I have varying theories about how Shaughnessy puts together his column. One theory has him sitting in front of his keyboard—one hand mindlessly typing and spewing out clichéd thoughts while the other hand is dipped in a bag of Cheetos as he intently watches Rosie on The View. Another perspective has Shank backed in a corner by mobsters cowering for his life. He somehow manages to lay his hands on a machine gun and he furiously fires hoping that he will hit his mark and yet he always seems to miss. A final theory is that “Big Daddy Globe” retired Shank five years ago in a purge and they replaced with him a computer program that uses a random generator to produce columns. They have pre-programmed certain thoughts (“Manny quit”) and catch-phrases (“Theo and his minions”) which appear and re-appear. (Note: I think they better fire that computer programmer).
I like the computer program theory for today’s effort—the random generator was in overdrive. The main theme for today is that Manny quit last year and Shank breathlessly awaits for Manny’s appearance at spring training. More on this in a minute but I would like to quickly recap the worn out Shank-isms that Dan trots out today….
We have the tired refrain that Florida sucks (Fort Myers is a “godforsaken town”); there is a reference to “Elvis Matsuzaka”; Shank calls Schilling the “Big Blowhard”; we get a "Theo and his minions" reference; I always love mentions of “fanboy bloggers” and we are treated to one of those today. Another tired technique is Shank’s attempt to paint Ramirez as the clueless wonder….Shaughnessy writes…”Can’t wait for that Manny Moment when he sees Daisuke Matsuzaka for the first time and asks teammates. “Hey, who is that Japanese guy and why is he wearing Johnny Damon’s number?”
One of Shaughnessy’s other classic techniques is where he subtly lays claim as the voice of “Red Sox Nation” by using “We”. He says “We have rejoiced in the retirement of Keith Foulke”; “We won’t sleep until the Sox make a decision on [Schilling’s contract]; and “We don’t care if he talks.” He also loves to tell his readership what they should believe. He says, “…please don’t be a stooge and attempt to perpetuate the farcical theory that Manny was too wounded to play last summer.” (By the way, who rejoiced in the retirement of Keith Foulke anyway? Shaughnessy hated him because he wasn’t passionate enough about baseball. Yet Shank hates us because we are too passionate about sports.)
As for the main theme, for the umpteenth time, Shank claims that Manny quit on the team last year during the infamous Yankees series. To be honest, I don’t really know if Manny quit. But Shaughnessy offers no tangible proof. He simply asks that we take it on faith that he is right. I don’t think many (if any) Red Sox players talk to him so I have a hard time believing that Shank's voice somehow represents what Manny’s teammates truly believe behind the scenes.