Friday, March 31, 2006

Farmed Out

The CHB today makes the dubious assertion that Theo Epstein is "more powerful than any Boston GM since Dick O'Connell," a humorous bit of amnesia, considering that Dan Duqette is also prominently featured in the piece. Duquette, of course, was executive vice president and general manager under John Harrington, and for all intents and purposes completely ran the operation. Not even Theo can say that.

That's just nit one.

He digs himself in further by saying Theo is trying to build the farm system while also putting a playoff quality team on the field. Oddly, though, he offers as evidence Kevin Youkilis, "home-grown stud Jonathan Papelbon" and soon-to-be-ready Craig Hansen and Jon Lester. Perhaps the Sox can take credit for Papelbon, who has been in the farm system since 2003. But calling Hansen homegrown is a complete joke. He came from a major college program and is major league ready right now. And it completely ignores the talent that came out of the minors under Duquette, including Nomar Garciaparra and Trot Nixon. Moreover, The CHB is late to this development: at least one scouting service named the Red Sox minor league system the tops in the majors during the past year.

Nit no. 3: He writes, "In fact, only 24 of Boston's 53 draft picks last year were from a four-year college." Actually, according to the Globe's own Website, 27 came from four-year colleges. And six more came from the junior college ranks, which in many cases are designed to be baseball factories.

Nit. no. 4: "Development vs. acquisition is an age-old tug of war for the Sox." Right -- as it is for every team. But an acquisition model hasn't seemed to hurt the Yankees (you've heard of them, haven't you Dan?)

Finally, as only The CHB can do, there are plenty of shots fired at Messrs. Henry, and Lucchino for echoing Epstein's statements. Only Dan would find that much-needed unity and cohesiveness to be a problem.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Driving Nostalgia Lane

After a long break, he's back. But those hoping The CHB spent his week away researching something, anything, are sure to be disappointed with his revelation today that UCLA basketball has a long tradition.

And could the CHB make it through an entire column on tradition without mention of the Yankees, Canadiens and Celtics? Of course not: "They were the New York Yankees and Montreal Canadiens of college basketball. They were collegiate cousins to the Boston Celtics."

Good old Dan. Where we would be without him and his fanciful drives down nostalgia lane?

Name drop watch: "After last Saturday's regional final victory over John Calipari's Memphis team, [Bill] Walton sent me an e-mail ... ."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Off and On

It's a curious thing: The CHB writes several days in a row, then disappears for long stretches.

In the past two weeks, for example, he was off March 16-18, then issued (the best phrase for his mechanical, ho-hum style) four missives in a row (three on the World Baseball Classic),the last of which ran March 22, then hasn't published anything since.

One wonders why the Globe doesn't space his columns so as to avoid the slapdash inanity that spawned this blog.

One further wonders why the Globe doesn't simply can his sorry ass and hire someone who can juggle the apparently enormous task of 1) writing crisp, clear prose while 2) getting his facts straight.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

And There It Is...

From today's Globe:

Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in Monday's Sports section erroneously said that no Cuban national team baseball player had defected since Jose Contreras in 2002. While Cuban baseball players have defected since 2002, Contreras was the last one to do so during an international tournament.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An Embarrassment of a Column

One of the beauties of Dan's Sybil-like mind is his ability to present two sides of an argument and, through tortured calculus, determine that they somehow support a single thesis.

Case in point: Today's column.

Per The CHB, the United States' loss was "shocking" and "it's going to be difficult to argue that Americans are still the best at the sport we invented." Yet in the next graf, he says the U.S. team "was hastily assembled, did not include all of our best players (one of America's pitchers, Al Leiter, retired Sunday), and entered the tournament in midwinter form while many of the other squads were in midseason shape." He writes
We did not put our best team on the field (Jeff Francoeur, Michael Barrett, Brian Schneider?). Because the tournament was held in March, we sent players into games before they were ready. And we were embarrassed -- losing to Canada, Korea, and Mexico.
If, as Dan argues, we sent Little Leaguers to compete against other nation's pros, wouldn't we be expected to lose? And if so, then why would a 2-1 loss to a pro team be grounds for bridge-jumping?

Yet even while claiming Americans' were embarrassed by the outcome, he says that fans ignored it. In true Sybilish style, The CHB is saying that fans weren't even aware the games were going on, yet red-faced over the loss. A neat trick.

He concludes with typical Shaughnessy schmaltz: "[N]ow there's proof that the game belongs to the world." Perhaps he wasn't aware that the International Baseball Federation has more than 110 member countries. Or that 30% of major league players are not U.S. citizens. Strange, though; you think he would have noticed names like Ortiz, Martinez, Cabrera and Ramirez on the jerseys of the Red Sox players as they celebrated their 2004 World Series victory.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dan's Coverage is AWOL

Reading The CHB's recap of the final of the World Baseball Classic, you might think the top stories were that no one cared ("While half of America slept, and the other half blissfully ignored the event") and the time the game ended (12:57 a.m. EST).

You would be wrong.

Dan's story, a passive account of what happened on the field, plus a couple of quotes, could have been written from Newton. He misses so many nuances of the contest that made it interesting. For example:

*The Cubans wore their red uniforms, which they consider to be lucky.
*Cuba starter Ormari Romero was pulled after just 23 pitches.
*Petco Park, host to the finals, was packed with fans from Japan and Cuba who cheered their teams with flags, horns and cowbells.
*The San Diego Symphony Orchestra played the national anthems of Japan, Cuba and the U.S.
*Hank Aaron threw the ceremonial first pitch, and was escorted to the third-base line, by Sadaharu Oh, Japan's all-time home run king.
*Oh apparently forgot what made him famous, because the Japanese he bunted like crazy. (Sometimes you win despite your manager.)

Instead, he takes shots at the U.S. team, calling its loss to Mexico "embarrassing" and a "stunning departure."

And the snide remark about America's lack of interest was uncalled for. Perhaps if the telecast of the game had started before 9 p.m. EST, maybe a few folks at home would have watched.

"I root for the story," The CHB has said. He missed a good one here.

Correction watch: I have heard that the Globe will run a correction to The CHB's remark yesterday that no Cuban player has defected since José Contreras in 2002.

Monday, March 20, 2006


There are two prevailing stories in baseball this spring. There's the triple-story of Barry Bonds, the all-time homerun crown and steroids. Then there's the World Baseball Classic.

The CHB, who to date has acted the proverbial one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest when it comes such timely stories as Jim Rice's winning personality and Keith Foulke's thoughts on Burger King employees, finally gets around to writing about the WBC.

Of course, he doesn't study the merits of the contest. Nor does he capture the excitement of it -- and those who saw Alex Rodriguez' shock and dismay after the United States lost to Mexico or Jason Varitek's soft-spoken gratitude for the honor of representing his country know what I mean.

Instead, he writes back-to-back columns about what a wonderful team the Cubans have. And in doing so he obliterates reality and common sense. It's like watching a slow-motion car crash.

Let's roll the tape.

Sunday: "No 25 guys/25 cabs for the Cuban national team. It's all for one, all the time," he wrote. As if a Cuban player would even be allowed in a cab.

Today: He describes what a great time the players are having: "It's obvious the players are having fun. They travel, eat, practice, and play as a unit."

As usual, Dan contradicts himself mid-story without even realizing it. Is it the fun that binds the players together, or is it the "security guards near their rooms in the team hotel and representatives from the Department of Homeland Security stand[ing] guard?" Or maybe it's the presence of Antonio Castro, Fidel's son, who just happens to be the team doctor "and often can be seen standing next to [Cuba's manager] during games."

Can those who are considered threats to defect be seriously described as "having fun"? Fun is what I had while out on St. Patrick's Day, and the last thing on my mind was hopping a boat to Havana. Per Article 216 of Cuba's Penal Code, the penalty for any attempt to leave the country without prior government approval is up to three years in prison.

Some don't get off so easy. Truth is, potential defectors face a life-and-death decision. In his childlike ignorance, The CHB apparently is unaware that on July 18, 1978, Cuban baseball star Pedro José Rodríguez was assassinated by Cuban agents while in Colombia for a exhibition series. He was thrown from the 5th floor window of his hotel room for attempting to defect.

Moreover, as Cuban law (Article 90 of Law No. 16, June 28, 1978) mandates, "The promotion of athletes to higher categories takes into account not only their athletic achievements, but also their social and political attitude." In short, you want to play, you gotta pray at the altar of Fidel.

What was that about the cabs, Dan?

Here's where Dan truly goes off the deep end. "Baseball truly is a religion in Cuba. ... Players pledge allegiance to Fidel and none has defected since José Contreras went AWOL in 2002 [SIC!]." Let's forego the pure MGH-bound craziness of that non sequiter and focus on the "none has defected since 2002" comment. That is, pure and simple, wrong.

In October 2003, Cuban baseball stars Maels Rodriguez and Yobal Dueñas defected, hoping to make it to major leagues, according to Baseball America.

And in a New York Times article on March 6, 2006, Jack Curry wrote: "Joe Kehoskie, an agent who has represented Cuban defectors since 1998, said he knew of several players who would like to defect. He estimated that more than 40 players, none as renowned as Contreras, have defected in the past three years."

So what happened in 2002? Cuba began negotiating with foreign teams for its best players. As economics professor Katherine Baird noted in her paper, Cuban Baseball: Ideology, Politics, and Market Forces, in 2002, two top Cuban players, Omar Linares and Germán Mesa, were sold to Japan teams. Notes Baird: "In all likelihood, the Cuban government received significantly more than 80 percent of Linares’ earnings. While it is less clear if the average Cuban player is exploited, those who are able to play overseas are clearly exploited by the Cuban goverment." There's something about being able to leave (mostly) on your own that sort of undermines the need to defect.

Ignorance is bliss, ain't it Dan?

Say what? watch: The CHB says the Cubans are "one victory away from being true champions of the world." Ooooookkkaaayyyy.

Selective memory watch: "Lazo made the lead look huge. No one-inning relief stint for him. The big righty threw 4 2/3 innings of relief, which we all know is not the American way." Is it me, or was Dan among those who screamed bloody murder three years ago at the closer-by-committee concept, under which extended high-leverage relief appearances would be acceptable? We need only turn to April 1, 2003, when he wrote: "Let's start with a memo to Bill James: Perhaps the seventh inning is not the most important inning to hold a lead."

Selective memory watch, redux: Do you think there's pressure to win? Dan did last year, when covering the Red Sox-White Sox playoff series last Oct. 8 he wrote of Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, "There's little pressure in life after you've already stared down Fidel Castro."

Plagiarism watch: The NYT's Jack Curry, on March 6: Yulieski Gourriel, a 21-year-old infielder who carries himself with the swagger of Derek Jeter ... ."

Dan on March 19: "Gourriel -- the Derek Jeter of Cuba ... ."

Thank God they're a two-newspaper company: Curry again: "Kehoskie speculated that the young pitchers Danny Betancourt, who was dazzling in the Athens Olympics, and Frank Montieth were excluded from the Classic because they were viewed as threats to defect."

The CHB (quoting Velez): "If someone says that we have them under control because they might want to leave, they might want to run away, it's not true. You know very well that if you want to run away, if you want to go to another place, you can do that whenever you want. You can just leave the stadium, grab a cab, leave the hotel, and that's it. They don't want to do that." (Propaganda 1, The CHB 0.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Return of the Monkeys

Terry Francona's contract extension gives The CHB all the reason he needs to trot out all his favorite comparisons. "Francona's success has elevated him above the sad status of unfortunate sons like Grady Little and Don Zimmer, but he's not considered a genius on a par with Coach Bill. Affable Tito still gets routinely hooted on sports talk radio, and there are a lot of Sox fans who maintain that Boston won its championship in spite of the man in the corner office."

Count The CHB as one of those "fans." Here’s his shot at the Sox manager from Sept. 26, 2004:
For almost six months, he was just harmless, never-say-bunt Tito. A player's boss in the tradition of Pete Carroll, Terry Francona told us he loved his guys and he took blame for anything they did wrong. He drove some fans crazy with game strategy and pitcher deployment (the usual stuff), but most of Red Sox Nation viewed him as a benign bystander in the 2004 quest for the grail. And then came Friday night when Francona morphed into Grady Lite.
Going a little farther back, here’s what he said Aug. 29, 2004:
Some of us think you put the players first too much. We fear you take too many bullets for the fellows. Not enough tough love. Certainly nothing public.
And June 3, 2004: "That's exactly what He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named said right up until the day the Red Sox sent him back to Pinehurst, N.C."

Back to today’s piece: "Until this week, it seemed the Sox were willing to let Francona start the 2006 season as a lame duck manager …” Not to those who have been paying attention. This approach is in line with the closed-mouth stance Sox management have taken since The CHB, et al, created the Epstein maelstrom.

“No details were released, but the Sox no doubt gave Francona a significant bump in salary.” Interesting that Dan thinks the Red Sox should openly comment on the salaries of their personnel. Just like the Globe does. Not.

“Would he like to be here a long time?” In the ocean of idiotic logic that is Dan’s brain, this may be the dumbest question yet. Francona just signed a new contract. How many ways do you think he would possibly answer this question?

Most of the line of questioning followed Dan’s past interviews with Francona:
*Aug. 29, 2004: "But don't expect him to listen to nitwit radio. 'I think I have a pretty good perspective on that," he said. [R]eally I don't listen to it that much.' "

*July 19, 2005: "I don't wake up in the morning and run to the radio to see how I'm being perceived," Terry Francona said before last night's 3-1 loss to the Devil Rays. "I'd be in trouble if I did that."

*March 15, 2006: "I have no idea how I am perceived," Francona said. "That's the times we live in, and in a major market that's what sports radio has become -- who can out-smart-aleck each other -- and it doesn't interest me."

Finally, Dan can’t seem to mention Francona’s name without bringing up Grady Little or Don Zimmer, which he did today and in all the aforementioned columns. Obsessed much with the past, Dan-o?

Like we said yesterday, it's time to hire some new monkeys.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

They Right (and Write) Themselves

It was Curt Schilling on Saturday, then Keith Foulke on Monday and today it's Matt Clement.

Three pitchers on the comeback trail in three columns: is this rehab week?

And like the former two pieces, Dan sticks to the script: A blow-by-blow of everything that went wrong for the player last year, a recount of his high points, and most of the column is just the pitcher's own words, with a few transitions from The CHB thrown in.

But while he seemed to be making up with Schilling, calling him "the big guy" -- a switch from "the Big Blowhard," as he did last year -- The CHB still can't get out of his own way. After belittling Foulke on multiple occasions for "insulting the fans," Shaughnessy uses the same language to describe Clement following last season's playoff loss, saying he "looked like a man who'd rather be working alongside Johnny from Burger King."

It appears the team of monkeys Dan hires to write his columns may be running out of steam.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Foulke Festival

Today's piece is a nice summary of Dan's shortcomings as a columnist and a human being.

His bizzaro world analysis: "[Jonathan Papelbon] was in Double A a year ago and he never has saved a game in the majors. He's a nice option for Francona, but Mike Timlin might be the safer choice." Hmmm ... does Bobby Jenks ring a bell? Or is last October too long ago? How about Francisco Rodriguez? Truth is, closers are cheap: if you don't have Mariano Rivera, just find the hot hand and ride him.

His total lack of compassion and humanity: "Along the way he insulted the fans, told us he doesn't like baseball, and appeared miserable just about all the time. He finished with 15 saves and a 5.91 ERA in 43 games. When the Sox were losing their second playoff game in Chicago, Foulke was watching the Bruins at the Garden. Now he comes to the balllpark, works early, and goes home to watch NASCAR while his teammates play in the games." We know, Dan, we know: You rehashed every reason why Foulke is a bad person on Feb. 20.

His Reagan-like math: "The Sox are committed to giving him a chance, but they can't let him torpedo the early part of their season if he's not right. It's too important ... ." I guess I missed that change in the rules that makes the first 30 games count more than the last 30. Don't you recall that on June 26, 2005, the Yankees were 37-37 and you had given them up for dead? All they did after that was go 58-30 to touch out the Sox for the division title.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Memory Lapse

The CHB, failing memory and all, returns to Ft. Myers, Florida, and reports that during spring training "Nobody complains about anything."

Say what? Ever heard of John Valentin, or David Wells, or Carl Everett, or, ... ?
Heck, ever heard of Dan Shaughnessy, who on Feb. 22 bitched about Manny Ramirez's absence?

All in all, it's just a rehash of his Feb. 24, 2006, column.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Little Insight

It's just two days after we were hit with the biggest story hands-down in baseball in months.

The questions abound:
* Did Barry Bonds use steroids or other performance enhancing chemicals?
* Did the authors/publishers time the book's publication in order to affect the upcoming baseball season?
* Is there proof that steroids or PECs actually make a difference in a player's on-the-field performance (insert Raffy joke here)?
* How should baseball react?
* How should fans react?

And so on.

And then there's this little event going on right now called the World Baseball Classic, which holds lots of promise even if the execution and timing aren't necessarily ideal.

So what does The CHB write about today? Grady Little and Terry Francona and their freewheeling (ha ha) days as roommates while coaching in the minor leagues 14 years ago.

Sample insight: "Did Francona learn from the man who preceded him in the corner office at Fenway? 'I'm sure I did,' said Francona. ... 'But I can't sit here and tell you one thing that he did different.' "

It's an incredible display of mindlessness. Even Jim Rice's non-election to the Hall of Fame merited more coverage from Dan. But remember, he "writes for the readers."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dan's Stock is (Finally) on Bonds' Guilt

The CHB’s take on an upcoming book on Barry Bonds and his alleged steroid use is troubling. Troubling because The CHB wants to fire on Bonds but is struggling with his aim.

One reason is the sheer number of weasel words in the piece. He leads with “Sounds like they really have him this time,” and later writes, “Bonds has been able to stay ahead of the posse thus far.” The implication is that Bonds has cheated but has thus far not been caught.

But the piece is characterized by plenty of “out” phrases, such as “seems to” and the aforementioned “sounds like.” To wit: “It's increasingly clear that he was pumping a lot of stuff into his body.” Not “crystal” clear, but “increasingly.” How lawyerly.

Troubling because it deviates from his past statements demanding proof, as he wrote on March 3, 2004: “No one will ever be able to prove anything from the past, of course. It's like asking police to prove your blood alcohol level was over the legal limit when you drove home from your cousin's wedding in July of 1999.”

Troubling because as sure as he is now of the evidence, he failed all previous opportunities to indict Bonds. For instance, Dan’s comments on Oct. 18, 2002, on the eve of the Giants-Angels World Series, feted Bonds while failing to mention steroids:
Why does America hate Barry Bonds so much? Is it because he's too good? Is it because we constantly hear that his teammates can't stand him? Is it the phony, Carl Everett-esque point to the heavens when he crosses the plate after homering? Is it because he sounds so insincere? Are we threatened by the prospect of him passing hardball gods Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron on the all-time homer list? Bonds is the central figure of this World Series. It is difficult to come up with another player who's gotten more attention before the start of the event. We want to know how/if the Angels will pitch to him. We want to see if he can finally perform in the clutch. Despite his (relatively) strong showing in the first two rounds, Bonds will still be remembered as a postseason bust if he fails in this World Series. And so many are rooting against him. It should make for fascinating theater.
In the same piece, Dan even nominated Bonds’ father to throw out the first ball.

Dan ignores all that, however. Now, he says, Bonds is a fraud. So, it seems, is fair-weather Dan.

Color blind. “And now we seem to have hard evidence that Barry didn't make himself Popeye solely by pumping iron.” As The Chimp might say, Did Popeye have black arms?

Revision watch: On March 18, 2004, Dan wrote that Bud Selig would not have the ability or legal standing to change baseball’s rules governing (and penalizing) steroids. How wrong that turned out to be.

Also, on Feb. 25, 2005, Dan attacked Tony LaRussa: “He knew about Jose Canseco . . . and he said nothing? … His apparent involvement in the steroid coverup is alarming, given the way he has presented himself to us for all these years.” Then, on March 17, 2005, he let LaRussa off the hook. Nice turnabout.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wrong Call on Homers

Updating a previous post, it is well-known that the Globe choses to publish only a few of the factual errors in Shaughnessy's columns.

Here's an example from Dec. 10, 2004. The CHB wrote: "[Kapler] was in the majors for six full seasons, saw the home run explosion, and the tapering off [sic!] of homers with the advent of limited drug testing."

In fact, at the time it was written, that latter comment was absolutely wrong.

MLB instituted steroid testing in 2004. That year, the number of homers per game rose. In 2004 it was 1.123 per game, up from 1.071 in 2003 and 1.043 in 2002. Moreover, the number of doubles -- another power indicator -- rose to 1.837 in 2004 from 1.816 in 2003 and 1.793 in 2002. (Other averages such as runs per game also went up.)

I don't have the final 2005 numbers handy, and in fact they are irrelevant to this point. The point is, it's just another example of Dan not bothering with the research -- at the time he wrote the column, had all the data on its MLB statistics page -- making stupid extrapolations and the Globe looking the other way.

(I should add that a few months later Gordon Edes once again quietly put things into proper perspective.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hang 10

Say it ain't so.

The CHB is headed South for 10 more days, he warns in his Sunday column. God save us all. Here's hoping he pulls over to pee at a South Carolina rest area.

Other than that, Sunday's column was more Baseball Notes than anything else. We are treated to anecdotes about the offspring of Mike Greenwell and coach Brad Mills, and shots at Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon. Yawn.

And there's this: "We get to see Nomar Garciaparra playing first base when the Sox go to Vero Beach Thursday. Nomar has a good teacher. He's been getting lessons from Eddie Murray, who played more games at first base (2,413) than anyone else in the history of baseball."

Nice piece of trivia, but Dan's recall, well, sucks. Eddie Murray pulled absolute rocks at first. Here's a guy who made 19 errors one season, 18 another, and had six straight years of 10 or more errors. Nomar would be better off with Bill Murray as an instructor.

Hall watch: Interesting that Shaughnessy spends three columns on Jim Rice's Hall of Fame worthiness (even if they were for the most part the same work -- nearly verbatim -- he has been trotting out for years), yet it is left to Gordon Edes to make the case for an much bigger omission: Buck Weaver.

EDIT: That should be Buck O'Neil. It was the desk's fault.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Latest Effort on B's Rhymes with 'Rink'

If this keeps up, I'm going to start an "X isn't walking through that door" watch.

Like Dan himself, the now ancient Rick Pitino quote is long past retirement age. Yet no one seems to have told The CHB, who keeps trotting it out like a Suffolk Downs nag that's overdue for the glue wagon. It's probably hard-coded into Microsoft Word on his PC.

Today's incarnation: "Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Terry O'Reilly, Ray Bourque, and Joe Thornton aren't walking through that door. Cam Neely and Pie McKenzie aren't walking through that door, either."

It's just one more in a string of cliches and suckups. The Bruins are the
"team with the most loyal fans." Those same fans are "by far the most knowledgable [sic!] fan base in our town" -- good luck proving that -- and adds "you know a large number of men in the crowd are dads who talk about Orr when they watch the game with the new generation of hockey fans," as if we are to believe Dan ever leaves the press box.

Dan's weak attempt to peddle a feelgood Bruins story feels as contrived as O.J. Simpson's assertions that he's looking for Nicole's killer.

One need only recall his Jan. 16 piece, when he wrote
One thing is for sure: The Patriots' sudden, stunning defeat in Denver Saturday night is not a good thing for Mike O'Connell and the Bruins. While Tom Brady and Friends were bound for Super Bowl XL in Detroit, it was easy to ignore the train wreck on Causeway Street, but now the moribund Bruins and the southbound Celtics have our attention again -- at a time when they'd rather be hiding in the weeds.
Or his Nov. 22, 2005, piece, in which he called the B's
... a defenseless, last-place team in a town that's all too ready to relegate hockey to the status accorded the New England Revolution. Hockey -- the new professional soccer. Ugh.
Where were all those loyal fans when you wrote that?

As if Boston needed more proof of The CHB's blindness to his surroundings, he writes: "Close your eyes and you can tell what is going on simply by listening to the Garden crowd." It is a nice insight on how he does his job, though.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bad Casting

Try as he might to cast Antoine Walker as the hero of last night's Heat-Celtics game, Dan's assertion that the former Celt's 13 points somehow made the difference falls way short of the rim.

There's this odd tenet of sportswriting that says that for the sake of drama, it's OK to ignore what actually happened on the court. And what happened was that Shaq bullied his way around floor for 16 (would have been more if he made a few free throws) and Dwayne Wade scored 24 points and Shandon Anderson rang up 15 in just 23 minutes. And without all that, Walker's late-game binge would have been meaningless. But never let the facts get in the way of a good tale.

And where would a good drama be without a villian? Dan writes:
'Toine said he wanted to stay in Boston after the nifty run he had in the spring of 2005, but said talks never got off the ground with Ainge. "For some reason, Danny didn't want me to come back," Walker said.
Let's consider that, shall we? For the season, Walker has been busting pine, while the immortal, undrafted Udonis Haslem starts ahead of him. He averages just shy of 27 minutes a game -- seventh on the team -- and is shooting just 43% -- far below the Celt's team average of 47%. For this performance, the Heat will pay him the bargain basement sum of $40 million through the 2010-2011 season. Still think Ainge was wrong not to keep him? Or perhaps Dan thinks the solution to the C's problems was another Mark Blount? By not rebutting Walker, that's the impression he leaves.

Wrong sport watch: Compares Walker's results during the first three quarters of last night's game to the 2005 edition of Sammy Sosa, all while failing to recognize that Walker's entire season has been a trainwreck.

Star watch: Of the Boston glitterati, is Bill Belichick really the glitterest? "The Celtics' sixth sellout of the season included Boston movers, shakers, fakers, and people who ride in limos," The CHB wrote. Yet of all those movers and shakers, the Pats coach is the only one mentioned by name. For some reason, Shaughnessy has a habit of turning Celtics coverage into Page 6, as he showed May 10, 2003, when his analysis of the Nets-Celtics playoff series could be summed as: "It was certainly a night to see and be seen at the New Garden. Governor Mitt Romney was there and got booed when his face was plastered on the big board. Patriots owner Bob Kraft took a front-row baseline seat."