Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time To Break Camp

...when you're reduced to writing borderline articles like this one:

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Thirty years ago, the Yankees had a young shortstop prospect named Andre Robertson who arrived at the big league clubhouse and asked if he could wear No. 3.

It was taken. Retired by some guy named Ruth.

Pete Sheehy, the guy who issued Yankee numbers starting in 1927, was still working with the Bronx Bombers when Robertson asked about 3. Sheehy was not amused. Robertson broke into the majors wearing No. 55 for the Yankees. He later upgraded/downsized to 18.

Numbers are no small deal for big league ballplayers. Jim Leyritz asked for No. 113 when he came to the Red Sox. Darren Bragg wore No. 56 because he liked Lawrence Taylor. John Valentin always liked 13. Mike Lowell has been a good fit for 25 even though a lot of us think the number should have been retired in honor of the late Tony Conigliaro.

No Offense

Keeping his consecutive article streak alive at five, Shank discusses the irritation factor among some members of the Boston Red Sox by questioning their offensive abilities.

It's tough to understand how such notions take hold, isn't it?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shank Hits For The Cycle

Four in a row - I'm shocked!

Shank's on a tear this week, writing today about Red Sox owner John Henry. It's a generally favorable article to Mr. Henry, which is a marked departure from this 10 week old stemwinder.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Other Big Question

What's gotten into Shank lately? Three articles in as many days? I'm shocked, I tell you!

Shank's question: Will Big Papi return to form? Summary - he's not sure.

This is amusing:

When a reporter remarked on his relatively svelte figure, Ortiz said, “You ought to see me naked.’’ Later, he explained that he’ll never look like Ricky Martin (love those dated references),
We're aware of that, Shank...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Signs Read

Lacking other things to write about, Shank speculates on Josh Beckett's future with the Red Sox.

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Anybody feel good about the odds of Josh Beckett returning to the Red Sox after this season?

Like a little boy getting a flu shot, Beckett did his bit with the Mass(achusetts) media yesterday. He came in from his workout and sat before nine television cameras and dozens of microphones, and took questions from curious minds. He made it pretty clear that he won’t be crying about his contract all year.
Condescending tone aside, the rest of the article is standard fare.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Roundup

Shank has rare back to back columns, the first on the android disguised as Tiger Woods press conference, the second on Red Sox spring training.

The Tiger column was a decent read. The Red Sox column was a bit more entertaining:

It was all about the baseball, and it made me miss the bad old days of players arriving late, out of shape, and disgruntled. It made me long for the days when the Rocket would go AWOL and Pedro would snub the franchise to stay in the Dominican for dad’s birthday.
That's Theo's way of saying "No more easy columns for you, Dan."

I've also noticed trace amounts of self-deprecation in recent articles:

Some of us (the same nitwits who worry about offense) question the reliability of modern defensive statistics.


But can you jazz things up down here, just a little?

“We’ll try,’’ he said. “I could light my hair on fire . . . or yours.’’
Come on baby, light my fire!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Custer's Last Stand

That's Shank's summary of the 2009-2010 Boston Celtics. It's not exactly a news flash for those that follow the Celtics with any regularity, and Shank overstates matters just a little bit:

In the weeks after Christmas the Celtics became a wounded and unlikable band of underachievers. They were big on attitude, small on work ethic. Impressed with past achievements, convinced they could summon the old dominance any time they pleased, they blew 10 double-digit leads. They became the kind of team we scorn here in Boston. Now they are in the process of trying to earn our love again.
I'm pretty sure the Celtics are more concerned with winning games and getting home court advantage for the playoffs than with 'earning our love'. Good grief...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Picking Up My Own Pieces Column

Shank had a pair of CNN / SI articles during the last week or so. I think both articles articles are solid and well written, a further devaluation of my column convergence theory. I'm hoping time will even things out...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Picked Up Pieces Column

Shank treats us to the columnist's version of the mulligan. There are a few interesting tidbits, but it's more accurate to describe this particular column as 'something written after a Super Bowl hangover', including shots at Bill Belichick, Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Garnett, and, yes, there's an Elvis sighting.

One nitpick - it's 'Baba O'Riley'. At least he didn't call it 'Teenage Wasteland'. Nice editing job, guys...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Um, About That Peyton Manning Column...

In a refreshing twist, Shank comes as close to an apology that we've seen in ages:


OK, maybe I jumped the gun a little. I got caught up in the moment. On the eve of the Super Bowl, I wrote that Peyton Manning was better than Tom Brady. I was positively Peytonized. And as Rick Pitino once said, “that’s how I felt at the time.’’

Fortunately, this is sports and opinions change every day. Now that Manning lost the Super Bowl with his Favre-like pick six, he’s a mere .500 quarterback (9-9) in postseason play. He’s still two rings shy of Brady, who is 14-4 in NFL tournament play.
Reader feedback was constructive:

■“Dan - You are like a TV weatherman in New England. How much of the time are you really seriously right? Would you like some seasoning with your order of crow? Better luck next time.’’

■“I understand you got an assignment to write some usual BS for the Super Bowl. That’s how you get paid. But, you have to get into people’s nerves and create some controversy in order for some people to read your stuff; know that I am being polite with the word ‘stuff.’ ’’
You have to give Shank some credit here, right?

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Slight Retraction

Shank writes about New Orleans' win in yesterday's Super Bowl, and revisits part of Saturday's column:

This game was supposed to be the coronation of Peyton Manning (hard to believe some nitwits were actually saying he’s better than Tom Brady)...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Thicker Than Water

Shank pens a good article about the bloody obvious Archie Manning Angle, parents who want their kids to win the big games, even if it's against the parent's old team.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Torch Passed

Sure to get a few knickers in a twist in this neck of the woods, Shank hereby declares Peyton Manning a better quarterback than Tom Terrific:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady.

There. I said it. Call the cops. Have me arrested and sentenced to 10 years of hard time watching “Patriots All Access’’ and listening to programs called “Patriots Monday’’ and “Patriots Friday’’.

Sorry, folks. Sometimes the truth hurts. And the truth is that outside New England, this argument is over. Everywhere else in the continental United States. The proverbial ship has sailed and its name is the SS Peyton.

And yet back in Patriot country, fans soldier on, clinging to the past, unwilling to acknowledge the obvious.

Manning is better.
Sorry, Tom. Shank's just not into you anymore...


He wasn’t better in the first half of the decade, when Brady was orchestrating the comebacks and winning three Super Bowls, going a perfect 9-0 in the playoffs. He wasn’t better when Ty Law picked off three of his passes in the 2003 AFC Championship game at the Razor. And Manning couldn’t get his team in the end zone in the 2004 AFC Divisional playoff game at frosty Gillette, remember?

But that was then. This is now. For those of us living in the present, it’s time to give up the Ghost of Tom and face the truth.
Who says irony is dead?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Sorry State Of Massachusetts

Shank went to the Beanpot on Monday night and couldn't get 'fired up' about it:

I went to the Beanpot last night and tried to get fired up about the whole thing.


Here’s what really killed me. Last night’s Harvard roster had only one guy from Massachusetts (Chris Huxley of Weymouth). Harvard had 11 players from Canada, one from Sweden, and one from Croatia. Boston University, last year’s national champion, featured two kids from Massachusetts (out of 21). Northeastern had four Bay Staters and Boston College a whopping 11.

Not to sound like a WTKK talk show host, but the lack of locals took something out of it for me. What happened to the days of Peabody’s Bobby Carpenter on the cover of Sports Illustrated? The days of Charlestown’s Jackie O’Callahan, Scituate’s Dave Silk, and Winthrop’s Mike Eruzione winning Olympic gold? Jim Craig going from Oliver Ames to Boston University to Lake Placid?
I don't know; times change, perhaps?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


That's how Shank describes the current Boston Celtics team. It's a solid column that neatly sums up the season, with the injuries to KG taking front and center.

So much for that column convergence theory, unless I'm just one key injury away...