Cleveland manager Eric Wedge left his rocket righty on the hill to suffer one of the more humiliating beatings of any season.
So after 2 bad outings, we have concluded that Fausto Carmona, a 22-year-old rookie, will never be a closer. Welcome to the world of small sample sizes, and thank your lucky stars that Dan has nothing to do with baseball decisions. But yes, I agree, it was humiliating. Hitting two guys on two consecutive pitches in the exact same spot is really, really bad.

But at the risk of sounding negative, I'm still wondering if these star-sparkled finishes are only obscuring the fact that July 31 might still go down as the Day the Music Died for the 2006 Red Sox.
No comment here, just hysterical laughter.

Are the Sox going to regret not making a move? Are there enough walkoff wins left in the tank to make fans forget the inaction?
We already know what Dan thinks about this. Yes and no are his answers to those questions, respectively. Let's ignore all the complexities that went into the Red Sox not making a deadline deal, the fact that this team has major holes disguised by their interleague record's impact on their overall record, etc. They have enough holes, I think, that Theo didn't think it worthwhile to give up what it would take to get this team over the hump. They're about .500 against the AL. They have 3 starting pitchers and a suspect bullpen. Their CF sucks (sorry, Coco). In the winter, we pretty much saw this sort of thing coming. 2006 is a transition year. But hey, let's ignore all that.

Following this is a bunch of quotes from John Henry and Larry Lucchino attempting to stick to their "new operating philosophy" by not stabbing Theo in the back. They succeed rather well.

Still, let's hope the Sox didn't let organizational arrogance -- too much pride in their own prospects -- get in the way of making a deal that would have helped the ``big league team" finish ahead of the Yankees for the first time since 1995.
Yes, let's trade Jon Lester and Craig Hansen, because we have excess starting pitching and excess bullpen arms. Who needs 3 starters? Bah.

Dan should know arrogance, though.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A sack of you-know-what

Today's column is your standard Big Papi ballwashing. I am all for this. I support Big Papi ballwashing in all its various forms. It is entirely deserved.

But at the time he was acquired, CHB called him a "sack of shit." How soon we forget, Dan. Or you forget. Nobody else has. Ignorant, knee-jerk, offensive, and possibly racist? Classic Dan! I firmly believe the David Ortiz signing to be the greatest move of Theo Epstein's tenure, and possibly one of the greatest GM moves of all time. You can own up to that remark any time now, Dan. I won't hold my breath.

Nonsensical analogy watch: "Ortiz has turned major league baseball into Wiffle ball games you'd play with makeshift rules regarding rooftops, clotheslines, and summer winds."

If someone could explain to me what this has to do with anything, I'd very much appreciate it, though I'm sure this is inviting snarky remarks from OB about my intelligence. How is this a coherent, relevant sentence?

Typographical error watch: "It most definitely would take the bat our of Ortiz's hands."