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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wrestling with the CHB

Another year, another CHB column extolling the Hall virtues of NESN "analyst" and erstwhile Red Sox leftfielder Jim Rice.

This is followed by two extraordinary takedowns, one by EPSN's Rob Neyer and another by Patrick Sullivan at Baseball Analysts.

Some highlights:

From Sullivan: "[S]ticking to his guns in the face of well reasoned dissent, Shaughnessy simply asserts 'Guess you had to be there,' a statement so bankrupt, so lacking in creativity or thought that [Bill] James was able to respond to it 23 years earlier."

From Neyer: "If you do read that Rice was "feared" and you don't read anything (substantive) about his defense or the significant advantage he gained from playing half his games in Fenway Park, then what you're reading is not serious. What you're reading is propaganda."

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Boston has a pro hockey team?

Dan heard through the grapevine that the Bruins are doing well so he thought it might be a good idea to get back to the Garden, Joni Mitchell references in hand. (The song was written by Mitchell but sung by CSN&Y). What a week…Jethro Tull followed by Joni Mitchell. Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison must be pining for some Shank love. He ups his hipness quotient however with a Five for Fighting reference.

It is quite a statement that we are this far into the season before the Shank took notice of the Bruins' success. Must be too busy sucking money from the Globe’s travel accounts traveling with the Patriots. In a part game recap/part reflection of the glory days of the early 1970s, Dan looks at last night Bruins' game. For those of you who only follow the Red Sox, he compares Vesa Toskala stint in goal last night to a Time Wakefield start. Gee, thanks Dan. It is amazing that he was able to get through the column without comparing Julien to Belichick. I wonder if Julien ever utters the phrase “C’est que c’est”?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lazy, Thy Name is Dan Shaughnessy

Dan must read Deadspin, or any other number of websites that aggregate sports news. When will he learn that his picked up pieces bit is a dinosaur in the internet age.

If he's not mentioning something that has been all over the internet, he is writing drivel like this:

Nice day for Newton North basketball alums last Saturday. Corey Lowe (now a 1,000-point scorer) went for 19 in Boston University's narrow loss to 12th-ranked Notre Dame, while Anthony Gurley played 27 minutes and scored 5 points in UMass's upset of defending national champion Kansas. Lex Mongo is also on the UMass roster. Lowe, Gurley, and Mongo were teammates on the North squad that won back-to-back state championships (53-1) in 2005 and '06...

Word games: The Patriots have Jarvis Green, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Bruins sometimes have Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk's last name is an anagram for Oh Bucyk. So, he's Johnny Oh Bucyk.


EDIT: And I forgot the unwarranted attack on Bob Kraft:

Patriots in London next October? New England in Olde England? What a ghastly idea. Wonder if Oxford has a lightweight football team.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Annotated Dan Shaughnessy

Just in case you are under the age of 45, this is what the cover of Aqualung looks like:



Nothing connects better with readers than references to almost 40 year old album covers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cassel, Father and Sons

Dan writes that Matt Cassel will be playing with a heavy heart today, just a few days after the death of his father. It is a sentimental piece that talks about the relationship between fathers and sons. On one level, it is the type of writing that Dan typically excels at. When Dan put aways his petty jealousies of professional athletes and focuses on the human dimension and what he refers to as the "universal truths", he writes well and dare I say sometimes compelling fare? (I am one in the minority who really enjoyed Shaughnessy's book about his own relationship with his son)...so you would figure I would love today's column...buy you would be wrong.

What do I found so problematic? To use a sports analogy, Dan is guilty of forcing the ball into triple coverage. Dan relies heavily on Bob Hohler's story about Cassel's father's history to provide a backdrop of the interesting life Cassel's father lived. Then Dan launches into an idealized portrait of the relationship between fathers and sons, intimating that this Rockwellian bond existed between Cassel and his Dad. It's a great way to think about it but we just don't know if that bond existed...as Shaughnessy himself leads the column, "We don't really know Matt Cassel."

There is no doubt that a strong bond likely existed between father and son but we don't know to what extent...there are so many extenuating circumstances and questions...why was the Dad living in a trouble in what seems almost like a pauper's existence--was he too proud to accept help from his kids? Did the kids offer to help? We don't know. And Shaughnessy doesn't know that either but that doesn't stop him from talking about trips to Dairy Queen and playing Nerf football with the kids.

In contrast, when Belichick's father died, the relationship with his Dad was very well chronicled and you had a strong sense of bond between father and son. In Cassel's case, the picture is just not complete. Shaughnessy tries to complete it ...and he may have hit it right on but again, he may have been totally off. And think I it is irresponsible for him to paint this idealized picture without knowing more, no matter how touching the piece may come across.

Call me a scrooge and call me a cynic but I think this column reflects Shaughnessy's laziness...a touching piece on one level but problematic on many others because "We don't really know Matt Cassel."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dan Hates People Who Use Numbers

Dan Shaughnessy has his annual appeal for Jim Rice in the Hall of Fame. It was the same last year.

And I have the same opinion.

Rice had a few great years in a career that was short in comparison to the greats. His greatness in no way approaches the greatness of Koufax, which sent him into the Hall.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dan recaps yesterday game, putting it in perspective of the whole season.

Good effort, although the snide attacks on Belichick almost overwhelm it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Seattle Sucks

After a string of happy columns about the prosperity of local Boston teams and players, Dan taps the Globe's travel accounts to go all the way to Seattle to tell us that the situation in Seattle stinks. From NFL football to NBA basketball (no more) to college football to MLB baseball, Seattle fans have it rough.

Whenever Dan writes about Seattle, he can't resist Sleepless in Seattle references (you could look it up). Dan also gives us references to Starbucks, grunge, and Fraser Crane. Dan is a pretty hip feller. Unfortunately, he can't even take credit for the best line in the column:

"It's so bad around here that people turn from sports to financial pages to cheer up," wrote Art Thiel, the estimable Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist.


At least he was smart enough to throw it in there...

Friday, December 05, 2008

BC Oranges

Dan tells us that the Boston College football team will advance to the Orange Bowl if they beat Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game and that would be pretty nifty and rare for a New England area college football team.

As a writer, Dan has become so masterful in setting the bar so low that when he writes something that is not over-the-top incendiary, he has quite often lulled me into occasionally concluding “Well, that was not such a bad piece.” No more. This piece was relatively innocuous (as many of his pieces have been lately – the rare times when he actually seems to write) but it was also relatively bad.

First, let’s bring in the tired Belichick reference:
“They are trained in Belichickian ways and we know it's a mistake to look past your next game.”

First of all, is Belichick a consultant for the BC football team? (That would be big news) And why is focusing solely on the next game and refusing to talk about the implications of a win or loss “Belichickian.” Come on…this is one of the oldest clich├ęs in the athletes’ book. What’s funny is that Shaughnessy closes the piece with a quote from one of the players:


"Every young player in high school - they want to go to a BCS bowl. We were close last year. We want to get there this year."
I guess this kid missed the Belichick lecture series?

Two other complaints

- Is this an article about BC getting to the Orange Bowl? Or is it a piece about the history of New England colleges getting into major bowl games? Shaughnessy wanders aimlessly between the two themes. It's a writer's laziness feeding a lack of writing coherence.

- Speaking of meandering. How about this paragraph?

All they have to do is beat a team they've already handled this season. The Eagles defeated Virginia Tech, 28-23, at Chestnut Hill in mid-October, despite turning the ball over five times. Now the Eagles go at the Hokies with a novice quarterback (redshirt sophomore Dominique Davis will be making his second start
in place of the injured Chris Crane) and a top-10 defense (three shutouts) led by junior linebacker Mark Herzlich, the ACC defensive player of the year.

Very odd paragraph when you think about it, esp the part about the novice quarterback. The tone of the paragraph is that this is going to be easy –“All they have to do” sets that tone. He talks about the defense being phenomenal but he strangely packages this around the fact that the team is missing their starting quarterback and replacing him with a guy who has one previous start….as if to imply this is a good thing?

It’s poor writing, pure and simple.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dan's Latest Prediction

It's that the Celtics are even better this year. Their opponents had their chances last year in a few playoff close calls, but that has only made them a harder team to beat.

I think he may be ripping off bits:

He combines the talent of Russell (Bill, not Jeff) with the work ethic of Rudy (Ruettiger, not LaRusso).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recap Correct!

Dan has Matt Cassel becoming something else for the Patriots' offense. A solid look at his second great game in a row.

Unfortunately, it is littered with phrases that reveal Dan just trying too hard. There is a use of "the immortal" tag ("the immortal Billy Volek") that Dan has beaten to death. Dated song references ("The Patriots have been on a "Stayin' Alive Tour"; "Certainly the blossoming of Cassel is another brick in the wall of genius"). And just plain odd phrasing ("We're still seeing a lot of D and D"; "Early in the season, Cassel was unable to tap into the Moss Vault").

KISS, Dan. KISS.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dan's Mea Culpa

With Dustin Pedroia winning the AL MVP yesterday, Dan uses his space to eat some crow. Dan has to admit that he missed it, dismissing Pedroia before giving him much of a chance. But the second baseman has proven most everybody wrong (not me or, more importantly, Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod).


"Dustin Pedroia, MVP.

Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? It's sort of like the first time you heard "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger" or "Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei.""


Or the first time I read "Dan Shaughnessy, award winning sports columnist."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holy Cross, Batman

Dan takes a look at the legacy of sports programs at his alma mater, Holy Cross. This is prompted by today's ceremony in which HC finally raises the numbers of its 1950s star players to the rafters. He takes a look at some of these players like Cousy, Heinsohn, and Togo Palazzi. He also examines the tension at HC between the focus on academics and the focus on sports. Academics is king but there have been recent movements (such as today's ceremony) to at least recognize the rich legacy of the sports teams. It is a good read.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Don't Forget to Tip Your Waiters

Dan is bringing the funny in a column about something not happening.
I know nothing about economics. I wouldn't know a hedge fund from a hedgehog. Until last week I thought venture capital was the name of the band that recorded the theme from "Hawaii Five-O".

He certainly proved the point by once again bringing up the misleading fact that Fenway Park has the highest ticket prices to imply that Red Sox fans are being unusually soaked by ownership. Fenway Park has the highest ticket prices because it is the smallest stadium in baseball. There are not thousands of $10 nosebleed seats like in Camden Yards or Cellular One to drive down demand and the average ticket price. If you compared Yankee Stadium to Fenway on a seat by seat basis, Yankee Stadium would be more expensive. Second level seats behind homeplate in the new Yankee Stadium are much more expensive than the top seat at Fenway.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doing What Dan Does

Dan takes a look at one of the stars of yesterday's gameBenJarvus Green-Ellis. A nice flip through Green-Ellis's media guide page with touches of extra color.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Everybody's Favorite

Today Dan has an edition of every hack columnist's fallback, the picked up pieces column.

For what it is, it is a pretty decent effort. Not many dated or obvious statements. I don't see what point there is in knowing who Larry Bird was rooting for six months ago, except for Dan to remind us that he knows Larry. And he ends it with a shot at soccer.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Chicken **** Out of Chicken Salad

Dan manages to take a pretty good game and turn it into a snoozer of a column.

Dan starts off questioning some of the decisions of Belichick in last nights game. Legitimate questions, too. I was impressed, hoping Dan would delve into them and discuss the game.

Well, in this instance, hope is just some word politicians throw around. Dan asks the questions, but does not bother providing any context or explanation.

Instead, we are presented with passages like this one:
It was the Patriots' first game in the Colts' new building, which will be the home of the 2012 Super Bowl. Named after Forrest Lucas, a truck-driving man who founded one of the country's largest producers of automotive lubricants, Lucas Oil is well known on the NASCAR circuit. Stadium officials opened the retractable roof more than two hours before kickoff.

There were only seven offensive possessions in the first half, which ended with the Colts leading, 7-6.

I can see why Dan didn't want to leave that first paragraph on his MS Word clipboard.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Thrill is Gone

Shaughnessy previews the Patriots-Colts match up for tonight and says the game lacks the thrill/ anticipation/build-up of previous match-ups between the teams. It is a fair enough article although Shaughnessy can't seem to let go some of his banal conventions.

Today we have: "Tonight we have the Bradyless Patriots against the sub.-500 Colts in Lucas Oil (Can Boyd) Stadium." This follows recent columns in which he has said things like, "He cried me a Doc Rivers." or how about, "Little doubt they'd be better off if they were sittin' by the dock of Tampa Bay."? Or this one, "Fenway, Big A, Jamaica Way, Blue Jay Way, Sittin'-on-the-dock-of-the-bay Way. " Or how about, "He was caught playing a little too deep (by the dock of the Bay)" All gems from the last month.

Dan, this is not funny! Stop it now! You are not Chris Berman! (And let's all be thankful the Patriots are not playing the Bucaneers this weekend.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pierce's Place

Dan discusses Paul Pierce's place in Celtics history now that Pierce has won an NBA championship with the team. A fair article all things considered (outside of the Cry me a Doc Rivers line) although it meanders a bit.

This must be reflective week for Dan as he steps back and ponders the legacies of folks like Pierce and Belichick. It makes one wonder though if this will be a long winter--there is really no one in the Boston sports landscape for him to take easy shots at now. We can only hope that Schilling decides to re-sign.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dan Parachutes In

So, after nine months of passive-aggressive shots at Bill Belichick, Dan goes back to Foxboro for a press conference and to tell us how great Belichick is.

It's a bunch of quotations interspersed with Dan's comments about how Belichick isn't telling us what he is really thinking. Of course, none of these quotations have anything to do with the play on the field, just the general tripe that lazy sportswriters love to dwell on when they don't know what they are talking about.

And Dan sure proves that last point by dwelling on the height of the Patriots' defensive backfield. Note to Dan: Most every DB in the NFL, especially CB's, are short.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Be Happy Game 7 Didn't Go Long

I missed this piece earlier in the week because Dan was able to crank out a game piece in time to make the online Globe edition.

It starts:
I was reading Hawthorne's "The House of the Seven Gables" when I had an urge for a 7UP. So I went to 7-Eleven and bought seven cans. It was 7 p.m.

No need to read any further.

Thanks to Barstool Sports for noticing this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Diving Into Football

After the Red Sox playoff run, Dan's focus shifts to football and last night's Patriots-Broncos match.

Not too good. Dan must not have been paying attention to the football with all that writing he had to do for the Red Sox. Take this question:

"It made you wonder . . . how could the Broncos be 4-2?"

The answer is some bad wins and a gift from the refs against San Diego. He also somehow manages to shoehorn a Red Sox mention and Barack Obama's acceptance speech. Dan really had nothing to say, ultimately resorting to tired trivia about the Patriots and Monday Night Football.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nose to the Grindstone

People have accused Dan of "mailing it in" on occasion. Last year, he previewed the World Series by stating that nobody knew who the Rockies were and Dan couldn't really be bothered to tell us. But this postseason there was no hint of such laziness. And his "the immortal player Dan was too lazy to know about" shtick wasn't prominent. (At least as I can tell. I hardly read his columns any more.)

Today's piece was pretty good. It was a good recap of the game with a little bit of perspective.

There is one hyperbole alert:

"The Rays never played .500 ball before this year, but in October of '08 they are every bit as talented as any Yankees team the Sox battled in the last decade."

That is a slight overstatement.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Roller Coaster Ride is Almost Complete

Dan offers up the game recap and for the most part, he plays it straight. But then he gets into his asinine "Let's call this series over " schtick. If he were an ER doctor, you would probably hear him say, "The Rays, Time of Death, 12:16" But then you would hear the other docs yelling at him "But the patient hasn't died yet, you idiot." And Shaughnessy would respond, "Well, I just felt the need to say something."

Today he does this by concluding with, "And the Red Sox are planning on starting the World Series Wednesday night at Fenway against the Philadelphia Phillies." I, for one, don't believe in curses or jinxes and I would never claim that Shaughnessy has just jinxed the Red Sox because that would amount to conceding that Shaughnessy has power he clearly does not. I just find it incredibly annoying...but then again, we are talking Shaughnessy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Choker Rays?

Dan examines how the Rays might react to the colossal lost on Thursday night and compares them to the Angels of the past couple of decades--the 1986 Angels who could not recover after a similar Game 5 loss and the Angels of more recent vintage who Shaughnessy claims have little Red Sox dancing in their heads.

Dr Dan loves to explore the psych side of winning and losing and so this was a natural column for him - a lot of rehash of years gone by coupled with superficial speculation and analysis and you have a Shaughnessy column.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wow!

What a game! If you watch the video of Shaughnessy that accompanies his game story, it is actually pretty neat...you see a boyish excitement reveal itself and in a rare instance, I actually feel like giving the guy a high five and saying "Yes, the Sox did it!"

This is an exciting morning...I shouldargue that Shaughnessy did not need to add the gratuitious shot at Schilling. Plus we have the tired time stamp (12:16) technique. And I could also point out DBVader's prescience in yesterday's piece when he wrote

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.
But I will show some restraint. It's a good day. Shank's story is actually good given that he had to rewrite everything minutes before deadline. If you see Shaughnessy today, give him a high five. The Sox did good. And he did okay too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If Dan Can Do It . . . .

If one were to read today's Shank column (or the one he wrote a year ago when the Red Sox were down 3-1 to the Indians) 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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Lot Can Change

Dan's look at last night's game mixes in some reflections on the state of the Patriots, comparing the big comedowns of both teams. I think it captures the situation well.

Does Dan read the messageboard over at Boston Sports Media Watch?

Jason Varitek looks as though he might calcify in mid-swing.


I know that members like to call Varitek "The Calcifying Captain."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Give It to Dan

I don't much care for Dan's "Picked Up Pieces" columns. Usually, the pieces are creations of laziness, obvious and/or dated observations and lame jokes.

Today's piece is an exception
. With the playoffs, Dan has a chance for some timely and interesting observations. The piece however did not get off to a good start. The first paragraph was a Warren Zevon reference. (Dan, Peter Gammons owns the exclusive rights to Warren Zevon references.) The second paragraph was a reference to how late games end. SHUT UP!!!! SHUT UP!!!!

What really caught my attention was the following paragraph, which I had to read twice:
Do not underestimate the residue of hard feelings in the wake of Francona hitting for Jason Varitek a second time in these playoffs. Tito lifted Varitek for J.D. Drew against Dan Wheeler in the ninth inning of Game 2. It's refreshingly bold given Tito's reputation at a "player's manager" and it makes good sense, but be assured the captain sees this as an act of abject betrayal.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Roller Coaster Dan

Oh yes, just one day after Dan declared (five times no less) that it just felt like the Red Sox were going to the World Series, the seeds of doubt have crept in and Dan writes

It makes you wonder about those dreams of a third Boston World Series in five seasons.

If Dan used any shred of analysis, he would not have rambled on (five times no less) about the Red Sox making the World Series. If he had studied the situation, he would have realized that the Rays have hung tough all season. He would have realized that there were plenty of questions about Beckett's health. If this one lousy start happened to Beckett last year, it would have been an anomaly. This year, while this start was disappointing for Beckett, it was neither surprising nor unpredictable. As always, Dan rides with the wind. He is incapable of cogent analysis. (There is even a little video vignette on the boston.com site with Dan apologizing for predicting a Red Sox World Series appearance. How pathetic.) The Red Sox may very well end up going to the World Series but for Dan to call it after Game 1 was just idiotic.

There are a few other gems in there as well

. Dan loves the "While New England slept" bit. It is quite a dichotomy....Shaughnessy frequently criticizes the Red Sox zealots who live and die with the teams fortunes. At the same time, he criticizes Tampa for its lack of tradition. Yet Tampa's stadium was rocking last night while New England slept?

- Dan takes a jab at the way the Red Sox handling of players with injuries when he writes
"It makes you wonder why the Sox are so stubborn with star players (remember Mike Lowell?) who are not physically able to perform." Are you serious, Dr Shaughnessy? Have you not been following this team recently? Can you discuss the way the way they have shut down people like Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, JD Drew, Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, Hideki Okajima? Whose careers have they jeapordized by their stubborness? (Actually I would worry about Ortiz)

- Of course, there is always the gratuitous shot ot Grady Little for whenever a manager leaves a pitcher in too long. Its funny once or twice but gets tired after a dozen plus uses

Other than that, this was a fine and much needed piece of journalistic wonder. And since you probably have plenty of energy since you went to bed while the Red Sox were still playing last night, you can read Shank's piece on Kevin Youklis for a Theo and the Minions reference (oh by the way, I dont think anyone commented on this but in a recent piece, Dan referred to them as "Theo and his baseball operations staff"

Finally, please note that the Globe has added a section for readers to comment on Shaughnessy's pieces. Some entertaining comments.

Have a great Sunday...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What is wrong with this Guy?

Seriously, what is this guy's issue? One game into the ALCS and Shaughnessy is ready to declare this thing is over? What is he smoking? Has he lost his mind? Five references to the World Series after Game 1?

Here are the 5 separate references

It's only one game. So how come it already feels like the Red Sox are going to the World Series?

So how come it already feels like the Red Sox are going to the World Series?

This is the way it's been for quite some time, and that's why it already feels like the Red Sox are going to the World Series.

On to the ninth. On to Jonathan Papelbon and a 1-2-3 ninth. On to the World Series. At least that's the way it feels.

It's only one game and already it feels like the Red Sox are going back to the World Series.


What a total and complete moron. And here is my favorite quote:

Including their historic ALCS comeback in 2004, the Sox are 23-7 in their last 30 postseason games. Toss out the 2005 Division Series sweep at the hands of the White Sox and Boston is 23-4 in tournament play since the embarrassing loss to the Yankees.

He may just as well said, "the Sox are 23-7 in their last 30 postseason games. Toss out the 7 losses and they are an amazing 23-0." And why the hell does he keep referring to it as tournament play? It is the playoffs for crying out loud.

I am seriously beginning to wonder if this guy has completely lost it?

Unbelievable. Bring on a new columnist. The old one has lost it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Knew This Was Coming....

You knew this was coming from a mile away....or should I say a Manny Ramirez tapeshot homerun away?

Shaughnessy treats us to one of his many walks down memory lane. This time, we visit Tampa St Petersburg, a place where Shank says the sports tradition is mighty thin. He contrasts this to the tradition rich histories of New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. Come on Shank, as if Cleveland and Chicago would offer a more compelling match-up because of their richer histories? The Ray's history may be short but given that, the animosity that has developed between them and the Red Sox is pretty rich. I'd take this series in terms of interest than pretty much any other series save perhaps the Yankees.

Shank manages to dig up reference to every exhibition game he possibly can in which a Boston team was involved that was played in this area. He also makes the relevation that the Super Bowl will be played here in 4 months and wouldn't it be nifty if the Red Sox win this Series and the Patriots win the Super Bowl? Didn't Shaughnessy write the Patriots off three weeks ago?

Shank can never resist the jabs even if he has to strain to do it...let's follow this sequence...Scott Williamson claims to have seen a ghost at a Tampa hotel...Scott Williamson was in the bullpen when Grady Little stuck with Pedro Martinez on a fateful night in 2003 so lets therefore bring up a Grady Little/2003 Game 7 reference. It's a natural fit for this column. (Oh by the way, Williamson was pretty clutch for the Red Sox in a few playoff games)

Shaughnessy's whole premise is that Tampa has no sports history and that the Tropicana Dome is an abhorent pit and yet Shaughnessy throws out a little tidbit about the Ted Williams museum being located here and concludes "Pretty cool - for a place that came close to being named the Knuckledome." So is it cool Shank? Or is it a second rate sports city with a crappy stadium and no tradition?

Bottom line: Another meandering mess from Boston's finest columnist

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

2 for the price of 1

I missed an extra Dan column yesterday, so you get two reviews from me today.

Starting with today's, a look back at a man well known in Boston Don Zimmer. A good look reminding me of what can be so special about baseball lifers.

It was yesterday's that really caught my eye. The strong finger wagging at those young whippersnappers that won't get off his lawn is an expansion on a theme in a column from two weeks ago. And when I say expansion, I mean repeating himself, almost word for word.

Let's compare the two:

9/24/08:
"Still, we could be in a place like Pittsburgh or Kansas City where baseball playoffs are merely a sweet memory, like gasoline for 29 cents a gallon."

10/07/08:
"There's no more baseball in Pittsburgh this year. Same for Kansas City and Baltimore. The good people of Milwaukee just experienced their first taste of the playoffs since 1982 and their ride lasted only four games."


9/24/08:
"Those of us who grew up in the 1950s and '60s remember the hungry years. "

10/07/08:
"New Englanders who grew up during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations had absolutely zero expectations of postseason play involving the Red Sox. It just wasn't going to happen."


9/24/08:
"Sure, there has been expansion of baseball's playoff system. There was a time (as late as 1968) when only one of 10 teams in each league qualified for postseason play. That's two of 20. Today, it's eight of 30 making the playoffs - not quite like the old NHL, which took 16 of 21, but it's considerably easier than it was in the old days.

10/07/08:
"Granted, it was much more difficult to play into October in those days. In the early 1960s, the Red Sox played in a 10-team American League and there were no preliminary rounds. There were no divisions. There was no wild card. You finished first out of 10 teams after 162 games or you went home.


9/24/08:
"That was not the first lengthy Red Sox drought. Way back in the day, the Sox went from 1918 to 1946 without playing a postseason game."

10/07/08:
"From 1918 until 1967, the Sox played in exactly one postseason series.


9/24/08:
"One of the reasons we immortalize the 1967 Red Sox is because they brought playoff games to Fenway Park for the first time in 19 autumns."

10/07/08:
""That's why 1967 remains the most important season in franchise history. It changed the way we thought about the Red Sox."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bring On The Tired, Overused Phrase

The Red Sox playoff success has gotten a little routine, so Dan, in tribute, uses one of his tired, routing phrases to lead today's column.

A quick search of the Globe archives for "dan shaughnessy" "bring on the" spits up 33 columns from the recycler. Thanks for staying fresh, Dan.

The rest is a recap of the game, with an emphasis on how these are the new Red Sox, the ones who don't fold after a crucial passed ball. Dan must have been crying, thinking about his lost meal ticket.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Now He Is Just Trying to Annoy Me

This was the sixth sentence of Dan's column today:

The game was played in front of the largest Fenway crowd (39,067) since World War II, lasted 5 hours 19 minutes, and ended at 12:48 this morning when Jered Weaver - making the first relief appearance of his career - got Alex Cora to ground to third base.


Dan goes on to recap the game, highlighting the Angels' struggles to bring in the many baserunners they had last night.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Tito

Shaughnessy writes this morning that Terry Francona has done a wonderful job with the Red Sox but does not get the credit he deserves. A laudatory piece which has a nice perspective but also contains a few annoying Shank-isms:

- He talks about Francona's reaction to an MLB release which refers to him as Coach Francona vice the "manager". Shaughnessy says that true baseballers hate when managers are referred to as coaches. That is all good but this is pretty funny in a column when Shaughnessy refers to baseball's playoffs as a "tournament"...what idiot refers to the baseball playoffs as a tournament?

- He can't resist a dig at Belichick when he says "Just because Francona doesn't intimidate people or try to portray himself as a genius, is that any reason to diminish what the man has done?" Give it a rest Shank

- He talks about Francona's handling of Manny and how hard it must have been on him...this just two months after he ripped Francona for enabling Manny's behavior.

Have a good Sunday

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Daily Double

Dan offers up two tasty treats today...

Dream Matchup

Its a Given


Both are horrid...more thoughts to follow later tonight

(Update/Edit, 10 pm Saturday:

Just a few more thoughts. Shaughnessy's game recap was more awful regurgitated crap. He must have been really proud of himself for the clever Dock of the Bay reference because he used it again today just as he did on Friday. He goes on and on about how the Angels cant beat the Red Sox in October just as he did on Friday. He starts off listing all the different types of balls (long ball, hard ball, soft ball, wiffle ball) a wonderfully clever technique that, oh by the way, he used on Friday (Doc Ellis, Doc Medich, Doc Rivers, Dr Phil). Add oh yeah some idiot apparently told Dan that the first series is a best of three because he has declared that all the first round series are over.

As for the dream matchup article (He is rooting for Red Sox Dodgers), it is premature crap. Also dredges up some favorite pot shots at folks like Nomar
Closing out for now...have a good night

Dave M

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dr Dan

Dr Dan takes the stand. He also plays the role of judge and jury. He testifies that the Red Sox are in the Angels heads. It is a familiar claim from our expert, being dusted off after just one playoff game. Shaughnessy actually mostly plays it straight (outside of the Dr Phil and Lucy references) and it is not a bad column. But it is one of those columns where you read it and say "I knew this was coming from him." He has become so predictable. He loves to explore the mind games. He also loves to make these declaratives after a single game or event. Some will say he is being "out front" and others will say this is more knee-jerk reaction from CHB. At this point, I'd say its knee jerk. Let the series play out and write this type of column in the post mortem of the entire series and not just the first game

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Give It A Rest

Dan manages to incorporate all his favorite topics in today's column: Manny Ramirez, how late a game ends, and lame, dated song references.

It all leaves you wondering what Boston sports fans did to have Shank writing the front page pieces for the playoffs. At least Dan didn't write 90% of the column before the game and shoehorn some mention of the game into the piece.

Pure, unadulterated crap

Beckett has been the Bob Gibson of his generation and pretty much won the World Series for the Red Sox all by himself in 2007.

Seriously, should anybody read a columnist who makes the above claim? Lester, Schilling, Lowell, and JD Drew had something to do with the Red Sox World Series victory. Dan manages a couple of irrelevant Manny shots also.

Dan also provides a full column for Manny bashing. And at the height of laziness, it is a recap of column written by another hack.

Dan doesn't limit his bashing to Manny. He has some space for you poor delusional fans. After quoting Manny about the Boston atmosphere ("The fans in Boston got your back no matter what, but I'm talking about the people who write all this bull because it means so much to them. If your happiness depends on Boston winning or losing, you have to get a life."), Dan turns it on the fans.

There certainly are people in Boston whose happiness is connected to the Sox' fortunes. But it's not the "people who write this bull." Trust me when I tell you that Sox wins and losses have zero bearing on my happiness.


Yes, Dan is superior to you. He has evolved to such a level that he no longer cares. I don't care about his conclusion. The Red Sox winning doesn't have an affect on my happiness. It is Dan's sneering, condescending attitude that is despicable.

And Dan leaves us with one last bit of misinformation:
There are stars everywhere and you can have a drink at the Ritz with Enrique Wilson without being dimed out by some crazed LA fan.


Ignore the fact that Ramirez lived at the Ritz at the time and wasn't drinking adult beverages. Otherwise, it is a great story.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And EYE-E-EYE Will Always Love You-oo-woo-oo

Treat a guy to dinner and he will write page one love letters to you.

Dan offers a profile of John Henry and hits all the hot topics: Manny, Theo and Lucchino, Fenway. It is a little creepy at times as Dan goes overboard in his love for Henry, but an interesting read.

One thing I want to scream about:

Seven years in charge of the Red Sox has taught Henry that sometimes the numbers do lie. Sometimes you have to believe in your GM when he says that a 5-foot-6-inch kid named Dustin Pedroia is going to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues.

THE NUMBERS SAID HE WAS GOING TO HIT .300 IN THE BIG LEAGUES. Pedroia hit .308/.392/.453 in the minors with more extra base hits than strikeouts. It was idiots like Shank who looked at Pedroia and dismissed him out of hand because he was short. Pedroia was the ultimate numbers over scouting decision. Dan doesn't have a shred of self awareness.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That's Not Rain on the Red Sox Parade

Old Man Shaughnessy has a lecture today for all you young whippersnappers, those of you who don't know what it was like to suffer like him.

It starts off celebratory:

Five playoffs in six years. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Then he feels the need to provide us with a math lesson, for those of you too dense to realize what has happened in sports over the last few decades.

There was a time (as late as 1968) when only one of 10 teams in each league qualified for postseason play. That's two of 20. Today, it's eight of 30 making the playoffs - not quite like the old NHL, which took 16 of 21, but it's considerably easier than it was in the old days.

Then he has to tell us what it really was like to suffer.

Those of us who grew up in the 1950s and '60s remember the hungry years.

And reminds us of one of the great sports cliches.

So we are careful not to be too casual about this.

Yes, Dan. We all need to be reminded that the Celtics can have the third worst record in the NBA, that the Patriots can go 5-11, and that the Red Sox can be a dysfunctional mess under stagnant ownership and a weak general manager.

So Dan has established his moral authority over us. Now it's time to look down his nose at the players.

Having said all that, does anybody else find these early-accomplishment celebrations a little overdone?

The Red Sox have baseball's fourth-highest payroll. They had seven players in this year's All-Star Game. Do they really need to cover the lockers with plastic wrap and spray one another with champagne because they have officially qualified as one of the final eight teams in this year's tournament?


But Dan Dan does a quick 180 degree turn, quoting Terry Francona:

"Just because we've had success in prior years, I don't see why this group shouldn't celebrate what they've accomplished. We know we have more baseball to play."

To recap:

- Five playoffs in six years is good
- But it isn't all that special because it is easier to get in the playoffs
- You don't know what it is like to suffer like I do
- Still, others team don't come close to doing what the Red Sox have done
- The players shouldn't celebrate because they should have won
- The players should celebrate because Tito said so

I think there is a medical diagnosis for this type of behavior.

Monday, September 22, 2008

UGH

Dan has a column about the rout in Foxborough yesterday. Not as smug as you would think, but some cliched digs. A reference to the CBS Scene (get over it, Dan) and a ludicrous claim:

It's been well-documented that Belichick's genius seemed to start around the same time Brady became his quarterback.


Dan is just about a decade off. Belichick was the man behind the defense that shut down the Jim Kelly led Bills.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Tuna

As the Miami Dolphins make their way to Foxborough today, Shaughnessy uses his space to discuss Bill Parcells and his latest reclamation project. For the first couple of paragraphs, it seems like Dan might play it straight and talk about Parcells and the Dolphins going forward but then it devolves into a somewhat angry look backward about Parcells, the Krafts, BB (the former HC of the NYJ), etc.

Since Parcells won't talk to him (or apparently to anyone in the media), Shaughnessy retraces well worn steps. One sentence up front immediately made me laugh:

He makes $4 million per year. He does whatever he wants and the owner leaves him alone. Pretty good work, if you can get it.

Revise the salary, change "owner" to "publisher" and Shaughnessy could be writing an autobiographical sketch.

Shaughnessy gets several digs in on the Krafts including a nasty little zinger where he asks if the Krafts are sitting on phone books when they watch the games. He also says it is conveniently ignored that it was James Orthwein who started the renaissance of the Patriots and not the Krafts. By whom?

After a string of a couple of nice articles here and there, Shaughnessy reverts to form....bitter and lazy but raking in a nice paycheck all the while. Pretty good work, if you can get it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Holliston High

Shaughnessy writes about the heart-wrenching grief faced by the Holliston HIgh School football team after the very recent deaths of one of their players (who died after a scrimmage) and one of their honorary team members (a 10 year old who died of leukemia). It is a touching story and worth a read. Fortunately, he once against shows restraint and does not get on his soapbox. He will sometimes use stories like this to remind us about what's really important in life and how it puts the daily ups and downs of the Red Sox and Patriots into perspective. Thankfully he resists that temptation and it is worth a read as a result.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunshine and Bliss on Yawkey Way

Dan is getting the word out: Everybody in the Red Sox front office is getting along just fine.

Dan is just like a poodle on Lucchino's leash. He barks when Larry tells hims to and sits when told. No "Theo and his minions" or snide remarks about age and how Theo owes everything to Lucchino in this article. I guess Lucchino wants to make sure that this contract renewal goes smoother than the last one.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cassel

Dan writes about Mat Cassel’s long standing role as second fiddle to a three-time Super Bowl winner and two separate Heisman trophy winners. It is a decent look at Cassel and the road that has led him to his first start in a meaningful game in a decade.

It’s really not a bad article overall, but I would take issue with a few points:

- For the umpteenth time this week, I have heard that Matt Cassel has not started since high school. Shaughnessy’s statement today is that “The last time he started a football game was Nov. 24, 1999, when he quarterbacked Chatsworth High to a 49-42 loss to Palisades Charter High School in the third round of the Los Angeles City Invitational playoffs.” This is not completely true – he has started some preseason games. Granted I get the point but he may want to couch his statements better.

- Dan perpetuates the whole shtick about Belichick’s unwavering faith in the system when he writes “The Patriots believe the system is bigger than any player and that is why Cassel is the QB rather than an experienced backup from the NFL scrap heap.” This is another oft-repeated claim and I don’t buy it. I do think it is true that they won’t transform their approach to a player who would not fit (Culpepper?) but I think Cassel has stuck with the team and is now the starter because he is talented. The fact that he knows the playbook after three years also goes a long way. It’s not like they pulled a high schooler off the streets because they believe he "fits the system"

- If Shaughnessy is going to write an article like this, a fresh perspective would be to interview his college coaches to get their perspective on his talent. Was there a significant difference between him and Palmer and Leinart? Or was it more slight? Would have been a good angle to explore

- Finally, he ends the column with a "string the quotes together" technique

Again, not a bad article but could have been better
(Edit: Corrected link, Thanks DB!)
(Edit 2: When I wrote this critique Friday, I said this column could have been better and this is what I had in mind:...Bob Hohler's piece is an excellent read this morning about Cassel)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Good Effort

Dan writes an good piece today, with a novel concept and some pertinent points.

Dan weaves the obsessive Tom Brady coverage (i.e. breathless news reporters breaking the news that Brady walked into Gillette) into a discussion of the Rays-Red Sox. His best point was the about Curt Schilling:

Did you hear? Schill ripped into New York fans' treatment of the Brady injury and somehow got himself on the cover of the Daily News - talking about Brady and New York fans.


I don't agree with Dan about Schilling most of the time, but this time I have to. Why is somebody who threw his last pitch for the Red Sox eleven months ago talking about football and New York Jets fans? This guy doesn't know when to let go.

Sounds like somebody I know. Maybe Dan and Curt are too much alike to get along.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dan, Telling Us What We Feel

Dan likes to portray New England fans as little more than infantile sycophants with a lack of perspective. He does it again today with these prominent early sentences:

New England sports fans are lost boys and lost girls. They have lost their leader and their mojo. They have lost their way.

Yes, Dan. A guy I have never met and who has no bearing on my life is my leader.

Dan recovers from his condescending tripe to give a nice recap of the events of the last 48 hours that changed the Patriots season. Of course, it had to come with gratuitous swipes at Patriot Place (and by extension, the Kraft family) and a Bruce Springsteen reference.

Monday, September 08, 2008

What Will He Write?

Whenever big news happens, I like to invite the readers to guess what Dan will write. So with a day to ponder it, what will Dan have to say about Brady's injury? What will be the oh so clever nickname? What curse will Dan dream up? Tell us in the comments section.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Boston College's Old Freshman

Shaughnessy writes about Chris Crane, Boston College's 5th year freshman who led the Eagles to a frustrating loss yesterday. For the past four years, Crane has pretty much stayed on the sidelines as Matt Ryan has led BC. Crane get his real first shot as a started and did not have a good game. The article offers a fair recap and it was a reasonable angle for Shaughnessy to take.

There is one true Shankism when he writes, "Coach Jags can say it's not just one guy, but we know better." How ironic it is that Shaughnessy rails against his readership so often but then he employs the "we" technique as if he and the world are in perfect harmony and he is our spokesman.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thanks for the. . .

kick in the nuts, Dan.

Dan regales us with what life would be like if the Patriots had won Super Bowl XLII. A lot of indigestion and angry commuters this morning thanks the Miserable One.

However you feel about the topic, though, Dan did manage some good lines:

"Mercury Morris would be harder to find than Whitey Bulger."

"Seventeen Greater Boston television and radio stations would have paid for the rights to be the "official station of the World Champion Patriots.''"

"The Bruins would be very, very lonely."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Littile Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

And you have yourself a column. Well, you do if your Dan Shaughnessy. Find a topic, preferably negative. Then write about it for a bit, padding your column with obvious information. When that well runs dry, further pad with quotations, ignoring any attempt to make it all flow. You just gotta fill those column inches.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Sky is Falling

Well that didn't take long did it? For three days straight, Shaughnessy has been dancing on the grave of the Yankees. 24 hours and one loss later, the immortal Mr Sample Size of One concludes that the sky is in fact falling. Doesn't beat around the bush either for that is a direct quote

Never mind the Yankees are still a good team. Shank needed a story line. Never mind the Red Sox took 2 of 3. Shank needed a story line. Never mind Lester pitched great. Shank needed a story line. Never mind that Beckett's injury did not occur at Yankees Stadium and has been a concern for awhile now. Shank needed a story line.

Perhaps this is what a columnist is supposed to do. Make bold proclamations. It's "Good versus evil". The issues are black and white. My issue with Shaughnessy is that he turns on a dime and bounds from one extreme to another all in 24 hours. In some cases, it is warranted...consider the extremes of the Patriots last season pre and post Super Bowl. Yet, here we have one regular season loss and Shaughnessy spectacularly blows it out of proportion.

I suppose it is all relative however. I was blown away by the venom with which Jay Mariotti's colleagues wrote about him. As much as I think Shaughnessy is a lazy writer who shills for attention, he comes nowhere close to what we are reading from Chicago. God forbid he makes his way to Boston. Is there already a Jay Mariotti Watch?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Gives Me Hope

"I was always impressed by his verbosity. He's a skilled writer. However, it's what he wrote about and how he framed his opinion that was absolutely disgraceful. His arrogance is galling. His attempts at being funny by injecting pop culture into his columns were embarrassing. He doesn't deserve to write in a sports town like Chicago."

If you're like me, you were hoping that the final word in that quotation was Boston and Dan was leaving the city.

No, the people of Chicago are today the lucky ones, as Jay Mariotti is leaving the Sun-Times. And his old employer doesn't much care. A fellow writer ripped him and the newspaper published the gleeful reactions of its readers, which the above quotation is taken from. While reading the comments, remember those are the ones they could publish. Think of all the profanity laced, personal attacks that must have been held back. Maybe some Sun-Times editor will leak some of the funnier ones.

I am posting in part to remind people that Dan is part of a larger problem in sports media today. Lazy, vindictive columnists abound and Dan is not close to being the worst. Dan does some legwork (Mariotti apparently doesn't like to go into clubhouses to back up his tough guy talk), and for the most part avoids the most odious elements of sports media, like sportstalk radio and this month's ESPN insult to fans.

EDIT: I forgot to give credit to Boston Sports Media Watch and Deadspin for the links.

EDIT2: Here is another attack on Mariotti by one of his colleagues. Mariotti is, in the words of Lou Henson, the classic bully.

After some thought, I realize that the problem with my Marrioti-Shaughnessy comparison is that the latter is way too smart to leave a lifetime sinecure like a columnist's gig at the Boston Globe. Dan will be carried out of Morrissey Boulevard mumbling something about Red Auerbach, Grey Poupon, a curse, and Theo and his minions. Let's just hope he doesn't have the genes of my grandparents.

EDIT3: The 'I swore he was dead' Roger Ebert rises from the crypt to rip Jay.

Will anyone stand up to defend him?

It's depressing. Dan's sins pale in comparison to Mariotti's and it took years for Jay to be booted. How long will it take for Dan to leave?

Who are you talking about Dan?

It's all about efficiency in business today. And what business needs it more than newspapers?

It takes Dan only eight sentences to introduce a groan inducing pun:

Jack Nicholson was on hand to watch the blood drain out of the Yankees' season. Who says he can't handle the truth?

(I always chuckle when the notoriously thin-skinned Dan writes that line.)

I have to give it to Dan, though. He actually bothered to watch the game before he wrote his column. Maybe he finally learned something from Bob Ryan after all these years.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Like Lists

And apparently Dan does, too. Dan flips through some histories of the Red Sox and gives us all the great Yankees-Red Sox moments at the Stadium.

Dan does his "work" in the opening, highlighted by a "Seinfeld" reference that was tired the day people started using it 14 years ago. There is a Clark Rockefeller reference to stay topical. It must have been killing Dan, sitting there on vacation, thinking "I have got this great Rockefeller quip. I hope that I am back writing before it becomes dated." Actually, upon reflection, I guess Dan wouldn't think like that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where is Dan?

Okay, it has been over two weeks since we've seen Dan grace the pages of the Boston Globe. What exactly is going on? Is Dan leaving? Is he miffed at the Globe's new hire? Is he on vacation? Or did the Globe just get smart and realize that the dude is long in the tooth and past his prime?
Post your theories here. Also anyone with inside info, we would love to hear what's going on.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Big Scoop

Interesting piece today on several levels. Lets start at the end and work backwards. Shaughnesy has not written a piece in a week and yet he proudly acknowledges that he has been in California for a week "watching Manny take over the town". Apparently he has been so busy shopping for Manny dredlock wigs that he could not turn in a column. A wise use of Globe dollars?

Shaughnesy also makes a big revelation. The Boston Globe has learned that MLB is investigating Manny's final days with the Red Sox. This is a big scoop, right? Then why is this scoop buried halfway down the column? (By the way, is this a column or is it a hard hitting investigative report?) Is this scoop buried because the source is weak? And who at the Globe found this piece of info? Shaughnessy does not take credit for it as he employs the passive "the Globe has learned" technique. Is Shaughnessy being modest? Doubtful. Is he taking someone else's scoop? Likely. The vision of Shaughnessy burning up the phone lines doing investigative reporting is almost laughable. Maybe this big scoop is buried because Shaughnessy is embarrassed to be breaking the story because it's not his source?

Nevertheless, news of this investigation emboldens Shaughnessy. Is he taking columnistic license when he suggests that Ramirez' strikeout against Mariano Rivera several weeks ago was intentional? Or does he have some proof of this claim? Again, doubtful. (Objective Bruce's words from the other day ring in my ears: "Lesson Five: "Unsubstantiated rumors" ought not see the light of day without an examination of their source or veracity.")

No doubt, Manny's last days with the Red Sox have every sign of being sordid and there are many signs of unethical behavior. But there is a good discussion in the last thread about how people like Shaughnessy have totally neglected making the effort to examine Ramirez perspective. Is it the case that the duplicitousness of the Sox front office alienated Manny to the extent that he felt like he had to do what he did? This absolutely would not justify Ramirez' behavior but it would provide some meaningful context. Of course, Shaughnessy is either too lazy or too biased to pursue that angle. After all, he has wigs to model.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Dan goes LA LA

Before you go any further, check bruce's comment in the prior thread. It was a pre emptive post. bruce figured we would question the wisdom of the Globe sending Shaughnessy all the way cross coast to cover Manny's introductory press conference because deep down he recognizes it was a foolhearty decision.

Despite Bruce's claim to the contrary, Shaughnessy's covereage is not particularly spectacular. The Globe editors must have been reading this blog and they realized that Shaughnessy might lose his sanity since he would have no one to attack in Boston anymore. They unleashed him on LA where he could have one more slamfest taking on Manny, Nomar; Boras, and the lob ball press of LA.

Shaughnessy does not disappoint. It actually wasn't too bad of a column although I think there is much more to the claim that the Sox are masters at dissing players on their way out the door, a claim that Shaughnessy quickly dismisses because he himself feeds that monster.

I did enjoy his little musical reference at the end. Boston proved too much for the man. Gladys Knight is smiling somewhere. Now if Shaughnessy were only on the midnight train out of Beantown
(I apologize for not posting links. I have left Ma's basement and am blogging from a cell phone which is a bit tedious)

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Manny Stalking Blogger..could it be CHB?

Wow, Shaughnessy is apparently stalking Manny in LA and is posting blog entries about it... :) What is the world coming to? Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

Should be an interesting read Sat AM - will probably go on about how appropriate that Manny is in la la land and they will get what they deserve

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The End of the Road

Shaughnessy reflects on the wacky and wonderful tenure of Manny Ramirez as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Lots of Shaughnessys on display

- "Blows with the Wind Shaughnessy " says we're going to miss Manny's silliness to include his goofy antics in left field...this, just days after Shaughnessy ripped his goofy antics in left field

- "Dont let the fact's get in the way Shaughnessy": Shaughnessy says Ramirez' antics in the early years, to include skipping a trip to the White House, were harmless. Ramirez did skip a White House trip in 2005 (as well as 2008) but 2005 was not exactly the early years of Ramirez' tenure with the Sox, was it?

- "Poor word choice" Shaughnessy: First Shaughnessy makes an adjective out of a noun. Says Ramirez has "savant hitting skill". Savant is a noun not an adjective. I also think his continued use of savant to describe Ramirez' skills is insulting. In my thinking, savant is synonymous with idiot savant and the implication is that Ramirez is a dim bulb who somehow magically lucked into his hitting prowess as a freak of nature. It is a subtle personality assassination. Did he ever describe Larry Bird as a savant? or Ted Williams?

- "Contradictory Dan" says in one paragraph that "the Sox should brace for early backlash from the sizable faction of Red Sox Nation that will always worship at the Altar of Manny." Fewer than five sentences later, he says, "In the end, Manny had few friends in his own clubhouse and much of the fan base had turned against him."

- "Inconsistent Shaughnessy"...In discussing the dismantling of the 2004 Red Sox, he says "One by one, those players left town and Manny was alone to carry the mantle of goofiness. He did it well and still put up the numbers." This a strange compliment, given that we are talking the 2005-2008 years--which includes 2006 in which Shaughnessy claims that Ramirez quit and 2007-2008 in which Shaughnessy recently remarked that Ramirez OPS had dropped considerably

- "One sided Dan" talks about the ungluing of Manny's tenure initiated by Manny's slapping of Youklis. If Varitek had done this to Youklis, he would have praised Varitek as a gamer and leader who doesn't put up with whining from his teammates. For Manny, it is lumped in there with the shoving of the traveling secretary

- I am not defending Ramirez here - I think he quit on the team. And I dont think the Red Sox are stupid enough to trade him unless the situation had become untenable. But I do think there is something to Ramirez' criticism of the Red Sox management...they use the press to paint the outgoing superstars as monsters (Nomar, Martinez and now Ramirez) and the press (Shaughnessy and Gammons) seem all too willing to oblige.

- Oh yeah there is "Cliche Dan"--Theo and the minions make an appearance today

It is the end of an era in more ways than one. With Schilling and Ramirez out of the picture Shaughnessy does not have an obvious whipping post for the first time in years. If JD Drew starts to fade, however, he might better watch out. Shank will lump him in with Keith Foulke and start firing away at his lack of passion for the game

Monday, July 28, 2008

Marching Orders

Dan's got them.

When it is time to trash a star Red Sox player, the call goes out to Shank. Who better to stick a knife in the back of a player the organization wants to be gone?

An important note: There are knee injuries that are not detectable by MRI.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts on Shank and Manny

Shaughnessy claims that Manny's latest madness is the final straw. "Manny has punched his ticket out of town," Shaughnessy breathlessly exclaims.

I'll state up front that I agree with Shaughnessy's conclusion. I doubt Ramirez will be back next year and who even knows about the rest of this year.? I do think Francona's actions are pretty revealing and signal the team's frustration.

That being said, Shaughnessy's woeful inability to craft a cogent and meaningful column continues to baffle. This story played out in the afternoon...Shaughnessy had quite a bit of time to write a meaningful piece and he delivers absolute garbage yet again. A few points:

- First, Steve Buckley pretty much writes the same column in the Herald although Buckley does scoop old Shank when he writes "Yet after taking himself out of the lineup, he stepped into the batting cage under the first base grandstand and proceeded to rake the ball. Until Manny pulled the curtain on me, I was standing there watching the Clown Prince."

- Dan's penchant for exaggeration is on display when he calls this the biggest game of the season. This statement coming just weeks after he declared the Yankees were dead and that the thrill from Yankees-Red Sox games were missing

- Dan calls Francona an enabler. That is a cheap shot. Francona deserves a lot of credit for keeping this team together. Shaughnessy's editors are more the enablers for allowing him to get away with the crap that he dishes on a regular basis

- Dan cant get any direct quotes from any Red Sox officials and so he quotes a fan (Bob Crane). Who elected Bob Crane President of Red Sox Nation?

- Dan repeats for the hundredth time (and the 101st for that matter) that Ramirez quit on the Sox in 2006. He still has yet to offer any good proof of that. In a recent column, he even couched his claim about 2006 just a little bit but now that Manny has pulled this latest business, Shaughnessy is emboldened yet again to unequivocally state (twice) that Ramirez quit in 2006 but still offers no proof.

- Dan loves to get the stat book out once a month as if to prove some point. Today, he says Manny's OPS is down the past two years. "By a lot." The fact that he is in the Top 5 of the league this year does not seem to matter much.

- I love how he fashions himself as the old school journalist ("When Theo Epstein saw this typist coming...") I know he must view himself as the hard-edged reporter...and he can't even begin to appreciate the fact of why Sox officials wont talk to him - it's not because they are scared of him (as he likely believes) but because of his history of doing hatchet jobs

This column would have been a lot more effective coming from someone like Ryan. Shaughnessy makes some valid points but given his MO of making everything personal, it's really difficult to sift the wheat from the considerable chaff.

Disclaimer: I am not a Ramirez apologist. Frankly, I dont care if he stays or goes. For that matter, I am not a Red Sox team apologist. Shaughnessy can criticize the team and player all he wants - just wish he would do it in a more meaningful cogent manner.

The Manny Acts of Shank

THis morning's dish certainly offers up a plateful, doesn't it? I have to complete a training run and will not be able to post until late morning but wanted to get an entry out there for people to comment on. Have you had enough of Manny? Dan thinks you have....Stay tuned

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It All Comes Back to Manny

The Sox sweep the Mariners and are returning to Fenway to play the Yankees. The main topic for Dan? Manny and his knee.

Dan will never give Manny a break after the end to the 2006 season so a sore knee is Manny taking a day off for no reason.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lame References Abound

"Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed . . ."

And we are off. Dan writes about Jed Lowrie and anoints him the shortstop of the future. Interesting that he would be so high on Lowrie a day after he had to admit he was wrong about Pedroia. Of course, Dustin had better minor league numbers while being younger and striking out much less. So if he was to be questioned, what about Lowrie?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It Took Long Enough

Dan offers up his mea culpa for his initial impression of Dustin Pedroia. But Dan does it in typical Shank fashion, going over the top with his ironic praise, comparing Pedroia to Pete Rose.

Dan's suspicion of Pedroia's talent has been well documented and now he takes it all back. Maybe he won't be so fast to dismiss a player with a record of success at every level just so he can attack Theo. And yes, there is a "minions" sighting in the column.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wow

That is the sentiment left after reading today's Shank column. There are a variety of reasons for it.

First, after a three game sweep Dan isn't ready to panic. It is usually these tough losses that Dan gets all cynical and angry, lashing out at the manager, GM, and star players. Not today, except for a gratuitous shot at Manny for a late play in an 11-3 blowout when good guy Alex Cora let in four runs.

Then there is the obligatory "immortal" reference, this time for Erick Aybar. Dan loves to parade his ignorance with his use of the term, but maybe he should know who the starting shortstop is for the MLB team with the best record.

Finally, this column comes a day after Dan gleefully wrote that the Red Sox need not worry because the Angels can never beat the Red Sox in the playoffs. No mention of that claim today. Dan may want to think it over.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reminiscing about the Back Yard

Shaughnessy has a nice column today about how he turned his backyard into a mini Fenway back in the 1990s for his kids to play wiffle ball...to include painting the fence with paint from the real Fenway. It is a nice piece that captures a slice of parenthood, growing up, looking back, and a genuine love for the game. Call me a sentimental sap but this is a nice read for a Sunday morning. (And this probably also explains why I pretty much enjoyed his book Senior Year)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I Wish I Had His Job

So Dan listens to sports talk radio all day and then goes to Fenway to watch the Red Sox. What a life!

The sports radio talk is all about the Captain and his epic slump and Dan has his take on it. Dan plays it straight, without really committing to any side. He does manage a shot at Schilling, though.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Recycled Crap

The Globe's technical staff must have been enjoying an extended 4th of July holiday today. Here is the secret - Shaughnessy is a figment of our imagination; he doesn't really exist. As we touched on last year, the Globe has a machine they use to churn out columns with the Shaughnessy by-line. They call it the "Crank a Shank" - it cranks out column after column replete with 1980s references; corny musical references; and bitter diatribes against certain people. About once a month, the "Crank a Shank" hiccups and if it is not re-booted properly, it kicks out the same garbage two days in a row.

Today was one of those days....compare yesterday and today's efforts...in both, Shaughnessy tells about Steinbrenner's birthday; overreacts to a Yankees loss; discusses the Yankees team meeting; makes light of ARod's marital problems; tells us that Yankee Stadium is on 161st street; and calls Darryl Rasner "immortal" (what the hell is up with that anyway--this is a favorite Shankism - call some no-name "immortal"--it's not funny, particularly two days in a row). Yes, the old "Crank a Shank" is a little buggy.

So the Yankees lose two games in a row and Shaughnessy says "The situation in New York is bad." Typical Shaughnessy hyperbole. (How much will his tone change now that the Yankees beat the Red Sox today?)

I also dont particularly care for Shaughnessy's double standard. He rails against Manny and the Red and says the Red Sox are enabler of Ramirez' bad behavior. And yet, ARod's alleged extramarital affair is nothing but a silly throw-away punch line. Adultery and assault are two different crimes but why does Shaughnessy assume a self-righteous attitude on one and a casual dismissive attitude about the other? I for one, am much concerned about infidelity and broken homes and their impact on today's society and a star like Arod cheating on his wife doesn't set a very good example, does it? You can argue that it is a personal matter and perhaps it is - but Shaughnessy should then simply not discuss it. Given that he can't let it go, he is guilty of a serious double standard by making it a joke.

I hope the Globe editors enjoyed their extra long week. With any luck, someone will re-boot the "Crank a Shank" machine today so we can get something fresh Sunday AM.

Friday, July 04, 2008

More babbling from the Village Idiot

On its face, this is an innocuous column. Shaughnessy says Joe Girardi took his team to the woodshed after last night's embarrassing loss to the Red Sox. Upon deeper reflection, this is another piece of crap from your churn it out/mail it in front page columnist of the Boston Globe.

- Shaughnessy is amazing in his ability to take one event and jump to all sorts of conclusions. After last night's loss, Shaughnessy amazingly concludes that coming to Yankee Stadium is no longer threatening. He concludes that it is a strong possibility there will be no post season baseball in Yankee Stadium. Alright, Shank, if you want to make these comments after the Red Sox sweep the Yankees and each game is a dominating shutout, that is one thing. But, after one game and the Sox are just 4 games up over the Yankees in the loss column? You're an idiot.

- Apparently, Shaughnessy thinks going 4-3 is a bad thing. He says

Game 1 of this four-game set was a walk in the ballpark for a Boston team that had lost five straight games and eight of 12
If they have lost five straight and 8 of 12, that means they were 4-3 in the games preceding the 5 losses...and this is bad because? (Extrapolating 4-3 to an entire season translates to 92 wins which is not too shabby)


- Shaughnessy wont let the Manny incident die. I am not a Manny apologist but I agree with Mike to a large extent in that the Red Sox don't necessarily owe anyone an explanation. Plus, we dont really know what actions they took, do we? For all we know, this was the final straw. Maybe Theo and the brain trust have decided they will let him go after the season and for now, they want to let the season play out. I don't know. And I don't think Shaughnessy really knows either. To continually call them "enablers" without knowing is problematic and reflective of his lazy and vindictive journalism.


Happy 4th of July to our faithful readers. Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dan Gets Angry

With the news that Manny pushed the Red Sox traveling secretary to the ground on Saturday, we were certain that Dan would take the opportunity to get his panties in a bunch and unload on Manny.

And that is what he did. It is the same old crap from Dan, like it's from a script. Start with a Jimmie Foxx comparison and then proceed with the rip job.

- He quit in 2006 (forgetting the monster series he had against the Yankees). Dan writes "That one's difficult to prove, of course, but everyone who was there believes it. Including the manager." Dan finally admits he has been talking out of his ass the last two years.

- Manny rededicated himself last winter. Very clever. Imply that he was slacking off before that year even though he had one of the most productive stretches in the history of baseball.

- "Refusing to pinch hit, and insisting on a day off when the club needs you, are also crimes against baseball." This quotation is even cuter. He doesn't say that Manny committed those crimes (the evidence is unclear), but he leaves the reader with that impression.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Picked Up Pieces

Shaughnessy returns to a format that he has not invoked in months - it is a picked up pieces special. All in all, I wouldn't call it overly interesting....but at least it was not as objectionable as past picked up pieces columsn save yet another shot at Curt Schilling....

Shaughnessy says
Shawn Chacon must have been channeling his inner Curt Schilling when he grabbed Astros general manager Ed Wade and threw him to the floor last week. When Schilling and Wade worked in Philadelphia, it was Wade who said, "Curt's a horse every fifth day. The other four days, he's a horse's ass."


Come on what the hell does this mean? Has Schilling ever physically attacked his general manager? How does Shaughnessy make the leap from Wade calling Schilling a horse's ass to Chacon "channeling his inner Schilling" when he physically accosted his employer? Shaughnessy saw a venue for getting yet another shot in at Schilling and it is unjustified. If there is a horse's ass in the room, it is Shaughnessy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Danny The Genius

Shaughnessy uses last night's draft to reflect on how Danny Ainge transformed the Celtics -- a transformation that was founded in large part on last year's draft. Says Danny proved all his critics wrong; made some really smart moves; and delivered a championship. It is a very nice tribute to Ainge and Shaughnessy readily eats some crow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update

Today on Dale & Holley, Theo mentioned that Curt underwent a full physical and MRI. Can we now stop feeling sorry for the poor Red Sox who were swindled by the scheming Curt Schilling?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Schilling's Response

Apparently Dan may have stretched the truth in order to take another poke at Schilling. The Red Sox did know that Curt in the Car was going under the knife before the WEEI interview.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not As Bad As I Thought, But Still Bad

As commentators have pointed out, the Shilling injury piece was inevitable. It was mostly laudatory, but Dan did go out of his way, eschewing facts and reason, to bash Curt.

- "An increasingly hilarious 38pitches.com." Huh? Why Dan? It must be great to just throw a line out there and not have to back it up.

- "I hate to offend the fragile psyches of Schill-o-phants, blog-boys, and others who worship at the altar of Curt, but there are a few indelicate points that might be made about all this."

Ah yes, the only people who would defend Curt are sycophants and "bloggers", the most evil group of people ever constituted.

The only indelicate point is the contract that Schilling signed. Dan suggests that Curt wasn't fully forthcoming about the health of his shoulder/arm. Does he have any proof? Of course not! It's the typical millionaires vs. billionaires dispute, but I have a hard time believing that a business worth close to a billion dollars didn't fully investigate the health of a player to be signed.

So, the Red Sox took a risk in signing Schilling and it didn't work out. Now we are supposed to feel bad for the Red Sox? Dan must have gone through some impressive mental gymnastics to get to that conclusion. It wouldn't have anything to do with those dinners with Powder and the inside scoops from Lucchino, would it?

No link because I refuse to make it easy for people to read Shank.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blessed, Yet Cursed at the Same Time

As Dan points out, these are special times to be a sports fan in Boston. Then, why in God's name are we stuck with this lazy and arrogant bum? Don't click on the article, don't ever again click on his articles. Ignore him. Tell his editor (jsullivan@globe.com) what you think of Shank's condescending and spiteful attitude.


That being said, this column wasn't bad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Your Front Page Columnist

He sucks.

The piece is meandering and pointless. There is no passion or excitement. It is a tepid recap with Shank mostly talking about the past. (I think he had a bet to see how many times he could get Auerbach's name into the column.) And of course there is the irrelevant Belichick reference.

Read Bob Ryan instead.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

Lately I have been lamenting the fact that Dan has been mailing it in with formulaic game recaps and recycled columns.

Well he certainly made up for it with today's piece.

Maybe the most obnoxious piece since Shank's lame attack on 38pitches.com. One joke ("The Celts are sure to win tonight. Just like {insert crushing Boston sports upset here}.") repeated to fill up the column. No insight or new information, just the Danny Downer act that CHB loves so much.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Savor this One

Dan looks at the 22 year drought since the Celtics' last championship. Says the 1986 Celtics were one of the best teams ever but it has been down hill ever since Len Bias died. He then goes through the familiar list of all the heinous things that have happened in the past 22 years--from the deaths of Bias and Lewis to the coaching debacles of Carr and Pittino and the bad lottery luck with no Duncan and no Durant or Oden.

He hints the good ole days are back and should be savored -- and there are no guarantees the Celts will be back in this position next year.

This is your typical Shaughnessy Sunday fare. No stunning insights - just one of his stock "keep it in perspective" columns with the typical laundry list of items that he is apt to throw out from time to time.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Dan

Dan was a little bitter after the Celtics had a chance to go up 3-0 and you could see the seeds of doubt creeping in to include the digs on Garnett. Today, he is Happy Dan calling last night's game one of the greatest (if not the greatest) comebacks in the team's history.

Dan must have had to work really hard last night--sure he went into "The sky is falling" mode after the first quarter and then had to throw everything out the window and start over again when the Celtics came back. Poor guy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Secret Formula

Sorry for the delay in posting, but I had to go back and check if the Globe had reprinted Monday's column by mistake. Dan must use some Mad Libs like template to write these things. Rip at Schilling? Check. Obligatory game trivia, including celebrity roll, shoehorned into the middle of the column? Check.

The column isn't a bad recap of the game, but the columns are depressingly formulaic. Instead, read Bob Ryan.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Red and Dan's Conversation: What Really Took Place

An anonymous commenter asked if perhaps a security camera caught this magical exchange between Red and Dan. As it happens, there was a camera and we were able to get our hands on it. Here is how the conversation really went:

CHB: “Hiya Red, how ya doing?”

Red: Oh jeez, not you again

CHB: What do you mean “Not you again”? I thought we were buddies. Don’t you remember those cigars you gave me when my daughter was born?

Red: Oh hell, not that cigar story again. Why the hell do you feel the need to tell everyone about those damn cigars? Don’t you realize those things were stale? If I hadn’t seen you that night, I would have tossed them in the trash can.

CHB: Really, I thought we had a strong connection back in the 80’s….those were the good ole days.

Red: Hey, let me tell you a story. Back in the 1960s, Russell would invite Chamberlain over to dinner for a big game. It would soften Wilt up – make them feel like they were buds. Russell had no interest in friendship—he was trying to take advantage of the situation and made Wilt lose his edge. The Big Guy learned that trick from me. I was only trying to buddy up with you so you would give me good press. See how well it worked? 25 years later and you are still talking about those damn cigars.

CHB: Man, I really remember it differently. Thought we had a strong connection there. Boy, those 80’s were the good ole days.

Red: You know Dan…I have moved on with my life….maybe you should consider moving on as well.

CHB: You know, Red, I just love the 60s and 80s. That Larry Bird sure was a great player wasn’t he?

Red: Yes, Dan he was. But remember that point I just told you about moving on with your life? That Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, they are pretty good too you know. Did you happen to catch the game the other night?

CHB: Yeah, yeah, I was there. Can you believe that blowhard Schilling was there in a Celtics jersey no less ? I figured you would be rolling over in your grave if you saw that windbag there.

Red: I kind of like that Big Schill guy. Ever read his blog? It is pretty good.

CHB: Oh no, you read blogs?

Red: Yep, there is even one that tracks your writing. It’s pretty good too. What have you got against blogs anyway?

CHB: They get in the way and they are not relevant.

Red: Sounds like a case of the pot calling the kettle black? You know, it is kind of funny. You were talking earlier about our “connection”. Here is a good connection for you. I sit around here all day doing nothing and pigeons crap on me. You sit around all day doing nothing and bloggers crap on you..

CHB: Very funny, Red.

Red: So you know, Dan, I still read your columns from time to time. I don’t know why—kind of like when people stop to see a car wreck. Just wondering if you got any lame 1970 music lyric references up your sleeve. The ones you come up with are sort of pathetically funny.

CHB: Funny you should mention it Red, I have been working on one. Remember Don McLean’s Miss American Pie?

Red: Yep, sure do, that was a classic.

CHB: I adopted the words to talk about the day Larry Bird retired. How does this sound?

And the three men I admire most

The Father, Red, and Johnny Most

They took the last train for the coast

The day that Bird retired

Red: You really are a sad little man, aren’t you Dan?

CHB: Hey, I thought that was pretty good.

Red: Dan, why don’t you just leave now? I think I preferred it when I was by myself when the pigeons were crapping on me

CHB: Okay, well I need to see if I can catch a taxi to the airport. You know, this is not like the good ole days when I could catch a ride to the airport with Scott Wedman and Jerry Sichting. The Globe won’t allow it now.

Red: Okay Dan, whatever. Good night.

CHB: Okay Red, thanks for the chat. Those 80s sure were the good ole days werent they Red? Anyways, I will be at the gym before you Red.

Red: I'm dead, Dan.

CHB: Oops, sorry about that Red. Good bye.