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

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Random Thoughts Again

In an "interesting twist" Shaughnessy does one of his random thoughts column but focuses specifically on the sights and sounds of the Padres and Red Sox at Petco Field (now known as the house that Larry Lucchino built).

He provides a few Shankisms:

- Yet another shot at Schilling and his blogging

- He tells us that Julio Lugo is slumping (but when he is going to acknowledge that he may have been wrong about the "over-matched" Dustin Pedroia?)

- 1980's cultural reference alert: Khalil Greene looks like Spicoli from Ridgemont high.

He does provide a few interesting points...talks about how much Mirabelli is hated in San Diego and talks about the bullpen design inequities (home vs. visitor) at Petco.

If you want some good press notes, has a great new feature where they provide the latest press notes for each major league team. Great stuff, click here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

San Diego Connection

Shaughnessy today focuses on the connection between the San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox. He provides a laundry list of ex-Padres management officials who are now affiliated with the Red Sox, most notably Theo Epstein. He also shrewdly points out that Ted Williams was from San Diego--a weak tie-in to the main thrust of his column

Precious little insight/analysis. What would have been interesting is analysis comparing the composition of the Red Sox and Padres teams to see if the common ground between the Sox and Padres extends from the front office to the field in terms of org philosphy. Lest I forget, Shank is not capable of such analysis (or if he is, he is too lazy to provide it)

Well, we do get some analysis - he calls the Mirabelli/Meredith/Bard trade one of the "worst deals the Sox ever made". Yep, it ranks up there....let's see....there is Jeff Bagwell, Sparky Lyle, and Cla Meredith.

There were a few reference to the gorilla suit but surprisingly not one "Young Theo and the minions" and you would have figured this would have been a prime chance for that Shank Classic

Dan's by line is from San Diego and so we should be expecting a few more articles from the road.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why He's Hated: A DSW Flashback

In honor of the ongoing Boston Phoenix poll asking whether Dan Shaughnessy is the most hated person in Boston, we bring you this landmark post from Dec. 13, 2005:

"I always say I look at the bright side." (ESPN Outside the Lines, Oct. 22, 2000)

And yet ...

"Imagine a 2-0 lead and Pedro Martinez hasn't even started yet? However, if you are old enough to remember 1986 or 1978, maybe you are not so certain." (Boston Globe, Oct. 26, 2004)

"Personally, I already miss the old Red Sox a little. ... They never again will be the cuddly team on a near century-long, quixotic quest. ... Buckner and Friends are off the hook. All of them." (Boston Globe, Oct. 29, 2004)

"In my mind there's no question that the O'Donnell group was the way to go." (to USA Today, Jan. 22, 2002)

"[T]he bag job of a major league franchise sale..." (on the Henry group, Boston Globe, March 27, 2005)

"[David Ortiz is] a giant sack of you-know-what ..." (on WWZN, Jan. 4, 2003; link unavailable)

"I don't care." (quoting Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, to Marjory Eagan on 96.9 FM, when asked how he felt when the Sox recorded the final out of the World Series. Dan replied he had a perfect analogy, referring to Jones' glib response to Harrison Ford when the erstwhile "Han Solo" says he didn't kill his wife; Oct. 28, 2004)

"Why does this stuff always happen with the Red Sox? Why can't it just be about the baseball? Even for one day." (on Pedro Martinez leaving a game early, Boston Globe, April 6, 2004)

"It is therefore no surprise that [Dr. Charles] Steinberg took an interest in the young Theo Epstein. By 1992, he was the Orioles' director of public affairs, overseeing four departments. He'd reviewed 10,000 resumes and interviewed more than 1,000 young candidates when Epstein went to see him during spring break in 1992." (Boston Globe, March 27, 2005. Ed. note: Ten thousand resumes, at one minute per resume, comes to 166.67 hours, or a little more than four workweeks. One thousand interviews, at roughly 30 minutes per candidate, comes to 500 hours, 12.5 workweeks. Combined, that equals nearly 17 workweeks -- one-third of the working year -- devoted to finding a single unpaid intern. No wonder the Orioles were such a mess. Or maybe Dan just made it all up.)

And this post, from Dec. 12, 2005:

On Roger Clemens, Dec. 14, 1996:

But on this day of new beginnings and inestimable wealth, there was no glory, no grace in either Toronto or Boston. Clemens bolted Boston and he spit on Fenway on his way out the door.
... Let the record show that The Rocket is 34 years old and went 40-39 over the last four (injury-filled) seasons while earning $20 million. Despite those numbers, he's now the highest-paid pitcher in baseball (Atlanta's John Smoltz got $31 million for four years). ...He didn't take any lumps yesterday. He took $31.1 million. And he dumped all over the Boston Red Sox, who were good to him for 13 big league seasons.

Dan, on Roger Clemens, following the Red Sox-Yankees playoff game/beanball war:

Which one would you rather have now, Sox fans? Roger Clemens -- who kept his composure and behaved like a professional Saturday night, winning the game for his team despite his obvious anger? Or Pedro, the baby who hits a guy after he blows a lead, then points at his head and at Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, threatening "you're next"?

And on May 13, 2005:

Roger Clemens is the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball. The Red Sox should do whatever it'll take to bring him back home for the stretch run in 2005.

On Pedro Martinez, Aug. 26, 2003:

He's the greatest pitcher we've seen since Sandy Koufax. ... Too bad he got it in his head that we don't respect him. Too bad he wants to leave.

On Pedro, Feb. 21, 2004:

... the Dominican Diva ...

On Curt Schilling, Nov. 29, 2003:

Schilling is back with the Red Sox. Oh, happy day. Son of Tito can leave Schilling on the mound to pitch the eighth and ninth and no one will call for the manager to be fired.

On Schilling, Feb. 21, 2004:

The day he signed with Boston he said, "I guess I hate the Yankees now." He has already looked at the schedule and concluded it'll be his turn to pitch when the Yankees first come to Fenway April 16. He spends time in cyberspace, conversing with Red Sox fans. ... Any wonder Curt Schilling is a hit with Red Sox Nation?

On Schilling, Nov. 9, 2005:

It's not a suggestion from Curt Schilling or any of his little late-night, on-line friends. ... It's just something that makes sense. ...

On Nomar Garciaparra, July 10, 2000:

In Boston, there never has been a ballplayer like him. Red Sox manager Jimy Williams said it best two years ago when he observed, "It’s like he’s been here before." True. Sometimes it seems as if Garciaparra is the reincarnation of Tris Speaker or Rogers Hornsby - an old hardball soul in a young man’s perfect baseball body.

On Nomar, June 10, 2004:

By any measure, Garciaparra is one of the most popular Sox players of all time. He's the fourth-leading hitter in franchise history, trailing only Ted Williams, Wade Boggs, and Tris Speaker. He has played hard for every inning of every game since he first got called up at the end of the 1996 season.

On Nomar, Aug. 1, 2004:

Thank the baseball god, he's gone. We no longer have to watch Nomar Garciaparra pretend that he cares about the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox.

Now that the Red Sox need a shortstop, will Dan next write about how they need to bring back Nomar? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ooh, My Favorite

That staple of lazy columnists everywhere, the "picked up pieces" column.

Dan starts off strong, telling us the Bruins let go of Nate Greenberg.... I don't know who he is either.

He follows up with a trivia question that I heard nine months ago on the Notre Dame broadcast. (Which four colleges have graduated both a president and a Super Bowl winning quarterback?)

He then proceeds to flip through the sports news from the past week offering vanilla commentary ("Anybody else tired of Kobe Bryant?" That's the extent of the comment on Kobe.) and unoriginal observations that you could have gotten from a million sites on the internet ("Look for the Celtics to trade that coveted No. 5 pick in the draft.").

String together 15 or so of these (none more than a five sentences, most just a sentence or two) and you've got yourself a column.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Senior Year by Dan Shaughnessy: A Book Review

(Since today is Father's Day, I am going to review Shaughnessy's book about father and sons. There is not much remarkable to comment about in today's game recap.)

I decided to pick up Shaughnessy's new book, Senior Year: A Father, A Son, and High School Baseball. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Regardless, I ended up being pleasantly surprised--and I must admit I really enjoyed reading it. Shaughnessy definitely does not come off as the cantankerous curmudgeon that he does in many of his columns.

Shaughnessy chronicles his son Sam's senior year in high school. Sam is a pretty good baseball player at Newton North and Shaughnessy discusses the ups and downs of high school athletics, high school life in general, and the relationship between father and son. Shaughnessy juxtaposes Sam's high school experiences with his own school experience from the late 60's and early 70's.

The book strikes me as a very honest one on several levels. Sam is a talented player, receiving a baseball scholarship to Boston College. Yet Shaughnessy is realistic about Sam's talents and quite readily lays out both his strengths (a good batting eye) and weaknesses (a weak arm). Shaughnessy is also very honest about Sam's personality in general...he's not the perfect kid. He has temper tantrums on the field and comes across at times as a spoiled brat. Yet, Shaughnessy is not the hyper critical parent either - it is quite evident that he is a pretty devoted father to Sam and his two daughters.

The honesty extends to his recounting of his own high school days. Shaughnessy was an athlete, albeit an average one. He was constantly rejected by the girls so much so that he asked his own daughters never to turn down anyone who asked them to a dance. He has good memories of growing up in Groton but does not wax poetic about the "good ole days". The contrast that he paints between his past and Sam's present is effective because he draws out and details many of societal changes of the past 35+ years.

Shaughnessy also refuses to paint himself as the ideal father. While he clearly is a devoted father, he seems to struggle with today's permissiveness--constantly questioning himself about whether he is too lax with Sam, thus explaining why Sam can come across at times as a self-centered brat. Shaughnessy does seem to work very had at providing a good environment for his children and a warm environment for their friends--opening their home up to any and all of the kid's friends. The racism that some would suggest to manifest itself in Shaughnessy's columns is not present here. As one example, for 12 years, the Shaughnessy family has opened their home to a young black man from the inner city who travels from the tougher parts of Boston to suburbia in the hopes of getting a better education (the Metco program). Shaughnessy does not offer this to beat his own chest but rather it's just one of the storylines that he weaves in as a matter of course.

Shaughnessy does not go into much depth about his life as a sportswriter and he only tangentially discusses the Red Sox. Of course, he couldn't refrain from taking on his favorite targets--he briefly discusses the big blowhard, Schilling; he implies Manny Ramirez has very little work ethic; and he discusses his contempt of 40 year olds who wear jerseys with the names of pro athletes sewn on the back. It is very subtle but I did definitely get the impression that Shaughnessy takes his work for granted. He complains a bit about the travel and he mentions in passing that his management worked out a favorable schedule for him to write this book but he just doesn't seem to realize that he has life pretty good. And I think it adds some credence to the constant attack in this blog that he has the tendency to mail it in more often than not when it comes to his columns in the Globe.

A little arrogance does creep up here and there. He tells one story of a controversial play in one of Sam's high school games--the game was stopped and Shaughnessy actually called a retired major league umpire (Marty Springstead I believe) from a cell phone in the middle of the game to get a ruling. I thought that was a little over the top.

At any rate, Shaughnessy has a very effective writing style. The book was a fun read - an insightful look at middle class life of the 1970s compared to upper middle class life of today. As a father myself (albeit about 12 years younger than Shaughnessy), I found myself identifying with much he had to say about parenting and parenting philosophies. As I have mentioned to a couple of my co-bloggers on this site, I find myself somewhat conflicted now - I really expected to read this book expecting to cement my general contempt for CHB but that was definitely not the case - he comes across as a likable and honest guy--a stark contrast to much of the bitterness and sarcasm that we see in many of his columns.

Pick up the book (and if you dont want to lay out the bucks for it, check for it at your local library) and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Larry Whiteside: Rest In Peace

Shaughnessy offers a nice tribute to Larry Whiteside, the retired Globe columnist who passed away yesterday.

Shaughnessy usually does a very nice job with retrospective columns - he has a nice way of retelling stories and Shaughnessy gives you a pretty good glimpse of Larry Whiteside.

There are many readers of the blog who would argue that Shaughnessy is a racist but as you read through some of his stuff like this piece on Whiteside or like his new book (which I just finished reading and will post a review this weekend), you get a different side of Shaughnessy

At any rate, I was sad to hear of the passing of Larry Whiteside and I appreciate Shaughnessy's tribute today.

Requiem in Pacem

Friday, June 15, 2007

Predictable Bonds Story

Last night, DBVader's post gave us a chance to predict what Shaughnessy would say about Barry Bond's visit to Fenway this weekend. I figured that CHB would be so entranced with the Red Sox' vanishing lead that he would have no time for a Bonds' angle. I was wrong. Of course, I should have figured as much - Shaughnessy probably wrote this story as soon as he saw that the Giants were coming to town on the Sox schedule.

The column is very predictable--Shaughnessy rips Bonds left and right. He comes up with a half dozen ways to crack jokes about Bonds head and body size. He rips the other steroid suspects as well from Giambi to Sosa and McGwire in between. There are lots of references to the proud Red Sox tradition which stand in contrast to Bonds' joyless pursuit. And he concludes by saying Red Sox fans will let Bonds have it this weekend.

Surprise, there is absolutely nothing new here. Nothing I have not heard a thousand times before either on sports talk radio or sports pages. No revelations. No new angles. It is truly Shaughnessy at his very finest. He had to get this stock column out of the way and I imagine we will be treated to a "sky is falling" column before the weekend is done.

(Please excuse this short entry- am running a bit late this AM to work)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Guess the Shaughnessy Angle

I know it is late, but I want the posters to tell us how Shank will attack Bonds. You have only a few hours left.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Some Links to Pass the Time

I need to be working, but thought I would waste time posting some links.

Dan is #6 in Boston Sports Media Watch's 2007 Mid-Year Power Rankings just behind Gerry Callahan and just ahead of the Chili Guy. (I made that last part up.)

I don't get it. We talk about his columns, but only because they suck. Not since Theo left has Dan had any impact on the coverage of sports in this town. Dan is on TV a lot (I presume he watches himself later on Tivo), but his opinions are worthless. He has repeatedly shown that he cannot offer any observations into the sports he covers.

If I see this sign in person, I will kick it in. Quote Shaughnessy, go ahead. Quote him about Pedroia and how Mark Loretta should be back making $2.5 million after hitting .285/.345/.361. Quote his numerous factual mistakes.

If you are feeling frustrated after reading all this, take your frustrations out with this game. 113,944 meters is the record to beat.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Dirty A-Rod?

With the Yankees coming to town, Shaughnessy focuses on the "Pinstripe piñata" aka A-Rod. Specifically, he discusses whether A-Rod was guilty of a dirty play earlier this week as he yelled at the Toronto infield as they were about to catch a pop up.

Outside of yet another gratuitous shot at Schilling (enough already!), I thought Shaughnessy did a good job with this article to even include the aforementioned piñata nickname. He actually did some leg work and interviewed a whole host of former players and got a rather wide variety of opinions of whether A-Rod was being clever or bush. I particularly like the quote he pulls out from Red Auerbach at the end

Whenever there is pressure to win on any coach or team you will find men deviating from what is considered the way of good sportsmanship. It is up to the player himself to decide what is 'dirty' and what is 'tricky.' "

My only critique is that Shaughnessy tries to parallel A-Rod's particular play with a host of other similar types of plays without acknowledging there are shades of gray along the spectrum. I would suggest, for example, there is a difference between players talking to each other on the basketball court (an example from his Auerbach reference) and what A-Rod tried to do. Shaughnessy does not make the effort to tease out those nuances so as to make a suggestion as to where the line between dirty and acceptable is.

Otherwise, a pretty enjoyable read if you ask me