Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shank's Stomping His Feet Again

My, what a petulant little whiner this guy can be...
Tomorrow marks the two-month anniversary of Terry Francona’s last day on the job and still the Red Sox are without a manager.

The Clarence Thomas hearings were swifter and tidier than this.
Unless you're name's Clarence Thomas, you would agree. Or is this a classic non sequitur?
The world champion St. Louis Cardinals needed 12 days to find a manager after Tony La Russa resigned.
Look what kind of a manager that will get you. Due diligence is, like, so last century!

That, and a few other points from his November 20th column, are rehashed and folded into a few current updates to get a new column. Is this a new thing, partial recycling?

This was pretty funny:
I reached Lucchino briefly in his office yesterday morning. He said he couldn't talk to me. He said there would be no announcement yesterday.

I followed that up with, “Do you have any comment on how indecisive this makes you guys look?’’

“Goodbye, Dan,’’ he answered. “Nice to talk to you.’’


Dial tone.
In conclusion, here's some fun stuff on Bobby V, Shank's preferred candidate. It would be interesting to have Valentine around if only for the following dynamic:
His reputation also includes the way he deals with reporters. A reporter who covered him in Texas told me a long time ago that Valentine has a divide-and-conquer strategy by which he pits the writers against each other and divides them into two groups: those who will do his bidding and those who won’t. Guess which group gets Bobby’s leaks?

They are Bobby’s Boys, and they will write anything to make Valentine happy because he makes them happy by leaking stories to them. Valentine’s interview with the Red Sox provided Bobby’s Boys with their latest opportunity to extol his virtues.
Any guess as to where Shank would end up in this food chain?

Dirty Laundry II, coming to a Shank column in 2012!

UPDATE AT 8:55PM - It's official!
Logically, as one man accused of presiding over a boozy clubhouse leaves town, one accused of presiding over a gang of loafing potheads enters.

He's been out of MLB for a while. Valentine was shitcanned after the stonery 2002 Mets finished 75-86, and he managed Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines from 2004-2009. He then left Japan and returned to Connecticut, where he opened a sports bar and took a low-level municipal government position. This year, he replaced Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball and turned up all over ESPN.

And now he's the manager of the Sox, per ESPN's Gordon Edes. This is gonna be a fun year in Boston.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Empty Feeling

Shank goes to another high school football game and gets another decent column out of it. I like the way he just happens to find a local angle to blend into the Penn State angle.
It’s always a drag when you lose the last football game of your high school career, especially when it’s Thanksgiving and they dedicate the stadium to your school’s legendary coach.

This was what it was like for Catholic Memorial seniors at the newly named James R. O’Connor Stadium yesterday. A spectacular season and a chance to win the Catholic Conference and make it to the playoffs (and maybe the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium) went down the disposal with lumpy mashed potatoes when CM was beaten by BC High, 13-0.
CM's best two players have committed to playing at Penn State:
But there will be more football for CM stars Armani Reeves and Camren Williams, and that’s where this gets interesting. Reeves, a running back/defensive back, and Williams, a linebacker/tight end, have both given verbal commitments to Penn State.
"Distraction", "we want to focus on the game"., etc. proceeds for the next couple of paragraphs, then Williams talks to Shank:
“I am still committed to Penn State, yes,’’ said Williams, son of Brent Williams, who played eight of his 11 NFL seasons with the Patriots and serves as an assistant coach at CM. “Penn State has the best kinesiology [study of human movement] school in the country and that’s what I want to study. I love the campus. As a student, I am still committed to Penn State. As a football player, that’s still a question. We don’t really know what happened and we don’t know what’s going to happen.’’
...while Reeves does the smart thing and runs for the exit:
Reeves couldn’t be found after the loss to BC High. He was as elusive off the field as he’s been during his spectacular career on Baker Street. He’s got a chance to be the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year and will play with Williams at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix in January.
Inadvertent or clever working in of the Gerry Rafferty reference there?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Shanksgiving Tale

Even the likes of Shank realize it's in bad form to trash local sports figures such as Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Claude Julien, Bill Belichick, and Red Sox management and ownership one day from Thanksgiving, so we get the annual local high school athlete column. If Jonathan DiBiaso makes it to the National Football League, he can look forward to Shank treating him like Tony Eason.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shank Hearts Valentine

I neglected to mention Shank's other potential column subject - Bobby Valentine is the bomb!
He is married to the daughter of Ralph Branca, who threw the gopher ball to Bobby Thomson at the Polo Grounds in 1951. His first roommate in professional baseball was Bill Buckner, when the two were drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968. He managed the Texas Rangers, who were once managed by Ted Williams. He also managed the New York Mets, who inflicted immeasurable pain to our region in 1986.

Is there any doubt that Bobby Valentine is destined to be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox?

No. There can be no doubt. This is a man directly connected to the two most infamous moments in baseball’s 20th century. And that is only one of the reasons that he is the perfect fit to be the 45th manager in the storied history of the Boston Red Sox.
Shank's in such a great mood he trots out lame song lyrics to buttress his cheerleading for Valentine:
Valentine desperately wants this job. If we can quote Don Henley we can say that Bobby V would walk on his lips through busted glass to get to the corner office at Fenway Park.
Some words stick out more than others:
New York City folks who endured the tragedy of the fallen towers in 2001 will tell you that Bobby Valentine was the real deal when it came to caring for victims after the attacks. For once in his life, he was all action, little talk. Not bad for a guy who’s often been portrayed as a fraud and a poser.
Shank will be using those two words to describe Valentine when the Red Sox have their first serious losing streak.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seventh Circle Of Hell?

I might be going out on a limb here, but it looks like Bobby Fucking Valentine will be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. Maybe I'm reading too much into this paragraph:
Valentine had a conversation with Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino in 2003, before Terry Francona was hired. During that process, Valentine also had come highly recommended to Red Sox majority owner John W. Henry by longtime Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.
I'm aware this guy knows his stuff, but I've always had the impression of Valentine as a clown / buffoon, and that was well before the fake nose / moustache routine in the dugout that Shank alluded to earlier today. If anything, it sealed my opinion of him. I take Valentine as seriously as, for instance, Donald Trump as a presidential candidate or savvy businessman.

Shank column prediction - he'll still bitch & moan about the selection process, along the lines of 'it's about time'.

No, You're A Doofus!

The Red Sox take their time hiring a new manager, which gets Shank's panties in a bunch.
Can the Red Sox do anything else to boost their image as a doofus organization?
High school diction at its finest!
Remember when the Yawkey Way boys were a mere team, playing baseball games?

Not anymore. The Sox don’t play games in November (they don’t play in October anymore, either, come to think of it). But they are in the news, and on our minds much more than the Celtics, Bruins or midseason Patriots.
I wonder if he wrote that last sentence with a straight face. The Celtics are locked out, the Bruins just won their eight consecutive game last night and the Patriots are atop the AFC East with a 6 - 3 record. Who does Shank think he's kidding?
Things got so bad last week that Miss Heidi left without even leaving a note (the good news on that one is it finally gives Tom Werner something to do). Can’t say we blame her.
I'll be charitable here - to imply the Red Sox organization had any say in Heidi's departure just means that Shank's reaching for negative things to hang on the Red Sox ownership. Indirect affect, perhaps, but direct? Sorry, but Shank's wrong on that point.
It doesn’t really matter how long it takes if the Sox wind up getting the right guy, but this process at the very least raises questions about the chain of command on Yawkey Way.
I wonder how many local sports reporters and columnists have been raising questions about the chain of command on Yawkey Way?

Red Sox columns by Shank since Oct. 24 (including two picked up pieces columns) = six.

By Bob Ryan = zero.

By Tony Massariotti = six.

By Ron Borges = zero.

By Steve Buckley (excluding article on Luis tiant) = two.

By Gerry Callahan = zero.

By Johnn Tomase = too many to count.

My conclusion - a mixed bag. Reviewing John Tomase's columns, I find the 'let's shit on Red Sox management & ownership' genre of columns to be of less frequency than Shank's totals. I don't find Mazz's columns nearly as harsh on the Sox brain trust as Shank's; your results may vary. With that filtering, I think it's not 'raising questions', it's Shank raising the questions.
After the soft parade of Dale Sveum, Pete Mackanin, Sandy Alomar Jr., Torey Lovullo, and Gene Lamont, Sox ownership effectively emasculated new general manager Ben Cherington in Milwaukee last week, thumbing their noses at Sveum, the choice of Ben and his baseball ops team. Then we find out the owners wanted a guy like Bobby Valentine all along.

So, what was the Dale and Pony Show at Fenway over the last three weeks? Was it really necessary to trot all those guys out in front of the media so we could find out that none of it was serious?

Why the misdirection? Why make your serious new GM look powerless right out of the gate (Ben is in the Dominican Republic this weekend, scouting Yoenis Cespedes while the grown-ups resume the managerial search)? What is happening at the top?
Shank mentioned two managers that he'd prefer lead the Red Sox - Bobby Valentine was one of them. You'd think he'd be somewhat happy about this development, but that's not the Shank we know and love...
John Henry has gone underground since bursting into the SportsHub studios. It’s pretty clear that pork bellies, Liverpool, and his new family have taken his attention away from the Red Sox. Meanwhile, Inspector Werner is now on the case looking for the next Heidi and more of that nifty, award-winning NESN programming. That leaves Larry Lucchino, “the man who runs the Red Sox.’’
I'll bet $50 that Shank wanted to write Inspector Clouseau instead. But he can't trash the guy who gave his daughter an internship in Werner's Hollywood company, can he?
Without saying much of anything, Larry is presenting as the de facto GM of the Red Sox, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The Sox could have used some of Larry’s urgency when Jonathan Papelbon was allowed to walk without receiving an offer.
Papelbon was determined to test the free agent market come hell or high water. Any offer the Red Sox would have put forth had a very high probability of being rejected. The fact that he was the first free agent signed tells you one thing - he wanted out of Boston, period.
Now it’s on to Bobby V.

This is going to be great. Let’s hope Valentine brings the fake nose and glasses he wore in the Mets dugout. Maybe he has a Groucho mask.
Or a Dan Shaughnessy wig...

UPDATE at 10:05 PM - Shank writes:
Speaking of pathetic, we have the Cirque-de-so-lame managerial search, which is now coming up on its eighth week. The world champion St. Louis Cardinals needed only 12 days to find their man.
That man would be Mike Matheny, who just walked away from an approximate $4 million mortgage and was sued by the lending bank the next month. Do you think the Red Sox just might be performing more due diligence in their managerial search than other teams? Is it possible things like this matter to the Red Sox and might be a factor in the length of time of their managerial search? We don't know, but Shank apparently doesn't think so. Maybe Matheny and real estate mogul Donald Trump can get together on a project?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Is Shank Done At CNN / SI?

No CNN / SI posts from Shank in seven weeks. I'd like to think they got sick of him reusing Boston Globe columns. Since I can't find squat on any public details, we'll do what Shank does so well - rely on rumors and innuendo!


Reader Ian e-mails me a pretty good fisking of Shank's November 14th column. Not that I'm making excuses or anything (right!), but this is the level of mocking a lazy, mail-it-in dead tree columnist so richly deserves.

Addition By Subtraction?

The website Awful Announcing laments the departure of Red Sox sideline babe Heidi Watney, who's moving back to her home state of California to cover the freakin' L.A. Lakers? How could you betray us like that, Heidi?

All kidding aside, good for her. But you know that's not the main reason I link to this post:
If only Boston could find a way to get rid of Dan Shaughnessy:
Check out the embedded video clip, if only to catch Shank at the height of his dorkiness.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back On The Bandwagon, Etc.

Every now and then, Shank writes an interesting column that makes many valid points, is well written and grips you from beginning to end.

This is not one of those columns...

Instead we get another picked up pieces column; it's like an early Christmas present, except you feel like you're in county lockup when you're opening it.
Picked-up pieces while making plans for the Patriots in the AFC Championship game . . .
Seems like only yesterday when Shank was making plans... to go to Vail instead.
Why did we waste so much time on Albert Haynesworth when we had Andre Carter here all along?
Might be the same reason we all jumped off the Patriots bandwagon two weeks ago...
What a story it will be if Jacoby Ellsbury is named American League Most Valuable Player Monday. He’s got a better chance than you might think.
Shank did nothing but shit on Ellsbury in print and on the radio for nearly the entire 2010 season, and now says it's a good story? A better story would be for Shank to say he was wrong about Ellsbury. Then again, I'm probably not getting that unicorn for my birthday, either.
I’m gonna miss Geno on the big board at the end of Celtics home victories.
Shank's favorite decade - the Sixties or Seventies? It's a tough call!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back To The Red Sox

Shank's latest concern about the Sox - what's up with the managers they're interviewing?
Yesterday it was Gene Lamont, a 64-year-old man who has been in professional baseball for 47 years. On Friday it was Torey Lovullo, a veteran of nine seasons managing in the minors. Last Wednesday, it was Sandy Alomar Jr., a nice former player with no managerial experience.

Before that, it was 60-year-old bench coach Pete Mackanin with his nifty handkerchief, great hair, and iPad. We’ve also seen Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, the man who made us all forget Wendell “Send ’Em In’’ Kim.

No-Names On Parade. This is the theme of the Red Sox managerial search in November 2011.
I think the column makes some good points, but 1) this is the first positive mention of former Sox manager Joe Morgan in about five years (convenient, when it helps Shank) and 2) he mentions, among others, Bobby Valentine and Ozzie Guillen as a preferred type of manager? Is he serious? He's just stirring the pot again, right?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Obligatory Penn State Column

Longtime readers of this site / Shank's columns are aware of his occasional tendency towards the sanctimonious. I was expecting just that with this column, and Shank delivers.
Penn State should cancel the rest of its football season.


Legendary coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham B. Spanier were fired by the Board of Trustees late Wednesday night, and these same officials would do well to take the next step and announce the cancellation of the remainder of Penn State’s football season, starting with tomorrow’s “big game’’ against Nebraska.

Then send pink slips to everyone working on the football staff.

It’s time to start over, folks. This has gone on far too long already.
I'm having trouble figuring out why the players should be punished if Shank's sanctions were to become enforced. I think it's obvious Shank doesn't care about / didn't consider that angle.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Better Late Than Never?

I wasn't able to connect to Blogger, Google or Bing for the past four days from my primary computer because I'd timeout trying to connect with IE and Firefox. The eventual fix was to refresh the DNS table on my modem, which has to be pushed through by the ISP or simply unplugging the modem for a minute & plugging it back in. Guess I need to figure out what information, exactly, is stored in the modem's memory; I suspect it's something besides a DNS table. And in case you're wondering, cable modems can be hacked.

What we don't need to figure out is Shank's last two columns. With the Patriots / Ginats game looming on Sunday, what more obvious angle was there for Shank to harp on?
FOXBOROUGH - You can say it was four years ago and has no bearing on today’s game. You can say that one has nothing to do with the other.

But that is no fun, and it is not true for most of us.

The New York Giants play at Gillette Stadium today, and this is no ordinary game between a pair of Northeast Corridor rivals with matching 5-2 records.

It’s the same two quarterbacks. It’s the same two head coaches. It’s the same two logos.

Obviously, a Patriots victory today won’t make up for what happened in the desert in Arizona in February 2008, but there’s no way this is just another game for the New England Patriots and their fans.
And if the Patriots didn't win (they did not), there's just more grist for Shank's mill:
But that is no fun, and it is not true for most of us.

The New York Giants play at Gillette Stadium today, and this is no ordinary game between a pair of Northeast Corridor rivals with matching 5-2 records.

It’s the same two quarterbacks. It’s the same two head coaches. It’s the same two logos.

Obviously, a Patriots victory today won’t make up for what happened in the desert in Arizona in February 2008, but there’s no way this is just another game for the New England Patriots and their fans.

A lot of the cast members were the same. Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning all picked up where they left off four years ago in the Roman Numeral Game.

Just like last time we got a hard-fought game with limited offense that loosened up at the finish. The Patriots scored on a touchdown pass to take a 3-point lead late in the fourth, but they left too much time on the clock, and Manning somehow took the Giants down the field for a winning touchdown in the closing seconds. Brady got the ball back for a couple of desperation tosses as the clock wound down to zero.

Sound familiar?
Why, yes it does. It's because Shank throughly enjoys reminding us of it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Sir Shaughnessy, The Provincial

Perhaps it is Shank's unique combination of laziness (his only column on the World Series this year) and affinities for the negative (column on the losing team, Texas Rangers) and the regional (Boston Red Sox, natch!) that's able to produce a gem for the ages. As befits the arrogant, Shank presumes to speak on behalf of the entire Red Sox Nation:
Dear Texas Rangers fans:

We feel your pain. We know what it’s like. For almost a week, the baseball world has been celebrating the St. Louis Cardinals and their dramatic crawl from the crypt. We’ve seen footage of the Cardinals parading alongside the Arch, and wreaths have been thrown at the feet of Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols, David Freese, and Chris Carpenter.

But we know it’s different back in your town. In Dallas-Fort Worth, the World Series will not be remembered for the Cardinals winning. It’ll be remembered as the one that got away - one of the great choke jobs of all-time.
From the comments section, here's an all-time Top Ten summary of Shank:
"Good thing there is always a losing team. If there wasn't, Dan would have nothing to write about."