Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Rolling Shank Gathers No Moss

Shank's weekly CNN / SI column summarizes the Randy Moss Tour of 2010. While it may not be the topic du jour that we'd normally expect of Shank, the column does neatly summarize the season for Moss, for better or worse (mostly worse). A quibble arise:

And what did Randy do in Minnesota? He got Brad Childress fired, that's what. Moss' last game with the Vikings was a one-catch special against the Patriots (who else?) in Gillette on Halloween and after the game he threw his coach and all of his teammates under the bus. He professed his undying love for the Patriots. Hours later, Moss was fired by the Vikings. And then we learned that the last straw in Minnesota was an embarrassing outburst aimed at a Twin Cities catering company which came to the Vikings facility to serve lunch.
I think this stuff just pushed Childress over the edge, as he was well on his way to getting shitcanned before the Moss trade.

This was funny, and pithy:

And years from now when we want to study a free agent setting himself on fire in his walk year, we will study Randy Moss 2010.
One more question - when does Shank, on the CNN / SI pages, give Patriots coach Bill Belichick the next round of props he deserves?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tale Of The Videotape

It didn't take Shank long to revert to form. Today's column concerns the Denver Broncos and various fines involving a videotaping of the opposing players' walk-through session.

Sound familiar? It should. And in case you forgot, guess who's here to helpfully remind us? Call this the Anatomy of A Smear.

First - Shank wants to make sure this story gets adequate coverage:

I don’t expect to hear much about this on any of the Patriots’ Pravda news outlets, but you can be pretty sure the New York tabloids are going to run hard with it. The headline in yesterday’s Daily News was “It’s Spygate II in Denver,’’ and the vaunted Post went with two stories, one titled “Pats’ coach will always be tied to scandal,’’ and the other with a subhead stating “Incident also has Belichick ties.’’

You bet it does.
Attempt to further propagate the story through additional media writeups.

Second - Of course, these guys (Shank, et. al) don't mean direct ties; what follows is classic guilt by association:

Bill Belichick’s bio in the Patriots media guide proudly features a half-page section entitled “Bill Belichick’s Tree.’’ It reads, in part, “Bill Belichick has had strong influences on hundreds of coaching, personnel, and football operations staff, many of whom have been hired to coach and manage other teams.’’ The lengthy list includes McDaniels and Eric Mangini, both of whom broke into the NFL under Belichick. Young Scarnecchia also broke into the NFL with the Patriots. He is listed as a “video assistant’’ in the Patriots’ staff directories of 2002, 2003, and 2004. He is also the son of Dante Scarnecchia, a beloved presence as an assistant coach on the Patriots’ sideline for the last 27 seasons.

Dante Scarnecchia is one of the finest men you’ll ever meet. He has been a part of all six Patriots Super Bowl teams and currently serves as offensive line coach and assistant head coach. In 1992, he served as Patriots’ head coach for seven games when Dick MacPherson fell ill. He is certainly not responsible for the actions of his son.
Certainly not! So a few people are off the hook. Interesting. On whose doorstep do you think this one will end up?

Now we have the first spy sanction since then, and there are Belichick footprints all over the place. The head coach of the Broncos was one of Bill’s guys. The guy caught taping was one of Bill’s guys and is the son of one of Bill’s present guys.

Oh, and just for good measure, we learned that Steve Scarnecchia was one of Mangini’s video operators when the Jets ratted out the Patriots in 2007. More than that, some folks think Steve Scarnecchia was the one who ratted out the Patriots.
Third - passive-aggressive assertions; "Belichick footprints all over the place". Now, for the passive-aggressive disclaimer (emphasis mine):

It’s important that we remember that Saturday’s sanction was against the Broncos. It is not a Patriots matter. Asking Belichick or any of his people about this is wildly unfair. It’s strictly a matter between the Commish and the Broncos.
So far, it's "Belichick footprints all over the place", but "It is not a Patriots matter". Got that?

So where does Shank finally come down on the matter? As if you have to ask!

But once again, the trail of espionage leads directly back to Route 1, and that is . . . unfortunate.
It's fair to conclude that Shank, a fifth-degree black belt in the dark arts of character assassination and innuendo, is trying to tie this to Bill Belichick any way he can. If he's called on it, he can simply say he was repeating what the New York papers were writing, and he'll say it in spite of his statement ("directly back to Route 1") to the contrary. Talk about a clean hit!

How long did Shank's faux fondness for Belichick last, barely one month?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making The Rounds

During the "holiday" season, Shank normally treats us to a few human interest stories, the only type of Globe column he's seemingly able to write with any consistent quality. Today, he's finally out of the box with a story about Children's Hospital Boston. An unusual thing about this particular column is its length - 3 pages total.

I guess not even Shank can be all asshole, all the time, or is that what he wants us to think?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eat Me

Shank's Thanksgiving column is about the Thanksgiving tradition of football in Detroit. It's a decent enough column.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shank Starts On The Second Bridge

How boring and predictable is Shank? Last year we had Shank taking a dump on Red Sox ownership. You may have wondered if this self-serving, pot-stirring type of column would become an annual event.

Wonder no more.

This is one giant turkey.

The Red Sox just lost their 31-year-old, middle-of-the-order, switch-hitting catcher. On the eve of Thanksgiving. It feels like the old Haywood Sullivan/John Harrington days when the ball club would announce a ticket-price hike on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the 2010 Red Sox cleverly released their new prices on the day of the most hyped NBA regular-season game in 63 years).

The hot stove season is young, but losing Martinez at the jump is a public relations nightmare for a ball club that’s suddenly fighting for market share and TV ratings. The local landscape is peppered with popular, playoff-bound teams. The Sox did not make it into the tournament this year and the bland ball club is scuffling to generate positive buzz. Subtracting Martinez a month after ponying up $476 million for a soccer team com pounds the fallout.
When last describing the need to retain Martinez's services, Shank wasn't exactly throwing around words like 'linchpin' and 'must-keep' (emphasis mine):

It's more complicated with Martinez and Beltre. Martinez is a switch-hitting catcher, which puts him on a lot of wish lists. There's well-founded doubt about his ability to manage a pitching staff and throw runners out, but he's improved behind the plate and he brings the lumber.

He's also in his prime.
Are we supposed to believe Shank's newfound interest in Martinez is genuine?

Shank then pops the question:

Sounds like they’re selling bridges again, no?


Why are the Sox acting like they are a small-market team? They sell out every game. They have the second-highest-priced tickets in baseball. Their payroll is exceeded only by the Yankees’. And now they won’t pay the going rate for their starting catcher? How often do the Yankees lose a player they want to keep?
I don't know, Shank; you might want to ask Derek Jeter:

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that the Yankees have made a "fair and appropriate" contract offer to Derek Jeter and suggested that if the 36-year-old shortstop thinks otherwise, he should shop himself around to find out.
I wonder if Shank thinks that Cashman & Co. are acting like a small market team, or are trying to, you know, save some money / avoid overspending?

Conveniently ignoring previous opinions and an occasional market force or two allow Shank to use Martinez's loss as an excuse to take the annual crap on Sox ownership.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Papers In One - II

A flurry of activity from Shank on Sunday. We have a Globe column that is heavy on the hyperbole and pleads for more Indy - New England games, replete with nicknames, pop culture references and the like. His CNN / SI column leans a little more on the game stats, but I'm hard pressed to make anymore distinctions between the two.

Now that's lazy!

UPDATE, 11/23, 7:30 PM - Lazier still, Shank is ripping off other writers. Have you no shame, sir?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Utterly Predictable

Shank's Sunday column could be about many things:

Tom and Peyton don’t defend one another, so this latest Patriots-Colts Game of the Century can’t be about Brady vs. Manning. It’s really about Belichick vs. Manning. It’s about the Revenge of Fourth And 2. It’s about the Colts beating the Patriots five of the last six times they’ve met. It’s about the young Patriots defense. It’s about Bill Polian hating the Patriots the way the Patriots hate the Jets. It’s about perennial conference kingpins deciding who’ll get home field if they meet again when it counts in January.
Since this is written by Shank, you already know the real answer:

There will be no ignoring the obvious in this space. I’m riding sidecar with the dumbed-down story line, the lowest common denominator. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This game is all about Brady vs. Manning. Football’s 18-12 Overture comes to Gillette.
Little surprise; this column looks enough like the one he wrote last year.

Lazy, predictable & boring pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something Slipped, All Right

Shank does the first of the annual Thanksgiving columns on local high school teams that 1) are designed to make you think that he's not a big an asshole as is amply demonstrated the rest of the year; 2) exhibit student - athletes overcoming adversity, low odds of success, yadda3.

In previous years these columns used to be a cut above his normal articles, but not this column, featuring Newton North's high school boy's soccer team, recently blessed with a $200 million school facility. It's something every teenager can relate to!

Perhaps in bad taste, I have to remark that this column reads like an obituary.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Welcome Aboard

Shank climbs aboard the Patriots bandwagon in his weekly CNN / SI article. This one's worth reading, as his outside the Globe efforts are of far better quality. The title to the article was a bit misleading, leaving me unable to accuse him of reusing a previous article.

Is Shank deserving of a partial break because of this?

A lot of us (particularly me) thought Belichick was giving up on the season when he dumped Randy Moss after a big Monday night win in Miami in early October. But it turns out Belichick was right. He knew he wasn't going to get much more out of Moss. So he cut his losses. He got a third-round pick from the Vikings. Three weeks later, the red-faced Vikings fired Moss. Belichick was right again.
I'm leaning towards HELL NO! because I'm confident Shank will change his opinion yet again, as soon as the next loss occurs. Can you go broke betting against Shank? Commenter g is correct - just wait for the next weather pattern. But do his recent mea culpas (by my estimation, there have been about five or six over the past year) bail him out somewhat?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Shank, one week ago:

Suddenly the SS Patriot looks like a southbound cruise ship.
Shank, this morning:

The Super Bowl is officially up for grabs, ladies and gentlemen.
What a difference a week makes. Or one day, for those who read yesterday's paean to the Steelers. Is it really too much to ask for some semblance of even-keel consistency?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Over the Top

Shank once again blows an opportunity to write a decent column. He should be penalized for excessive hyperbole:

The Steelers are football.

The Steelers are the NFL.


If you have been to Pittsburgh to watch the Steelers, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you’ve never been, maybe you’ve picked it up just by watching on TV. Pittsburgh is simply the cradle of the NFL.

The Steelers are about continuity, excellence, toughness, and tradition. They are football’s comfort food. You see the logo on the right side of the helmet and you know you are watching the NFL at its best.
Throw in random mentions of the Beatles, Randy Moss, Larry Lucchino and Johnny Unitas in the present tense as if he was still alive, and Shank snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can't Stand The Heat

I wonder where Shank got the idea for that column title, or am I reaching here?

Can’t stand the Heat
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 11, 2010

I am a Heat Hater.

Miami’s basketball team can’t lose enough games to make me happy. When I pass under a television in a crowded airport and see the score crawl, if the Heat are losing, I crack a big smile. I hope they lose ’em all.

The Celtics are in Miami tonight to play the third-place Heat.

The third-place Heat. Don’t you love it? I want them to be the Miami Clown Machine.

We are a couple of weeks into this historic NBA season, and the Heat own a 5-3 record, trailing the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks in the vaunted Southeast Division of the NBA East. If the playoffs started today, the Heat would be the No. 4 seed, behind the Magic, Hawks and Celtics.
Naturally it's still early in the season, so things can and will change, but it's almost refreshing to see Shank dumping on a pro sports team located outside Massachusetts, if for mothing else as a reminder that there are occasional blue moons. Now fans in Florida will also be blessed with Shank's trademark thoughfulness ("I hope they lose ’em all"), forced '80's pop culture references ("Miami Clown Machine", wash / rinse / repeat), over the top judgements ("The Miami Frauds"), and his ability / desire to keep controversies burning ("Of course Riley wants another ring from the bench"), all of which basically killed the first half of the column.

Shank finishes strong when he gets around to looking at why Miami's overrated (i.e., by comparison with other championship teams), and I'll state again that as far as LeBron's asshattery when making & announcing "The Decision", I'm with Shank 110%. At least this article had the sense to make the necessary halftime adjustments...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Two Papers In One!

Paper Number One:

It’s not often Belichick is beaten by a rookie quarterback (with a “Friday Night Lights’’ name of Colt McCoy).
Paper Number Two:

He's got the name of a guy from central casting.

Colt McCoy. Quarterback.

Perfect, isn't it? Right out of Friday Night Lights.

A guy named Colt McCoy was born to play quarterback. He was born to play quarterback for Texas. He was born to play quarterback in the National Football League.
Shank runs with the theme from there and delivers a good article on Colt McCoy. If you've seen him in college and especially this Sunday, you get the impression that McCoy is the real deal, although agreeing with Shank is, you know, awkward...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Stand By Your Man

Shank's column is, sure enough, about yesterday's loss to the Browns, mentioning (in no particular order) Fredo Corleone, Belichick, Mangini, the Sopranos and Bill Parcells. His mindset, for now, remains "In Bill We Trust"; the rest of the team, not so much:

Oddly enough, this horrible loss beautifully demonstrates how great Belichick has been this year. Through the first seven games of the season, he had this suspect group compiling the best record in the NFL. Truly amazing. We knew it was a house of cards. How often does the team with the best record in football rank 28th in total defense and 31st in pass defense? Even the hired hands from “The Big Show’’ and the WBZ All Suck-up gang knew this was not the best team in football. Still, it sounded good for the week that it lasted.

Now we all are back to reality. The Patriots are 6-2, tied with the Jets. Next week they are at Pittsburgh. Then they have the Colts at home. Suddenly the SS Patriot looks like a southbound cruise ship.
Like the New England weather, ask yourself this: don't like Shank's opinions? Just wait a column or two; it'll change.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Name That Column Theme!

Today's New England Patriots' loss to the Cleveland Browns, 34 - 14, will be the first big test of Shank's newfound love affair with coach Bill Belichick.

Will Shank a) stand by his man, or b) turn on a dime and throw the coach under the proverbial bus? Will there be c) no column for the next few days as Shank broods in his hotel room? Did I d) miss any scenarios here?

I'm going contrarian with a), because I have trouble believing that even Shank would be so transparently stupid and turn on a dime so suddenly. Then again, he's done that before. Who knows with this guy?

So, vote early and often!

Laying It On, Thick

I smell a rat - Shank manages to write something nice about Bill Belichick. The column starts off badly (Paul Simon lyrics), and how can a column not get better from there?

I still can't believe he wrote this column. Is this the universe where Spock has a goatee?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

An Excerpt From Shank's Radio Show

I tuned into his radio show this morning around 11:45, and I heard something that was both amusing and telling.

The amusing part - co-host Adam Jones dressed up for Halloween as... Shank Shaughnessy! He bought this curly / shag wig and went to a Halloween party with it; apparently a few people got the joke, but that was the extent of the costume.

Here's the telling part. As they segued to what other things would have made a good Shank costume, a few items mentioned were a notepad, pencil, tape recorder (that's from memory; wasn't able to take notes on that part). When discussing Shank costume accessories, the very first thing out of Shank's mouth was:

"Having bloggers say nasty things about you." (said in an entirely serious tone - ed.)

OK, that was amusing, too! But it reinforces the sentiment written a few times on this website over the past years - Dan Shaughnessy has very thin skin. He routinely says nasty things about others in his column (Belichick, Kraft, Ortiz, Jeff Stone, Ramirez, Martinez, Garciaparra, Schilling, Epstein, Henry, et. al.), but basically complains when others return fire. Shank's whining reminds me of this phrase...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

He Said / He Said, or Man Up, Hypocrite

Take your pick. Today's Shank Globe column is as predictable as it gets. Behold, the power of words:

All-World yapper Kevin Garnett got into it with Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva with 2:39 left in the Celtics’ victory over the Pistons at Auburn Hills, Mich., Tuesday night. Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis, a skin disorder that causes hair loss, and after the game, he tweeted that Garnett had called him “a cancer patient.’’ As part of a taunt.

Do not underestimate the power of the tweet. The story took on a life of its own. ESPN was quick out of the gate, then the story hit local sports radio. Just after 4 p.m., Garnett issued this statement: “I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night. My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact, ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’

“I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball.’’

“I actually heard what Kevin said,’’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before last night’s 105-102 overtime victory over the Bucks. “What he released is what he said.’’
The rational person would think the story ends right then and there, but this is Shank we're talking about. While this column does not rise to the level of "Shank's on his high horse again", we are treated to his level of tolerance:

But the disclosure of Tuesday’s events was a rare window into what goes on between the lines, where the basic rule of engagement is that there are no rules of engagement. Nothing is off-limits. What has changed is that now we find out about vile garbage that dares not speak its name. We never would have known about it in the genteel good old days.

Whichever version you believe, it’s tasteless. It’s offensive. It’s way beyond the typical schoolyard, “You’re fat, you’re ugly, your mother wears army boots.’’ There’s nothing funny about poking fun at cancer. It is a universal scourge. It is off-limits in every arena of mankind.
Further into the column, Shank demonstrates his hypocrisy (We never would have known about it in the genteel good old days.):

“You could not print all the things we said,’’ said Cedric Maxwell, Ainge’s teammate from the 1980s and a Hall of Fame trash talker. “You could not write it all down. The families. The moms. Didn’t make any difference. We didn’t have to be politically correct. We could be asinine.

“I remember one guy, before the start of a playoff series, saying, ‘No way that bitch is getting 40 points off of me.’ Somebody wrote that down and it actually got in the paper.’’

I know. Because Max said it about Bernard King, and I wrote it down, and it appeared in the Sunday Globe on the day of the first game of the 1984 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and Knicks. King refused to shake Max’s hand before the game. King didn’t get his 40 until Game 3, but the Celtics won the series.
Does anyone seriously think this (or the 1984) column get written if Larry Bird was the trash talker in question?

Like writing about Jacoby Ellsbury getting 'carved up' on Boston sports talk radio, with Shank being one of the carvees, he bemoans the trash talking in the NBA, but eagerly participates in its dissemination when it suits his purposes. This is the picture perfect definition of hypocrisy. If there was any to be had in the first place, this column serves to pour Shank's credibility down the drain.

UPDATE at 6:40 PM - commenter 'redsock' points out something Shank wrote some time ago. I can't find the original article; looks likely that the Globe deep-sixed it, and for good reason: (link isn't working - copy & paste )

Once ripped on a mentally-disabled ballplayer (Jeff Stone) for his lack of intelligence.
I'd like to see the original article before commenting further, but if this is right, Shank goes far beyond hypocrite, and I'll leave it at that. Commenter 'g' - I know where you're coming from, but I need to see the original article in some form before ripping the sonofabitch. I'll do some more digging and report back anything I find.

UPDATE II at 7:15 PM - I bet it's this article, which sits behind a pay wall. I'm not going to break a sixteen year streak of not giving the Globe money, so there it will sit.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I'll Take Door Number Two, Monty

That was a tough call. It's mea culpa time!

Shank, October 7, 2010:

Not me. I’m with the late George Allen. The future is now, baby. And the Patriots are not better now than they were Monday night in Miami.

Once again, we are reminded that the Patriots believe “the system’’ is more important than the talent. Who needs Moss when you have Tate, Ninkovich, and Chung? Emboldened by Monday’s impressive win — scoring 41 points without Moss catching a pass — Belichick is again telling Patriot players and fans that the vaunted machine can operate with any combination of parts. Players don’t matter. They are all replaceable (except Brady, of course). And just think how good the Patriots will be when they draft all of those players.
Shank, this morning:


The Patriots are better without Moss. I certainly did not believe this when they dealt Moss to the Vikings four weeks ago. I thought it was a signal that they were giving up on the 2010 season. But as always, Belichick knows his team better than us. Bill could not be more right about this one.

The Patriots are better without Moss because they are more like the old Patriots we came to know and love back in the beginning of the 21st century. Those Patriots stressed team above self, a mind-set impossible for Moss to grasp. Randy has no problem with the one-handed catch, but he can’t handle the concept that he’s part of a team. With No. 81 (or No. 84 in Minnesota) it’s always about Team Moss. It’s about touches and that all-important next contract.
It must have absolutely killed Shank to write this paragraph:

Belichick is vindicated by the release of Moss. Coach Bill doesn’t have to say a word. Once again Football America can see that Belichick was right. The Patriots have the best record in the National Football League and Belichick’s decision to release Moss was in the best interests of the Patriots.
Assuming he's honest, it's ironic that Shank fell into the same trap that Moss did - a decade of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (Belichick's record), Shank & Moss thought otherwise. Until now.

That's not the funniest part of the column; I hope you're sitting down for this one:

Now he has been released by a 2-5 team and he’s looking for a new job and a future contract.

It won’t be here.

Unless Bill surprises us again and decides that having Randy Moss is in the best interest of his football team. At this point, who’s going to challenge anything Bill does?

Not me.

Never again
I mentioned earlier this month - ALL of Shank's statements have an expiration date (re: above, three plus weeks). How soon will Shank backtrack on this last statement?

A Journey To San Francisco

After the San Francisco Giants stake themselves to a 3 to 1 World Series lead, Shank bravely pulls for a Giants series win:

My heart's with San Francisco.

I love the Giants and I hope they win the World Series. They take a 3-1 Series lead into tonight's Game 5 in Texas against Cliff Lee.

A lot of folks don't care about this 2010 World Series. We don't have high-profile teams from New York, Boston, Los Angeles or Chicago. There's no Texas Ranger Nation and the Giants don't have a galaxy of Cooperstown candidates. Executives at Fox no doubt would prefer the Phillies and Yankees, but I'm into the Giants. I'm into the city by the Bay.
A word of advice - it is difficult to ape lamer song lyrics then Journey, even if they are from San Francisco. Next time, at least try a (semi) San Francisco band with balls.

Other than Journey lyrics (please) and the timing of this sudden support for the Giants, I don't see a problem with the column. Shank knows his baseball history extremely well and makes compelling points. Too bad this column was written a few hours before the Giants sealed the deal. To have written this column last week would have taken, well, balls.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Grist For The Mill

I give it one in three odds that Shank's next Globe column will be on Randy Moss getting shitcanned from the Vikings. If he trashes Moss, he contradicts this Oct. 7th column; if he agrees with the move, he'll need to write a mea culpa column and admit Belichick was right to dump Moss. Tough call, eh?

UPDATE at 12:10 AM, 11/2/10 - Don Banks has the last word.