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.