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!