Monday, January 29, 2007

Now on to the Celtics

With the Patriots in the rear view mirror (Well not quite…Shaughnessy gets one dig in at Belichick today) and the Red Sox still a few weeks away from spring training, the CHB predictably sets his sites on the woeful state of the Boston Celtics. Lucky us.

Shaughnessy’s grand insight is that the Celtics are woeful and yet they seem to draw the praise and adoration of the home crowd regardless. He seems perplexed as to why no one seems to care? His premise calls to mind William Bennett’s Death of Outrage that was focused on the indifference of the public towards Bill Clinton’s White House in the 1990s.

Yet, if Shaughnessy’s basic thesis is correct (and Celtics crowds really are in a state of bliss) he seemingly answers his own question. People have written off this season because of the farsighted hope that Greg Oden or some other draft stud will make their way to Boston next season. Is this such a bad thing all things considered? At least it is understandable on some level. Look back in the files and Shank himself says such a situation should be written off.

In a column from April 2006, CHB also examines dismal teams from the Celtics past. He writes that the 1996-97 Celtics “don’t count because they were trying to lose games under ML Carr”. Is this really any different? The Celtics brain trust would never admit that they are trying to lose games but at this point, the 2006-2007 Celtics do seem to be operating under a similar paradigm as their 1996-1997 predecessors.

Shaughnessy’s idea, however, is that the Celtics games have become more show than competition. He talks about the dancers and he talks about tee shirts shot from cannons whipping the fans into a frenzy. I don’t buy into Shaughnessy’s argument. I find it hard to believe that Celtics fans have become so brainwashed – I think it is a simple case of Celtics fans being realistic about what this team can accomplish.

One final note…it is apparent that for Shaughnessy, the Carl Everett of the Celtics was/is Sidney Wicks. He loves to use Wicks as the poster child for all that was wrong with the late 1970s Celtics.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday's Random Thoughts Column

Today we are treated to a “Picked-up pieces” column from Shaughnessy. I suppose the format is tried and true if not a little tired. If you are going to use a “random thoughts” approach, however, you should try to come up with angles that are fresh and ones that are perhaps subtle. Get away from stating the obvious or stating things that have been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere. Probably too much to ask for from Shaughnessy.

In his third nugget, Shaughnessy speculates about the potential conversation about Belichick and Tomlinson at the Pro Bowl…have only seen this discussed in a dozen places elsewhere…and not sure if anyone really cares about it at this point. Of course, we get the common shot at Belichick’s hoodie while we are at it.

There's also a nice swipe at Mientkiewicz to start the column. The Mientkiewicz ball controversy is also a beaten path but of course CHB likes to pile on. And another gratuitous shot – I believe that is Shank’s second time in a week to take a shot at Tony Eason

CHB asks us to suppose if Barry Bonds get hot and show us up at Fenway with a chance to beat Aaron’s record. Suppose what Shank? Bonds home run chase is going to be a dominant story regardless of the venue I know we Boston fans think Fenway is the hub of the baseball universe but in this case, I don’t think the venue (whether Boston or Kansas City) is really going to change the dynamics of the attention that Bonds' home run chase will receive.

As for the nonsensical, what the heck is he talking about when he says, “Wish I'd known Boston College was playing at Notre Dame (Oct. 13) when I saw Charlie Weis in the press box at the RCA Dome Sunday night.” What’s the point of this statement?

Always nice to see a Larry Bird reference in a picked up pieces column (or any Shaughnessy column). Looks like Larry is in for a nice return on the sale of his home—maybe he will throw Shaughnessy a 1% finder’s fee and a bottle of wine?

Oh yeah, one more gratuitous shot…this time at Verne Ruhle. Long time Red Sox fans certainly know about Ruhle breaking Jim Rice’s hand with a pitch in 1975. What I did not know (and of course we do not learn this from Shank) is how highly Ruhle was regarded…picked that up in reading his obits. Rest in peace, Verne Ruhle. I think this Ruhle entry could have waited a few weeks or could have included a reference to his character.

Happy to give Shaughnessy a little credit – nice comment about Kathryn Nixon; a funny line about the Bengals latest arrest but I seriously doubt CHB came up with that himself; and an interesting tidbit about Dave McCarty and Wally the Green Monster (although Shaughnessy admits he is not the original source).

Thanks Chief!

Thanks to the Chief for graciously inviting me to re-initiate columns on this website. I will do my best to follow in his footsteps and keep the spirit alive.
DB - I hope you will join me as well - please contact the chief!