Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dan, Rehashed

The CHB outdoes himself today, flip-flopping all over the sports page like a netted cod. He criticizes the Red Sox for overspending for Daisuke Matsuzaka while also arguing that the Sox are finally waking up to the "fact" they need to "win now." The piece epitomizes everything that is wrong with Dan Shaughnessy:

His problem with facts:
*“The Red Sox just spent $51.1 million for the right to negotiate with a player.” Wrong. The Red Sox didn’t spend anything to negotiate with him. They pay only if he signs. Try reading Nick Carfado, Dan-o.

*“One year later, the Contreras contretemps was followed by the Alex Rodriguez Valentine's Day fiasco.” Since that “fiasco,” the Red Sox have been to the playoffs twice and won a World Series – one more than A-Rod’s Yankees.

His incoherent babble:
*He complains about the dollar figures tossed around, but then acknowledges that its the right move. "The figures are absolutely staggering." ... "We will resist the temptation here to trace Contreras's disappointing career with the Yankees and wonder if that fate could find Matsuzaka." ... "[T]he urgency is back on Yawkey Way and this can only be a good thing ... "

His racism:
*“That would send the Dice Man (D-Mat? We badly need a nickname for this guy) …” Why? Because Dan finds it hard to pronounce anything more complicated than Whitey MacPaddy.

His failing memory:
*“The 2006 Red Sox suffered an unspeakable spate of injuries, but their dysfunctional roster was woefully equipped for land mines encountered in the second half of the season.” Let's recall what Shaughnessy wrote on April 3, 2006: “[T]hese 2006 Red Sox are a new-look team, stressing defense, pitching, and boredom … the Idiot culture is gone and has been replaced by an organizational professionalism that would make Boss Steinbrenner proud.

*On that same day, he also predicted the Sox would win the AL East: “[M]any experts … dismiss the Red Sox as a noncontender and perhaps a third-place team in the vaunted American League East. … That opinion is not shared here. … It says here this is the year the Red Sox finally vault over the Yankees and win the AL East outright for the first time since 1995 (ah, the Kevin Kennedy years).” Dan, get thee to a neurologist.

His hypocrisy:
"Boston's sad, sloppy September was little more than extended spring training (at whopping big league prices)." Right, like the Boston Globe cuts subscription prices every time they have a layoff.

Tuck this away. The CHB writes, “A Red Sox starting rotation of Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, and Tim Wakefield looks pretty good.” Let’s remember this when, in the midst of a three-game losing streak in June, The CHB spends a good 40 inches of column space bitching about how the Sox management should have known better than to bet the season on a rotation made up primarily of guys who had either never started in the majors or are old enough to be dead.

And a quick farewell. It’s nonsense like this that a little more than a year ago spurred me to launch this column. All good things end, however, and this is one. I am officially retiring this site. Thanks to everyone who read and commented, especially Jenny, who carried this place for the past several months.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and Dan will realize it’s time for him to go too.

Hey, we can wish, right?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh, great

Well, folks, he's back. And he wrote one of those irritating columns where every line is about a different subject and, in aggregate, is essentially one big obnoxious stream of consciousness. So here goes:
What was most annoying about NBC's telecast of the Patriots and Colts last Sunday night? Was it John Madden's incessant references to "wham" blocks, or those John Mellencamp Silverado commercials? A close third would be the beer ads with Dick Vermeil and Bill Walsh at pretend press conferences.
I actually identify with this particular rant. I think the John Cougar Mellencamp commercials were hands-down the worst part of Sunday night, because they had me wishing for political ads. I don't know a single person who likes those commercials. The Coors Light commercials with Dick Vermeil and Bill Walsh were obnoxious for their terrible editing. And what is a "wham" block? I must have missed the explanation amid all the inane blathering that usually comes out of Madden's mouth. The good news is, he's lost more than most people had to begin with, but the bad news is, he's lost a LOT.
Why do I get the feeling that Dustin Pedroia, through no fault of his own, is destined to become the line in the sand in Fort Myers next spring? Theo Epstein and the minions love the little guy. Longtime scouts, people who wear baseball uniforms, and most fans are not convinced. This will be interesting.
Look! It's another "Theo Epstein and his little weenie friends are a bunch of dorks who don't know anything about baseball and should just go home and play World of Warcraft because they're so tethered to their iMacs" rant! And the statement about the scouting opinion of Pedroia is misleading. Just because they are not convinced doesn't mean Pedroia can't be good. Most scouts are not convinced about anybody, because drafting in baseball is a notoriously inexact science. I have seen good things about Pedroia. How about this little thing called "wait and see," Dan? He can't be worse than the Singles-Hitting Statue, otherwise known as Mark Lorettta.
Please, tell us the 2006 Patriots aren't going to wind up like the 2006 Red Sox.
This is followed by a bunch of asinine analysis attempting to compare baseball to football and Rodney Harrison to Jason Varitek. You came to this conclusion after a loss to the best team in football, Dan? Do continue.
There are already as many Bryant 24s as Bryant 8s at Staples Center. Personally, I think he did it to honor Manny Ramírez.
The Boston Garden's new video board is terrific, but something has to be done about the sound system on Causeway Street. It's muffled in many parts of the building and we're missing some good stuff when people speak.
Wow. I think we may have just found one of the only reasonable lines in the entire article. Somebody fix that sound system! Really. I'm serious.
"The 1980s happened, too"? What is that supposed to mean? The 1985-86 Celtics had eight white players and four black players. They also went 40-1 at home, won the championship easily, and may have been the best NBA team in history. Oh, then the team was picked by a black head coach, K.C. Jones -- hired by Red. Enough of the high-brow criticism. With Red, it was about talent, not color. And that's exactly why Auerbach was every bit a "crusading barrier crasher." He went with the best players when nobody else would. No need to apologize for going with the best players in the 1980s.
I think we may have also just found the only man in Boston Dan will defend to the hilt. This is actually a very solid analysis. I'm a little surprised he left out Len Bias, though. It would seem to further his point, however tragically.
It's weird to see that TV spot featuring athletes at home. Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm? Aren't these the all-time privacy buffs? And now they're showing off their crib, Deion Sanders style?
If you're going to be random with this column, I guess you have to go the whole way, because I don't really know why this is in here. How about remarking on Nomar swinging that giant knife like a baseball bat to cut the lemon, Dan? It makes me nervous every time. I'm sure you could make some insulting remark about it.
Bob Lobel reports that Bill Belichick's postgame press conference late Sunday was a true walkoff moment. "It was a walkoff press conference," observed Lobel. "The coach walked off in mid-answer!"

Irrelevant tangent: I firmly believe Bob Lobel is insane, and I also believe he is drunk on camera for a good portion of the time. His post-2004 World Series interviews gave me the impression that he had been consuming liberally during the game and was, by that point, completely trashed. This made for a very hilarious interview of a decidedly sober John Henry, and a very hilarious interview of a tipsy Theo who, while instructing the fans in Boston to "celebrate responsibly," waved his can of beer in the camera and chugged it while Lobel was asking him the next question. Great moment.
Bet Tony La Russa shows up at a Patriots game this year. In the history of baseball managers, only Connie Mack and John McGraw won more games than La Russa.
I think Dan likes Tony La Russa.
Still trying to figure out what Dave Wallace and Ron Jackson did wrong? Same here. Two of the most decent men who ever wore Boston uniforms. Jackson was replaced by Dave Magadan, who may be a fine hitting instructor, but most hitting coaches are hired by the manager, not the general manager.
I'm going to go ahead and say they were asked to leave because a) Wallace is reportedly no good at working with younger pitchers, and b) Ron Jackson apparently has problems with analyzing swings, which is important for a hitting coach. I don't know how you can separate the quality of offense the last few years from the hitting coach. I'm going to say the offense was pretty good by itself just because the players were good, but go ahead and think it was Ron Jackson, Dan! And by all means, credit Dave Wallace for how good Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling are. As far as said coaches being hired by the manager and not the general manager, I don't think this is true, but I do appreciate that you're just trying to tell us that Theo is a meddling little busybody and you hate him.

"Blah blah yadda yadda . . . If I wanted to be an ass, I would ask if it really makes sense for a middle-aged man to be awed by a younger man who happens to be really good at putting a ball through a hole suspended 10 feet above the ground." (Paul Shirley)

Just something to ponder next time you button up your XXL Schilling jersey.

So is it the XXL part we have a problem with, the Schilling part, or the jersey part? Are fans now not allowed to wear jerseys and idolize players because *gasp* sports has little bearing on real life? Where ever did you come up with that philosophical gem, Dan?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Red Auerbach

Wow, it's been awhile, hasn't it? Sorry about the hiatus. Some of it was Dan not writing much, and some of it was me being lazy. I don't normally read the Celtics page on the Globe website, so I completely missed this column, which is now almost 4 days old. My apologies.

It's actually pretty good. It's a nice tribute, and it trucks along nicely for several paragraphs, until we hit this bit:

In 1984, I brought my young wife and infant daughter to the NBA meetings in Salt Lake City. Red had given me a box of cigars when our daughter was born (probably a company violation to accept them, but hopefully the statute of limitations on graft has expired) and I was anxious to have him take a look at our 6-week-old baby. Red took one look at little Sarah, blew some smoke past my wife's head, and said, "Lady, you got a lot of balls bringing that baby all the way out here. Yes, sir, a lot of balls."

It took a while to explain to my wife that this was Red's highest form of praise.

There he is, injecting himself into the middle of a story again. What's even stranger is that this story is about him injecting himself into the middle of something he shouldn't be, the NBA meetings. "Here's a random segment about how I interrupted Red Auerbach and made him look at my cute baby! Oh, and did you know I'm so special that Red gave me cigars?" I also love his flippant remark about "company violations." Is this the same daughter who got an internship thanks to Daddy doing some leaning on Tom Werner in violation of every existing standard of journalistic ethics?
Modern laws be damned, the Celtics should hand out cigars at the Garden opening night. After the anthem, before the opening tap, turn out the lights and let everybody light up a Hoyo de Monterrey. It'll smell like victory.
This is actually kind of a nice idea for a tribute. I'm merely confused as to what he's referring to when he talks about "modern laws." Laws about smoking indoors? Okay, sure, that's modern. I can buy that. How about the law prohibiting the importation of Hoyo de Monterrey cigars? That has been illegal since September 4, 1961, when Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act instituting a trade embargo against Cuba. Not exactly modern.

All in all, not a bad tribute, though.