Monday, August 24, 2009

Hanging It Up

I have been going back and forth on this in my mind for awhile now but I have decided to hang it up. I have really enjoyed contributing to this site--its been a little over 2 and a half years now for me personally and the website is about to make its 4th anniversary overall.

When I first started posting, there was a comment from someone asking what we were hoping to accomplish with this website. For me personally, I wanted an outlet for my self and for others to share their frustration about Shaughnessy. Dan is a talented writer but I was frustrated with his seeming laziness, his personal vendettas, and his weak logic. Contrary to the opinion of some of those who commented, my agenda was never about protecting heroic athletes against Shaughnessy's biting criticism.

Deep down, I also harbored (a probably misguided) belief that Shaughnessy would happen upon this site and magically change his ways and become a good writer (again?). Let me assure you folks...Shaughnessy is not walking through that door. I actually had a nice 20 minute conversation with Shaughnessy recently. I did not discuss this site with him; I am not sure he knows about it; or if he would even make the connection between me and the site. Even if he is aware of site, he is not changing his ways. For better or worse, he is what he is.

In any event, I had sent him a critical e-mail questioning his ethics in light of his laziness/self-plagiarism for the spring training column and for accusing Ortiz of being a liar without accomplishing due diligence. He offered his rationale which I did not find altogether convincing but I at least respect his willingness to face the heat. He actually went to a lot of trouble to contact me, accommodating my schedule. Considering I questioned his ethics, he was pretty gracious about it all. We had a cordial discussion and agreed to disagree... but it was a civil discussion nonetheless. During our discussion, he made the point that much of the banter on the internet has become shrouded in anonymity and in this transformation of communication, we have lost a lot in terms of civility. I would like to think this site has always been conducted in a mostly civil way but I recognize that at times, I personally have resorted to some amount of petiness and I regret that. The intent is/was to provide constructive criticism. I think we always strived to be fair - giving Shaughnessy credit when he would write a good column but more than often not, it seemed to me that he was mailing it in--which I think is a shame.

But again, Shaughnessy is not going to change at this stage in his career. He has a carved a successful niche for himself and many view him as the voice of New England sports and that is a pretty good accomplishment so I imagine he is doing something right. He seems comfortable with himself and that is good. And from what little I know, he seems to be a compassionate Dad and there is a lot to be said for that.

If anyone is interested in carrying on, please drop me a line - just email me - my email address is in my profile. Other than that, I would like to thank the dedicated followers of this blog and for those who have taken the time to leave comments. I have always enjoyed the banter. I have no idea how many people follow this blog but I am grateful that people would actually take the time to stop by and leave a few words of wisdom. Yes, even thanks to Bruce. Your contrarian voice has been good for business. I dont think I have agreed you with much at all but at least I can give you credit for being able to laugh at yourself - an ability that I see peek through your posts from time to time.

Again, thanks to everyone. I am grateful.

(Edit 8:33, Tuesday): Also, in my haste, I forgot to add thanks to Chief, DBVader and the late Jerry Gutlon- thanks for being great teammates!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Penny Wise, Penny Foolish

Dan offers a fair assessment of Brad Penny's woeful performance last night against the Yankees. Penny is not working out so well these days and Shaughnessy provides his two cents on the matter.

Update, 8:28: Dan also offers a nice tribute to Yaz as he turns 70. Wow, I feel old. Yaz was a favorite of mine growing up

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More Pieces

Dan writes a picked up pieces column on the 32nd anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Very consistent with others he has written. If you like this format, you will probably enjoy today's offering, replete with references to Jason Varitek's underoos. If you don't like the format, it is easy enough to chip away at.

I don't particularly mind the format but I find it interesting that Shaughnessy likes to play the moral authority on issues such as steroids, adultery, and conflicts of interest when he himself: uses material from old books and presents it as new material; when he accuses someone of being a liar but does not have all the facts; and acknowledges that he can't be bothered to collect the relevant facts even though it is his job.

Even when he makes a valid point, he surrounds it with his laziness. He questions the millions that Epstein has wasted on free agents (fair enough) but starts with "Not sure if Edgar Renteria and Matt Clement are still on the books...." Dan, would it kill you to find this stuff out?

My carping aside, its your typical Shaughnessy fare. Good for some and not so much for others

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Out of Town

Sorry all - I was out of town and had limited access and so I missed a fine article by Shaughnessy. Hope to get back on track. In the mean time - Bruce - just left you a response on the previous post. Really appreciated your translation of me and so I felt compelled to respond in kind.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Home Again

Dan offers an innocuous look at the Red Sox' return home to Fenway and a win over the Tigers. I am still so disgusted by this past weekend's effort (of Shaughnessy not the Red Sox) and stunned that he still has a job that I care not to comment further.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Shameless Shank

I thought hit Shaughnessy hit a low water mark last fall when he declared the Red Sox playoff series over after the Red Sox won the first game. But then he hit a lower point this spring when he self-plagiarized a column about spring training from a book that he had co-written with another person. But this past week, he has sunk to a whole new level.

Shaughnessy accused David Ortiz of lying but he did not have all the facts and could not be bothered to collect them (see my diatribe in the previous post below). Today's contribution is just as bad. He issues no mea culpas—instead he offers a mammoth rationalization as to why he wrongly/prematurely accused someone of lying. It is downright disgusting. At the least, I credit him for admitting he was too lazy to collect the facts

Click here to read Shaughnessy’s rationalization:

- First, he makes the astounding claim that the reason that Ortiz seems to be getting a pass here is that people like him personally. Meanwhile, Clemens and Bonds are being vilified because people don’t like them personally. Seriously? If you didn’t have your head so far up your arse, you would realize there are worlds of differences between the cases of Bonds, Clemens, and Ortiz. There is no Game of Shadows for Ortiz is there? To this point, no one has come out publicly to say they injected Ortiz with steroids, have they? Give people credit, Dan—they are able to seek the evidence and make their own conclusions. Personality certainly is a factor but it is not the decisive factor that you claim. The cases are different but you are too dense to understand that.

- Shaughnessy does admit to being too lazy although he is probably too stupid to realize he has made this stunning admission. He says

“Seriously, if Donald Fehr, Gene Orza, or Weiner had gone public with their questions about the legitimacy of the (2003) positive results back in February, there would have been less rush to jump on Ortiz when his name came out July 30.”

Did you even bother to ask any of them yourself Dan? Did you even try to get any of the facts right? Isn't that your responsibility before you claim someone is a liar?

Then he quotes Weiner:

"We thought we were pretty darn vocal,’’ Weiner said. “We wrote a long and publicly-released letter to congressmen Waxman and Davis. Maybe we made a mistake of thinking people would read a letter sent to congressmen.’’

and says:
Right. Most of us routinely inspect all correspondence between the Players Association and Congress. Sorry we missed this one.

Sorry you missed this one? Take your sarcasm and shove it. You shouldn’t have missed this one. It is your responsibility as a journalist to do due diligence before you make the accusation that someone has lied. And you didn’t do it. How dare you?

Oh and here is my favorite
“We’re trained to be cynical of accused cheaters who claim innocence.”

Wow, what journalism school did you go to? I thought you were trained to do research to prove your assertions? I thought you were trained to take each individual case and examine it on its own merits? What you seem to be saying is that you have lumped everyone together in one big pot and it is okay to accuse them all of lying because everyone seems to be lying?

Then you have the nerve to end your little piece of trash by suggesting that there were holes in the Ortiz and Wiener’s accounts? Maybe so….but nothing in comparison to the gaping holes in your credibility and ethics. Astonishing

In my nearly three years of working on this site, I have never been this utterly disgusted. Truly, a new low for Shaughnessy. A new low for the Globe. And a new low for journalism.

Shaughnessy Proves The Point

As I mentioned in my earlier post, today’s press conference with Ortiz was very interesting. Contrary to what Objective Bruce may try to lead you to believe, I am not here to criticize Shaughnessy because I am a “fanboy blogger” engaged in the hero worship of athletes. As I mentioned in a previous comment thread, I just retired from the military after 20 years and I know some of our country’s true heroes personally and they are not the ones who play professional sports. And I can assure you I am not doing a little happy dance because David Ortiz has been vindicated. I do think he has been partially vindicated but I very well acknowledge that subsequent information may come to light that could cast Ortiz in a totally different and negative light. Time will tell. But, for me, it is not about Ortiz. It is about Shaughnessy.

I have chosen to dedicate time to this blog because I continue to be dumbfounded how Dan Shaughnessy can be such a widely acclaimed journalist. I (and my wonderful cohorts) have tried to repeatedly point out (and I hope to some degree we have been successful) that he is a lazy, vindictive reactionist. So, yes, today's press conference makes me quite happy because it proves my point vividly and dramatically.

In case you have not been following, last week Dan Shaughnessy quickly ripped into Ortiz after Ortiz’s name was leaked to be on “the list” of steroid users. Shaughnessy declared “David Ortiz lied to you. It seems safe to say that his entire Red Sox career is a lie.” Never mind that Shaughnessy never talked to Ortiz. Never mind that Shaughnessy did not know what Ortiz tested positive for. Never mind that Shaughnessy did not know there was a question of the validity of the test. Never mind that Ortiz did not know he even tested positive for anything. These things did not matter because Shaughnessy was in such a rush to punch out a column. There was no time for fact checking; there was no time for corroboration; there was nothing anyone would expect of a professional journalist. No, this was yellow journalism at its finest This was Shaughnessy…. ever ready to bury a hatchet in someone, any proof be damned

It was offered in one of the comments here that John Powers’ column proved that Ortiz was lying. No, that was not the case. Here is what Powers said: “MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr told House committee chairman Henry Waxman in a letter last summer that the players were not explicitly informed that they had tested positive, but only that they were on a list of players the government had seized, as part of an investigation into an illegal steroids operation.”

Ortiz acknowledged there was some meeting on this issue but that it was confusing. After listening to the union rep explain all the inconsistencies and after re-reading the above from Powers, I would be confused too.

Shaughnessy may eventually prove to be right about Ortiz. But that doesn’t matter. At the time he accused Ortiz of being a liar, he did not have the information to make the accusation. He did not seek the full story because he is lazy. He was ready to prematurely attack because he is vindictive. If anyone lied to us, it was Shaughnessy. If anything is tainted, it is his ethics. He is the one who should be suspended for a year. And he is not the only one – Massarotti and Ryan and many others also piled on. It was disgraceful and shameful.

Fascinating Press Conference

I am watching the Ortiz-Wiener press is fascinating and it confirms that Shaughnessy and many of the other "journalists" are lazy. They make sweeping statements of guilt and yet they did not have all the facts. Wiener's statement of facts is compelling.

Let's see if Shaughnessy issues a mea culpa

Game recap

Dan lays out a straightforward game recap and an honest (negative but not overly so) perspective of recent Red Sox recent collapses in the wake of the Red Sox crushing but nonetheless thrilling loss to the Yankees in 15 innings last night.

This being said, Shaughnessy does not offer much beyond what Amalie Benjamin's game recap offers....besides reminding us for the 300th time of the year that Manny (Act 1) quit and the year Theo stood still at the trading deadline.

Dan also offers an interesting line when he says, "It was mildly reminiscent of a magical event at Candlestick Park in 1963. That was the night 42-year-old Warren Spahn and prime-time Juan Marichal locked up for 16 innings of shutout ball. " He says that as if he were there throwing the word "mildly" in for good measure...which I sort of doubt that he was.

Dan is sure to be covering the Ortiz press conference today and that will make for interesting fodder in all sorts of ways. I hold out hope that Ortiz will provide an honest approach in which people will look back in years to come and say "That is way this issue should have been handled" but I dont think that will happen...CHB must be over the top waiting for this one...and I fear for years we will be hearing "Ah yes, 2009...the year of Massacre II and the year Ortiz lied"

Stay tuned my friends

Friday, August 07, 2009

Chicken Little, Swiss Miss

Chicken Little? Shaughnessy takes one loss to the Yankees and is ready to close the door on the Red Sox playoff chances (“Suddenly, the thought crosses the mind that the Red Sox might not even make the playoffs.”)

Little Swiss Miss? I swear you can set a watch by this guy. This piece was so bloody predictable (and consequently so is this blog entry), that it is past comical.

That being said, I really cant argue with Chicken Little’s basic premise. Definitely lots of warning signs about the Red Sox. I just wish for once he would deviate from the mad libs cookbook approach to writing.

And maybe he is trying….but sadly, even his attempts fall apart…He tries to go Bill Simmons on us and suggest that Earl Weaver’s “reverse lock” theory is in play. He says the theory is that when a team has no chance to win, said team will prevail because of that.” What? Is he suggesting the theory held last night because the Yankees had lost 8 in a row to the Sox and thus had no chance of winning? Let’s see, the Yankees have been playing well and the Sox? Not so much. The Yankees are at home and the Red Sox trot out Smoltz who stinks? Does not seem to me that the basic assumptions underlying the reverse lock theory are in play.

Throw in an obscure reference (Fred Wenz? I admit I had to look it up – pitched for the Sox and Phillies in 68-70 timeframe) and a shot at Ortiz for not talking to the press (eventhough he has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow) and you have another putrid entry from the region’s best sportswriter.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Shaughnessy's Piss-poor Lack of Execution

As much as I criticize Dan Shaughnessy's writing, I usually like his "turn back the clock" and high school sports pieces. Dan writes a turn back the clock piece today and the idea behind it has much potential but Shaughnessy's execution of it is shockingly bad and again smacks of his laziness.

Shaughnessy looks back 30 years - to the day Thurman Munson died; the day Edward Bennett Williams bought the Orioles; and the day Tony Larussa first got a managing gig.

- It may not have been his intent but Shaughnessy paints Munson as a petty man--padding his stats and being way too concerned about what Curt Gowdy would say about him on Saturday afternoon baseball games.

- Shaughnessy wastes a lot of space detailing his travel plans and how he missed a big story - too much detail for something that adds precious little to the story.

- I would agree that Williams' ownership was influential but it would have been nice if Shaughnessy would connect those dots. Was it because Williams laid the groundwork for Camden Yards? Or was it because (as Shaughnessy clumsily suggests) that it gave birth to the baseball career of Larry Lucchino?

- I would also agree that Larussa's managerial career is influential because I think it reflected the first wave of the overt analytical approach to managing baseball. Shaughnessy does not explore that - instead he makes a quick (and again clumsy) reference to Larussa's career victories and the fact that Larussa was in the dugout when the Sox won the 2004 World Series. Shaughnessy curiously writes "He was also in the other dugout when the Red Sox forever changed the baseball universe in St. Louis on Oct. 27, 2004." (Note, this is a World Series victory that Shaughnessy two days ago called "forever tainted.")

So, in the end, Shaughnessy seems to be losing a grip for even the types of columns for which he typically receives a passing grade. It is an astonishing collapse.