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.


Chris said...

Dan Shaughnessy's view of the Boston sports fan is exactly like Charlie Gibson and his sneering 'you-don't-belong-in-my-orbit' view of Sarah Palin. Two perfect specimens of a strange breed.

John said...

Jim Donaldson ran a similiar piece in the Providence Journal. Apparently Shank isn't as original as he thinks.
Perhaps they copied off of each other's laptops in the pressbox.

Anonymous said...

Mike_b1 said it best in a previous post:

"Cynical, totally unnecessary, certainly false and yet competely unprovable."

Ah, CHB your pointless!


roger bournival said...

That was one banal and insipid fish wrap, even by Shank's usual anemic standards.

Then again, maybe I don't understand Shank's genius as well as I should; could this actually be an excellent and much needed column?

Anonymous said...

don't worry Roger....the Objectivedouche will be here soon it explain it to us

mike_b1 said...

If memory serves, The CHB called the World Series for the Red Sox in mid-summer 2004. Talk about premature celebration.

bandit said...

When you look at clips from '67 it looks like Fred Flinstone coming to the plate. Yes - you had to win the pennant to go to the WS then - and you once had to bang sharp stones together to get sparks to start a fire. Things are dif..dif..different now.

roger bournival said...

A little birdy just told me Borges settled w/ the Globe (delayed severance package) for just under six figures. Borges vowed to 'put the Globe out of business'.

Objectivebruce said...

I'm explaining nothing.

If you dont have the grey matter to understand it, no amount of lecturing will help.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go pop some champagne to celebrate my success in achieving August's revenue goals. IT took until September to do it, and it's not what I intended, but dammit if we're celebrating being second best then I want in on that party.

dbvader said...

Try some of that reading comprehension you are always talking about. Tito said it was okay. Therefore, it's okay to Dan even though two paragraphs before he complained about it.

mike_b1 said...

They are celebrating making the playoffs. Or does the 2004 WS win not count because they got in as a wild card, OB?

roger bournival said...

I'm explaining nothing.

If you dont have the grey matter to understand it, no amount of lecturing will help.

"We hold Dan's awesomeness to be self-evident."

girlanachronism said...

He just can't stand to see people around here happy. Period. End of story.

Anonymous said...


FYI - Manny is opening up regarding the incident with the "Ex-Cop".

Here is some info from the LA Times:

A FEW more tidbits from the sit-down with Ramirez:

* As for the incident that had him knocking down a Red Sox executive, "I was wrong," Ramirez said.

He said the relationship with the executive had been deteriorating for some time, and a day earlier the guy had said some nasty things to Ramirez in front of Ramirez's teammates.

Ramirez went home troubled, returned and asked for a meeting with the executive. "I told him, 'I can't have you disrespecting me in front of my teammates.' "

When he didn't get the response he liked, it escalated into a shove.

"I didn't handle it the right way," he said.

How come the CHB couldn't get the inside scoop on an incident that was brewing over time?

Do you think the Globe had an agenda to shill for the "home" team?


Monkeesfan said...

I'm reading that TJ "Who's Your Momma" Simers (championship!) piece and His Manniness is still pushing for that Best Actor Oscar -

"The guy you see here - that's who I am," sez His Manniness. Yeah, until you decide your ass is more important than your brains again, Manny.

"Many of the Red Sox writers grew up rooting for the team." What's your point, TJ?

Simers accuses Curt Schilling of not being a team player - I'm LMAO over that one - a guy who risked his later career to win the 2004 WS versus a Manny who lies about sick relatives and injuries to get out of games.

Manny was the consummate team player until the end? I didn't know 2006 was "the end."

Let's see what Shank says about all this.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hey with the Monkees,

Curt sure knows his baseball. Didn’t he try and ridicule Manny (when Manny is out of town of course) by claiming that, during the 2005 season, Manny didn’t want to face the Tampa bay fireballer Seth McClung. I believe that Curt was capitalizing on similar bull that Peter Gammons was pitching, right around the time that the Globe’s Gorden Edes was claiming that Manny "begged" for mercy.

Here was my response to the claims by Curt and Co.:

“Hi Curt The Schill,

I remember, on October 1, 2005, Manny hit 2 homers off Yankees Randy Johnson to give the Sox an outside chance at claiming 1st place. For good measure, didn’t he put up a fight and hit 2 homers in the final game of the 2005 ALCS against the White Sox?

In your expert opinion, who is a better fireballer, Seth McClung of the Rays (when they were in last place) or Randy Johnson when fighting for 1st place on the last weekend of the season?


I’m sure that the Shank will stew about that for a while.


Anonymous said...

Here is the chance for all you CHB / Shank haters to bash him person to person ... He's doing a web chat at noon today:

Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous #16, no and no. Your arguments are themselves bull, not the comments of Schilling or Gammons. His performance in one game is irrelevant; what is relevant is that His Manniness was never a team player, admitted himself he wanted to quit Boston as soon as he got here, quit on the team for stretches throughout his career, especially the final month-plus of 2006, and turned everyone against him with his selfishness in 2008.

"When Manny is out of town, of course." It's meaningless. Manny quit on the team, period, and he was enabled by the team and the fanbase for almost eight years.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan ….

Surely you jest.

Manny knows his physical abilities. He has a sense of pace and balance with his body. He can judge when he is vulnerable physically and needs rest. Over the course of his career he has produced working within his strategy. It irks many of the baseball aficionados but I doubt Manny cares about them. He doesn’t care about the “past” and concentrates only on the moment. He might last 4 more years as a ballplayer.

Manny is very shrewd. Ask any pitcher in MLB. I wonder how Curt would pitch to Manny.

Manny a quitter …. Again, understand the sense of pace and balance that athletes strive to maintain to be productive. In 2006, look at the facts that led to the team downfall: management proved ineffective at dealing for “deadline” players, the Ortiz health scare, and lack of team depth. These issues led Manny to go into “rejuvenation” mode. He did not quit. He just reshuffled priorities and forced management to play the up and coming crop of players. Manny is pretty smart huh?

Oh, how this riles the Shank - observing a player with intelligence, leverage and courage to stand up to the establishment. Seeing the Shank squirm, that is priceless!


Monkeesfan said...

Anonymous, Manny has his ass, and that's what he thinks with. "He has produced working within his strategy." He's hit a lot of baseballs but he also jaked it over and over. That Manny doesn't care is why he's worthless as a teammate - he betrayed the team in 2006 and betrayed more than just the team in 2008, to where he turned his own teammates against him, teammates who'd tolerated him or even stood up for him.

Manny was a quitter - he deserted the Red Sox twice and he'll do it again to the Angels and whoever is foolish to sign him to a four-year deal that he wants but doesn't deserve. Look at the facts yourself - Manny quit on the team and lied about it repeatedly; all that crap about "ineffective at dealing for deadline players, the Ortiz health scare, lack of team depth" - it's bull. The team was good enough to make the playoffs in 2006, but Manny deserted them. Manny thought with his ass instead of as a real teammate.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan …..

Wow, you took many bitter pills.

All I am asking is that you be open minded. Put yourself in Manny’s ass.

He produces for every team. All the teams he is part of are winners. He averages over 140+ games per year (including the “rejuvenation” periods) and has contributed to 2 World Series championships. Oh by the way, he is also a Hall of Famer.

The 2006 team was fading fast. Manny retooled in 2007 and contributed. He showed up big time in 2008 and was the MVP of the team during the first half of the year. Check his stats and notice that Ortiz was out and also take note as to how well Drew performed batting in front of Manny.

What more do you want? Would you be happy if he shined your shoes or mopped up your crap?

Let him be.


Monkeesfan said...

anonymous #21, put myself in Manny's ass? What do I look like, Bill From NH?

Manny did not contribute to two WS - it was pitching that contributed. Don't retort with "Manny won MVP" because it's irrelavent.

The 2006 team was not fading; they were sill in contention until Manny deserted them. Period. And "showed up big time in 2008?" In LA? After months of lying about injuries to the Red Sox?

Here's what more I want - for Manny to have for once in his pathetic life grown the hell up and put the team over everything else in 2005-8; forget about the option years, don't even care about them, just play and the contract stuff will take care of itself. Also for him to admit what is clear to everyone - he lied about injuries and deserted the team, more than once.

objectivebruce said...

"Manny did not contribute to two WS"

This may be the stupidest statement in the history of humankind.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I'm agreeing with ob, but he's definetly right in pointing out that comment from Monkeesfan. G is willing to keep an open mind aobut Manny, but that article by Simers basically makes me question everything about him. He said he was unhappy from the first moment he steps off the plane... Manny himself says he was unhappy every moment that he was here.... to me I could think of 160 million ways to at least appear to be grateful.

I think a big point in this whole argument is that Bay at this time in his career and going forward is a much better LF option for the Sox than Manny is at this time in his career and moving forward. That really is the end of the argument.


Anonymous said...

Manny was a misfit in the "structured" media frenzy world of Boston where the powers that be want you to fit into a mold. See John Updike article Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu at to understand how some players have a different perspective on life and the games we play. Imagine the Shank trying to shake down Teddy Ballgame? What a “spitting” match that would be!

For now Manny fits in like a glove in LA. For sure other issues will arise with Manny; probably due to the boredom he experiences in dealing with the redundant and self-serving media types.

Manny seems to be happy when is playing ball between the lines. Take him out of that element and we witness someone with “stage fright”.

Boras has actually done a good job with Manny in LA. There is a much more proactive energy with Manny searching “media” opportunities. Sure Boras is preparing the scene for a big pay day. Manny could care less about the dough, but Boras is shrewd and knows Manny's weakness.

Imagine if the Sox Management had taken a more pro-active posture with Manny’s media deficiencies. Remember when Red Aurebach “prepared” Larry Bird for the Boston media by hiring a speech coach and media consultant for Bird. That is being humane.

The “Theoians” that dominate the Sox today are just a bunch of Sabermetricians. They try to “cleanse” the human element from the game. Imagine the world of sports without Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, etc. All misfits who would have been persecuted in the current Boston media-centric era even before they got a chance to grow as individuals. Praise the things that make us different and break the mold.

Thank God for humanitarians like Red Aurebach!

At one point I challenged Cafardo/Globe to write a piece on how Red would have handled Manny. Still waiting.


mike_b1 said...

It took The CHB all of two sentences to make his first error of today's column. According to Forbes, John Henry is not a billionaire, and hasn't been one for years.

roger bournival said...

Mike - I'm don't think that's correct. While Henry didn't make the Forbes 400 cut, they note that there are 489 billionaires in the US, and Henry's one of them.

Anonymous said...

g posted:

The “Theoians” that dominate the Sox today are just a bunch of Sabermetricians. They try to “cleanse” the human element from the game.

Sir, that is such a false accusation that it is not even funny. It is well documented that the Sox have one of the largest scouting staffs in the game. You may or may not be referring to this myth that sabermetricians only use computers, but in the case of the Sox it is simply not true.

When did it become such a bad thing to actually use "research" and "statistics" to prove a if a guy is a good player or not?

And by the way, neither the present ownership or Theo actually signed Ramirez. Why should they feel responsible for the mess he is creating.

G, I've heard your argument that there may be another explanation to the handling of the Ramirez situation. But now, especially after the Simers article, it seems like you are ignoring common sense to defend Manny no matter what. Manny wanted out. The Sox (the FO, ownership AND THE PLAYERS) wanted him out. We got Jason Bay. We did very well without Manny. And the Dodgers did well with Manny. Thats the end of the story.

Where is this conspiracy that you keep bringing up?


Anonymous said...


How to determine if a player is good or not .... depends on the style you play.

I don’t believe that there is a template that can predict if a player is good or not. I think you just give them a chance to play in your system and see what happens. The stats help but the bottom line is wins. If you lose then change the system and/or the player. Pedroia and Hansen and good examples.

The point is that all teams are made of individuals and personalities. No two players are alike.

The skill is in understanding your players, managing personalities and create an environment that capitalizes on their potential.

If I wanted to be entertained by computer programs I would go out and buy the EA Sports video games. I guess I just enjoy the various quirks that all people have.

Me promoting conspiracies? Not at all. I have stated that the Manny was not a good fit for the Boston environment. The fault belongs to his original agent. My point is that all Manny wants to do is play ball. He could care less about the money, the politics, and the media. He has a lot of respect for the fans.

So why was it so difficult to get along?

Again I ask, How would Red Aurebach have guided Manny?


Monkeesfan said...

Bruce, it's the truth. The two WS were won by pitching, not Manny. In baseball pitching wins, not bats. Face facts and zip it, Bruce.

Larry Bird was no misfit - unlike Manny, he was the ultimate team player. Manny was a misfit to his teammates; they were the ones who wanted him traded. "How would Red Auerbach have guided Manny?" He'd have traded him like he did Paul Westphal.