Sunday, December 30, 2007


Dan provides the game story from the Patriots record-setting, history-making win over the Giants. Why Dan gets to lead the coverage is puzzling but then again, I sort of expected it.

As of 0934, the online version of the story had at least three typos/missed words...that is really more the editor's fault than it is Dan's though. Will see if they clean that up.

Shaughnessy's recap is fair enough but it is filled with the classic Shaughnessy formula.

- Calls the Patriots "Bill Belichick's History Boys"

- Bruce Springsteen reference or was it a mafia reference? (He liked that Boss scored a touchdown before half and says always "Beware of Boss in the Meadowlands")...

- Got a good rip in on Moss for the excess celebrating after the first TD. I agree with Shaughnessy to a large extent - I despise showboating but is Shaughnessy reaching by blaming the ensuing Giant's TD kickoff return on Moss's penalty?

- A reference to the Grumpy Old Men (72 Dolphins) and no champagne for them. If the Patriots are fortunate enough to win the SB, I hope that puts to end all champagne references for eternity. (Heaven forbid we hear about the Sons of Belichick sipping champagne in 2037)

Dave M

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dan and the Hall of Fame

Dan presents his votes for Cooperstown. Jim Rice's bona fides are the focus of the article.

There has already been some debate on the subject in the previous comments section and has many threads on the issue. My point of view is that Jim was a great slugger for a while, but he was not the dominant offensive force over an extended period that makes a player great. Combine that with an average defensive reputation, you get a very good player, not a Hall of Famer.

Dan mentions that the presence of McGwire on the ballot will affect voters' perception of Rice. I sure hope not as it would be more proof of the stupidity of baseball writers. If Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer now, he was one back in 1994. It shouldn't have changed because of what a bunch of players have done over the last 10 years.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Grumpy Old Men

As the Dolphins prepare to visit New England this weekend and as the Patriots prepare to eclipse the regular season perfect mark of 14-0, Shaughnessy dusts off the tired old tale of the grumpy/champagne-cork popping curmudgeons of the NFL's only perfect team, the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

The only freshness in an otherwise stale piece is the perspective of some of the ex-Dolphins on the Patriots (Seau and Evans) as they discuss how the streak is viewed in Miami. Also, he does discuss how Belichick has great respect for the 72 team and that he had dinner with Shula in the off-season.

In a typical Shaughnessy closing line convention, he concludes "But Belichick and the Patriots know that it's going to take 19-0 to overtake the '72 fish." Thanks for the insight.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dan Brings It

Get Dan interested in something and he usually writes a decent column. Today is no exception.

Although, today is another in a string of Celtics column in which Dan devotes larges chunks of them to telling stories about Red. The stories are usually interesting, but they often come across as space fillers and a chance for Dan to show off how much he knows about the dearly departed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sometimes he doesn't know whether he's coming or going.

It took Dan less than a week to flip flop on his opinions regarding the Mitchell Report and, specifically, Roger Clemens.


"There was much gum-flapping after the release of the report, and debate will rage forever. No one will be satisfied, but here in Boston and across Baseball America, we know the biggest loser of Dec. 13, 2007, was Roger Clemens.

The Rocket's résumé was flushed down the toilet yesterday when he was dimed out by a report that relies heavily on witnesses of questionable credibility. The report holds that Clemens was a steroid guy, starting in 1998 and continuing through two years with the Yankees (2000-01). The juicy disclosure might not hold up in court...

Clemens sounds like a man ready to fight. He didn't have an ounce of Mark McGwire in him when he issued his denial last night through his attorney....

Why name names? Why sign on to such an obviously incomplete report (Mitchell did not have subpoena powers and almost 100 percent of the ballplayers told him to take a hike)? Why put so much weight on the testimony of a former bat boy and a onetime trainer who cooperated under the threat of prison time?"


"The walls were closing in. Roger Clemens had to do something. Going all McGwire on us wasn't going to get him out of this one.

Fraud. Cheat. Liar. Hypocrite. Juicer. Clemens in the last week emerged as the five-tool player of the Mitchell Report.

First he was dimed out by Brian McNamee, a former trainer who had nothing to gain and much to lose (prison time) by lying to George Mitchell....

It's more than Mark McGwire ever did, but it's hardly a threat to sue the pants off Mitchell and McNamee. We are left to wonder when, precisely, comes "the appropriate time" for Clemens to answer questions. Will that be when O.J. starts looking for the real killer?"

Why the flip-flop? Dan mentions a NYT article that states that McNamee faces criminal prosecution if he lied in his statements to Mitchell. However, the Report stated clearly that "[d]uring each of the interviews, the law enforcement officials warned him [Brian McNamee] that he faced criminal jeopardy if he made any false statements." [Page SR-21]

I guess Dan missed the widely known fact that McNamee participated as part of his plea deal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Plugging Along

Dan has to write a column and this is what we get.

He starts inauspiciously by discussing the handshake and it is all downhill from there. A Roger Clemens reference and an "Animal House" reference make this classic Shank.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Will Dan Write?

Everybody's favorite game:

What cliched, uninformative piece regarding the Mitchell Report will Shank come up with tomorrow?

My quick guess: Lots of Roger references, something about why did Gagne stop, and a bunch of references along the lines of "the immortal Paxton Crawford."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More .....

Dan leads with "We wrote this story back in..."

If there were ever a more fitting lead to a Shank column, well I never saw it.

Actually, Dan rehashes a tired subject with a a good reference. The comparison with the Muhammad Ali-Ernie Terrell fight was interesting and illuminating.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stuck On Repeat

Dan, always known to work a well until it is bone dry, goes back to the perfect season angle, which he wrote about ... the day before.

And it is equally as boring with equally bad references.

As monkeesfan pointed out, Dan writes about this off the field crap because he cannot put the work into describing and analyzing what goes on the field. He probably spends the game thinking of Seinfeld references and waiting for the press conference to get all the quotations to fill out his space.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No Guarantees

Dan writes about the guarantee foolishness from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The column itself is okay....nothing remarkable. Shaughnessy takes no shots at Coach Hoodie which is a nice change of pace. Shaughnessy is guilty of his typical hyperbole when he claims that if the Steelers win, Anthony Smith will become the boldest young gun since Joe Namath made his famous guarantee for Super Bowl III. Are you kidding me? The comparisons here are incredibly weak: Let's see, we have one team's star quarterback (Namath) versus a little known defender? A Super Bowl game versus a regular season game? A game in which the Jets were given little hope versus a game in which the Steelers are widely perceived as having an excellent chance of winning. An era where guarantees were not everyday pedestrian fodder versus an era where guarantees seem to be made every month (Hello Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards). There is a huge difference between Namath and Smith.

I have a bigger issue with all the attention this story has received nationally and am surprised by the legs that it has had. What does a guarantee mean anyway? Is Smith going to give back his salary if they don't win? For that matter, did Gilbert Arenas really take a hit in the reputation department when the Wizards lost to the Celtics despite his guarantee? Do the Patriots really derive that much motivation from the words of a second year DB (and as Shaughnessy points out, the kid really kind of meandered into this statement--it wasnt the boldest proclamation in the world)

Here is my guarantee - Sunday's game will be a good one. Let it play out on the field and enough of this foolishness.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Charm City

The Patriots pull off a win more reminiscent of the 2003 season than this season and Dan has the recap.

Nice column, not much too add. I am just waiting for Dan to dump all over any (non)trade the Red Sox make.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Brighton's Championship Season

Today, Shaughnessy has a piece on Brigton's high school football championship season. They have gone from 0-9 three years ago to 12-0 this year. All the while, they have had to deal with the indignities of playing Division 4 high school to include the most recent slight of their game not being played at Gillette; all of the other state title games were played at Gillette.

Shaughnessy typically does a good job with these articles. When he has the opportunity to paint a sympathetic tale of a team or person overcoming adversity and obstacles, he is effective. He does a good job of painting the picture (for instance, detailing the long commutes of some of the players) and he taps into quotes from the players who best represent the team's spirit. This article is typical of a good Shaughnessy feel good story.

Shaughnessy will run sometimes afoul in these kinds of articles when 1) he gets overly preachy; 2) he starts drawing analogies with the local professional sports teams; or 3) he starts railing against the injustice of the "system". He refrains today and we are left with a pleasant read.

Edit Add: On a separate but related topic, last week Shaughnessy wrote about the Tri-County league--he blasted the rules that incentivized running up the score in the first half. I did a little statistical comparison between the 2006 and 2007 seasons to see if the numbers backed up this story. Took the game scores of the top 3 finishers in the league for 06 and 07. For these team's wins, the average margin of victory was 21 points in 2006 and 18 points in 2007. I then looked specificially at blowouts which I defined by a margin of victory of 20 points or greater. In 2006, the first half score contributed to 60% of the final margin of blowouts. In 2007, the first half
contributed to 76% of the final margin of blowouts. What does this suggest? Yes, in 2007, there was a larger run-up of scores in the first half...but overall "sportsmanship" really did not take a hit so to speak since the overall margin actually decreased. This is the kind of thing that would make Shaughnessy better--do the research to back up the emotional claims. Makes for a stronger story although I think Shank would also find that the stats would sometimes get in the way of a good story he is trying to spin--God forbid!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Knicks Stink

Shaughnessy directs his criticism at a new target - the New York Knicks. He says they are a joke of an organization and I have to agree that he is right although this is not a startling relevation. It is amazing to me that Thomas still has a job. And thank goodness Dolan is not the owner of the Red Sox. I am shocked that Shaughnessy did not bring up Isiah Thomas' (in)famous line about Larry Bird..where Thomas claimed that if Bird was black that he would be just another good player.

You know it is easy to carp away at Shaughnessy's style. Perhaps I need to channel Belichick and realize that "It is what it is". Nevertheless, Shank does some things over and over again and you have to wonder if he has any new tricks up his sleeve...yet, it is obvious he doesn't. Some of these annoyances include:

- Multiple Red Sox and Patriots references to benchmark the success of the Celtics (the win against the Knicks was Belichickian) -- he cant resist bringing in the other local teams

- A backhanded compliment of Theo (Danny Ainge is almost as smart as Epstein)

- A continued lack of appreciation of basic economics. Calls the NFL Network "hideous". I realize many were angry about not being able to see the game last night but as an economist, I see this as a simple case of economic forces actively at work. Shaughnessy calling the NFL Network hideous is very much a childish/ignorant reaction in my humble opinion

Friday, November 23, 2007

High Scool Football

For the past couple of days, Dan has been taking on high school sports. Today's article focuses on the complex tie breaking rules in the Dual County League in which Lincoln-Sudbury, Acton-Boxboro and Wayland finished in a three-way tie but only Wayland advances because of a perverse tie-breaking system which gives incentive to running up the score in the first half. Not living in the local area, I am admittedly removed from the ins and outs of local high school football but I tend to agree that the system as Dan describes it needs to be changed. That being said, what were league officials thinking in the first place when they approved such a rule set in the first place?

If you haven't read the article but I give you the hint above that these high rules give incentive to run up the score, can you guess which point of reference Shaughnessy will introduce? You betcha - let's take a few swipes at Belichick and the Patriots. Shaughnessy does not disappoint here. By the way, I think Shaughnessy is convinced that Belichick originated and is almost the exclusive user of the phrase "It is what it is" ...I dont know Shank but I hear that phrase used all the time.

Finally, Shaughnessy brings up a reference to game is an odd reference in that he says "if you have theory...." (then you might be able to understand the tiebreaker system). My point: You dont memorize game theory, you comprehend it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An Open Letter to Objective Bruce

Dear Objective Bruce

You are always welcome to post comments on this webpage. You definitely bring a different point of view and we appreciate that. Yet, you sometimes make points which are either flawed logically or are otherwise erroneous. In so doing, you often make disparaging comments about this page’s bloggers. We often call you on these points but you inevitably fail to respond. Let’s look at two recent examples:

  1. DBVader has repeatedly called on you to admit your error regarding a recent column in which you claimed a reference did not exist but DB showed definitively that it did. He has asked you about this repeatedly and you have not responded.
  2. On this past Sunday’s blog entry, I claimed that Shaughnessy was being hypocritical in criticizing Schiling’s Cy Young contract clause while at the same time Shaughnessy pushed the work of his fellow Globe writers. You claimed that this was a poor comparison and you called me naïve and you called my agenda silly.
Specifically, you said:

How incredibly naive.

No, Schilling isn't going to share his million dollar bonus with a sportswriter who throws him a vote. But with a million on the table, can it be said that Schilling won't be friendly toward a sportswriter who could give him a vote? Doesn't giving a sportswriter the opportunity to single-handedly increase someone's income by a million dollars also give that sports writer greater access and give the player an incentive for giving information to that writer -- and not just information about the team but, oh say maybe information about what happened in a close-door clubhouse meeting?

The conflict of interest could not be more clear. It is truly naive if you can't see the difference between placing a reporter in a position where he can make someone that he covers a million dollars richer and praising a book by a colleague.

Now, I started to break your statement down in the blog response section but since you generally don’t respond to those, let’s do some detailed analysis of the absolute absurdity of your comment above and let’s do it on the front page.

You question the wisdom of giving a sportswriter the opportunity to single-handedly increase someone’s income by a million dollars. First of all, I would suggest that this goes on all of the time but it is not in such a direct form. I am certain that athletes give certain reporters access that they don’t give to others. What is the payoff? Favorable coverage of course. Favorable coverage translates into improved public relations perceptions of that player which means things such as more lucrative endorsements which means lots of dollars. I imagine certain players are absolute masters of this. Can you refute this Bruce?

Bruce, you talk about players giving reporters insight into the team behind closed doors. You imply this is a bad thing. Please complete this sentence, Bruce: “This is bad because….”

In my line of thinking, it is bad if 1) if the reporter does not provide a fair assessment of that player –in other words, he gives him an unjustified free pass or 2) if the reporter blatantly does something like provide an unjustified Cy Young vote to a player who clearly does not deserve it. We already discussed the fact that 1) probably happens to some degree—whether it is a deliberate act by the reporter or if the reporter does not even realize that he or she is being a pawn. I would sincerely hope that a reporter would not be so weak as to be manipulated like this—but I guess I would not be surprised either. After all,I do recall Shaughnessy's review of Larry Bird’s new line of wine a while back – Bruce, do you think that little column increased sales of Bird’s wines? What's the difference here, Bruce?

The second case (casting an unjustified Cy Young vote as a form of payback) is much more blatant – and because it is so blatant, it would play out in the court of public opinion. The reporter would likely be revealed and censured – his integrity would be under attack. Why risk this? The player would also come off incredibly poorly—would it really be worth it to the player being portrayed as manipulative to cash in on a contract clause that has marginal impact on his salary? At any rate, things have a way of self corrrecting when they are made public like this – it is the power of the market of public opinion.

What is Shaughnessy’s solution? “Let’s take the vote away from the writers.” That is pure brilliance. Does Shaughnessy really have such little faith in his fellow sportswriters to think they need to be saved from their collective incompetence? Look around Bruce…people all around the world are in positions of power – in these positions of power , they are often in a position to be bribed. By logical extension, Shaughnessy would have you believe that the solution to this would be to remove them from their positions of power. I can hear it now, “Sorry Congressman, we need to remove you from your position because you might get bribed.” If this were the solution, would anything in the world get done? Shaughnessy’s solution is absurd to its very core and it is also a slap in the face of his fellow sportswriters.

Switching gears here, let’s look at the old cronyism in the sportswriting profession in which someone like Shaughnessy endorses the work of his fellow employees at the Globe. I am perhaps guilty of hyperbole in suggesting that these guys are sharing royalties but I am trying to make a point. What if instead, there is a tacit agreement between the writers “I will give you a favorable push if you return the favor down the road.” This is intellectually dishonest especially when it is the case that a particular writer’s work doesn’t merit a push. I, as a reader, may be deceived because a given columnist (who I thought I trusted) did not provide an intellectually honest opinion about a fellow journalist because he is engaging in tit for tat endorsements. I would suggest this is just as bad as the abuses that can play out in the athlete/sportswriter relationship discussed earlier. Why doesn’t Shaughnessy suggest the ban of these endorsements? Because he's too busy doing it and does not realize the utter hypocrisy of it all.

Our agenda is not silly. Shaughnessy is paid big dollars to write for a major newspaper. His work is often fundamentally flawed and we have every right to call him on that. The readers of the Boston Globe deserve much better than Dan Shaughnessy’s mindless drivel.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Did Shaughnessy take over Bob Ryan's blog?

I think Shank is jealous of bloggers and he staged a covert operation to take over Bob Ryan's blog...see this post about Schilling

Sounds a lot like this recent blast from the past from Shank himself

Ryan even calls him a big lug and blowhard.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hypocrisy and other nonsense

Today, Shank meets his quarterly requirement to have a picked up pieces column

With the Celtics doing well and with a roster of what seem to be “good guys”, I was wondering what angle Shank would take with the Celts to spew sarcasm…would it be a litany of “thanksdad” references? Rick Pitino hits? Or how about even Jesus Shuttlesworth mentions? Well, today, he uses one of his favorite techniques,,,,the “Let’s make travel dates for the XXX [insert league] finals” line…of course, this is dripping with sarcasm and a poke at the Celts euphoria since the Celts are but five games into the season.

Shaughnessy slams the provision in Schilling’s contract that gives him a $1 million bonus if he gets a single Cy Young vote. He claims that it will be easy for there to be collusion between Schilling and any particular sportswriter. He concludes that the BBWA should give up the vote because of the “blatant conflict” with clauses such as this. I guess this is to protect the sanctity of the sportswriting fraternity? Frankly, I don’t get the logic here. What is the conflict? It’s not like Schilling is going to share the money with the sportswriter, is he? That is not going to happen. If anything, I can see a NY based writer giving Schiling a vote to drive up the Sox payroll. If so, I think that would be pretty clever. In which case, I think economic market forces takes care of this issue – the Sox will realize the foolishness of such a clause and would not include it in future contracts. Problem solved.

So, while Shank gets on his high horse about “blatant conflicts”, he happily shills for a book by fellow Globe writer Neil Swidey-- a “tome” about Charlestown High School basketball. Hmmm, is there a conflict here Shank? You guys sharing royalties? Maybe it’s time for sportswriters to give up using their columns to push the work of fellow sportswriters? You are such a hypocrite.

More on conflicts, Shank rails against the fact that George Mitchell is heading the steroids probe while still being on the board of the Red Sox. This is a fair criticism except for the timing. Shank, Mitchell has been doing this probe for what, over a year now? And you are just now making this connection? Why are you just mentioning this now? My guess is that Shank is simply setting himself up for when the report comes out in January…if there are no Red Sox named, he can say “See I told you so.”

There are a few more annoyances in this disgraceful column. Read for yourself if you can stand it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sucking Lemon

"One thing we know they agree on is Schilling: thanks for the clutch work, big fella, now don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Speak for yourself CHB.

With the announcement that Schilling would be back another year, Dan has to suck on a lemon.

But Dan is happy to have his ignorance of the front office's inner workings exposed to be able to write about Schilling for another year.

"Love him or hate him, things are a lot more interesting and fun with the Big Blowhard around. Without Schill, we'd miss the blog, the nonstop promotion of his new company, the hard-hitting interviews/infomercials on WEEI, the butting into everyone else's business, the retraction of statements made about other people, and the eight or nine wins he's brought to the table in two of the last three seasons."

Because that is all that it is about. Picking on somebody you do not like for personal reasons. The sport is only secondary.

Also, notice the use of misleading statistics at the end. Dan overlooks the 200+ IP in 2006, doesn't mention that Dan was coming off of a severe injury in 2005, and ignores the fact that Schilling doesn't get paid in 2008 unless he hits the IP incentives. Facts are not Dan's strong point; invective is.

There are also some "cover his ass" bits, where Dan assumes certain things about the front office in order to make the signing more congruous with Dan's earlier statements. The Red Sox were "stunned by this development" and "played hardball and won." None of the accounts of the negotiations suggest either of these claims are true, but if they make Shank feel better.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dan is trying hard

Day Two for Dan swearing off random mentions of the Red Sox in Patriots columns.

Otherwise, a piece about Belichick downplaying the significance of the game with a very special paragraph that contains a an obscure phrase ("take the apple") and a groan inducing pun.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Now on to the Pats

Now that the Sox season is over, Shaughnessy takes his worn out shtick to the Patriots.

Shaughnessy doesn't disappoint--this column comes replete with Celtics references and the dissing of Belichick's wardrobe (multiple hoodie references of course) and Belichick's favorite lines (It is what it is).

Of course, there is not a lot of insight. Key highlights

- Compares Brady/Manning to Russell/Chamberlain. But now that Manning has a SB and three straight wins over the Pats and Brady is putting up gaudy numbers, Russell has become Chamberlain and Chamerlain has become Russell. This is typical Shaughnessy hyperbole - Brady still has 3 SB wins, Shank and Manning only has 1

- Says that the image of the Pats has been forever altered by "spygate". They are no longer the darlings of high school coaches everywhere. Shank loves this storyline and he will continue to perpetuate it for many years.

- The Patriots are bad sports - they are on a mission to run up the score on everyone

All in all, we have classic Shank -- has he made any points that you havent heard multiple times elsewhere? His one "interesting" insight (Brady has become Chamerlain) is a stretch. Just for once, I would love for him to take a contrarian view and then back it up with strong facts. Just doesn't happen.

The one missing element - no Red Sox references - what gives?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dan's Take

This is Dan's view on the Red Sox World Series win.

Again, Bob Ryan is second fiddle. I cannot imagine why Shank is the Number #1 writer on this staff.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is he talking to me? Couldn't be!

Imagine, for a moment, a four year old kid hiding under his brother's bed in Needham, Mass in 1970 watching the Bruins play on TV, waiting to hear the name of his favorite player, Bobby Orr. This poor kid was uprooted as a 5 year old to move to the deep south in 1972 but the Boston roots stuck.

The Red Sox sprang into his consciousness in 1974...a final week of the season in which the Red Sox lost to the Orioles. 1975 was a glorious year for this 9 year old...this kid stilll thanks his Dad 32 years later for letting him stay up late on a school night to watch Carlton Fisk homer off Pat Darcy in the 12th inning of the 6th game of the World Series. Much to his dismay, Jim Burton gave up a single to Joe Morgan in Game 7 and that was all she wrote for 1975. 1976 and 1977 were fun but disappointing years - in the 75 offseason, favorite player Cecil Cooper was traded to the Brewers and this kid was depressed for months. 1978 was another terrific summer - the Sox had a big lead but saw it dissipate. This kid begged his mom to pick him up early from school to see a one-game playoff with those Yankees. On the radio, (on the way home) he heard Yaz homer early in the game...but 29 years later, he stills curses Bucky Beeping Dent and Lou Piniella too. This kid would call local radio sport shows in South Carolina debating the merits of the Red Sox lineup and it is very likely no one in the state cared but him.

Lean years until 1986. Now a college junior in these pre-internet years, he would run to bookstores in Georgetown in Oct 86, after class to scour the racks for a 2-day old Boston Globe so he could read the local Red Sox coverage. Another classic World Series Game 6 and after this one, he ran down the halls of his dormitory screaming at the top of his lungs "How could they blow this?" (Just a weeek or so after declaring Dave Henderson and Don Baylor his new personal heroes)

More pain followed....the years seem to run together as he handled military life, married life, raising 4 children. 2003 is another red letter year and Aaron Boone. Finally, fortunes reversed in 2004--tears streaming down his face--the Red Sox had finally won it all.

Excuse the dramatics in re-creating my sad little life--a life that seems to be bookmarked against the ups and downs of the Red Sox---many more memories than this but you get the idea. And I am sure many of you have very similar stories.

Flash forward to today....I have a Game 7 World Series ticket thanks to a dear friend and a fellow diehard. I would love to see the Red Sox win in 4 games but pardon me (and my friend) for having the audacity to dream about the idea of seeing the Red Sox win a World Series in Fenway Park and being present to see it. I am not rich. I plan to stretch the family budget to fly up from DC on Thursday if I am so lucky. I have not jumped the bandwagon. With this team and their history, there is something so right about a Game 7. It has never been easy and it does not feel right when it is easy. The 2004 sweep of the Cardinals did not seem right either -- but perhaps that was a cosmic way to spare people a few heart attacks after the comeback against the Yankees. Yes, the Sox won in 2004 but pardon me for thinking that it would be extra special this year if it happened at Fenway (and especially with me and my friend present to see it).

I am sure there are a small bunch of fair weather fans that Shaughnessy correctly describes but I find his broad brush criticism condescending. Again, here is a guy who is paid to go the ball park to write about the games. Does he not realize how lucky he is? Can he even begin to fathom what it would mean to an out of town fanatic to be present to see the Sox win it all?
It would quite literally be one of the highlights of my life. Forgive me for feeling that way

Friday, October 26, 2007

Those darn clueless newbies!

Since the Sox are playing so well, Dan directs snide remarks towards his newest target - those pesky bandwagon fans. Those idiot fans could not possibly conceive that the Sox might actually fall behind for a few innings--imagine the shock. Darn those fans for actually having the audacity to shell out big bucks to buy tickets and show up for a World Series Game. (I find this amusing--here is a man who gets paid to come to Fenway to watch the games for free and he takes jabs at paying customers?) I wonder how Shaughnessy tells the difference between bandwagon jumpers and the regulars anyway? Do they let out a different type of gasp? Do they not know the words to Sweet Caroline? Perhaps it is simply the case that he was not cursed as much when he made his rounds through the stadium?

As for those fabulous Sox, Shank writes

These Sox are unlike any Boston baseball team since the earliest years of Fenway Park. They have won five consecutive postseason games, six straight World Series games, and they're taking a 2-0 Series lead to Coors Field for the resumption of the 103d Fall Classic tomorrow night.

Well, this is a long way from just nine days ago when he wrote

There's just so much working against your team. It's hard to be positive. And even though the Sox aren't done yet, some of us are already at work carving up the blame pie (speaking of pies, a Cleveland sportscaster did his postgame TV show wearing a cream pie on his head late Tuesday)......It doesn't feel like we are watching a team that can crawl out of this hole

It is also curious how he calls them "these Sox" - since he says they have won six World Series games in a row, he must be combining them with the Red Sox of 2004 which then must also include the 2005 and 2006 Sox--one team that got routed in the playoffs by the White Sox and the other did not make the playoffs and they are teams that Shank has roundly criticized. Dan's thought process is fundamentally flawed but he has never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good story line.

Finally now that Okajima is back and doing great, let's dust off the horse analogy from earlier in the year--you know when Okajima was a stable mate for the more famous Japanese hurler? No credit for Theo and the minions on this one, Shank? Just last week, you were quick to point out

Dan Duquette assembled half of the 2004 champs, but what we are looking at today is almost exclusively Theo's team and it's his most recent acquisitions who have been exposed thus far in October.
So when the players are bad, we get shots at the minions and always shots at Bill James. But when they are good, no credit to go around. Typical pathetic Shaughnessy

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Yes, the Red Sox are dangerous. And Dan has all the details in his Page A1 piece.

A pretty good wrapup (although I still don't understand why the much better Bob Ryan doesn't get the high profile gigs). There was a funny (and original) line, "Eddie Cicotte of the 1919 White Sox didn't do that badly and he was trying to lose", and none of the extraneous crap that Dan likes to throw in.

Dan continues, though, his trend of taking the most recent results and extrapolating from there. The playoffs began with the Red Sox World Series favorites, and they looked great after Game One of the ALCS, but doom and gloom soon returned until the Red Sox righted the ship and roared into the World Series. Dan might want to look back to the beginning of the ALCS. The Red Sox got off to a very similar start.

Fact Check

This sentence, in addition to being awkwardly written, is incorrect:

"In the bottom of the first, Dustin Pedroia hit Jeff Francis's second pitch over the Green Monster and the Sox put three on the board before making two outs.

Dan also has the 5,467th article about Yastrzemski and the '67 Red Sox written in the last year. It is pretty good. It captures the humble nature of Yaz and his uncomfortable relationship to his fame.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How About Some Answers...

and not just questions?

What Dan does today is typical. He points out the obvious (there is no history to the Rockies and nobody knows who they are) and fails to offer any insight or enlightenment.

Dan laments the lack of history behind the Rockies, noting how young and undistinguished the team is. Yet this simple narrative ignores the unique history of the team and the many different ways management has tried to craft a winning team in a difficult environment. There were the slugging teams that made it to the playoffs in 1995. They brought in high priced free-agent pitching. They emphasized defense. Nothing raising them out of mediocrity.

Now they seem to have figured something out, but Dan is too lazy to tell us what it could be. He simply states the obvious fact that most Boston (and baseball) fans don't know much about the team. It would have been a much more interesting column if he talked about how the Rockies have fashioned this team with groundball pitchers, good infield defense, and young, cheap bats. Dan could have used his prominent position to erase some of the ignorance that he complains about. That would have required some work, though. It is much easier to revel in your ignorance.

Theo and His Minions Watch

Sixth paragraph.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What Have They Done to Dan?

Today, Dan adopts the literary device of somebody waking up from a coma, unaware of all the changes in Boston sports.

And the writer has only praise for his usual targets. Bob Kraft, who Dan unmercifully and at times incorrectly attacked for his college athletic resume while bashing him for losing Parcells, is now the "best all of football." Bill Belichick, who Dan accused of inventing every nefarious tactic employed in football, is the "best all of football."

The Red Sox are going great. Theo is a "brilliant young general manager", not a stats obsessed geek without any feel for the game. There are more bouquets for the ownership, which Dan attacked five years ago.

Dan ends with a look at the possible week ahead: Games 6 & 7 in Fenway, Kevin Garnett's home debut and the Pats v. Colts. Too bad it has already been discussed endlessly, including a mention by one of Dan's biggest fans a week and a half ago.

Lazy sportswriting alert

They have players fans want to root for - legends like David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and Curt Schilling, and home-grown grinders like Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jonathan Papelbon.

This is classic sportswriter speak. Short, white guys are always grinders, no matter how talented.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A New Dan?

The last three Red Sox games have crushed Dan's spirit. That is the only conclusion I can make after reading today's front page piece. Part history lesson, part game recap, there are none of Shank's staples: No shots at Theo, no digs at Schilling, Manny, Drew or Pedroia, no Patriots references.

Seeing Drew, Pedroia, Manny, and Schilling coming through over the last week has left Dan deflated.

Dan's column on Kevin Millar throwing out the first pitch was equally uneventful. It's a tough time to be Dan. There is no fodder for his shtick.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Double the Fun

Shaugnessy has two contributions today:

1) A game recap replete with his typical digs...We have the "broad shoulders of Curt Schilling" and another subtle dig at Bill James for the JD Drew signing. We also have statements given to hyperbole...this is an "improbable comeback". It is not improbable - the Red Sox have been down 3-1 4 times in the past in ALCS series and have come back twice. But Dan will spin it whichever way the wind blows

2) A look at the decision to replace Crisp with Ellsbury. Shaughnessy starts by ludicrously hinting that Francona had made the decision because of media and fan pressure but quickly corrects himself by stating "It was a baseball decision, of course". Francona does come out of the article in a positive light, handling the decision with Crisp as best he could. Shaughnessy concludes with the ridiculous tension he is trying to create between Ellsbury (of Navajo descent) having to face the team that wears silly Indian logos on their caps. Shank wrote about this last week and even repeats the same quote from Ellsbury in which Ellsbury takes the high road. ("You can look at it that it's offensive or you can look at it that they are representing native Americans. Usually, I'll take the positive out of it.")

Big game 7 tonight - will happy Shank or bitter Shank emerge tomorrow morning in the hallowed sports pages of the Boston Globe?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Where have I seen this column before?

When I read this morning's piece on Schilling, I thought to myself "Where have I read this before?" I only had to go back 12 days to find this fine effort in which he says virtually all the same things.

Both the Oct 8 and 20th pieces are odes to the playoff hero, Curt Schilling (you know, the "Big Lug", the "Blowhard")

- In the Oct 8th piece, he calls Schilling the "Mr October of Moundsmen"; sure enough he dusts that little nugget off and today again calls him "Mr October of Moundsmen"

- In the Oct 8th piece, he says Schilling has had to reinvent himself because he can't hit 90 miles per hour on the radar gun anymore. In today's piece, he talks about Schilling's reinvention and his 89 mile per hour fastball

- In the Oct 8th piece, he says Schilling cant throw much harder than John Burkett and that he has gone from being Roger Clemens to Greg Maddux. In today's piece, he says Schilling throws more like Al Nipper than Roger Clemens.

- In the Oct 8th piece, Shank says "you might remember [the game] in which he pitched with a bloody sock. Today he says "you might remember that he also did OK in 2004....with blood oozing from fresh sutures"

- They are not identical articles and in fact, today Shaughnessy makes up for not following his standard formulaic recipe to a T on Oct 8th. You see, in the Oct 8th piece, Shank must have forgotten the cook book requirement to throw in a Patriots/Celtics comparison. We just need to give Shank another chance because he does not forget that key ingredient today---the Great Schill is compared to Bird, Russell and Brady.

Now a little prediction, if Schill gets bombed tonight, the Shank claws will come out in full force
-- he will talk about Schilling no longer being the pitcher he once was; he will talk about Schilling reporting to camp 40 pounds overweight; he will talk about Schill's blog and video game empire; and he will wish Schilling Tampa Bay.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming Back Strong

In his lead-in today, Shaughnessy does his best to channel classic Gammons: "....don't lower the storm windows just yet" he cautions. Autumn has been postponed. Summer lives another day.

And so the roller coaster ride that is known as a Dan Shaughnessy article/column/monstrosity continues today. As has been pointed out in this space over the past week, Shaughnessy has gone from euphoric to stable to sullen to downright vitriolic over the past week. Yesterday's "blame game" piece was particularly venemous and Shank-like.

And yet after one simple win, signs of hope and optimism emerge yet again. No blame game today. Beckett is awesome and good ole Schill is one of the best playoff chuckers in the game. Still, a little summer left. There is hope after all. Theo and the minions have been granted a pass to live another day.

Perhaps, Shaughnessy is just a fan like the rest of us poor bastards who live in Ma's basement? He does not appear to have the capacity to objectively think--he just reacts. In the wake of his euphoria last week, we pointed out that all was not rosey despite 4 consecutive wins. But Shaughnessy would not have that - the Sox run to the championship had the air of inevitability. Three losses later and Shaughnessy dug up every worm he could find - dishing Drew to Pedroia to Gagne, Epstein and Francona and pretty much everyone else. You know what, Shank....if you had looked a little closer, you would have realized that Drew and Gagne and Lugo and Crisp all stunk last week too - you know when the Red Sox were on their inevitable ride to the World Series. And they will probably stink on Saturday and Sunday too. The essential characteristics of a team don't change that much from day to day over a 1 week span.

If you had the capacity to dig a little, a three game losing streak would not have been all that surprising and we would not be subjected to your roller coaster of emotions and petty attacks. How you manage to skate by is simply stunning to me...I wonder when the storm windows of your career will be lowered?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Small Sample Size

If one were to read today's Shank column and conclude based on it that he sucked as a writer, you would be committing a mistake in logic. One column is not enough to show that a columnist is good or bad. To truly determine that Shank sucked, you would need to look at his whole body of work.

Dan makes such a mistake in today's column, blaming players for poor hitting over a four-game period. (My favorite is "Organization poster boy Dustin Pedroia is hitting .172 against the Tribe", implying that there is something wrong about an organization with a 2b hitting .380/.440.) Let's ignore what happened over six months for what happened over the last week. This is the same type of irrational, panicked thinking that CHB would slam fans for engaging in.

But this small sample size problem is just an example of the basic flaw in Dan's thesis. Dan claims that this team, down 3-1, is somehow different than all the other teams that have come back from the same deficit because this one looks bad. But all those teams looked bad, that's why they were down 3-1. After seeing the Red Sox get blown out in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, nobody thought they looked good, poised to roar back. But they did because they began to play better, much better. You cannot predict, just hope that it happens.

Factual Error
Manny Delcarmen is not one of Theo's guys. He was drafted in 2000.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Sudden Turn Around

Today Dan's tone is somber, as the Red Sox face elimination. A marked difference from the man who wrote the Red Sox are "favorites to win the World Series" and that there's "a sense of inevitability" about the team.

Dan also turns on Manny Ramirez calling him "classless as well as clueless" a week after submitting a glowing profile.

He cannot leave it alone department
- Just about twenty words in "a front office of stat geeks." Dan is sure that somehow it is all their fault.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's Got It All

A Seventies music reference? Check. ("The tumbling Dice Man")

A "1918" reference? Check. ("The midgame rally now feels as though it happened sometime back in 1918.")

A reference to how much a player makes? Check. ("Acquired for the price of $103 million last winter")

A misleading use of a statistic? Check. ("Jake Westbrook, a 30-year-old righthander who went 6-9 in 2007." Wins are misleading. Westbrook had a slightly better than league average ERA.)

There you have today's column.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mountain out of a Molehill

Dan is looking to for a controversy, any controversy. And he really has to reach.

Dan complains about the use of Eric Gagne in the 11th inning of Saturday night's game and it is remarkably overblown. It was the 11th inning, MDC, Oki, Timlin, and Papelbon had already pitched. The game was a tossup as both teams emptied their bullpens. Francona's options were Lester or Gagne. (Lopez was not an option as he has been used as a lefty specialist all season.) This game, specifically this decision, is not on par with Game 6 and is not something that deserves great attention or debate. Cleveland's crappy pitchers outpitched Boston's crappy pitchers.

He cannot leave it alone department
- As noted before, Dan has a strange fascination with game times and other boring game trivia. Today Dan gives us the time the game ended, how long it lasted, and how many pitches were thrown. Everybody knows it was long, enough with it.

- Dan was cruising along, no possible Patriot references in sight until he lays this one down:

"Tom Mastny, who retired David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and Mike Lowell, 1-2-3 (something that happens about as often as the Patriots tell the truth on their injury report)"

Dan, you were doing so well. Let's try to stay focused.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

He must have fallen asleep

What a peculiar piece this Dan a victim of editing? Or did he simply fall asleep after the 6th inning? I dont get it.

What was Dan's job last night anyway? Was he supposed to write a simple game recap? If so, why are we served with two game by Edes and this one by Shaughnessy that curiously ends after a discussion of the 6th inning? Or was he supposed to write a column or a "sidebar"? This definitely was not a column and not really a sidebar either

There are elements of typical Dan which emerge. He cant seem to write about the Red Sox without mentioning the Patriots and he cant write about the Patriots without mentioning the Sox. That is a critical element of Shank-ology.

Perhaps this effort simply serves as a bridge. We had "happy Dan" on Saturday after 4 straight wins talking about the inevitability of the Sox World Series run; we get straightforward (albeit abbreviated) Dan after last night's marathon. If the Sox lose Tuesday, we are sure to see the return of bitter, vindictive Dan on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

He blows with the wind

Dan's penchant to turn with the tide is on display today. The Red Sox have won four straight convincing playoff games and Dan uses that as an impetus to call them America's team. He also says there is a sense of inevitably about their playoff run...a curious claim in one of Dan's feel good columns

A few thoughts:

- Do the Red Sox really hold the place as America's team? Granted, they are wildly popular across the country but when did they really assume that role as America's team? (I am not trying to take a shot at Shaughnessy here - I truly am curious is this a legit claim or Shaughnessy hyperbole?)

- I do object to his declaration that there is a sense of inevitably about the Red Sox playoff run. He conveys a sense of dominance that I'm just not seeing. The Red Sox have been vulnerable to good pitching this year and all it takes is a couple of strong performances from the Indians starters and/or poor performances from the Sox starters (Schilling is not a sure bet; Wakefield has even more question marks) for this to be a very competitive series. I am sure Negative Dan will emerge immediately after a loss or two


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dan Tries What People Refer to as "Irony"

I think Dan has finally caught on to the fact that people think his "Boston has ... while City X has" shtick is boring. He really mixes it up today with a comparison between Cleveland and New York. Didn't see that coming did you?

Dan sneaks in a few self referential barbs. He is glad the Red Sox are playing Cleveland because of the following things:

"It's impossible to make those Harvard-Yale, Athens-Sparta analogies in any series that includes Cleveland."

"No references to Evil Empire, Bambino, Harry Frazee, Bucky Dent, or Aaron Boone."

"No USAir flight No. 1918 from LaGuardia"

"No "No, No, Nanette""

Monday, October 08, 2007

More Redundancy

When a piece opens with "Unlike the late Frank Sinatra, your Boston Red Sox get plenty of kicks from champagne", you can be pretty sure Dan's got nothing.

Dan also has a glowing recap of Schilling's performance. It is nice to see Dan can get over his paranoia and write objectively about Schilling.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

October Magic

(Edited at 1315, Sat)

Dan provides a relatively straight forward game summary column this morning so between him and Edes, we are well covered...not to mention columns by Ryan and Macmullan. Two observations this morning:

- How the mighty have fallen....Dan was obsessed with Matsuzaka this spring, chronicling his every trip to the restroom. At one point, Dan was overheard from the bathroom stalls at Fort Myers declaring, "Hey Gord-o, it's a #2 this time. I think he had sushi last night."

Now, he seems downright annoyed with our Japanese friend, just like Joba Chamberlain was annoyed with those gnats last night in Cleveland. No elaborate discussion of Matsuzaka's first playoff start. No use of "Dice-K"; calls him a $100 fraud --not even giving him credit for bilking the Sox of $103M. Wow!

- Writers think they are being cute and clever when they use the good old "time of day" technique. You know like when Shaughnessy says the game "ended at 12:44 this morning" and Matsuzaka threw his first pitch "at 8:39 p.m.". Gives the game recap a certain authentic feel, doesn't it? Edes uses the time technique this morning too and he and Shaughnessy are perfectly synchronized at 12:44 (and the boys at the Herald too). It makes me wonder if the Sox have a guy in the press box that is like the doc in the dramatic scenes in hospital shows where they say, "I'm going to call it now, time of death, 2:27 am". Perhaps John Henry gives Carl Bean a wink and Bean announces "It's over....time of game 12:44." (And I wonder if they did it last night from the time the ball left Manny's bat or by the time Manny touched home plate?--must be a three minute lag there.)

Shaughnessy also has a passing mention of bloody socks Schilling and the anti Steve Bartman but otherwise, not much there

Got to run


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Please Spare Us

On a morning when the Globe Sports had a game piece by Edes and a game column by Ryan, Dan, credited as "Globe Staff", gives us a some hybrid, half-article, half-column. Don't know why we needed it, considering the work done by the two great writers. Dan must have whined to his buddy Joe Sullivan to get to write this redundant piece.

This one has it all. Pointless references to the Patriots, a Dr. Charles sighting, and easy swipes again at the Rally and the President of Red Sox Nation.

Some time during the playoffs I will have to review the number of times Dan includes a mention of the Patriots in a column about the Red Sox and vice versa. The streak is now at least two days after Dan wrote this about Theo in yesterday's piece:

"[H]e's become downright Belichickian in his quest for success.

Edit The last five Shank pieces posted at DSW have a reference to the other team.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shank on Theo

Shank has an interview with Theo Epstein on the eve of the opening of the playoffs.

Surprise, the second sentence refers to how young he is. Other than that, no minion talk or other Shank staples. He does again refer to the JD Drew dea("In a particularly curious deal, they signed free agent outfielder J.D. Drew to a five-year, $70 million contract."). I am still waiting for the proof that the Red Sox had some deal with Boras before Drew opted out or that the Drew deal was quid pro quo for Matsuzaka signing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Awful, Awful Piece

Dan is able to make it about halfway through today's column with the semblance of a point, but he runs out of steam and is reduced to tossing off empty trivia and bad jokes that he must have been storing up for ages.

"This TV special was played at Paul Brown Stadium on the one-year anniversary of the Patriots' 38-13 victory at the same site in 2006."

After every writer and radio host has mentioned the prior game during the last week Dan sees fit to remind us. He also reminds that it was the one year anniversary of the game played in 2006. Not 2005 or 1995 but 2006. Thanks for clearing that up.

Dan then engages in the same type of idolizing of Belichick ("The timing of the release signified another brilliant move by Belichick.") that Dan claims is indicative of the coach's arrogance.

He follows up with some factual errors:
"Brown is the man who invented the draw play, the facemask, and the Cleveland Browns. Belichick has invented linebackers as tight ends (Mike Vrabel caught another touchdown pass last night), videotaping opposing coaches' signals, and injury-report manipulation."

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good character assassination.

Throw in some jokes about the Bengals' troubles with the law and an unwarranted jab at an entire city ("This represents good times for Cincinnati, the only American city where "Mensa" is a four-letter word.") and you got yourself what Dan passes off as a column these days.

(If you guessed the first Red Sox reference would be in the third sentence, you win a prize.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Win Baby!

Because that is all it will take for Dan to change his tune.

On Friday, it was claims that ring hollow, a missing team owner, and an arrogant organization. Three days after "one of the most impressive victories of his storied career", it is comparisons to Auerbach and "see you in Arizona in February."

What happened to that brave columnist Joe Sullivan so loved? Dan is simply sitting at his desk with his finger in the air to determine which way the wind is blowing. There is no chance that Dan's column would have sounded anything like today's if the Patriots had lost.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Pain Deepens

The worst part about the cheating scandal involving the Patriots was knowing that Shank would inevitably weigh in, bringing all his tired tropes into action.

He does not disappoint

This statement pretty much sums up the column and Dan's view:

"There's a legion of people waiting to harpoon the arrogant New England organization, and this episode has armed Patriot critics with weapons they can use forever.

After the introduction, Dan "starts at the top" with Bob Kraft. Why? There has been no evidence that Kraft even knew of what was going on. But Dan has to use his lame "Amos Alonzo" bit.

Dan starts off asking, "Where is Kraft now?" He wastes a couple of paragraphs implying that Kraft should have stepped forward. It is only later that Shanks admits that "We can't expect Kraft to come forward during Rosh Hashanah." THEN WHY ASK WHERE HE IS, YOU SNAKE?

Next up Dan talks about the players. He states:

"Patriot players have long been reminded that their skills are almost irrelevant to the brilliant system that enables them to succeed. The message has been "most of you are interchangeable parts and we can win with other people if you choose to leave." Their achievements are minimized.

Dan, simple question: When has anybody in the organization made any such claim? It is sportswriters like you who state "In Bill We Trust" that have created and perpetuated this myth. If the players are unimportant, why did Belichick and Pioli completely overhaul the wide receivers this past offseason, getting one of the most talented receivers of all time? Why did the Patriots get the best defensive player in free agency? And where is all that money going? If the players are irrelevant, they shouldn't be paying them much, yet the Patriots are routinely at the cap.

More of the same bullshit when Dan writes:

"It's residue of seven years of coaches being reminded that they are stooges - they will lose to the Patriots because Belichick and his guys are smarter than everybody else.

It is this madeup bullshit that infuriates me when I read CHB. He falsely attributes some media created attitude to the teams or players themselves to get a better story.

Towards the end, Dan adds to the putridness by contradicting himself.

Paragraph Four:
"There is no more gray area now. Those claims that "everybody does it" and "the Patriots didn't need surveillance to beat the Jets" ring hollow."

Paragraph Seventeen:
"It's not fair, of course. Videotaping the other sideline is probably a tactic used by a lot of teams and no doubt it's been done for a long time. The competitive gain is certainly debatable and the punishment seems excessive, given that the Patriots had the misfortune to get caught."

Do the claims "ring hollow" or is it not fair? I'm confused.

And the cherry on top: A Nixon comparison. Yes, because compromising the integrity of a Presidential election and flouting the Constitution is comparable to stealing signals in a sporting event.

"It's a sad chapter in the long history of New England sports."

Something we can agree on. Although it would have been clearer if he had written "This column is a sad chapter in the long history of New England sports media."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Double Feature Dan

Dan treats us to a double feature today:

- A nice look at Clay Bucholz' no-hitter. Shaughnessy always does a decent job with covering the classic feel-good moments - stories which can't be tainted with his cynicism or that are not vulnerable to his incessant and annoying flip-flopping. He hearkens back to the 1967 start of rookie Billy Rohr, who took a no-hitter into the 9th against the Yankees. (For a very nice review of Billy Rohr's game, go here.)

- An opinion piece on Rodney Harrison and his admission that he used HGH. Shaughnessy argues that no matter how hard we may try to dress it up and rationalize Harrison's use of HGH, that we can't get away from the fact that Harrison was cheating, pure and simple. Shaughnessy's point is a good one but anytime questionable things such as this happen with the Pats, Shaughnessy just can't resist the urge to say in essence, "See, the Patriots are no different than any other NFL team." (That line of thinking most recently used when the Pats signed Randy Moss) My thought is that he already declared the end of that stand-up Patriots mystique when they signed Moss so CHB should be banned from declaring another end to it - it's like double jeopardy...

Hope everyone has a nice Labor Day weekend


Dave M

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rambling and Meandering Incoherence

You know I could swear I read this morning's column on Wednesday morning. Alas, I looked back to Wednesday and recognized they indeed are distinct pieces but with a common thread -- Shaughnessy wanders aimlessly making one point or another, just hoping and praying that something sticks - something that in a month he can come back to and say "I told you so." There is no sense of coherence...there is no main point. He says lots of things and yet, he says nothing at all. This is Shaughnessy at his laziest....this is Shaughnessy at his best (and I don't mean that as a compliment.)

First, one of Shaughnessy's favorite tactics - his point that any encounter with the Yankees is a scene from another world - that somehow the Red Sox-Yankees series are on a different plane than any other series. Now read his first few paragraphs--and simply plug in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays - yes, those Devil Rays that have only been in existence since the last decade - and the same types of things would apply. Sure, the Red Sox and Yankees have dramatic series and lots of history--I'm not arguing that - but it is hardly unique to the Yankees and Red Sox. Shaughnessy's over-dramatization is like a warped application of the halo effect.

Second, as pointed out on BSMW this week, why do all these writers feel the need to proclaim that the race for the AL East Crown is over and we are not even in September? Hell, Shaughnessy was declaring it over weeks ago....and then he softened when the lead went down to four games....but then he grew more emboldened when the league was at 7, emphatically declaring that it was over on Wednesday ("Fear not, gentle readers. The Red Sox have won the American League East")... Today, just two losses later, he recedes ever so slightly ("Most of us still believe the race in the AL East is over")...But why even make the point at all? It's like Shaughnessy is feeding the expectation machine so that if it ever collapses, he can write another book about the greatest collapse in the history of the modern know, the "Yankees are the daddies", blah, blah, blah. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Speaking of the moronic daddy thing, Shaughnessy dusts that one off today ("If you are a Yankee fan, the better news is that the sweep established the Yanks as wild-card favorites and still Daddies of the Red Sox.") What? Are you kidding me Shaughnessy? Didn't the Sox put that one to bed in 2004---you remember that comeback don't you?. The Yankees are the "daddy" and yet you have repeatedly declared the Yankees aren't topping the Sox in the division this year? What the hell are you smoking?

Then we have the significance of the small sample size which Shaughnessy loves to latch on to...On Wednesday, he wrote...."when the Yanks are bad, they are Superbad (in their last 19 games, they have lost by scores of 15-4, 12-0, 18-9, and 16-0)." Today, he writes things such as "Meanwhile, the vaunted Yankee lineup is finally intact and ever frightful."...this statement coming only two games after the "Superbad" statement and in those two games, they scored a whopping total of 9 runs.

And, oh my favorite statement "Mariano Rivera again reminded us that he is the best there ever has been at the end of games." Rivera is great and all, but if I recall correctly, the Red Sox have had his number a few times before...Shank, do you recall the 2004 World Series?

Finally, it is hard for old Shank not to get his rips in on his old buddy "Schill"....compares him to Al Nipper and in a strange analogy, says the new Schilling is like pork being the new white meat....what???? Of course, once again, he calls him the "Big Blowhard" and makes a crack about Schilling and the Devil Rays...a crack which is sure to be a staple of future columns.

This truly was a sickening column.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dan Likes Roger

Dan offers his observations on Roger Clemens. And you might recognize a couple from yesterday's column. If you needed more proof that yesterday's column was a meandering mess, Dan repeats Clemens' Red Sox win total and that he last pitched against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Column About Nothing

A series of bad jokes/references ("which is tempting because when the Yanks are bad, they are Superbad"; "Boston its first look at Joba (no relation to Wilt, Wes, or Neville) Chamberlain"; "With a bad moon risin' beyond the right-field facade") strung together through a series of mostly unrelated and/or patent observations.

You have today's column.

One little factual cleanup:

Sox pitchers have used New York hitters for target practice without fear of retribution (70 Yankee batsmen hit to 49 Sox since the Pedro era began in 1998)

First, Dan, the difference is about just a little over 2 per season. Or about one every eight regular season games. Second, it has something to do with the hitters on the Yankees, like Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi who are routinely in the top ten in HBP. Third, Pedro Martinez and Tim Wakefield routinely are in the top ten for batters hit. Therefore, there is a very reasonable explanation for the relatively small difference in HBP.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A look at the new BC Football Coach

Shaughnessy gives us a profile of Jeff Jagodzinski, the new head football coach of the BC foootball team. Some interesting stuff with the main themes being that 1) BC has risen to elite academic status and is no longer an academic "safety" school; 2) the expectations for the football team have also increased--fans want something more than than a car parts bowl game; 3) the new coach has a balanced view of the world and will not be sleeping in his office to sacrifice family life--which I think is pretty cool.

Shaughnessy will inevitably get a dig in on someone or in this case some place - this time, taking a swipe at hee-haw towns like Clemson, SC and Morgantown, WVa implying that these schools have lower academic standards and a backwards way of life as compared to BC. As someone who grew up within an hour of Clemson, I can tell you Shaughnessy's characterization is so provincially myopic, it's not even funnny--and it is one of the things that lie at the core of my distaste for Shaughnessy--his penchant for making off-handed, baseless and yet arrogant comments. Makes me bristle.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another Boring Piece About Something He Knows Nothing About

Dan is usually lost when he writes about anything other than Larry Bird and the Red Sox. Today is no exception. Writing about Laurence Maroney, Dan has nothing to offer except for a bunch of quotations and some jibes at the way things are kept quiet down in Foxboro. No swipes at Bob Kraft, though.

(Sorry for the delay. blogger was down most of the morning.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Return of Sybil

Dan's Sybil-like tendencies have been pointed out before. Today, though, he puts those tendencies to good use with a debate between glass half empty guy and glass half full guy.

Dan effectively describes both sides of the issues (We have lost 10 games to the Yankees in three months, but there are 16 games left versus the Orioles and Devil Rays.) It is well done, but you are left wondering where Joe Sullivan's bravest sportswriter is.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sentimental Dan

Sentimental Dan emerges Sunday. This is one of Dan's "There are more important things in the world than professional sports" columns but fortunately for us, he is more subtle than usual and resists the temptation to preach.

Shaughnessy juxtaposes this weekend's reunion of the 67 Red Sox with Friday's night's National Anthem performer, Jordan Leandre, a 7=year old Jimmy Fund patient...Jordan has sung the anthem a few times in the past--but this time was different because Jordan followed his singing by running the bases--something he had never been able to do because he was so weakened by cancer. I do like Shaughnessy's description of Jordan's trip around the bases esp. as Jordan crosses the plate.

Overall, a nice column but one annoying Shaughnessy trait crops up yet again--I will call it the "exaggeration of the current". This is where he makes over the top statements about the particular person or event he is discussing. One recent example is when in the aftermath of the Garnett trade, he said there was never a better time to be a fan of New Rngland's sport teams. He has a couple in today's column...for example, he calls the 67 Sox the most important in team history. I understand his point but it us very much a debatable one.

On a side issue, Ive recently moved and my new job impairs my ability to do the weekend (Fri-Sun) shift here. Anyone interested in taking on my role?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Shaughnessy Flunked Economics Class

Shaughnessy must have had a tough time with Econ 101 in school. Trampling all over basic econ theory, Shaughnessy criticizes the fans who will make their way to the Patriots preseason game and calls the game a fraud since the regulars won't be playing.

Where is the fraud, you idiot? Every single fan at the stadium tonight knows full well what to expect and what not to expect. It's no secret; there is no fraud. NFL teams don't play their starters for very long in preseason ganes. These fans, acting on their free will, decide to wait in traffic and attend the game nonetheless. No one is forcing them to go. De gustibus no est disputandum.

On the flip side, the Patriots would not charge full price unless the market would bear it. And obviously, the market will bear it as Shaughnessy himself points out (There are plenty of people on the waiting list, right Dan?) It's not fraud. As Guido Sarducci says, it's all about supply and demand.

Shaughnessy not only flunks econ, he takes a few swipes at the fans in the process, calling them suckers. (I wonder if these are the same suckers who think you are a good sportswriter?)

Of course, Shank can't stand Belichick--almost as much as he hates the old Blowhard Schilling, but for the exact opposite reason. According to the gospel of Shank, Schilling doesn't shut up; Belichick doesn't say anything. He dogs Belichick for not providing any insight on whether the preseason is too long or too short. I am not a big fan of the old Coach classic "It is what it is", but I agree with Belichick on this one. It is what it is - the NFL establishes a framework of rules and schedules and Belichick works brilliantly within the structure that is established. What does he really care if the preseason is two games, four games or six games? He deals with it and doesnt waste time debating things of which he has little control. But bitter little Shaughnessy can't seem to let it go - guess he will have plenty to stew about as he waits in traffic for tonight's game.

(I deleted my post from this morning--it was meant as a placeholder...I have recently switched jobs and the new schedule is overbearing. I regret that the timing and depth of my posts have not been the

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Look Back at Gagne's Big Inning

Dan writes up last night's game as a feel good piece, but for Eric Gagne, while avoiding more Lester talk.

Dan goes a little over board when he calls Gagne "one of the greatest relief pitchers in the history of baseball." He had one of the greatest runs as a closer, but that doesn't put him anywhere near Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman. He isn't even in the same league as the relief aces of the 70's and 80's.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Road is Paved With Hot Issues

and boring commentary.

Dan (again) talks about Barry Bonds. Dan (again) has nothing to offer. (Did you know Barry Bonds went to the same high school as Tom Brady? Or that Barry's middle name is "Lamar"? You cannot get this insight anywhere else, people).

Dan then moves closer to home to talk about the Red Sox division lead. He assumes that people must be panicking and is glad that he is away from it all. In all the fear mongering Dan misses out on some key points. The Red Sox have been playing well lately while the Yankees picked up two games by going 5-1 against KC and Toronto. Also, the Yankees schedule changes dramatically starting Friday when they open up in Cleveland. Lets see where the lead is at the end of August when the Red Sox and Yankees meet again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Playoff Preview

Despite the lead shrinking to five games and numerous cautions from those involved, Dan writes about what may have been a playoff preview. Pretty standard stuff. Surprising for the lack of handwringing regarding the shrinking lead and poor play.

One huge mistake, though:

They rank third in the American League in hitting and pitching.

No, Dan. They are fifth in hitting (OBP is the best measure of hitting, not BA) and fifth in RA (or fourth in ERA).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dan is Confused

Dan cannot seem to decide whether to rip Schilling or praise him in today's piece. He starts by writing:

"The Red Sox strengthened their roster more than any contender in the week after the trading deadline. And we are not talking about the expensive acquisition of Eric Gagne."

But by the end, Dan isn't so sure:

"But he's been hit pretty hard over the last 12 months. Unable to win consistently, Schilling has given up 212 hits (22 homers) in his last 170 innings."

What is it Dan?

- Dan once again uses the adjective "immortal" to describe an average player. Another in a long line of tired bits from Dan.

Monday, August 06, 2007

More of the Same

Dan submits another in a string of boring columns. And just to make sure you get his point, he includes another rip on Schilling the blogger ("Blogboy Blowhard Curt"). Just move on.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lester/Cancer Angle

Shaughnessy has a special affinity for the Jon Lester story. Shaughnessy's own daughter is a cancer survivor and so the Lester story seems to particularly pull at his heart strings. It is nice to see Shaughnessy's "sensitive side" as he offers a nice look at Lester's start in front of his hometown in Seattle.

Overall, a pleasant enough story with a few particulars to note

- Shaughnessy once again shows restraint and does not mention that his daughter is a cancer survivor. (He has shown this restraint in his past few columns about Lester) It's refreshing that Shaughnessy does not make the column about himself as he often does

- On the flip side, Lester has repeatedly said that he wants to go on with his life and Shaughnessy seems unwilling to let this angle go. Shaughnessy says Lester has now closed the circle with this start in front of hometown friends. Hyperbole, Dan? Why wasn't the circle closed when he made his first minor league start or when he made his major league return in Cleveland? Yes, it's a great story and all but are we going to get another full circle story when he returns to Fenway? (Reminiscent of his spring obsession with Daisuke M--we had "Dice-K's first" stories for what seemed like a month)

- Minor point...Dan refers to the "immortal Yuniesky Betancourt " and the "maniacal Jose Guillen"...the one-word adjectives are over the top

- Finally, Shaughnessy closes with the whole shtick about Lester always being the "guy who came back from cancer". Perhaps/perhaps not. (Do people still always refer to Mike Lowell as the "guy who came back from cancer?") Again, I agree it is an awesome story but given Lester's desire to move on with it, you would think Shaughnessy would do his best to let him.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Day to Celebrate

That is the theme of Dan's column today, one day after the Celtics announced the acquisition of Kevin Garnett and the Red Sox traded for Eric Gagne to pitch the 7th or 8th inning.

Dan puts it all together in perspective and concludes the Celtics are the Eastern Conference favorites and the Red Sox are World Series favorites. Dan finishes with a list of all the star athletes playing in this town now, and it is very impressive. There are, by my count, at least four Hall of Famers in their respective sports playing in Boston right now. Two of those are in football, a notoriously elite Hall of Fame. Enjoy it while you can. Hopefully, in twenty years you will be telling your kids about what happened in 2007-2008.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Patriots and the Expectations Game

Shaughnessy has another column on the Patriots today - this time, he speculates how Belichick and the Pats will handle the lofty expectations from the media and the fans.

In the past, Shaughnessy contends that the Pats have played the "We don't get any respect" card. They won't be able to do that this year since the prevailing thought is that they are so loaded. Shaughnessy offers quotes from a phone interview he had with Bill Parcells. Parcells essentially says it's a new year and you have to start over. He also interviews Belichick who says the Pats are approaching the year one day at a time. Yawn.

Three notes of interest...

- Shaughnessy gets Parcells to warm up about the Pats on a personal level:

Obviously, when you have a relative on the team, you want good things to happen," said the Tuna. "And when there's a guy who worked for you for a long time, you hope things go well...


- Shaughnessy misses a great chance to compare/contrast Parcells/Owens to Belichick/Moss.

- Shaughnessy has a two game hitting streak with current cultural reference, calling ESPN's "Who's now" one of the worst ideas in the history of the network

Friday, July 27, 2007

I wish he would stick to baseball

Today is the first day of Patriot's training camp and Shaughnessy speculates about the upcoming season. It is particular torture when Shaughnessy steps outside of Red Sox world to cover the other local teams.

Shaughnessy starts with the "All is well in the world"
technique as he discusses where to stay in Arizona for the Super Bowl and detailing his hope that it is not too cold in Boston for the Super Bowl parade. When he has used this technique in the past, we have debated whether he is being his overly cynical and/or bitterly sarcastic self. I will cut him a little slack on this one - he seems to be using the technique just to set the stage for describing a season for which people have high expectations.

He then proceeds, however, to make two head-scratching comparisons. He says expectations are sky high for the Patriots this year just as they were for the 86 Celtics because of Bill Walton's arrival and the 78 Sox with Dennis Eckersley's arrival. Granted, the Celts had won titles in 81 and 84 and Walton was a nice fit but I dont recall Walton's acquisition pushing expectations above and beyond - he was a reserve player in the twilight of his career. The Red Sox reference is even more puzzling --the Sox had been in the World Series in 75 but to suggest that adding Eckersley convinced people that the Sox were a lock for the Series in 1978 does not resonate well with me--a poor analogy for this year's Patriots team.

He takes a pot shot (again) at Bob and Myra for selling their sanctimonious soles for the acquisition of Moss and Meriweather. We have discussed this before but this sanctimony of which Shaughnessy speaks seems to be more of a media creation than a Patriots creation. The Patriots have taken other character gambles in the past in the Kraft era.

Other quick notes:

- Shank trots out two other favorite conventions - we are treated to a "Sons of Belichick" reference and a "Mssrs." use.

- Cultural reference alert: Shaughnessy goes mostly modern today - a Tim Donaghy joke ("even Tim Donaghy thinks the Pats are a lock"--pretty funny) and a Harry Potter reference as well.

Bottom Line: Not much here - not sure what Shaughnessy has contributed in any meaningful way to the dialogue.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another picked up pieces column

And this one has:

More Selig quotations from his days old press conference.

More Bonds.

And the astute observation that the Tigers are good and the Angels aren't the same team the Red Sox swept in April. Glad Dan is there to tell us. Among Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight, FOX, and the internet I don't know where else I could find that information.

There are other inane and obvious nuggets in the column that you all can spot.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Barry, Barry, Barry

Dan outdoes himself for self-contradiction. He writes his second Barry Bonds column in four days (and third in less than a month), all the while complaining about the drudgery of the chase. But that is all Dan can do; document the problem and provide a few quotations. He acknowledges the limitation when at the end of today's column he writes "The whole thing is a little silly. There are much more important issues in baseball." Then why waste two columns going over the same ground?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Look at Okajima

Dan has a look at Hideki Okajima. A pretty good column with some interesting quotations from the reliever. Dan of course does his best to ruin the intro with a hanging chads reference. Does he really think his tired jokes are funny? How can he think it is good writing?

Monday, July 09, 2007

"This will not end well"

The poster at deadspin could not have been more correct.

Apparently one of Dan Shaughnessy's daughters has circulated an email that implores its recipients to post positive reviews about "Senior Year", CHB's latest turn at long form writing, on The email, once made public, seems to have backfired.

Whether the original email is true, I have no idea.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Apologize for not posting lately - I am in the process of moving to Virginia and internet access on the road is dicey at best.

Quick recap--today's column on Bonds (All Star preview) is more of the same thought process from his Bonds column several weeks ago (his first game at Fenway)

Bonds is a pariah...It's a joyless/fradulent chase - okay Dan - we know where you are coming from.

No new insights here but how do you know that Frank Robinson didnt cheat? I am not saying he did but Shaughnessy is guilty of the halo effect of assuming all players from the 70s and before are beyond reproach.

Hope to get back in a regular rhythm in two weeks

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Say something, anything, just say something

Dan takes on an easy target, Stoneham's decision to cut athletics, and manages to say nothing. He offers up a bunch of platitudes and quotations from those affected. But as how to fix things? Dan is silent. That's great. Really exploring the issue. I think everyone can agree that having high school sports is good. Tell me how to fix the problem.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A look at Beckett's Great Game

Today's column is about Josh Beckett and yesterday's pitching performance. A decent column, a few interesting quotes, and the highlights of the game.

Dan has a tendency to suffer from the same ills that he claims Boston fans to suffer from. He scolds fans not to worship professional athletes, but needs to be reminded that "Tom Brady is human". Today, Dan suffers from that lack of perspective that he charges Boston fans with. Dan promotes Beckett to start the All-Star Game ignoring Justin Verlander, Dan Haren, and Johan Santana; all who have a lower ERA and lower adjusted ERA. Beckett does have the lower DIPS ERA, but I doubt Dan was looking at that page on