Monday, April 30, 2007

This Is A Huge Change From Their Usual Route

and not much of a departure for Dan.

Dan cites the acquisitions of Brandon Meriweather and Randy Moss as evidence of a seismic shift in the Patriot's Front Office's attitude towards player character. Enough so to drop Christian Peter's name and ask where was Myra Kraft.

The column focuses on Moss' troubles off the field and on. The former list of troubles includes three incidents, nothing in the last five years and two incidents over a decade old. Not apologizing for the guy, but pointing out the guy has not been in trouble off the field for a while.

As Dan points out, though, the real question is what you get on the field. He runs through the incidents, including the Lambeau Field 'mooning.' Only Dan and the priggish Joe Buck find this incident remotely troubling.

Dan has his opinion and points out all the reasons to be concerned. Pretty standard,nothing groundbreaking.

What is disappointing is Dan's characterization of Meriweather: "a gun-toting cheap-shot artist last seen stomping on a prone opponent during a disgraceful brawl." If Dan bothered to read his colleagues work, he would know that as Mike Reiss points out, Meriweather used his firearm in a legal fashion in order to protect himself and his property. Welcome to the Big Time, Brandon. You've been unfairly attacked by Dan Shaughnessy. You are in good company. (Also, think Dan has the guts to attack Richard Seymour for stomping on an opponent? Or, do you think Dan goes after only the rookies and marginal players?)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It sure would have been nice to beat the Yankees

Another throw away column from Shaughnessy today. Let's see if I can sum it up succinctly...

It sure would have been nice to beat the Yankees yesterday because the Yankees have a rich history in general and a long history in particular of beating up the long suffering Red Sox.

Thanks for that terrific insight, Dan.


Different topic: For your Shaughnessy fans, Nick Cafardo points out that Shaughnessy has a new book out called Senior Year. It's a book of Dan's reflections on son Sam's senior year of high school and Sam's burgeoning baseball career.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why don't we like thee? Let us count the ways

(Note: Saturday’s CHB column offered more of the same on Daisuke Matsuzaka and so I have chosen a different topic for today’s column)

An anonymous student posed the question of why the bloggers on this site have so much disdain for Dan Shaughnessy. I can’t speak for the others but I would imagine that our reasons overlap to a large extent. I am happy to offer my perspective and I am curious as to what others might say. Here are a few thoughts:

1) Shaughnessy is both a columnist and a reporter. As a columnist, he is given editorial license and is given liberty to inject his opinion. First and foremost, I believe he fails as a columnist. As a reporter, he should stick with the facts; however, I believe he often blurs the line when he “reports” and uses too much editorial license that other reporters would not get away with.

He fails as a columnist because he has misinterpreted the role. In my opinion, a columnist can take license but still has the responsibility to back it up with careful analysis and logic. All too often, Shaughnessy offers his opinion but does a woeful job in backing it up. That is why we get a constant barrage of statements like “Manny quit last year” or “Nomar wants out of town” but little or no proof is ever offered. Friday’s column about Matsuzaka is another example of his extreme laziness—he offers a position but there is simply no depth to the story at all. It is inane. He hides behind this editorial license as a shield from having to do hard work and ultimately to justify his positions.

When he does game reports, he should stick with the facts but it seems impossible for him to refrain from editorializing. In a recent game report, he took a pot shot at Schilling’s blogging. (Contrary to what Objective Bruce might think, the bloggers here are not Schilling “fanboys” – I personally do not idolize athletes in general or Schilling in particular.) At any rate, I don’t care for the pot shots when I am reading a game report. Unfortunately, Shaughnessy does not know when to stop.

2) Shaughnessy is vindictive. He seems to hold grudges against certain people and it further clouds his writing. If you read him long enough, his contempt of Theo Epstein is blatantly obvious as well as his dislike for Schilling and Ramirez to name a few. He has every right to criticize players and management but when it becomes so personal, it undermines any shred of credibility he might have. Frankly, I think we deserve better from a major newspaper writer.

3) Shaughnessy loves to inject himself into the story…the phone call to Schilling to stir up some of the bad blood between the two; the dinner with John Henry and the details of how he brought Henry one of his autographed books; the phone call to Jon Lester’s parents about cancer; the story of tasting Larry Bird’s wine. Some of this can be interesting and is okay—he has that discretion as a columnist . All too often, however it is over the top because there is the tendency to make it all about him.

4) Shaughnessy blows with the wind and he is an annoying revisionist. Most recent example is his take on the 2006 season. In April of last year, he said the Red Sox would finally win the division because they had great pitching and defense. Within the past month, he called the 2006 team a poorly constructed and flawed team. That’s all well and good but it’s a surprising statement when he had “bought in” to this flawed team a year earlier.

5) Shaughnessy thinks he speaks for all Red Sox fans as he says “We believe this” or “We don’t buy that” etc. . His one comment about Keith Fouke (something like “We all rejoiced when Foulke retired”) still annoys the crap out of me when I look back on it. Coco Crisp is the guy “we love to boo”. Shaughnessy does not represent me and I resent his use of “we” in such a consistent and pervasive way.

6) Shaughnessy loves to comment that “Only in Boston would you see this” as if Boston has an unrealistic fixation on sports. The irony is that Shaughnessy is the one that often fans the flames. His reporting of Matsuzaka this spring is a classic example. On the one hand, he mocks the press coverage that the story has received. On the other hand, he has contributed column after meaningless column about Matsuzaka.

7) Invoking DBVader’s classic line, “Dan hates you and thinks you are stupid.” He likes to tell us what and how to think. He likes to remind us that we take too sports seriously so he feels the occasional responsibility to get on his preachy pulpit and repeat stories about heroic firefighters that really belong in the metro section. I really don’t appreciate the preachiness.

8) Shaughnessy often get his facts wrong. See any number of the Chief’s posts to this end. It is sad.

9) Shaughnessy trots out the same old tired phrases again and again. “Sons of Tito”; “Theo and the minions”; “Mo likes the Foxy Lady”, etc. It’s not fresh and in fact it’s very stale.

I have a few more points but this column is already too long but I hope it gives you a sense of things. It is funny how many people come to this site and remark, “Wow, I can’t believe I’m not the only one who dislikes Shaughnessy so much.” The reason is simple, with Shaughnessy, there are many things not to like.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Throw Away Column

Perhaps Dan's obsession with Daisuke Matsuzaka is not waning after all. Today's column takes one simple idea (Matsuzaka likes to throw on his off days) and pounds it into the ground in an endless and ultimately painful barrage of "playful" anecdotes. Matsuzaka likes to throw with the neighborhood kids; he likes to toss peanuts to the crowd; he like to toss it around with the college team, etc.

There are approximately 11 such anecdotes and unfortunately, the idea is worn after the second one. This is one of the most painfully tedious columns from Shaughnessy I've ever read. Precious little other insight is offered.

There is, however, one very comical line up front which actually had me laugh out loud.
"I was in New York a day early to get extra rest for tonight's big game with the Yankees."

The idea of Shaughnessy arriving early to catch some extra rest so he can be on top of his journalistic game made me smile.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Evil Empire, Evil Dan

Evil Dan is on display today. What's really twisted is that ostensibly, the article is an upbeat one as he discusses how the Red Sox are getting some critical early season wins against the Yankees. Yet, Evil Dan lurks behind every graf spewing venom and deceit coupled with his typical gratuitous shots.

Right off the bat, Dan diminishes the Sox victories by recapping the Yankees assorted injuries. Matsui and Posada are out; Damon has a bad back; Sheffield is in Detroit. Oh, come on, I don't think anyone feels sympathy pains for the Yankees lineup. If there are any excuses to be made, it is with the Yankees pitching staff; they have had their share of injuries. Yet, the 2006 Red Sox, a favorite whipping post of Shaughnessy, had their share of pitching misfortunes and yet Shank has declared 2006 as the year that Manny quit.

Speaking of 2006, last year's 5 game sweep is once again trotted out as the weekend that inspired Manny to quit. As has been pointed out on this site, Manny did not quit that particular weekend. He went 8 for 11 with 2 HRs. According to Shank, that sweep also apparently revealed major flaws in the design of the 2006 Red Sox team which forced Red Sox ownership into a spending spree. As also has been pointed out on this site, Shaughnessy lauded the composition of the 2006 team earlier in 2006.

Shaughnessy includes this joke of a line:
No more crying about the Yankee payroll -- not when you charge the highest prices in baseball, not when you regularly raid the rosters of the A's, Marlins, and Diamondbacks of the world.
Who on the Red Sox roster was raided from the A's? The Red Sox got Beckett and Lowell from the Marlins at a rather steep price in a trade that Shaughnessy has previously used to take pot shots at Theo and the gorilla suit. The Red Sox got Schilling in a trade from Arizona but I would hardly call that a roster raid.

Shaughnessy's obsession with Daisuke Matsuzaka seems to be waning although we get two brief references. Shank calls Matsuzaka the $103M man and I wonder if these references will become increasingly snide if Matsuzaka's record remains average so Dan can set himself up to say "I told you so--what a waste of money". Dan later calls Okajima a "stable pony" for Matsuzaka and I have got to think there are more apt metaphors.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sox-Yanks Friday Night

(Editorial Note: I apologize - it is late in the day ad I am now just posting. When Chief graciously gave editing and posting rights to DBVader and me a few months back we agreed that DB would take Monday-Thursdays and I would get the weekend shift. This usually works out great for me but I have been on the road the past few weekends and I am not always successful in getting internet access. Db and I take pride in posting promptly and we will continue to do our best in the days and weeks to come.)

Shaughnessy turns in a game recap from Friday night's Sox-Yankees instant classic and provides a fair recap of the fun evening. I am sure he had the daggers drawn when it appeared the Sox would lose late in the game and he was probably forced to start from scratch when the Sox came back in the 8th inning.

Neverthless, there are some odd statements and Shankisms:

- Quote "On a night when the Red Sox honored the greatest team ever to represent this region (the 1957-86 Celtics)...."

Comment: Huh? The 1957 - 86 Celtics were not "a team"--they were many teams . Many of the teams during this era were awesome and some were not so great. Just an odd way of putting it.

- Quote: "Schilling, who needs an editor more than he needs a pitching coach..."

Comment: Okay, Dan, we get it--you don't like Schilling's blog.

- Quote: "Coco Crisp. The man we love to boo."

Comment: One of Dan's favorite techniques...its what I call the "Joe The Fan" technique. By using "we" , Dan presumes to speak for all Sox fans. Unfortunately, he often misses the mark (like when he said a few months ago that we all "rejoiced" when Keith Foulke retired). I know Crisp is getting some boos but I think Shaughnessy overdoes it with the above assessment.

I need to sign off for now.

Dave M

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dan Shows a Little Effort

And brings you into the ballpark with the column for Daisuke Matsuzaka's first start at Fenway. (The headline for which could also describe the last decade of Dan's career.)

It was a pretty good effort, offering some interesting detail about Daisuke's day and actually providing an in depth description of the game, which is rare because Dan usually spends the game writing his column instead of watching.

It wasn't a clean slate, however. He once again felt obligated to refer to Matsuzaka as the "$103 million Red Sox rookie." I wish sports reporters would get over the fascination with player salaries. It's unbecoming and irrelevant.

Then there is this analogy that doesn't hold up: "This was Japanese baseball's version of Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain". First, basketball matchups aren't anything like the batter vs. pitcher matchup. He has all of baseball history to reference and he feels the need to go back 40+ years for two basketball players? Second, professional basketball in the 1960's wasn't nearly the sensation that baseball is in Japan. How about something from the 80's or 90's when Americans were actually watching basketball?

And Dan's lame joke for the evening is attributed to someone else, but he cannot avoid it still falling flat: "It was, in the words of one reporter, the million cameramen march." It's close, but maybe next time his cultural references can be from the last decade. Baby steps.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


See below for the Home Opening Game column

Chris in the comments points to an odd editorial by the Globe staff. My understanding is that although editorials are credited to the staff, each editorial is written by an individual, most often one on the editorial staff, but occasionally by other writers. While the subject of the column, story lines to watch for this Red Sox season, suggests Dan's fingerprints, the writing style is not his.

Instead, the editorial seems to be written by someone who recently graduated with an M.A. in English, who has little historical knowledge of baseball. The writer starts off by claiming that among the things to look forward to this season is a "cornucopia of soap opera story lines." Stop right there. This writer is NOT a baseball fan. He/she is some overeducated wannabe writer who thinks that because literary types like John Updike and Roger Angell wrote about baseball, then he/she should also mine that vein. Instead of writing about the game, which they know noting about, they seek out off the field stories.

The writer goes on to cinch the case that he/she knows nothing about baseball, particularly its literary past. I like to keep posts short but this writer's ignorance has to be pointed out.

"Anyone who has taken the time to browse pitcher Curt Schilling's blog will realize that the loquacious right-hander aspires to be both Don Quixote and Cervantes at the same time, Raskolnikov and Dostoyevsky, Hamlet and Shakespeare. Flying back from Texas Sunday night after hurling seven dominant innings against the flummoxed Rangers, the erstwhile cheerleader for President Bush typed out a pitch-by-pitch analysis of his performance."

First of all, the analogies fail. Rather than explaining the situation they are the writer's attempt to display how knowledgable he/she is. Schilling is neither an author nor a fictional character. He is a highly thoughtful baseball player writing about himself. His blog is nothing more than the publication of the thoughts he goes through after every start. In fact, the subject is nothing new. Bill Lee and Jim Bouton have already offered insight into a pitcher's mind. What is new is the technology. Further, the author seems to imply that there is some inviolable line between the roles of athletes and journalists, that the former can never presume to write for the public, which is the sole province of learned journalists. BS. (Also note the irrelevant inclusion of Schilling's political leanings.)

The writer goes on to claim that if Schilling fails this season, the blog somehow will become a distraction to the team. This seems more like fancy than actual belief. In my brief reading of the blog, Schilling has never made any derogatory remarks towards teammates and reserves all criticism for himself. How this will create a distraction for a team that already seems to keep Schilling at a distance is not stated.

There are more head scratching concerns offered up that I wish I had the space to go into. They all seem to be from the head of Dan, but written by someone else. Very odd.

Fixed for the awful misspelling of "Jim Bouton."

Fast Start at Fenway...

and a boring column in the Globe Sports section. Dan didn't have much to work with considering the game was uneventful. The column ended up reading more like a weather report interspersed with bad jokes and odd references.

There were at least seven separate references to the cold weather. Anyone who has lived through more than two New England springs would have guessed it was going to be cold, and anyone who was near Boston yesterday realized it was cold. But we have Dan to remind us.

Bad Joke

Regarding the temporary seating on the right field roof, Dan wrote "and ticket-holders reportedly each get a personal Sherpa guide. There is, however, no truth to the rumor that the Sox may post a Fuji Film sign on the back of the new section and invite fans to ‘‘climb Mt. Fuji.’’ Sad thing is Dan probably was working on that joke for a week.

Odd References

"Manny got the usual Lindbergh treatment"

I consider myself pretty literate with a good knowledge of history and I cannot make sense of this reference.

"[B]ut yesterday [Weaver] threw 47 pitches in a dreadful first as the Sox batted around. Crisp hit a two-run double in the interminable frame."

That is some clunky writing for a top columnist.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Things were different in the old days. On the day the Red Sox are celebrating the Impossible Dream Season, Dan writes how things were different before that spectacular run. And he manages to make it terribly boring. A few quotations from Yaz and a couple of attendance totals. A tepid effort at best. Nothing to inspire the fans before the latest Home Opener.

Even when writing about the past, Dan manages to reference his favorite present day targets. Did you know Manny Ramirez makes $20 million per year? Did you know there is a media frenzy surrounding Daisuke Matsuzaka? (Can we end the 'Dice-K' nickname? Not only does it promote silly Bermanisms, but it's stupid. It is how his name is pronounced, it can't be a nickname. It would be like calling Alex Rodriguez 'Al-X.')

Dan ends the column asking Yaz about the new Japanese starter. Why? WHY?! Why does every Red Sox column have to somehow relate to Matsuzaka. Opening Day and today, Dan manages to make it about a player who is not going to play. There is nothing left to say but that the contradiction in Dan's attitude has been noted before.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Stroll Through the Globe Archives, Part Two

Dave M. recently gave us all some examples of Dan's use of tired phrases. Some others popped up in a recent column. So...


One of the most common phrases is "sons of (Boston area coach)" to refer to a local team. Readers are aware that Dan abuses this phrase, but the results are worse than one would think.

A search of the Boston Globe online archive for "'Dan Shaughnessy' 'Sons of'" returns 171 articles. The number is somewhat inflated by duplicate listings and unrelated uses, but a brief glance at the results are stunning. Dan has been using this stupid phrase for over 25 years. (It started in 1981 with a "sons of Weaver" reference.) Dan seemed to overdose on the expression in the mid-90's and since then his use of the term has been more judicious. But every once in a while he will backslide, like the bender he went on in October of 2003, using the phrase "Sons of Grady Little" four times in 17 days.

Dan's frequent Clive Rush references are tiresome not so much for their frequency (about 20 times in the last 20 years), but their irrelevance. Most readers under the age of 40 have no idea who Clive Rush was. Yet Dan consistently reminds us Rush was almost electrocuted by a microphone at a press conference 38 years ago. Maybe I am missing something, but the story isn't as interesting as Dan seems to think it is.

What Other People Are Saying
From a link on Boston Sports Media Watch, I found the post on Dan's Opening Day game column. The site has some other posts regarding recent Dan atrocities.

From an ad on, I found another site devoted to Dan, It's new and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

I found this take on the Curt blogs column through Seth Mnookin's post on the subject. (Yes, I only posted the link because it favorably mentions DSW.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Not a Bad Daisuke Performance

This is the day that Shaughnessy has been waiting for..."Dice-K's" season opener. I clicked on this morning's link with an absolute sense of dread, wondering what cliche's Dan would trot out today. Of course, he got a few classics in ("Dominican Diva" and more references to Dice-K tinis and ice cream) , but by and large, it was a nice recap.

As we've hit on here in the past, we contend that Shaughnessy mails it in more often than not. His columns often lack meaningful analysis. Whenever he does provide some analysis, it is refreshing. I think he does an eloquent job today of discussing pitch counts, velocity, variety, and control and how Matzusaka weaved it all together yesterday to produce a great outing.

Shaughnessy also describes the hype surrounding the outing but he refrains from taking the tired "Only a Boston team/player could generate this level of hysteria" angle. That was refreshing.

The Dominican Diva reference (the seventh in recent years but who's counting?) is the one thing that stuck out as a gratuitous Shankism.

Perhaps this is the genius of the CHB? Set the bar so low in general such that when you write a column which has any substance, it comes across as particularly strong (when in fact, it's really just an average piece by any other standard).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Blame It On Theo

Argh! More crapShaughnessy has become so predictable, it is laughable. The Sox lost their season opener and Dan spews the inevitable drivel and takes the expected pot shots at his favorite targets:

- Multiple references to Schilling’s blogging. (Curt pitched as if he had “carpal tunnel syndrome” but darn the luck, no in game blogging)

- Calls Julio Lugo the “Bill James-mandated shortstop”

- Mocking reference to Theo and the Minions huddling over the computers this winter to put together $150M+ team that looked so anemic

The asinine aspect of this column is that Shaughnessy goes to lengths to explicitly say that a season is not won or lost based on a single game and yet he intimates based on a single game that 1) Julio Lugo is money poorly spent; 2) Gil Meche was perhaps a good signing by the Royals after all; 3) Varitek and Crisp are headed for poor seasons. He spells out a few other negatives as well…Okajima gave up a homer….and he points out the Red Sox’ swoon last year began with a sweep at the hand of the Royals. Damnit, Shank, this is one ballgame—enough already. (But hey Shank, why no mention of the overmatched Pedroia? He had two hits today.)

The other thing that really torques me is his relentless criticism of Epstein’s and James’ reliance on statistics. What would you have them rely on Shank? Just because you spew your columns with little thought and even less analysis, does that make it the right way to run a baseball team? I think not. You may think you turn out good work relying on your gut instinct but you would be wrong. Instead of castigating Epstein and James, why not do a little more analysis of your own and make your writing stronger? It wont happen though—you are too lazy to be bothered with quantitative and ultimately meaningful analysis.

(Edit: Okay, I need to pull back on one criticism...Shaughnessy has a separate and generally upbeat sidebar about Pedroia's performance. Yet CHB still gets this zinger in "He is a poster boy for Theo Epstein and his crew of baseball stat men". DBVader pegged it right yesterday when he pointed out that CHB's dislike of Pedroia is driven by his petty jealousy of Theo Epstein.)

It's Not Baseball, It's a Celebrity Event

Dan chose to celebrate the greatest day in the baseball season by ....

A. Discussing the hope and joy that surrounds the return of baseball;

B. Outlining some of the great things to look forward to this season;

C. Rehashing the hype that surrounds a player who will not play today filled in with random observations and dated references.

While A and B would have been enjoyable to the reader, each would have required effort on Dan's part to craft an original and coherent column. Instead, Dan decided to write a piece on the obvious and, in an attempt to make it relevant to the day, added some throwaway material.

Once again, Dan tells us Daisuke Matsuzaka is a big deal. Once again, I feel the need to tell Dan that his readers get it. Pretty much half the column rehashes the posting fee, the number of Japanese reporters, and fans coming to see him. And if this column doesn't sate your appetite for the obvious, just wait until Wednesday when we get to do it all over again.

Of course this cow quit on Dan and he needed something else to fill the minimum page count. Let the dated and tired references fly! "The Red Sox are the baseball Beatles. They are Elvis.; "the Sons of Terry Francona, "it probably won't be long before there's a new Dice-K dance craze on par with the Twist of the 1960s and the Macarena of the 1990s. How long before everybody's doing the Gyro?"

Dan avoids it long enough, but at the end of the column he realizes that he has to tie all this all in to the day. He gives us about 100 words on the upcoming season. And he isn't telling you anything a bright twelve-year who follows the team doesn't already know. Glad to know that those weeks in Spring Training weren't wasted.

After Dan described Schilling's blog as a sycophantic wasteland filled with losers last week, Dan writes that it is "exhaustive" and states that Schilling's reputation "needs no embellishment here." Very cute, Dan.

Pedroia Watch
Dustin Pedroia is a suspect/prospect

Don't wait on Dan telling us why this is so, or why Pedroia is different than any of the other prospects who break in every year. I suspect Dan's reasons have more to do with the front office liking Pedroia than anything on the field.