Sunday, October 16, 2011


Shank slaps together his ninth consecutive column on the Red Sox; this must be the slow sports news month. Typical Shank elements appear in the column; first among them is the convenient memory lapse / intentional disregard for the facts in order to bash his enemy:
John Henry lit the latest match Friday afternoon when he burst into the studios of 98.5 The Sports Hub on Leo Birmingham Parkway in Brighton in an overdue effort to tell his side of things.
Shank devoted an entire column to John Henry's appearance on the Dennis & Callahan radio show the week before, on October 7th, so I vote for lying prick intentional disregard of the facts.

What's a Shank column without a massively dated pop culture reference?
Unfiltered Henry was great stuff. His anger reminded me of “Back to the Future’s’’ George McFly rescuing a damsel in distress, cocking his fist, and telling Biff, “Get your damn hands off her.’’
I wonder if Shank still has it on Betamax?

Did I mention other sports in what's supposed to be a Red Sox column?
I’m told there is a pretty big football game going on at Gillette Stadium this afternoon. Indeed, this is the best part of the Patriots schedule. They had the Jets here last week, the Cowboys are here today, and after a bye week Bill Belichick & Co. will be in Pittsburgh.

As ever, football television ratings will be boffo, millions of fantasy players will bore fellow Americans, ESPN will furnish hundreds of hours of analysis, and all the data will support the obvious truth that the NFL is our national pastime. Football is king.
Shank, provincial? Come on, man!
Everywhere except Boston.
Just a Springsteen quote and a Schilling cheap shot away from the definitive Shank column; so close but yet so far...


Anonymous said...

Shank has no pulse on his audience ...

Who is really following the Red Sox these days?

Season is over, the Theo experiment is over, Lucchino gets back to work, changes in locker on the way … got it, I’ll check back when I have some time to daze.

Most fans are moving on but Shank would suffer from an incredibility attack so he beats his own drum. How dare the minions not listen to him and follow his beloved game, team and nauseating tripe.


Anonymous said...

someone sounds like a D&C rumpswab....Anyhoo, he uses the dated reference of George McFly, bedcause that is who Henry resembles. If you would like to use some wit and come up with someone in recent history that Henry looks/acts/sounds like...feel free. In the meantime STFU

Roger Bournival said...

Thanks for the comments, Dan! :-)

David said...

In the Thursday column I loved the part where he said: "They sold their baseball souls to sell a few Fenway bricks and boost the ratings of their hideous network."

I bet it wasn't a hideous network when Dan was collecting appearance fees from NESN.

Paul said...

"the Theo experiment is over"

Um, 9 years is not an experiment. And his tenure produced two WS titles. That's a pretty successful "experiment".

Anonymous said...


The experiment started in 2008, long past after Theo returned from his gorilla vacation.

You may recall that Becket and Lowell were here when Theo returned sans monkey suit, thanks to work by Lavoie(?) and Cherrington.

You may also recall that the 2004 championship was primarily a Duquette piece of work.

Thirdly, the Red Sox ownership were blessed that Francona was available. He was the best man for the job given the necessary misfits that needed to be managed during the 2004/2007 runs. The day-day “gut-check” management (Francona) is much more important than numerical visionary fantasy stuff that Theo indulged in.

In addition, much to the disdain of Theo, Lucchino has always been in the background.

So, Theo was given approximately $200 million per year to build a team for the future.

What do we have today? How much would you pay for the current state of affairs? Does the current team and player development pool burn with desire or strikes fear in the opponents? Not likely.

Theo should be thankful for the golden opportunity he was given in life. Let’s hope he finds a way to pay back society in a different manner.


mike_b1 said...

g, you don't think the experiment started in Nov. 2002? That's when TE was named GM.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

"You may also recall that the 2004 championship was primarily a Duquette piece of work."

I recall that Theo signed Schilling, Foulke, Ortiz, Millar, Mueller, Bellhorn, Mike Timlin...And he traded Nomar for Doug Mientkiewicz, Orlando Cabrerra, and Dave Roberts.

Sorry, Theo's fingerprints were all over the 2004 Sox.

"The day-day 'gut-check' management (Francona) is much more important than numerical visionary fantasy stuff that Theo indulged in."

Tito was very numbers oriented (he wouldn't have been hired if he wasn't) and would routinely get together with Theo to talk numbers. Tito was hardly a "blood and guts" manager. He did, however, replace one (Little).

"What do we have today?"

A team that failed to live up to its talent level and expectations. If Crawford, Lackey and Drew produced at their career averages, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

"Let’s hope he finds a way to pay back society in a different manner."

Maybe you missed the benefits he's thrown over the years. Hot Stove, Cool Music? The Foundation To Be Named Later that he runs with his twin brother.

You hate Theo. I get it. He's a Boston guy that got your dream job. Such is life, my friend.

Oh, and if you think you can do a better job as GM, send your resume to 3 Yawkey Way. I hear they're in the market for a new GM and would love to hear from you.

Anonymous said...


I don’t hate anyone … Theo included.

My analysis of the Theo era is based on the following:

For now we are still human beings, we have many shortcomings, are not very bright, when we have to we will work hard, and sometimes we even help each other out.

We humans enjoy playing games but when we compete we try and kill each other.

Regarding Red Sox championships = Chemistry sparks success.

Team 2004, the chemistry of that team was founded on Pedro/Manny/Damon. Any idiot can appreciate that.

Team 2007, it sure was nice to have Beckett and Lowell produce career years.

Sure Theo brought in a supporting crew to help fill in the gaps but the chemical chain reaction starts with those that rise to the top. And the core of 2004/2007 success were Pedro/Manny/Damon/Beckett/Lowell = none were favorites of Theo. Ortiz blossomed in Boston because he had the Manny effect to help him mature. Schilling is an enigma and full of himself = bad team chemistry. Schilling’s success at Arizona was influenced by the Randy Johnson presence.

Francona managed our team of humans on a daily basis. He had a much more important role than Theo in getting production out of players. The skill of Francona is his adaptability in dealing within a dynamic environment while still getting the most of the resources. Please note that the day-to-day managers (coaching staff) have an important contribution to personnel moves and one must assume that Francona was in their lobbying for certain player types.

What is my point? Sabermetrics is ruining our human game. The Henry/James/Theo charade lacks a human touch. We should not become machines. There are plenty of other entertainment outlets for one to experience the cold hard facts of machine life.

Finally, my critique of Theo’s era remains the same. Given $200+ million per year to develop a team for the future, are you happy with the state of affairs for the team (player development pool, player contract flexibilities) … probably not.

In the end Theo turned out be human after all … full of fantasy, many shortcomings, works hard, and tries to help others … kinda like you and me. So when Theo is propagandized as the “boy wonder”, the man with a vision, the numbers guy, etc. = this makes me laugh because when I played the game, I learned that the experience of team chemistry is what sparks the success and those on the battle lines are your producers.

Theo has created a mess for us. And Shank stinks up the house.


Paul said...

"none were favorites of Theo."

You don't have any evidence of that. For instance, if Theo hated Beckett, why sign him to a long-term extension?

"Schilling is an enigma and full of himself = bad team chemistry."

You're making all these pronouncements like you either A) read/heard them in an interview or B) witnessed them first hand.

You have done neither. It's all your opinion and not based on anything tangible.

And then you go on and on rambling about the evils of Sabremetrics without addressing anything in my last post.

Answer me this: How did all those human GM's before Theo do? How many championships did they win from 1918 to 2002?

Anonymous said...


You are correct I do not have any firsthand experience with Sox. I do have access to the internet and, when I have time, I conduct due diligence research and also perform baseball technical analysis that is also available online. It is not too difficult to have access to the same information that many GM’s in baseball have. In addition, watching many games can lead to interesting insights. Does that make me an expert … no … it just allows me to state educated opinions about what I see, read and learn.

The GM’s before Theo were hindered by a combination of blundering ownership, a racist attitude, and a weak bankroll. Not to mention that down south NY Yankees way you had a hands-on owner that wanted to win at all costs.

Duquette (I’m not a big fan of his egomaniacal attitude) began to change the culture here in Boston, first with trading for Pedro and then brining in Manny. As a fan, the Sox became very interesting during that period and I believe that is when the championship foundation was set.

Beckett was signed to long-term contract because he performed well and logic dictated that he be kept from going to Yankees.

Theo has done some good but on balance he needs to be evaluated by what he left behind. His flip-flopping on length of contracts policy is a case in point. Three years ago he stated that the Sox strategy is to not negotiate big long term contracts. But now we have the Lackey/Gonzales/Crawford fiasco. And wasn’t Theo behind Dice-K, and what about Lugo, Renteria, etc.

I will admit that Theo works hard and that is what allows him to identify certain undervalued assets. But where is the long-term foundation to a championship team?


Paul said...

"But now we have the...Gonzales fiasco"

Excuse me? The guy is going to finish in the Top 5 (if not Top 10) in MVP voting. That's about as far away from a fiasco as you can get.

"And wasn’t Theo behind Dice-K, and what about Lugo, Renteria, etc."

And what about Schilling, Foulke, Ortiz, Millar, Mueller, Bellhorn, Mike Timlin, drafting and developing guys like, Pedroia, Papelbon, Ellsbury, Lester etc.

I love how people are hyper-focused on all moves that didn't work out and discount all the good moves he's made.

Anonymous said...


I'm not discounting any of the good moves Theo has made. I respect the hard work that goes into developing a championship team.

Gonzales is a skilled player. Does he have the determination to develop to the next level? His next level will be “fitness” as his body ages.

My point is in line with your observation:

“I love how people are hyper-focused on all moves that didn't work out and discount all the good moves he's made.”

You are looking for balance. We all are.

Theo had $200+ million to develop a team for the “eternity.” During the past two years the team has failed to make the playoffs and their cumulative wins during this period is behind the Yanks + Rays. On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) how do you rate the prospect of the team during the next three years?

The Sox have the money to rebound but the critical success factor will be the club-house chemist not the Cloud Computer.


Paul said...

"On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) how do you rate the prospect of the team during the next three years?"

The team is in a state of flux right now. Let's see who the manager will be and what moves they make (and for how long the Sox will have those players) before making any long-term predictions.

"The Sox have the money to rebound but the critical success factor will be the club-house chemist not the Cloud Computer."

Teams use both nowadays. I know. Technology and the change that comes with it can be scary but it's not going away. And wishing that it would won't make it so.