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.


Chris said...

I was mightily impressed with the headline writer for Dan's column today. The phrase 'Ray of Hope' was used, which I thought was amazingly clever, because, you know, the Tampa Bay baseball team is called the 'Rays.' They ought to pay newspaper people more money; they most certainly are Einsteins-in-waiting over there at The Globe.

Anonymous said...


Ah, the Shank in full “blame” mode:

“Bill Belichick's daily press briefing”


“Iron Mike Timlin” = useless

“Walpole Joe Morgan” knows best

“David Ortiz is the ghost”

“ice-cold Jason Varitek”

“The Sox wouldn't even be here if they'd kept Manny.”

Shank, Manny would have said it best – “We getting our behinds whooped. We’ll try our best next game. If we don’t win, is it the end of the world?”

The game I watched in “high-def” clearly showed a Tampa team on a roll and a Sox team on the ropes. That is competition baby.

Isn't it obvious?


Anonymous said...

...Oh that Shank, another lazy, recycled column. Is anyone really surprised?.....Shank reminds me of when Wille Mays was playing on his last legs. ( of course the Shanker was never THAT good to begin with.)

Anonymous said...

In Cancer Dan's blighted cosmogony, Manny del Carmen is a negro, therefore he needs to be singled out because in today's baseball there are too many negroes for any to be self-evidently singled out.

Objectivebruce said...

Gee, one would think that a minor leaguer placed on the major league roster under Theo and kept on the roster under Theo after Theo has been the general manager (off and on) for five years would qualify as a "Theo guy," irrespective of his signing date.

Reason for Sawx collapse in League Championship Series: Ellsbury, Varitek, Lowrie, Lester, Beckett, Wakefield, DelCarmen, Ortiz and Epstein choked. Folded. Took the apple. Went girly. Didn't show up to play. Didn't do the job they were paid to do.

There's no other way to describe 2 for 48, other than they choked. Or to describe 26 earned runs in 16.2 innings other than they choked. Or to describe the failure to acquire a significant pitcher since signing Matsuzaka 22 months ago other than he choked. Or to describe the failure to recognize the shelf-life of catchers.

Even if we luv, luv,luv our heroes, we are presently observing the biggest Sawx collapse in 20 years.

Now, have we overrated our heroes or have they simply spit the bit when it counts? There is no third choice.

It will be interesting to see if Shaughnessy points this out, and just how much he is vilified should he do so. Because there is no denying the 2008 Boston Red Sox gagged when it counted most.

Chris said...

LOL @ a Shaughnessy defender using the term, 'Went girly.' Ding! We have a winner!

Anonymous said...


I agree with OB a second time.

Sox players are choking under “the really serious pressure of Boston”? Is Theo is paying price for “clean cut” “number crunching” type of team? The 2008 team seems to lack genuine personality, kind of like Theo.

Shank, it’s not Manny’s fault. We shall see tonight how Tampa asserts their personality or how the Sox create a personality.

How do we define the Sox since 2000?

Baseball history has introduced us to Bronx Bombers, Gashouse Gang, the M&M Boys, the Big Red Machine, etc.

Where do the current Sox fit in baseball lore?

Shank’s “Manny” Bashers? Theo’s Minions? etc.


dbvader said...

Gee, one would think that a minor leaguer placed on the major league roster under Theo and kept on the roster under Theo after Theo has been the general manager (off and on) for five years would qualify as a "Theo guy," irrespective of his signing date.

By that awesome logic, everybody is a "Theo Guy." Every time he decides not to release somebody, that player becomes a "Theo Guy." Sometimes you pick a player simply because he is there, which Delcarmen was.

Now, have we overrated our heroes or have they simply spit the bit when it counts? There is no third choice.

Or it is just four games. I don't think you are shank anymore. Shank isn't this dumb.

Anonymous said...

I think OB is Shank. Everyone knows Shank is a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan. Plus, using your hero as your pseudonym is hacky and we all know Shank is the biggest hack in the league. Further, I don't believe any "objective" person can defend Shank's putrid column so blindly and limitlessly. OB is either CHB or someone very close to him. Or he is just a stubborn, stupid, dinosaur like his hero.

Anonymous said...


Shut the fuck up with the "luv, luv, luv" shit, okay?

Thanks, bunky!

Your pal,


Anonymous said...


Upon further review this is where I agree with you:

"Epstein choked"

As far as "Ellsbury, Varitek, Lowrie, Lester, Beckett, Wakefield, DelCarmen, Ortiz" - they are getting outplayed and not choking. Tampa is performing at a higher level. They are not giving the Sox an opportunity to choke.

Theo is dealing the cards. The players just do the best they can.

The 2008 team reminds me a lot of the 2006 team. Flawed and resilient.

Listen to unbiased views on what led to Sox success:

By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports

“Actually, the Red Sox have lived and died with two guys, Ramirez and Ortiz, in the runs to their two championships this decade. Sure, the complementary pieces turned the Red Sox into a machine, but cog Nos. 1 and 2 were Manny and Papi, the most devastating postseason hitters since Reggie Jackson.”

Who shattered the “cog Nos. 1 and 2”? Who is responsible for the “complementary pieces”?

Theo the card shark!


Anonymous said...

Ellsbury, Varitek, Lowrie, Lester, Beckett, Wakefield, DelCarmen, Ortiz and Epstein choked?

Ellsbury as we have seen this year is a streak hitter and at times gets very cold. This is one of those times.

Varitek - Choke? No, Old? Yes. I have been worried about this position for years. Theo can take some heat on this, but they don't have anything in the minors ready to step in and no one out there is looking to trade a top catcher.

Lowrie - Nice, this kid is a rookie, and in his first ALCS.

Lester - One bad game and he is labeled a choker? In the last series he was being called the best pitcher in baseball. Talk about emotional over reacting.

Beckett - Hurt

Wakefield - He's a great innings eating guy for the regular season, not so much for the playoffs. Terry should have put in Byrd.

DelCarmen - Again, another streaky player. Sometimes looks great, other times awful. But still better then most relivers in the league. You can't have a bullpen of all Paps!

Ortiz - Guys of his make-up break down ... see Moe Vaughn.

Epstein - The guy has put together teams that have been in the playoffs almost every year, made the ALCS 4 times, 2 World Series Championships. This years team is in the playoffs because he organized it to have the depth needed to survive the injuries to Schilling, Lowell, Drew, Ortiz, Beckett, Lugo (thank God) and Manny's one man strike. Overall the guy has done a pretty good job. But I'm not a petty minded person looking to push an agenda.

Monkeesfan said...

Theo Epstein's record as GM from 2002 onward -

Playoff appearences - 2003-5, 2007-8.

World Series - 2004, 2007 - both championships.

The facts don't lie.

BTW, in all of Shank's bashing, it's been said he's pushing an agenda - I've lost track of what that agenda is.

Anonymous said...

"Fan Boy" OB who expects Epstein to produce championships every year?

Chris said...

Dan may have a slight and short reprieve as Boston's Dumbest Sports scribe. The Herald's Sean McAdam decided (all by himself!) that the Kazmir decision would blow up on the Rays. For someone who already looks and sounds dumb when he gets something right, Friday will not be a good day for this particular member of the Boston Sports Media Cabal. How do people like this get & keep their jobs?

Chris said...

Shank's agenda is multi-faceted, but generally it involves an overall disdain for Boston sports fans and their enthusiasm for the home town teams. Using that as a foundation, he has particular disdain for fans younger than a certain age. We generally peg this to mean anyone who can't recall the 1980s or earlier, which is illustrated nicely by Dan's often-obtuse references to 1980s trivia...a way for him to generally proclaim, 'I was around then and you were not.'

Anonymous said...

Is it at all possible that DRays were just plain better than the Red Sox? Is that at a possiblity. Cuz if it is then the Red Sox didn't choke, they just got beat by a better team. It does happen on those rare occasions in life.

And BTW, for all the injuries (in no particular order: Schilling, Beckett (twice, maybe three times) Ortiz, Drew, Lowell, Casey, Lugo. All guys that had big expectations this year)and dramas (see Ramirez, M) that happened this year for the Sox, finishing three games short of the World Series is not the worst thing in the world. It's ok Bru-... I mean people, sometimes it just happens.

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous #17, indeed. The fact we need to accept is the Rays have become a real team.

Monkeesfan said...

chris - thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Monkeesfan ....

Red Sox Payroll 2002 - 2008

Total Payroll

$ 133,390,035

$ 143,026,214

$ 120,099,824

$ 123,505,125

$ 127,298,500

$ 99,946,500

$ 108,366,060


Tampa Bay 2008 Salary

Doesn't seem fair does it?


Monkeesfan said...

How many Houston Oiler references will Shank make for this latest stunning comeback win by the Sox?

Monkeesfan said...

anonymous #20 - hey, I've advocated salary caps for all sports for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Monkeesfan ...

So Theo has been lucky to be in Boston.

Big Market Money can hide many mistakes.

Can't hide from those facts.


roger bournival said...

It's never over!

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor???

Anonymous said...

Big market money helps, but look at the team:

Jacoby Ellsbury - 25, first full year in majors. Home grown talent.

Jon Lester - 24, first full year in majors. Home grown talent.

Manny Delcarmen - 26, first full season in majors. Home grown talent.

Justin Masterson - 23, first season in majors, Home grown talent.

Jonathan Papelbon - 27, fourth season, third full season. Home grown talent.

Jed Lowrie - 24, first year in majors. Home grown talent.

Dustin Pedroia - 15, second full season in majors. Home grown talent.

Kevin Youkilis - 29, fifth season, third full season. Home grown talent.

Point is, this isn't a Dan Duquette or Brian Cashman team loaded with high price, low talent free agents. This is a team put together with a mix of homegrown talent, trades (Bay, Crisp, Beckett) and free agent signings. The team isn't perfect, but it is good and with the young talent coming up and already here it looks to do better ... and once the Lugo and Rameriz (are we still paying rent-a-wrecks?)contracts clear the books the salary will stay relatively stable while other teams grow.

Anonymous said...

In the current baseball era there is a correlation between Big Market Spenders and World Series Winner.

Since 1995, 9 World Series winners have sprouted from big spenders. The other 4 were mid/small market winner.

Yes there are “magical moments” such as Arizona beating the Yankees or Florida twice shocking the Big Boys, but you would have to agree that to increase your chances of winning the World Series you need a high priced “hired gun” to get over the top.

The “homegrown” approach has been perfected by Oakland. When did they visit the series last?

All the Sox “homegrown” talent will eventually depart for “greener” pastures. They will have to spend to keep up with the East.

To have a 2-1 advantage in winning the “series” you need to spend, otherwise you can rely on a 1 in 3 chance that ‘magic” visits.


mike_b1 said...

g, I think you're using the wrong metric. The smaller the sample, the wider the variation. Which is why a lesser team can best a better one in a three or five or seven game series, but won't over the course of, say, 162 games.

WS wins aren't the output of big spending. (And even winning the division isn't necessarily a given, as shown by the recent successes in Oakland, San Diego, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tampa, etc.)

The money might help you get there. But it won't make you win.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, that is why the approach the Sox are taking under Epstein seems to be working. They aren't relying (as Cashman and Duquette did in the past) on building a team with free agents. They are building with a complementary mix of home grown, trades and free agents. And, they have the money to retain players once they reach arbitration / free agency if the choose. Tampa Bay is the team that will lose a lot of their young talent to free agency in the next few years.

Anonymous said...

So if you had to place a “blind” bet during preseason which team would win the World Series would you choose the team that can afford a $100+ million payroll or a team that can only sustain $50 million budget?


Anonymous said...

What the F does that have to do with anything? Money helps, but the bottom line is the person spending the money has to know what he is doing. The Mets spent a ton over the past few years, what have they gotten for it? The Orioles spent a lot of money a few years back, what did it get them? The Yankees are over $200 million this year, how did they do?

Anonymous said...

The question of placing your bet has to do with who has the advantage - a Big Market Team or a Smaller Market Team.

Common sense understands that "the person spending the money has to know what he is doing" or else they get replaced.

The earlier comment that Theo has been lucky he is in Boston in a "big market" with owners with "deep pockets" still stands.

We shall see where the "Theo Legacy" stands in the years to come once the Manny era, Duquette players (Varitek, etc.) are cleansed from the system.

"The Mets spent a ton over the past few years, what have they gotten for it? The Orioles spent a lot of money a few years back, what did it get them? The Yankees are over $200 million this year, how did they do?"

Let's see what happens when those teams "cleanse" their mistakes.

Hopefully we won't end up with an Oakland A's system = stagnation.

But then again we should be lucky for what we have - Big Market, Deep Pockets.


Objectivebruce said...

If I were a person to make a wager, I would place a few loonies on Manny becoming a Met.

Anonymous said...


You are full of surprises.

Now you understand that players have a right to play "moneyball" too. The player though is held accountable for his every ounce of production or lack thereof.

The rest of us are just pencil pushing (ahem typing) fantasy players. That includes Shank and Theo.