Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pass the Vicodin

During all the hoopla surrounding T.O.'s alleged suicide attempt yesterday, it briefly occurred to me that there was no possible way the coverage of that "event" could get any worse than it already was.

Well, I didn't anticipate Dan doing a column on it, so I take it all back. It got worse this morning with this insensitive pile of rubbish. I'm sort of speechless right now--that's how bothered I am by this piece. But let's carry on anyway:

First of all, the title is incredibly offensive. "We snapped to attention?" "Attention seeker Owens was given some more?" This makes me wonder what Dan would have said if it had actually turned out to be a suicide attempt. You know what, Dan? People who try suicide usually ARE seeking attention, and you know what? You'd better give them exactly what they want without judgment or resentment, because otherwise they have a tendency to wind up dead. I've spent 2+ hours on the phone talking someone out of it in the middle of the night before, and I have three friends with suicide attempts on their records, so I'm not just spouting Dr. Phil here. It doesn't matter to me that T.O. himself apparently didn't try suicide; it's the principle of the thing.
So there you have it. A new low in TV tabloid journalism. James Frey is reportedly already at work on events of the day.
If you plug "Dan Shaughnessy" into this sentence in place of "James Frey," the sentence still has exactly the same meaning! How funny!

We're never going to know the real story, of course. Only Owens really knows what happened. We know he loves attention. But it's hard to believe he would stoop to these depths just to make himself a bigger story. The tape of Etheredge's 911 call might shed more light on this and you can be sure the Dallas and Philadelphia media will produce said audio within a few hours.

But why do we care?

It is hard to believe, isn't it? Which is why I don't think anybody, in their heart of hearts (Dan probably doesn't understand this concept), believes that. And why would the Dallas police release the 911 call? It's an invasion of privacy.

Also, we care because anybody who doesn't care when a public figure or anyone else allegedly tries to kill himself has something wrong with them. If this was a story about Tom Brady attempting suicide, Dan, you'd be singing a different tune. If it was about Theo Epstein, you'd be laughing and jumping for joy.*

But he does not seem to be a liar and there is really no reason to doubt his story from the strange Tuesday night. In the end, Terrell Owens is an entertainer, not that much different from Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise, or Mel Gibson. He is flawed, just like the rest of us. He needs attention and we provide. Never more than yesterday.

The Cowboys play at Philadelphia Oct. 8. Think anyone will be watching that one?

First of all, yes, they will, because it'll be a good football game if nothing else. Second of all, I don't know what to make of the first paragraph. He spends much of the column ripping T.O. and indirectly listing reasons we should doubt his story, then says we shouldn't doubt it? Yeah, okay. Just Dan being Dan, I guess. I give up.

*Note: I don't actually mean that. He's not THAT awful.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Acquiring target. . .

Apparently having tired of writing ineffective stories about what a horrible person and GM Theo Epstein is, Dan has set his sights on the possibly the only other two men in Boston who fans have even less reason to dislike: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Hey, Dan? If you want to make people hate someone, you probably shouldn't pick three of the most popular guys in the city. You're setting yourself up for failure.

In this column, Dan communicates the urgent message that he thinks Belichick is an arrogant snot.
The Patriots dominate the rest of the NFL but stubborn Mike Shanahan simply won't sign on to the theory that he's supposed to lose because the New England organization is smarter and better-prepared.
This "smarter and better-prepared" rubbish is media hype, Dan. You are the media. You could stop perpetuating it, but that would also prevent you from unloading on Belichick, so I guess that's not actually a viable option.
It proves only that arrogant attrition can catch up with any organization. Sometimes it's actually the team with the better players that wins.
Arrogant attrition, huh? I can see the theme of this column: Bill Belichick is arrogant. Guess what: if anyone has a reason to be, it's him. When did you start channeling Ron Borges? One of each of you is too much.
There was more booing at Gillette Stadium and the Patriots truly look like a team in distress, but we'd do well to remember that New England's 2003 Super Bowl champs were pancaked by Buffalo, 31-0, in September.
Anybody who boos the Patriots 3 games into the season after all the success they've brought to the city is too stupid and ungrateful to be allowed to be a fan. Go back to your basements, guys. Mean? Yes. But these people really irritate me. It's like they're taking their Red Sox frustrations out on the football team or something.
All in all, not a great show. The game was scheduled to be broadcast early this morning in Beijing and one could easily see why several million Chinese might not give a damn. Given this sample of American football, new viewers in Asia might prefer something more along the lines of a Jerry Lewis Film Festival.
First of all, they might not give a damn because, as you said, it's early in the morning there and they all have to go to work. Of course, they might actually give a damn because the vast majority of stuff on Chinese state television is absolutely horrendous. It makes tonight's game look like the premiere of "The Godfather."
Not to be confused with the Scorpion Bowl at the Kowloon off Route 1, the China Bowl will be played in Beijing's Workers Stadium, the site of the soccer competition for the XXIX Olympics. You'll have to rise at 8:30 a.m. to catch the Patriots and Seahawks in what could be a rematch of Super Bowl XLI.
What a funny joke! Oh, wait, no it wasn't. This sounds vaguely racist to me, too, but perhaps I'm too cynical.

Also, getting up at 8:30? What a burden. Sigh.
It's hard to believe Coach Bill could be thrilled with the decision to fly halfway around the world during the Patriots' preseason. The vaunted New York Yankees spent two months complaining about jet lag after they opened their 2004 regular season in Japan.
Yes, because these situations and sports are so incredibly comparable! Baseball vs. football, regular season vs. preseason, rigorous schedule vs. one game a week, etc. Extremely comparable!
Mike Mussina still hasn't recovered.
OK, this is funny.
No word yet on whether Bob Kraft plans to show off a championship ring to Chinese president Hu Jintao, but the government officials no doubt will applaud Belichick's crackdown on free speech in the Patriot locker room.
He isn't seriously comparing Belichick's taciturn demeanor with the Chinese Communist Party, is he? What a horrendous comparison. Why don't we compare their roster management with the Tian'anmen Square massacre? That would also be incredibly appropriate, sensitive, and rich in historical perspective.
Coach Bill was in boring overdrive after the spanking.
Oh, I get it. He's arrogant AND he gives you bad soundbites! And he's successful! Just like Theo! I see the pattern here!
It gets tougher before it gets easier. Next week the Patriots go to Cincinnati to face the 3-0 Bengals. Coach Bill says they have to play better.
What is the point of the last sentence other than to drive home the point that the columnist is really petty and immature?

Please leave the Patriot-bashing beat to your friend Ron Borges, Dan. I can't take this. If we put the two of you together, we'd have the worst football columnist on the planet. Has Borges apologized for criticizing the Richard Seymour draft pick yet?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Identity theft

Dan went by a new moniker today: "Gordon Edes."

This column is horrendous. There's not really much else to say. It is as bad as anything Shaughnessy has ever written about Manny, although (I can't believe I'm saying this) it's less subtle. Just a terrible, terrible article.

In the middle, we get this gem:
While the Red Sox crumbled when Ramírez went on hiatus -- last night was the 22d game out of 30 Ramírez has missed since taking himself out of the last game of the Yankee massacre Aug. 21, during which he has been paid $1.918 million (calculated on his base salary of $15 million this season) -- he had the audacity this week, through agent Greg Genske, to reiterate to the Red Sox his desire to be traded this winter.
First of all, there is every reason in the world to doubt this phrase (remember Gordon's brilliant article last winter, the one entitled "Epstein signs three-year contract?"). Second of all, I can't believe we have to go through this again. 6 more months of anti-Manny columns and baseless speculation about this enigmatic player is enough to make me wish Theo would quit again just so there's something else to write about. I'm dreading the offseason.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Today's "effort," if it can be called that, is about the Minnesota Twins and how much the Red Sox suck in comparison to them. The basic thesis is that the Twins have implemented a system of player development and small ball that fills their team with underrated no-names and makes them very good, while the Red Sox suck.

So the point here is that you like their system, Dan? OK, I can see that it's working. Guess what? The Red sox are trying to implement pretty much the same system save the emphasis on small ball. Yet you keep tearing them a new one. Do you not see the parallels here, Dan? Or are you too busy ignoring everything Theo says because you're trying to think of more ways to discredit him? I'd bet on that.
When will we learn? The Twins have a system. The fundamentals apply. They cultivate pitchers who throw strikes and fielders who catch the ball. They get runners on base, move them over, and drive them home.
Theo has been trying to do this practically since he got here, Dan. And I think every system in baseball tries to teach fundamentals. What you describe is, simply, playing baseball. It's not revolutionary. Also, their system? It tried to turn David Ortiz into a slap hitter. It's directly responsible for one of the weakest offenses in the majors over the last 4 years. But of course let's ignore that.
They play in the image of the people who live in the Twin Cities. They are honest and hard-working and they give you a lot for your money.
Ah, stereotyping! Two can play that game. I live near the Twin Cities right now, and let me tell you, there are just as many weirdos and dishonest people here as anywhere else, they're just not as diverse.
Amazing. It is Sept. 20, and the Red Sox have been done for more than three weeks while the Twins are winning with rookie pitchers and talented faces with no names.
Hmm. I think there was a three-week period in there where I didn't recognize half the guys on the field for the Sox at any given time. Who's in our rotation? A bunch of no-names. Hmm.
The Twins are 50-24 at home this year, including a 3-0 record vs. your Boston Red Sox. Counting spring training, the Twins are 8-1 overall against your Red Sox. Boston's lone victory was a Grapefruit League contest, which was won only after the Twins had clinched the coveted Mayor's Cup.
Why are we including spring training records? That's completely stupid. Spring training games have even less meaning than preseason football. Putting that in there serves no purpose except to baselessly make the team look bad. But when do we care about substance?
It's startling to examine how the fortunes of these two teams have changed after the Sox arrived in the Twin Cities June 12. The Red Sox were a first-place team back then and no one in New England dared make any plans for October.
Really? And this is strange? I would call making plans for October in June, no matter what your record was at that time, jumping the gun by quite a bit and, if you believe in that sort of thing, jinxing yourself. But that's odd to you, Dan? Wow.
Minnesota's three-game sweep of the Sox triggered a four-month surge, and last night the Twins pulled within a half-game of the Tigers (even in the loss column).
Right after that sweep, the Red Sox went on their 12-game winning streak. But we wouldn't want to mention that, because it would ruin the comparison.
Ryan is sort of the anti-Theo Epstein. He's bald, he's managed to stay out of the limelight, and he's been on something of a hot streak when it comes to deal-making since giving up a tad early on a young David Ortiz after the 2002 season.
First of all, the treatment of David Ortiz by the Twins was one of the most stupid, inexcusable management moves of the last 10 years. Let's not treat this as a throwaway line at the end of a paragraph. That was a HUGE mistake. If the Twins hadn't been so stuck in their small-ball slap-hitter system and tried some different things, they might have had a genuinely great power hitter for cheap. But they gave up and let him go for nothing. It was a horrendous move. No one's saying they should have predicted what Ortiz would become, but they sure should have seen him as more than worthless. That alone knocks Terry Ryan's Genius-meter down a few notches.

Second (I did this backwards), let's look at the beginning of the paragraph. So Terry Ryan is the exact opposite of Theo because he is bald? Theo's twin brother will be interested to hear that. He might also be interested in examining the implication that his brother doesn't "manage to stay out of the limelight." Does Dan seriously think Theo is a media-whoring attention-seeker? That he WANTS to be in the limelight? Because that's the stupidest thing I've heard, and it sure sounds like that's what he's trying to imply in a backhanded way. Newsflash, Dan: Theo hates the media. This is incredibly well-documented. The media make his life a living hell. He can't go to the store and buy coffee without getting mobbed. He can't get his hair cut. He can't go to the bar with friends. He can't take his girlfriend to the movies. Basically, it is completely impossible for him to do any of the things that a normal guy his age likes to do, and yet you think he wants this when he has stated on several occasions that it makes his daily life horrendous? That's just ridiculous. Find something less obviously wrong to blame him for next time.
Ryan is the man who acquired closer Joe Nathan, starter Francisco Liriano, and starter Boof Bonser (young Mr. Bonser legally changed his name from John to Boof) for A.J. Pierzynski before the 2004 season.
This was a great trade. And I'm more of the opinion that it was about Brian Sabean being a complete idiot who doesn't know the second thing about prospects than it was about Terry Ryan being a genius, but whatever.
Santana is going to win the Cy Young Award, but Minnesota lost Liriano last week when the 22-year-old lefthander reinjured his pitching elbow against Oakland.
Santana's going to win the Cy Young? Can I borrow that crystal ball? I need to know how long it's going to take the maintenance people to fix our shower this morning. It's got no cold water and it's been scalding people, but they have to turn the water off to the whole house to fix it and it would be nice to know how long it'll take!
Oh, and they don't have any Mannys being Manny, either. There were no fewer than 20 Twins on the Fenway lawn at 2 p.m. yesterday, and not one player was on the bus when it left the team hotel for the ballpark at 4 p.m. Everybody was already at the park.
It wouldn't be a CHB column without at least one denigration of Manny Ramirez. Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Shaughnessy! Exit to your left, recycle your programs at the door!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Litter box liner

These days, the above title is really the only decent use for the Globe. Since Dan has disappeared lately, I'd like to point out the following line from today's Nick Cafardo article on David Murphy and the 2003 draft:
The '03 draft produced Rocco Baldelli, Mark Teixeira, Jose Reyes, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Morneau, Johan Santana, Travis Haffner, Hanley Ramirez, Rich Harden, Lastings Milledge, Brandon Wood, Nick Markakis, Chad Cordero, and Rickey Weeks."
Does this paper employ editors? I really wonder. Look at that list again. First of all, Travis Hafner and Rickie Weeks' names are spelled wrong. Second of all, the only players on that list that were actually in the 2003 draft were Brandon Wood, Chad Cordero, Rickie Weeks, Lastings Milledge, and Nick Markakis. The remaining names are flat-out wrong (plus they left out Delmon Young and Conor Jackson). Some of those were international free agent signings and were never drafted. Johan Santana? Try 1995, not 2003. The idiocy of that line is mind-boggling. Did anyone bother to look this up? You can get this info on Baseball America in approximately 25 seconds.

I'm really at a loss here. Of course, the current online version of the article has been edited, so people who didn't see it earlier will never know exactly how stupid and careless the Globe was.

With garbage like this, is it any surprise that columns by the likes of Shaughnessy and Ron Borges continue to be front and center with this paper? If the Herald would improve the quality of their other sections, I guarantee they'd be stealing a LOT of Globe customers. This kind of error is inexcusable.

Monday, September 11, 2006

It's time to denigrate the Patriots!

Fresh off watching an ugly Patriots game yesterday afternoon, Dan resurfaces this morning to tell us that the first half sucked. Really, Dan? I had no idea! Being down 17-7 at halftime told me nothing!

In the midst of a column about the Patriots, Dan can't resist taking shots at the Red Sox:
New England football fans, ever trusting, loyal, and anxious to pay homage to everything the organization does, were booing the offense with nine minutes to go in the first half of the first game of the season. Julian Tavarez certainly would not have approved, but Brady just shook his head and said, ``I don't blame 'em. I don't think we gave 'em much to cheer. They want to see us do some things offensively, put the ball in the end zone, and we turned the ball over, you know, we can't complete a pass. I'd be booing up there, too, if I were them."
The first sentence is highly debatable, especially since he follows up his claim that fans are anxious to laud the organization by pointing out that they were booing REALLY quickly. I think the rope is considerably shorter than you believe, Dan.

And why the shot at Julian Tavarez? Just because Tom Brady didn't complain about booing fans doesn't mean no one is allowed to. I think booing a team that's given you 3 Super Bowls in 5 years less than halfway through the first game of the season is the height of stupidity, and I don't care how bad they looked. Show a little gratitude and have a little bit of rope, huh?
Do we blame the Revolution or is Coach Infallible gaining some perceived competitive edge from the golden sand?
This is ridiculous. "Coach Infallible?" Is no one safe? Bill Belichick is on my short list of Boston guys never to boo, no matter what he does on the field. Also on the list: Tom Brady, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, and yes, Keith Foulke. "Coach Infallible?" I guess Belichick's sin is to win too much, which makes people happy. Dan can't stand that. Good grief. When does he start bashing Brady?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is called throwing yourself under the bus, taking one for the team. New England's offense was most inept in the second quarter, when a succession of running plays yielded a succession of three-and-outs and inspired fans to give their heroes the Seanez treatment.
Phew. Dan still likes him. And the "Seanez treatment?" You could insert pretty much anybody's name there, and I guarantee you that idiot Boston fans will have booed him at one time or another.
Opening Day was an SOS to the front office.
I don't even know what to say here, besides this: YOU CANNOT JUDGE A TEAM BASED ON ONE GAME! Jeez, Dan. Jump to conclusions much?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Get A Grip? How About a Noose?

The CHB ends today's mail-in in typical negative fashion:

But playoffs?

Please. Get a grip.

This raises an important question: What purpose does Shaughnessy serve?

Does he raise the collective knowledge of the readers? Does he enlighten or entertain? Does he shed light on problems that need correcting? Do his rantings, accusations, malignings and bitterness serve the public?

The answer to all of the above, of course, is no.

His impotence is shocking. Accomplishing at least one of those "feats" on any given day is not all that hard to do. Christ, even Joan Vennochi hits a single once in awhile. Meanwhile, day after day The CHB trudges back to the bench, club in hand, having swung and missed yet again.

He's a waste of newsprint and money. It's high time the New York Times shareholders questioned why their investment dollar is being used to support what is clearly a weak and incompetent Globe management team.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Jon Lester

No criticism today. The only criticism I can even try to offer here is that Dan called the Lesters when it was probably better not to, but since he's been through it and offered advice and support, I think even that can be excused.

This column broke my heart. It was well-written and incredibly emotional. Not the Dan we're used to.

I really have nothing to say, other than that that the news about Jon Lester is extremely upsetting and that we should all be thinking about him and praying for him, if one is so inclined. Best wishes, Jon. You can lick this thing. Get well soon.

And may I put in a voluntary plug here for everyone to please donate to the Jimmy Fund. Cancer can hit anyone, whether it be a favorite athlete or someone close to you or even yourself. I've already had two close friends lose parents to cancer (one to lymphoma, though he was MUCH older than Lester) and a grandfather nearly die of it, and I'm barely out of high school. It's everywhere, and they need all the help they can get to find a permanent cure.

Other places you can donate, if the spirit moves you:

American Cancer Society

Children's Miracle Network
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Lymphoma Research Foundation

Friday, September 01, 2006

In which Dan tries to be tactful

After a hiatus of maybe three days, Dan returns this morning! Let's face it: the column title is appropriate. It is indeed time to mail it in and look ahead. This August has, to put it in dignified terms for our sensitive friend Bruce, sucked. It's hard to even know what to say any more. Nothing is probably best, so rest assured Dan will not do that.
Think of September at Fenway as Fort Myers with higher ticket prices.
We never miss an opportunity, do we, Dan? I could think of several differences between Fenway and Fort Myers other than the ticket prices, such as "Fort Myers has not been around since 1912 and is basically a strip mall with palm trees" or "Fenway is not like Fort Myers, because Florida is really awful to be in this time of year, unless you enjoy getting concussions from flying pieces of aluminum siding and drowning in your car." But moving on!

Sox general manager Theo Epstein was reluctant to admit the significance of yesterday's deal, which is expected to bring Triple A catcher George Kottaras into the fold. Boston's young executive with the faded halo said, ``It doesn't mean that these games aren't important. It doesn't mean that the performances of our players aren't important, but it's a balancing act and we thought this was the right thing to do.

``It's not where we expected to be," he admitted. ``It's not where we want to be. But we're not immune from that kind of month [9-21 in August] . . . This is the reality now. And we're going to work hard to make sure it's not going to happen again."

I watched this press conference. It was the funniest thing ever. Dan kept trying to get Theo to come out and say he was throwing in the towel, and Theo just wouldn't do it. Damned if you do and damned if you don't, Theo. If you say you're throwing it in, he jumps on that. If you don't, he jumps on you for being disingenuous. May I suggest a restraining order?

Now, I actually want to congratulate Dan on this next part. He handles the Lester cancer rumors very well, in a sensitive and appropriate manner. Given that his own daughter had cancer some years ago, he probably knows exactly what the Lesters are feeling right now. Kudos, Dan. Also, kudos for including this quote from Francona:

Irresponsible headline update 2: ``His family is going through a little bit of a loop when they woke up and saw what they saw [including a Herald front-page headline that read, `Sox cancer scare -- Lester's enlarged lymph nodes a big concern.'] "
Although this is perhaps somewhat ironic, I think this amounts to calling the Herald out on their incredibly insensitive headline, and I like it. Tony Massarotti, you know you've hit rock bottom when I'm calling Dan a better man than you.

Of course, he then takes most of the second page to play his favorite game: "Crap on Theo Epstein." You can just hear the glee in his voice now that the team has hit a rough patch. How happy you must be, Dan. The team sucks AND you can blame it on Theo! This must be like Christmas!