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!


Chris said...

The Boston Globe is only worth $20m. A lobbyist will successfully sue the NYT for $27m for its sleazy and defaming piece saying she had an affair with John McCain. That means the Lobbyist will own the Boston Globe--finally making it something worth reading--and still be owed $7m from the NYT. This is priceless.

Chris said...

You know you've 'made it' when your peers trash you. Those pieces were pure gold, point to Shaughnessy's ineptness and utter bias. You don't see fellow columnist Bob Ryan getting tarred & feathered this badly. Ryan is to Shaughnessy what 'great' is to 'awful.'

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go that far...ever watch Bob Ryan on TV?.....he comes across as just another yelling,screaming ranting,raving BUFFOON

Chris said...

Well, I agree with the 'ranting & raving' side of Bob Ryan. He does have that 'all-about-me' persona, but I somehow find him more agreeable and more acceptable than Shaughnessy. And I also find that he makes cogent, defensible arguments...built logically...while Shaughnessy is nothing more than a curmudgeon. Shaughnessy's MO is built on aloofness and irritability. He scores big in both categories, which might be a reason why a blog like this one exists in the first place. The whole Boston Globe organization--that would be the one worth $20m--is a collection of haughty, aloof, irritating people. The newspaper may be held together simply because the people working there could NEVER succeed in any other work environment. It would just be impossible for them to. They are, as the saying goes, a product of their environment.

Dave M said...

MikeB1 - great to see you posting! Appreciate the links - good reading. I am tormented by the Jim Rice discussions since he was one of my favorites growing up but I realize that he has his drawbacks and Shank cant come to grips with any meaningful statistical analysis.

On a separate thought...Shaughnessy has had some particularly long gaps in his writing schedule lately...any chance he accepted a limited buyout to part time status.

Chris - I agree with you re: Ryan vs Shaughnessy. I find Ryan much more enjoyable and entertaining

Roger Bournival said...

I wonder if this is a good thing for the Boston Globe:

In the worst year in history for publishers, newspaper shares dropped an average of 83.3% in 2008, wiping out $64.5 billion in market value in just 12 months.

Although things were tough for all sorts of businesses in the face of the worst economic slump since the 1930s, the decline among the newspaper shares last year was more than twice as deep as the 38.5% drop suffered by the Standard and Poor’s average of 500 stocks.

The debacle was widespread and thoroughgoing, as detailed below. Here are some highlights from the data:

:: The shares of eight of the 14 publishers tracked in the survey fell by 90% or more. The best-performing companies were the Washington Post Co., New York Times Co., and News Corp., but WaPo, the least battered issue of all, still fell 51.5%.

:: While market capitalization surpassed $1 billion for all but one of the 13 publishers that were publicly traded at the end of 2004, only four publishers today are valued at $1 billion or more. The New York Times Co. is barely clinging to the distinction. A drop of as just a few cents per share would knock NYT out of the increasingly exclusive billion-dollar bracket.

:: The biggest loser of all was Tribune Co., which is worthless as the result of the bankruptcy filed less than 12 months after Sam Zell bought its shares for $8.2 billion to take the company private.

:: Trading for pennies, the shares of GateHouse Media, Journal Register Co. Lee Enterprises and Sun-Times Media Group are essentially worthless. GHSE, JRCO and SUTM all were banished to the Pink Sheets earlier this year when their shares fell below the rule at the New York Stock Exchange that prohibits an issue from closing below $1 per share for 30 days in a row.

:: At least two more publishers may be destined for the Pink Sheets early in 2009. Unless LEE’s shares turn around within a matter of days, it is likely to be the fourth newspaper stock booted off the Big Board. After falling below $1 per share in mid-December and failing to recover, McClatchy may not be far behind.

It is fair to surmise that newspaper stocks last year got trounced twice as badly as the broader market , because investors have not seen any plausible strategies from publishers to reverse the accelerating declines in readership, advertising and profitability that have been under way since 2006.

As if that were not bad enough, a number of publishers are staggering under the heavy debt they acquired in recent years to fund acquisitions that might have proven to be wise, if the newspaper industry had been able to replicate the steady growth in sales and profits that they largely had enjoyed in the decades since World War II.

But times changed, newspapers didn’t and investors lost faith in the long-term viability of the industry.

Care to expand on this, OB?

Roger Bournival said...

Wait a minute - let's revisit a bold predicition from the board's foremost market analyst:

Troubling as it is for right-wing kooks (Moi? - Ed.), the Globe ain't going anywhere. It'll be smaller and redefined, and may intentionally shed some outlying circulation, but it will continue to be the major journalism presence in the region.

Only an ignorant fool (but I repeat myself), regardless of political persuasion, can conveniently ignore a fact like a massive decline in market price. These sorts of things have real world implications, like the lack of ability to borrow in the credit markets, decreased cash flow / advertising revenue, and so on.

Chris cites a report (reports) that the Globe's worth $20 - 27 million. How much of that do you think is related to the real estate alone at 135 Morrisey Boulevard (ignore plant & equipment)? You think UMB might make a run at them at some point? It looks like a great place for dorms, if you ask me.

A few months ago, I attempted to engage a certain ignorant fool in such a conversation about the Globe's future viability, even allowing for the scenario as italicized above. Now I'm fairly convinced as to the doubt of the NYT / Boston Globe's ability to continue as a going concern.

OB - that last phrase is used by professional accountants (do some digging, asshole) as the death knell of a corporation. I can't wait to hear your riposte.

Chris said...

I heard a story that pointed to a couple newspapers in Connecticut that were looking for their own portion of the bail-out bailiwick. So if you're the Liberal congress and the Liberal president, why wouldn't you tell these newspapers to go pound sand? I mean, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Newspapers lick the boots of Liberals as it is, and they'll still do so if Washington says 'Nyet' to the bailout. So, why not just say 'Nyet?'

Spigot said...

Rice's HOF credentials may be up in the air, but Rob Neyer is a complete douche. A unapologetic Royals and Twins fans, he has a hair across his ass for the Sox. I can't stand the Bill James navel-gazing stat analysis disciples and Neyer is one of them.

Anonymous said...

Anyone read the DeFelippo puff piece by CHB today? More condescending stuff from the Shank.

ObjectiveBruce said...

Don't have to look up anything.
There is no doubt that the Boston Globe will continue as a going concern, with or without the descent into gutter-talk that Roger seems to increasingly rely upon in an effort to gain acceptance for his predictions (and the predictions themselves seem rooted more in ideology than reality.)

The Boston Globe ain't going anywhere.

I'm not so sure that the state of Massachusetts or any special purpose agency with the authority to issue bonds, is in a position to go on an ambitious dorm-building spree for an urban college.

Anonymous said...


The Globe ain't going anywhere.
Good point. They still make horse carriages, too, bunky!

Your pal,


Roger Bournival said...

Um, Brucie? Some reading comprehension things you may want to note:

1) I can point out financial data (i.e., lack of positive cash flow from operations) to back up my point. What do you have, other than blithe assertions, that 'the Globe ain't going anywhere'?

2) The article states that $750 million's already been allocated over a ten year period to do the dorm building thingy.

Normal discourse fails to persuade you, thus the resort to 'gutter-talk' to drive my arguments through your thick fucking skull.

Monkeesfan said...

Oh boy, Dan will be ejaculating all over himself now that Rice has been voted into Cooperstown.