Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back On The Bandwagon

Today's Boston Globe column by Shank has the title "Getting ahead of ourselves", a title chock full of irony. It was only three weeks ago when Shank was shoveling dirt on the Patriot's coffin, but today he offers a much rosier picture of the Patriot's playoff 'tournament' chances.

I can't say this column was well thought out on a few levels. He ignores the upcoming game against the Houston Texans and assumes the Pats will win the first round playoff game, then mulls over the preferred team for the Pats to play in the second round, all the while using the royal 'we' when making these assumptions, like everyone agrees with him. He concludes the column by stating the Pats are the team that nobody wants to play come January. Three weeks ago he says the Pats will 'probably' make the playoffs, yet we're now led to believe the first round playoff game's a sure thing? Amazing what a few wins will do to change one's perspective.

Let's hope the Pats avoid the Curse of the Shank.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reverting To Form

Shank's eight CNN / SI article is a semi-decent read of the upcoming New Year's hockey game between the Bruins and the Flyers. Longtime Shankophiles will recognize trademark Shank elements throughout the article: Beatles & Stones references, bemoaning hockey as less popular as football, baseball & basketball (ignoring his own lack of articles on hockey vs. the other sports), crapping on Red Sox ownership for committing the high crime of revenue generation, and reusing portions of a previous column to help him write this column. Can't say I'm terribly surprised with this 'effort'...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bases Touched

Today's Shank column treats us to a history of Fenway Park for events other than baseball games. It's a pretty interesting review of Fenway history, and I'm pretty sure Shank's been to a number of these events since he's been with the Globe.

Joe Namath and Mick Jagger played Fenway Park. So did Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the E Street Band.

Oh, and that mop-top from Liverpool who used to be in a band known as the Beatles? Yes, Paul McCartney played Fenway, too.
We know about the Beatles, Shank; you've only quoted them a few hundred times in your columns over the years...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Carroll

Shank's first column in five days treats us to a conversation with USC football coach Pete Carroll, formerly of the New England Patriots, and a semi-preview of tonight's bowl game between USC (-7 or -7.5, depending on your local bookie) and Boston College.

He is the man who bridged the gap between the Tuna and the Hoodie. He is the first head coach hired by Bob Kraft, forever known around New England as Mr. Pumped-and-Jacked, and tonight he’ll be coaching USC against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl.

Pete Carroll still follows the Patriots and says he has fond memories of his three seasons as their head coach.
Overall impression of the article: Not great, not terrible = Meh, until I got to this part:

Ask him about Boston College and he sounds like Belichick artificially inflating the upcoming tomato can.
The use of the phrase 'tomato can' to describe a mere touchdown underdog doesn't quite work, in my opinion. 'Tomato can' implies an easy win against a pushover opponent. Because I only track NFL games like this, I can't provide a true apples-to-apples comparison to recent college football games, so let's review what Shank may have called last week's 'tomato can' games, in order of tomato can goodness (home team in CAPS):

1) DEN -14 vs. Oak = OAK upsets Denver, 20-19.
2) AZ -12 vs. Det = AZ wins 31-24 and takes the final lead with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
3) BAL -11 vs. Chi = BAL wins easily, 31-7.
4) HOU -10.5 vs. Stl = HOU wins 16-13, takes the final lead with 4:36 remaining.
5) Min -9 at CAR = CAR upsets Minnesota 26-7, breaking out the can of whupass on Brett and the boys.
6) PHI -8.5 vs. Sf = PHI wins 27-13.
7) NO -7 vs. Dal = DAL upsets an undefeated team, 24-17.
8) Ne -7 at BUF = NE wins, 17-10.

Taken together, we have 8 'tomato can' games that resulted in three upsets (OAK, CAR and DAL), two that were competitive (AZ / DET and HOU / STL), one 'meh' game (NE) and two 'tomato can' wins (BAL and PHI). If Shank's going to continue the use of that phrase, he may wish to consider changing the parameters to larger point spreads.

Honorable mention: SD -6.5 vs. Cin. was won by San Diego, 27-24 on a last-minute field goal, and SEA -6.5 vs. Tb was won by Tampa Bay, 24 - 7.

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Explains A Lot

Guess who's writing for nowadays? That's right, our own Danny Boy!

In retrospect, this explains the lack of Globe production. It looks like he writes one article a week for them (seven total so far), and two of them repeat themes he wrote about in Boston's Boring Broadsheet, although I must point out that they're not the same columns (one about Holy Cross QB Dominic Randolph; the other was the dump he took on on John Henry & Theo Epstein nearly a fortnight ago).

The differences between those seven CNN / SI articles and the Globe columns could not be more striking. All of the CNN / SI articles are well written and nearly devoid of the legendary Shank trademarks, while the last four Globe columns leave something / a lot to be desired. I can only speculate that a condition of the CNN / SI gig is to submit quality columns and / or 'drop the attitude', like such points should need to be emphasized.

When clicking on the link to his CNN / SI archive, check out the heading:

Dan Shuaghnessy > ARCHIVE
Copy desk! Get me rewrite!

Turd In The Punchbowl

The New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills yesterday, 17 - 10. It wasn't the most memorable win against a longtime division rival, but it was a road win and Randy Moss played a lot better then he has in the previous few games. Leave it to Shank to bring up nearly every negative angle from the game:

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - The Moss-shank Redemption Tour rolled through Ralph Wilson Stadium yesterday and Randy’s people no doubt were happy with the returns.

The Patriots staggered to a grotesque 17-10 victory over the hideous Bills, winning their first legitimate road game (and it only took them until Dec. 20), and virtually locking up the soft-shell AFC East. On a day when Tom Brady looked like J.P. Losman, Moss returned to the land of the living with five catches for 70 yards, including a nifty 13-yard tippy-toe grab in the back of the end zone.

Moss hasn’t been saying much for publication in the last month, but he had something on his mind after this one, and he was already in full rant as he burst into the interview room bound for the podium.

“I’m gonna make it real brief,’’ Moss started. “Y’all had two weeks to do y’all’s talking; let me do mine. It has been a really tough couple weeks, but you move on. That is the nature of this game. I am happy that we got this victory and I appreciate all the support from my true fans, the players, the coaches, my family, and loved ones. I have been in this league for 12 years and I have been through a lot. These shoulders I have on my body, you could put the Earth on it. Just to let you know, I bounce back. I appreciate it.’’

Did Dan note the irony of the phrase 'Moss-shank Redemption Tour'?

I saw that Moss interview, and I don't think it qualified as a rant. Tom Terrific didn't have a great game, but does Brady's game merit comparisons to J.P. Losman? The entire column reeks of cynicism and hyperbole and serves one purpose - to reinforce the notion that Randy Moss is Shank's new whipping post. A few months from now Shank's new target will probably be Rasheed Wallace. It's as though a fair portion of Shank's articles need this angle for them to have any substance to them.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is Shank Snowed In Today?

It's been five days since his last post, and for the last thirty-five days, that's been his approximate output (about one column every four days). By way of comparison, his 'production' for the same period last year was about one column every three days, and we were calling him lazy back then, albeit for a different reason.

If Shank was lazy then, does this make him half in the casket now?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Turn On A Dime Dan

What a difference a week makes!

Today Shank heralds the signing of John Lackey as a step towards the Red Sox competing with the Yankees next year. A mere five days ago Shank was more or less throwing in the towel on the 2010 season for the Red Sox. Does one signing warrant a 180 degree turn? Only if he can drag us along with him (emphasis mine):

Theo Epstein had us worried last week when he delivered his unfortunate “bridge’’ speech in his Marriott suite in downtown Indianapolis. It sounded like the Sox were going to go cheap while waiting for Jose Iglesias, Ryan Kalish, Casey Kelly, and Ryan Westmoreland.

The backlash was immediate. Sox fans are in no mood to forfeit the 2010 season, standing on the “Lars Anderson’’ Bridge.

Now it looks like you won’t have to wait. Either the Sox suddenly realized that fans won’t settle for a couple of soft seasons, or they’ve been dealing close to the vest. The bottom line is that John Henry apparently plans to stay in the money game and compete with the Yankees.

Lackey (five years, north of $80 million) is a fine start.

Translation = "I was wrong. I got sucked in once again before everything played out in the open. All I had to do last Thursday was shit on Bill Belichick one more time instead of shitting on John Henry and Theo Epstein, and I could have cleanly jumped on the Sox bandwagon again." - Dan Shaughnessy.

And what's a Shank Sox column without a cheap shot at Curt Schilling?

...He’s got attitude (think Schill without the fraud factor)...

I must admit being amused and amazed at Shank's petty vindictiveness at Curt for the past few years, but I can't quite figure out this use of the term 'fraud' that Shank uses to describe Curt. Is this a reference to Curt's last season as a Red Sox?

Throw in a cameo by the trite cliche 'Theo and his minions', and you have a standard Shank column: hop back on the bandwagon, failure to admit mistakes / jumping the gun once again, do the passive / aggressive Kabuki dance with Theo Epstein, and finish it off with a kick to Curt 's balls.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dated Cartoon Metaphor Column

Finishing off an awesome one - two combination of back-to-back columns, Shank empties the rest of his bladder in Gillette Stadium. Adalius Thomas is bitching because he and three other Patriots were sent home during Wednesday's vicious snowstorm, and Shank quotes him with great enthusiasm while making comparisons to a cartoon show that hasn't run on network television in thirty years.

Lameness aside, Shank has another shield for which to take shots at Belichick, and otherwise cites several concerns with the rest of the team. He seems to forget, or conveniently omits, that Thomas has been in the doghouse all year and many people think he's one of the problems (dogging it, etc.) during the games.

Overall Shank effort today - good subject manner matter, shaky execution, poor choice of comparisons.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

'Ol Piss & Vinegar is back

... with a vengeance:

Dan Shaughnessy
Sox have a bridge to sell us
Fans shouldn’t buy this approach

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / December 10, 2009

Storm the gates of Fenway Park. Cancel your NESN package. Stick your head out the window and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!’’

Why the sudden release of steam?

Do not buy the bill of goods the Red Sox are selling.

John Henry and Theo Epstein are preparing you for the Big Slide. While they continue to raise ticket prices and drain every dollar out of Fenway, they are telling you to put your expectations on the shelf. No more “championship-driven’’ campaign for your Red Sox. The Sox are building a “bridge’’ for the future. They are giving up on competing with those big, bad Yankees.

I agree with the basic thrust of the article, but it's amusing to watch Shank use 'the fans' as a shield / badge of honor when taking his semi-annual dump on John Henry & Theo Epstein when, somewhere during the All-Star break, it's an even money bet Shank does the backflip and starts calling Red Sox fans 'pink hats', 'minions' and much, much more!

Style points deducted for failure to work in a dig at Curt Schilling...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Slipping Away

Fresh off a short vacation / assignment to Miami, today's Shank column recaps the Patriot's woes over the past week. Maybe what the Patriots need is a recently available offensive coordinator?