Monday, March 31, 2008

Chicken Again?

Once more, Dan feels the need to tell us what an arduous undertaking it has been to cover the Red Sox as they have traveled to Japan and Los Angeles. This is the first sentence:

"Yesterday was odyssey day No. 12, the final day in southern California.

Shut the hell up. Nobody cares.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

LA Coliseum, Part Deux

Dan picks up where he left off yesterday, dissecting the scene at the LA Coliseum where the Dodgers and Red Sox played an exhibition game before a crowd of 115K+. The article was very similar to yesterday--a discussion of the Coliseum history and the peculiarities of the playing field and the player's reaction to it. Yesterday was good, today is too much of a good thing.

As I read it, I do wonder if Shaughnessy should just start to make his transition to the lifestyle section of the Globe - perhaps he would fare better over there? If you look at his columns from the past week or so (What is it Dan, 6 countries and 45,000 miles?), the actual game of baseball is merely a sideshow or backdrop to his writings. He seems fascinated with all the trappings of baseball but he shows no inclination/passion for the game itself and in the end, it all rings a little hollow.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Playing at the LA Coliseum

I am more than happy to give credit where credit is due. Shaughnessy's article today on the LA Coliseum is excellent. The Sox and the Dodgers are playing an exhibition game there today and it will be the first game there since 1961. The column does nice a job of blending three story lines: 1) the hope that they can set an attendance record of 100K+; 2) the peculiarities of the playing field (200 feet to left field?) and 3) the history of the stadium. I enjoyed the read quite a bit.

If I am going to quibble, I could have done without the "It is what it is" Belichickian quote from Tim Wakefield. Also, Shaughnessy has been known to get his historical facts mixed up and upon a first read, I can't vouch that every fact he pitches is correct.

In the end, one of the stronger efforts from our friend Shank

Friday, March 28, 2008

Holy Crap - More Time Travel

For those of you who thought that Dan might finally break free from writing about the rigors and effects of time travel, think again. It's all there again and then some. Time travel has become Dan's most recent obsession, so much so that one has to wonder if it has bumped Curt Schilling down a peg on the CHB-obsession meter. (If I am counting right, there was only one dig at Schilling all week).

Should we really expect anything more than this from Dan? He did ride over and back on the airplane with these guys right? So you might think he would get a more penetrating perspective from some of the players on their thoughts on the trip but instead we are treated to a number of "We feel okay" standard stock quotes (Wakefield: "I'm ok"; Ortiz: "I felt ok"; Francona: "I feel ok") probably because none of the players care to talk to him.

Of course, we don't expect anything more than this from our friend Shank. Given that, let us count our blessings because:

- Shank didn't complain about the effects of time travel on his ability (or lack thereof) to write and meet deadline

- He didn't complain about the price of water in Japan

- He didn't complain about not receiving a $40K bonus about to travel to Japan

- He only got one shot in at Schilling (I apologize if I missed one or two - I have learned to ignore them over time)

I am sure all this writing and travel was very hard on Dan. Will be interesting to see if he has to take a week off to recover when they get back to Boston.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Time Zones and the Wonders of Intercontinental Travel

For the first quarter of Dan's column today, that is all he talks about. And if you have ever flown on a jet over a timeline, you will get the point before he even makes it.

The rest is another picked up pieces column from the trip. That's Dan for you. Boston Globe's top Sports columnist and he cannot be bothered to develop a single theme for his column.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Look at Brandon Moss

Dan gives us a look at the player who went from great heights to the lowest depths over Boston's first two games. His first career home run was to tie the game in the ninth inning and the next day he went 0-3 with 3 K's.

Dan goes through the media guide and gives you Moss's history since being drafted in 2002. Thrown in a few quotations and an obvious "That's Life" reference and Dan has himself a column.

In Case You Weren't Paying Attention...

Daisuke Matsuzaka cost a lot of money. We should be thankful that we have Dan to remind us.

Dan has the game recap, and because of the time difference, Dan can actually write about the game instead of taking the lazy route and writing some generic piece before the game then shoehorning a couple of paragraphs about the game in the column.

Even with the extra time, Dan cannot avoid his usual tired subjects and odd references. Not only does he repeat the "$103 million man" bit, but there is a Grady Little reference out of nowhere (his reception would not be lukewarm, anyways), the use of the word "homies", and Dan brings General MacArthur into it. A terribly written piece, completely without flow and filled with one or two sentence paragraphs such as this one"

"Dustin Pedroia opened the season with a single up the middle on an 0-and-1 pitch, but the Sox failed to score.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Trip Through the Recycling Bin

Dan is tired. You have to give him some slack. After not working for a week he has been asked to write two columns for the baseball preview that must have taken him 30, 45 minutes in the library. And he has been writing about this long trip the Red Sox are on.

How do we know it is a long trip? Dan tells us every chance he gets.
"Tokyo is the first stop on an 18-day, three-country, 16,000-mile road trip"


"The 18-day, three-country, 31,000-mile sojourn"
(I don't know what happened to those 15,000 miles either.)

And Dan isn't done recycling material.
"closer Jonathan Papelbon was clocked at 151 (kilometers per hour)."

"Papelbon topped out at 151 k.p.h."

"there have been no Mike Mussina-esque complaints"


"I know Mike Mussina is still trying to recover from his 2004 trip to Japan"

"there are guys in New York (hello, Mike Mussina) still complaining about the Yankees' trip to Japan in 2004."

The rest of the column is similar laziness. "Matsuzaka cost a lot of money", lots of bland pronouncements about repeating. Stuff that really gets the fan excited about the upcoming season.

So, once again, the Boston Globe, in the face of declining circulation, has the lazy hack write one of the most important sports columns of the year instead of the much more talented and hard working Bob Ryan. A giant FU to the readers. That is a great business model. As the Tracing Grimace would say, "How's that working out for you?"

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Couple of History Lessons and a Few Observations

Apparently, Dan spent his week off before the Tokyo trip pouring through baseball history books and writing up a couple of recaps for the Baseball Preview. The first is a look through baseball history at 'colorful' baseball managers. The second is a look through the Red Sox Media Guide basically listing Red Sox managers with a few of the obvious observations thrown in.

Today, Dan has his observations from a few days in Japan. They are pretty good, if written in a stilted manner. And as an added bonus, Dan's Larry Bird reference is actually funny:

"Tipping just isn't done in Tokyo. Waiters, cab drivers, and housekeepers expect to get stiffed. It's the anti-New York experience. Larry Bird would love the place."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Sights and Sounds of Tokyo

Dan covers the game between the Red Sox and Hanshin Tigers. Actually, he doesn't cover the game...instead, he describes the music and critiques the pronunciation of the PA announcers. Says the Japanese are doing everything they can to make the Red Sox feel at home--from playing Sweet Caroline to Dirty Water. I liked his bit about Javier Lopez hitting 127 on the radar gun...127K that is.

It was a respectable article. Not sure what has gotten into Dan lately. His acerbic nature has laregely been MIA. He has had a few clunkers of late to be sure but he has had a few entertaining reads as well and I would classify today's input as relatively entertaining.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jet Lags

Yesterday, Dan wrote about "the trip" and today, he writes about the aftermath of "the trip". Dan says the Red Sox are keeping mum and not complaining (except for one slip up by hometown hero Dice-K.) Fortunately, Dan follows their lead and doesn't complain either.

Oldies but Goodies alert: Dan injects references to Larry Bird and Elvis.

Otherwise, look away folks...not much to see here


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Night Flights

After a week's hiatus, Dan is back and rested. Watch out--I imagine, we will get a steady of stream of Tokyo Dan over the next couple of weeks.

Tonight (or is it this morning?), Dan presents us a detailed-laden blow by blow account of the Sox flight to Japan. I have got to say I am torn over this one. On the one hand Dan provides a light-hearted look at the trip:

- He offers some pleasant enough anecdotes
- He spares us the bitching and moaning of the long trip
- He touches upon yesterday's near boycott without going to Jackie MacMullan extremes (She details yesterday's "extraordinary" events. I am sorry but that whole drama was incredibly self-serving on part of the Red Sox players. I am probably in the minority here but spare me this crap. Getting paid $40K on top of your salary to take a trip to Japan? )
- In general, it is an entertaining look.

On the flip side, does Dan not appreciate the irony of this column? He frequently rails against the hero worship of athletes, as personified by 50 year olds wearing Curt Schilling jerseys... Does he not realize that he is committing the journalistic equivalence of wearing a Schilling jersey? Columns like this (and he has done this before) feed the frenzy. We get that behind the scenes look - players gathering in the cockpit to see the Northern Lights...players clutching their favorite pillows, etc. While I find this interesting on some level, I frankly don't need to know all these details. And I am not suggesting that Dan is fawning over the players - he is not. Yet when he describes every nitty gritty detail, he is essentially stoking the flames of hero worship. (Not sure if I am articulating this point very well but hope you appreciate where I am coming from)

Finally, we have the strangely abrupt finish of this article with the Varitek pillow story. What is up with that? Is Dan the victim of bad editing? Or are we the victims (again) of his poor writing?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Celts and Durant; We Will Never Know

A pretty standard look back at what might have been. Dan notes that the Celtics' starting lineup would look a lot different if they had got the seond pick in the NBA Draft that everybody was expecting. Dan plays it straight, with none of his normal distractions.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Height of Laziness

Dan's start to spring training wasn't very auspicious. And he followed with some real lazy efforts.

Today's might top them all for sheer laziness. He puts forth a premise (Lester facing off against Santana after the winter trade talks) and does absolutely nothing with it. To understand the level of Dan's laziness, you need to know only one thing: Dan used over one-third of his column to print a single, uninterrupted quotation from Theo Epstein.

I liked this bit, though:

"That's the way it is with a lot of fan/media topics. We get wound up in irony, coincidence, and ancillary issues while the people doing the job on the field rarely give it any thought."

No "we" Dan, just lazy sportswriters and sportsradio hosts who would prefer silly storylines and made up BS to actually analyzing what happens on the field.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Look at Vero Beach

The Dodgers are moving out of Vero Beach, FL and Dan has a look back at the fabled spring training facility. Pretty nice article without typical Dan asides.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Expectations Management

Dan reminds Red Sox Nation to temper their expectations about the Sox this season. He says they are a good team and a deep team but points out that the season is a long grind and there are plenty of other good teams out there. He scoffs at the notion that the Red Sox are a dynasty--a notion that I believe is only perpetuated by his fellow sports writers?

Petty Dan re-emerges today. He aims his snarkiness at the nouveau Red Sox fans, the ones who joined the Nation in 2004; the ones who wear pink Red Sox caps; the ones who apparently did not know that the sport of baseball even existed prior to 2004. Why do these people bother him so?

Obvious Dan also reminds us that "Every team in major league ball averages at least one loss every three games." I wonder if he has been hanging around Bill James too long?

Contradictory Dan spends a column telling people that they are fools if they think this is the most awesome team ever but then he says,

The Sox are good, and if they'd acquired Johan Santana, they could have been the best Red Sox team of all time.
Santana is obviously a superb pitcher but this kind of comment smacks of everything he wails against in the rest of the column.

It is not a horrible column....but in my mind, there are the typical tired elements of Shaughnessy fare: State the obvious; criticize the expectations (ones that he feeds with one hand and slaps away with the other); ridicule the fans; state the obvious again; and finally contradict himself undermining the whole premise of his column.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Going Overboard

Dan has a piece on Jacoby Ellsbury. A balanced piece as Dan avoids all his typical whipping boys and he hits all the highlights of Ellsbury's bio. CHB nicely captures the expectations of Red Sox fans while warning all to temper their expectations.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Son Also Rises

Dan has a mildly entertaining look at Hank Steinbrenner (son of George) stoking the fires of Star Wars. Dan says Hank will be good for keeping the rivalry heated. Dan even has a nice reach out to ESPN where he poses the question of whether the network is dominated by Sox fans?

Dan does get on his preachy "George Mitchell is on the masthead/the steroids report is tainted" soapbox but otherwise a decent enough effort.