Monday, October 29, 2007

Dan's Take

This is Dan's view on the Red Sox World Series win.

Again, Bob Ryan is second fiddle. I cannot imagine why Shank is the Number #1 writer on this staff.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is he talking to me? Couldn't be!

Imagine, for a moment, a four year old kid hiding under his brother's bed in Needham, Mass in 1970 watching the Bruins play on TV, waiting to hear the name of his favorite player, Bobby Orr. This poor kid was uprooted as a 5 year old to move to the deep south in 1972 but the Boston roots stuck.

The Red Sox sprang into his consciousness in 1974...a final week of the season in which the Red Sox lost to the Orioles. 1975 was a glorious year for this 9 year old...this kid stilll thanks his Dad 32 years later for letting him stay up late on a school night to watch Carlton Fisk homer off Pat Darcy in the 12th inning of the 6th game of the World Series. Much to his dismay, Jim Burton gave up a single to Joe Morgan in Game 7 and that was all she wrote for 1975. 1976 and 1977 were fun but disappointing years - in the 75 offseason, favorite player Cecil Cooper was traded to the Brewers and this kid was depressed for months. 1978 was another terrific summer - the Sox had a big lead but saw it dissipate. This kid begged his mom to pick him up early from school to see a one-game playoff with those Yankees. On the radio, (on the way home) he heard Yaz homer early in the game...but 29 years later, he stills curses Bucky Beeping Dent and Lou Piniella too. This kid would call local radio sport shows in South Carolina debating the merits of the Red Sox lineup and it is very likely no one in the state cared but him.

Lean years until 1986. Now a college junior in these pre-internet years, he would run to bookstores in Georgetown in Oct 86, after class to scour the racks for a 2-day old Boston Globe so he could read the local Red Sox coverage. Another classic World Series Game 6 and after this one, he ran down the halls of his dormitory screaming at the top of his lungs "How could they blow this?" (Just a weeek or so after declaring Dave Henderson and Don Baylor his new personal heroes)

More pain followed....the years seem to run together as he handled military life, married life, raising 4 children. 2003 is another red letter year and Aaron Boone. Finally, fortunes reversed in 2004--tears streaming down his face--the Red Sox had finally won it all.

Excuse the dramatics in re-creating my sad little life--a life that seems to be bookmarked against the ups and downs of the Red Sox---many more memories than this but you get the idea. And I am sure many of you have very similar stories.

Flash forward to today....I have a Game 7 World Series ticket thanks to a dear friend and a fellow diehard. I would love to see the Red Sox win in 4 games but pardon me (and my friend) for having the audacity to dream about the idea of seeing the Red Sox win a World Series in Fenway Park and being present to see it. I am not rich. I plan to stretch the family budget to fly up from DC on Thursday if I am so lucky. I have not jumped the bandwagon. With this team and their history, there is something so right about a Game 7. It has never been easy and it does not feel right when it is easy. The 2004 sweep of the Cardinals did not seem right either -- but perhaps that was a cosmic way to spare people a few heart attacks after the comeback against the Yankees. Yes, the Sox won in 2004 but pardon me for thinking that it would be extra special this year if it happened at Fenway (and especially with me and my friend present to see it).

I am sure there are a small bunch of fair weather fans that Shaughnessy correctly describes but I find his broad brush criticism condescending. Again, here is a guy who is paid to go the ball park to write about the games. Does he not realize how lucky he is? Can he even begin to fathom what it would mean to an out of town fanatic to be present to see the Sox win it all?
It would quite literally be one of the highlights of my life. Forgive me for feeling that way

Friday, October 26, 2007

Those darn clueless newbies!

Since the Sox are playing so well, Dan directs snide remarks towards his newest target - those pesky bandwagon fans. Those idiot fans could not possibly conceive that the Sox might actually fall behind for a few innings--imagine the shock. Darn those fans for actually having the audacity to shell out big bucks to buy tickets and show up for a World Series Game. (I find this amusing--here is a man who gets paid to come to Fenway to watch the games for free and he takes jabs at paying customers?) I wonder how Shaughnessy tells the difference between bandwagon jumpers and the regulars anyway? Do they let out a different type of gasp? Do they not know the words to Sweet Caroline? Perhaps it is simply the case that he was not cursed as much when he made his rounds through the stadium?

As for those fabulous Sox, Shank writes

These Sox are unlike any Boston baseball team since the earliest years of Fenway Park. They have won five consecutive postseason games, six straight World Series games, and they're taking a 2-0 Series lead to Coors Field for the resumption of the 103d Fall Classic tomorrow night.

Well, this is a long way from just nine days ago when he wrote

There's just so much working against your team. It's hard to be positive. And even though the Sox aren't done yet, some of us are already at work carving up the blame pie (speaking of pies, a Cleveland sportscaster did his postgame TV show wearing a cream pie on his head late Tuesday)......It doesn't feel like we are watching a team that can crawl out of this hole

It is also curious how he calls them "these Sox" - since he says they have won six World Series games in a row, he must be combining them with the Red Sox of 2004 which then must also include the 2005 and 2006 Sox--one team that got routed in the playoffs by the White Sox and the other did not make the playoffs and they are teams that Shank has roundly criticized. Dan's thought process is fundamentally flawed but he has never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good story line.

Finally now that Okajima is back and doing great, let's dust off the horse analogy from earlier in the year--you know when Okajima was a stable mate for the more famous Japanese hurler? No credit for Theo and the minions on this one, Shank? Just last week, you were quick to point out

Dan Duquette assembled half of the 2004 champs, but what we are looking at today is almost exclusively Theo's team and it's his most recent acquisitions who have been exposed thus far in October.
So when the players are bad, we get shots at the minions and always shots at Bill James. But when they are good, no credit to go around. Typical pathetic Shaughnessy

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Yes, the Red Sox are dangerous. And Dan has all the details in his Page A1 piece.

A pretty good wrapup (although I still don't understand why the much better Bob Ryan doesn't get the high profile gigs). There was a funny (and original) line, "Eddie Cicotte of the 1919 White Sox didn't do that badly and he was trying to lose", and none of the extraneous crap that Dan likes to throw in.

Dan continues, though, his trend of taking the most recent results and extrapolating from there. The playoffs began with the Red Sox World Series favorites, and they looked great after Game One of the ALCS, but doom and gloom soon returned until the Red Sox righted the ship and roared into the World Series. Dan might want to look back to the beginning of the ALCS. The Red Sox got off to a very similar start.

Fact Check

This sentence, in addition to being awkwardly written, is incorrect:

"In the bottom of the first, Dustin Pedroia hit Jeff Francis's second pitch over the Green Monster and the Sox put three on the board before making two outs.

Dan also has the 5,467th article about Yastrzemski and the '67 Red Sox written in the last year. It is pretty good. It captures the humble nature of Yaz and his uncomfortable relationship to his fame.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How About Some Answers...

and not just questions?

What Dan does today is typical. He points out the obvious (there is no history to the Rockies and nobody knows who they are) and fails to offer any insight or enlightenment.

Dan laments the lack of history behind the Rockies, noting how young and undistinguished the team is. Yet this simple narrative ignores the unique history of the team and the many different ways management has tried to craft a winning team in a difficult environment. There were the slugging teams that made it to the playoffs in 1995. They brought in high priced free-agent pitching. They emphasized defense. Nothing raising them out of mediocrity.

Now they seem to have figured something out, but Dan is too lazy to tell us what it could be. He simply states the obvious fact that most Boston (and baseball) fans don't know much about the team. It would have been a much more interesting column if he talked about how the Rockies have fashioned this team with groundball pitchers, good infield defense, and young, cheap bats. Dan could have used his prominent position to erase some of the ignorance that he complains about. That would have required some work, though. It is much easier to revel in your ignorance.

Theo and His Minions Watch

Sixth paragraph.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What Have They Done to Dan?

Today, Dan adopts the literary device of somebody waking up from a coma, unaware of all the changes in Boston sports.

And the writer has only praise for his usual targets. Bob Kraft, who Dan unmercifully and at times incorrectly attacked for his college athletic resume while bashing him for losing Parcells, is now the "best all of football." Bill Belichick, who Dan accused of inventing every nefarious tactic employed in football, is the "best all of football."

The Red Sox are going great. Theo is a "brilliant young general manager", not a stats obsessed geek without any feel for the game. There are more bouquets for the ownership, which Dan attacked five years ago.

Dan ends with a look at the possible week ahead: Games 6 & 7 in Fenway, Kevin Garnett's home debut and the Pats v. Colts. Too bad it has already been discussed endlessly, including a mention by one of Dan's biggest fans a week and a half ago.

Lazy sportswriting alert

They have players fans want to root for - legends like David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and Curt Schilling, and home-grown grinders like Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jonathan Papelbon.

This is classic sportswriter speak. Short, white guys are always grinders, no matter how talented.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A New Dan?

The last three Red Sox games have crushed Dan's spirit. That is the only conclusion I can make after reading today's front page piece. Part history lesson, part game recap, there are none of Shank's staples: No shots at Theo, no digs at Schilling, Manny, Drew or Pedroia, no Patriots references.

Seeing Drew, Pedroia, Manny, and Schilling coming through over the last week has left Dan deflated.

Dan's column on Kevin Millar throwing out the first pitch was equally uneventful. It's a tough time to be Dan. There is no fodder for his shtick.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Double the Fun

Shaugnessy has two contributions today:

1) A game recap replete with his typical digs...We have the "broad shoulders of Curt Schilling" and another subtle dig at Bill James for the JD Drew signing. We also have statements given to hyperbole...this is an "improbable comeback". It is not improbable - the Red Sox have been down 3-1 4 times in the past in ALCS series and have come back twice. But Dan will spin it whichever way the wind blows

2) A look at the decision to replace Crisp with Ellsbury. Shaughnessy starts by ludicrously hinting that Francona had made the decision because of media and fan pressure but quickly corrects himself by stating "It was a baseball decision, of course". Francona does come out of the article in a positive light, handling the decision with Crisp as best he could. Shaughnessy concludes with the ridiculous tension he is trying to create between Ellsbury (of Navajo descent) having to face the team that wears silly Indian logos on their caps. Shank wrote about this last week and even repeats the same quote from Ellsbury in which Ellsbury takes the high road. ("You can look at it that it's offensive or you can look at it that they are representing native Americans. Usually, I'll take the positive out of it.")

Big game 7 tonight - will happy Shank or bitter Shank emerge tomorrow morning in the hallowed sports pages of the Boston Globe?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Where have I seen this column before?

When I read this morning's piece on Schilling, I thought to myself "Where have I read this before?" I only had to go back 12 days to find this fine effort in which he says virtually all the same things.

Both the Oct 8 and 20th pieces are odes to the playoff hero, Curt Schilling (you know, the "Big Lug", the "Blowhard")

- In the Oct 8th piece, he calls Schilling the "Mr October of Moundsmen"; sure enough he dusts that little nugget off and today again calls him "Mr October of Moundsmen"

- In the Oct 8th piece, he says Schilling has had to reinvent himself because he can't hit 90 miles per hour on the radar gun anymore. In today's piece, he talks about Schilling's reinvention and his 89 mile per hour fastball

- In the Oct 8th piece, he says Schilling cant throw much harder than John Burkett and that he has gone from being Roger Clemens to Greg Maddux. In today's piece, he says Schilling throws more like Al Nipper than Roger Clemens.

- In the Oct 8th piece, Shank says "you might remember [the game] in which he pitched with a bloody sock. Today he says "you might remember that he also did OK in 2004....with blood oozing from fresh sutures"

- They are not identical articles and in fact, today Shaughnessy makes up for not following his standard formulaic recipe to a T on Oct 8th. You see, in the Oct 8th piece, Shank must have forgotten the cook book requirement to throw in a Patriots/Celtics comparison. We just need to give Shank another chance because he does not forget that key ingredient today---the Great Schill is compared to Bird, Russell and Brady.

Now a little prediction, if Schill gets bombed tonight, the Shank claws will come out in full force
-- he will talk about Schilling no longer being the pitcher he once was; he will talk about Schilling reporting to camp 40 pounds overweight; he will talk about Schill's blog and video game empire; and he will wish Schilling Tampa Bay.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming Back Strong

In his lead-in today, Shaughnessy does his best to channel classic Gammons: "....don't lower the storm windows just yet" he cautions. Autumn has been postponed. Summer lives another day.

And so the roller coaster ride that is known as a Dan Shaughnessy article/column/monstrosity continues today. As has been pointed out in this space over the past week, Shaughnessy has gone from euphoric to stable to sullen to downright vitriolic over the past week. Yesterday's "blame game" piece was particularly venemous and Shank-like.

And yet after one simple win, signs of hope and optimism emerge yet again. No blame game today. Beckett is awesome and good ole Schill is one of the best playoff chuckers in the game. Still, a little summer left. There is hope after all. Theo and the minions have been granted a pass to live another day.

Perhaps, Shaughnessy is just a fan like the rest of us poor bastards who live in Ma's basement? He does not appear to have the capacity to objectively think--he just reacts. In the wake of his euphoria last week, we pointed out that all was not rosey despite 4 consecutive wins. But Shaughnessy would not have that - the Sox run to the championship had the air of inevitability. Three losses later and Shaughnessy dug up every worm he could find - dishing Drew to Pedroia to Gagne, Epstein and Francona and pretty much everyone else. You know what, Shank....if you had looked a little closer, you would have realized that Drew and Gagne and Lugo and Crisp all stunk last week too - you know when the Red Sox were on their inevitable ride to the World Series. And they will probably stink on Saturday and Sunday too. The essential characteristics of a team don't change that much from day to day over a 1 week span.

If you had the capacity to dig a little, a three game losing streak would not have been all that surprising and we would not be subjected to your roller coaster of emotions and petty attacks. How you manage to skate by is simply stunning to me...I wonder when the storm windows of your career will be lowered?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Small Sample Size

If one were to read today's Shank column and conclude based on it that he sucked as a writer, you would be committing a mistake in logic. One column is not enough to show that a columnist is good or bad. To truly determine that Shank sucked, you would need to look at his whole body of work.

Dan makes such a mistake in today's column, blaming players for poor hitting over a four-game period. (My favorite is "Organization poster boy Dustin Pedroia is hitting .172 against the Tribe", implying that there is something wrong about an organization with a 2b hitting .380/.440.) Let's ignore what happened over six months for what happened over the last week. This is the same type of irrational, panicked thinking that CHB would slam fans for engaging in.

But this small sample size problem is just an example of the basic flaw in Dan's thesis. Dan claims that this team, down 3-1, is somehow different than all the other teams that have come back from the same deficit because this one looks bad. But all those teams looked bad, that's why they were down 3-1. After seeing the Red Sox get blown out in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, nobody thought they looked good, poised to roar back. But they did because they began to play better, much better. You cannot predict, just hope that it happens.

Factual Error
Manny Delcarmen is not one of Theo's guys. He was drafted in 2000.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Sudden Turn Around

Today Dan's tone is somber, as the Red Sox face elimination. A marked difference from the man who wrote the Red Sox are "favorites to win the World Series" and that there's "a sense of inevitability" about the team.

Dan also turns on Manny Ramirez calling him "classless as well as clueless" a week after submitting a glowing profile.

He cannot leave it alone department
- Just about twenty words in "a front office of stat geeks." Dan is sure that somehow it is all their fault.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's Got It All

A Seventies music reference? Check. ("The tumbling Dice Man")

A "1918" reference? Check. ("The midgame rally now feels as though it happened sometime back in 1918.")

A reference to how much a player makes? Check. ("Acquired for the price of $103 million last winter")

A misleading use of a statistic? Check. ("Jake Westbrook, a 30-year-old righthander who went 6-9 in 2007." Wins are misleading. Westbrook had a slightly better than league average ERA.)

There you have today's column.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mountain out of a Molehill

Dan is looking to for a controversy, any controversy. And he really has to reach.

Dan complains about the use of Eric Gagne in the 11th inning of Saturday night's game and it is remarkably overblown. It was the 11th inning, MDC, Oki, Timlin, and Papelbon had already pitched. The game was a tossup as both teams emptied their bullpens. Francona's options were Lester or Gagne. (Lopez was not an option as he has been used as a lefty specialist all season.) This game, specifically this decision, is not on par with Game 6 and is not something that deserves great attention or debate. Cleveland's crappy pitchers outpitched Boston's crappy pitchers.

He cannot leave it alone department
- As noted before, Dan has a strange fascination with game times and other boring game trivia. Today Dan gives us the time the game ended, how long it lasted, and how many pitches were thrown. Everybody knows it was long, enough with it.

- Dan was cruising along, no possible Patriot references in sight until he lays this one down:

"Tom Mastny, who retired David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and Mike Lowell, 1-2-3 (something that happens about as often as the Patriots tell the truth on their injury report)"

Dan, you were doing so well. Let's try to stay focused.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

He must have fallen asleep

What a peculiar piece this Dan a victim of editing? Or did he simply fall asleep after the 6th inning? I dont get it.

What was Dan's job last night anyway? Was he supposed to write a simple game recap? If so, why are we served with two game by Edes and this one by Shaughnessy that curiously ends after a discussion of the 6th inning? Or was he supposed to write a column or a "sidebar"? This definitely was not a column and not really a sidebar either

There are elements of typical Dan which emerge. He cant seem to write about the Red Sox without mentioning the Patriots and he cant write about the Patriots without mentioning the Sox. That is a critical element of Shank-ology.

Perhaps this effort simply serves as a bridge. We had "happy Dan" on Saturday after 4 straight wins talking about the inevitability of the Sox World Series run; we get straightforward (albeit abbreviated) Dan after last night's marathon. If the Sox lose Tuesday, we are sure to see the return of bitter, vindictive Dan on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

He blows with the wind

Dan's penchant to turn with the tide is on display today. The Red Sox have won four straight convincing playoff games and Dan uses that as an impetus to call them America's team. He also says there is a sense of inevitably about their playoff run...a curious claim in one of Dan's feel good columns

A few thoughts:

- Do the Red Sox really hold the place as America's team? Granted, they are wildly popular across the country but when did they really assume that role as America's team? (I am not trying to take a shot at Shaughnessy here - I truly am curious is this a legit claim or Shaughnessy hyperbole?)

- I do object to his declaration that there is a sense of inevitably about the Red Sox playoff run. He conveys a sense of dominance that I'm just not seeing. The Red Sox have been vulnerable to good pitching this year and all it takes is a couple of strong performances from the Indians starters and/or poor performances from the Sox starters (Schilling is not a sure bet; Wakefield has even more question marks) for this to be a very competitive series. I am sure Negative Dan will emerge immediately after a loss or two


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dan Tries What People Refer to as "Irony"

I think Dan has finally caught on to the fact that people think his "Boston has ... while City X has" shtick is boring. He really mixes it up today with a comparison between Cleveland and New York. Didn't see that coming did you?

Dan sneaks in a few self referential barbs. He is glad the Red Sox are playing Cleveland because of the following things:

"It's impossible to make those Harvard-Yale, Athens-Sparta analogies in any series that includes Cleveland."

"No references to Evil Empire, Bambino, Harry Frazee, Bucky Dent, or Aaron Boone."

"No USAir flight No. 1918 from LaGuardia"

"No "No, No, Nanette""

Monday, October 08, 2007

More Redundancy

When a piece opens with "Unlike the late Frank Sinatra, your Boston Red Sox get plenty of kicks from champagne", you can be pretty sure Dan's got nothing.

Dan also has a glowing recap of Schilling's performance. It is nice to see Dan can get over his paranoia and write objectively about Schilling.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

October Magic

(Edited at 1315, Sat)

Dan provides a relatively straight forward game summary column this morning so between him and Edes, we are well covered...not to mention columns by Ryan and Macmullan. Two observations this morning:

- How the mighty have fallen....Dan was obsessed with Matsuzaka this spring, chronicling his every trip to the restroom. At one point, Dan was overheard from the bathroom stalls at Fort Myers declaring, "Hey Gord-o, it's a #2 this time. I think he had sushi last night."

Now, he seems downright annoyed with our Japanese friend, just like Joba Chamberlain was annoyed with those gnats last night in Cleveland. No elaborate discussion of Matsuzaka's first playoff start. No use of "Dice-K"; calls him a $100 fraud --not even giving him credit for bilking the Sox of $103M. Wow!

- Writers think they are being cute and clever when they use the good old "time of day" technique. You know like when Shaughnessy says the game "ended at 12:44 this morning" and Matsuzaka threw his first pitch "at 8:39 p.m.". Gives the game recap a certain authentic feel, doesn't it? Edes uses the time technique this morning too and he and Shaughnessy are perfectly synchronized at 12:44 (and the boys at the Herald too). It makes me wonder if the Sox have a guy in the press box that is like the doc in the dramatic scenes in hospital shows where they say, "I'm going to call it now, time of death, 2:27 am". Perhaps John Henry gives Carl Bean a wink and Bean announces "It's over....time of game 12:44." (And I wonder if they did it last night from the time the ball left Manny's bat or by the time Manny touched home plate?--must be a three minute lag there.)

Shaughnessy also has a passing mention of bloody socks Schilling and the anti Steve Bartman but otherwise, not much there

Got to run


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Please Spare Us

On a morning when the Globe Sports had a game piece by Edes and a game column by Ryan, Dan, credited as "Globe Staff", gives us a some hybrid, half-article, half-column. Don't know why we needed it, considering the work done by the two great writers. Dan must have whined to his buddy Joe Sullivan to get to write this redundant piece.

This one has it all. Pointless references to the Patriots, a Dr. Charles sighting, and easy swipes again at the Rally and the President of Red Sox Nation.

Some time during the playoffs I will have to review the number of times Dan includes a mention of the Patriots in a column about the Red Sox and vice versa. The streak is now at least two days after Dan wrote this about Theo in yesterday's piece:

"[H]e's become downright Belichickian in his quest for success.

Edit The last five Shank pieces posted at DSW have a reference to the other team.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Shank on Theo

Shank has an interview with Theo Epstein on the eve of the opening of the playoffs.

Surprise, the second sentence refers to how young he is. Other than that, no minion talk or other Shank staples. He does again refer to the JD Drew dea("In a particularly curious deal, they signed free agent outfielder J.D. Drew to a five-year, $70 million contract."). I am still waiting for the proof that the Red Sox had some deal with Boras before Drew opted out or that the Drew deal was quid pro quo for Matsuzaka signing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Awful, Awful Piece

Dan is able to make it about halfway through today's column with the semblance of a point, but he runs out of steam and is reduced to tossing off empty trivia and bad jokes that he must have been storing up for ages.

"This TV special was played at Paul Brown Stadium on the one-year anniversary of the Patriots' 38-13 victory at the same site in 2006."

After every writer and radio host has mentioned the prior game during the last week Dan sees fit to remind us. He also reminds that it was the one year anniversary of the game played in 2006. Not 2005 or 1995 but 2006. Thanks for clearing that up.

Dan then engages in the same type of idolizing of Belichick ("The timing of the release signified another brilliant move by Belichick.") that Dan claims is indicative of the coach's arrogance.

He follows up with some factual errors:
"Brown is the man who invented the draw play, the facemask, and the Cleveland Browns. Belichick has invented linebackers as tight ends (Mike Vrabel caught another touchdown pass last night), videotaping opposing coaches' signals, and injury-report manipulation."

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good character assassination.

Throw in some jokes about the Bengals' troubles with the law and an unwarranted jab at an entire city ("This represents good times for Cincinnati, the only American city where "Mensa" is a four-letter word.") and you got yourself what Dan passes off as a column these days.

(If you guessed the first Red Sox reference would be in the third sentence, you win a prize.)