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


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 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 yesterday and today's 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.