Friday, March 30, 2012

Nobody's Favorite

That's how Shank describes the 2012 Red Sox and their chances of winning anything this year, weaving this thought into an interview with Kevin Youlkilis.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - After years of being overrated, the Red Sox might be going the other way this season. One year after a spring peppered with talk of 100 wins and BEST TEAM EVER, (which Shank helped to hype - ed.) the Sox are nobody’s favorite to win the 2012 World Series. Sports Illustrated (where he used to write additional columns before he apparently got shitcanned and his name recently removed from the dropdown list of available CNN / SI writers - ed.) picks the Sox to finish third in the American League East. Some of us might even go lower.
Shank tries to get personal with Youk:
I had one more question for Youkilis. Has it occurred to him that someday soon he will be the brother-in-law of Gisele Bundchen - just as Sox center fielder Dominic DiMaggio was once the brother-in-law of Marilyn Monroe?

“Where are you going with this?’’ asked Youk. “Can’t we go back to talking about Tito and baseball?’’

OK. Opening Day is Thursday in Detroit. Look for Kevin Youkilis at third base, batting cleanup.
Look for Shank's next column at Not!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Gang's All Here

Something tells me Shank's been waiting to write this column for years...
FORT MYERS, Fla. - It’s true. I checked. (first time this year! - ed.) As part of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary celebration (have you heard about it, by chance?), the Red Sox are inviting everyone who ever wore a Sox uniform back for the April 20 ballpark-palooza.

Red Sox vice president/emeritus and team historian Dick Bresciani, who has been working in the Fenway offices since 1972, confirmed this week that the Sox are trying to bring everybody back. It’s all-inclusive.

“We’re inviting all the ones we have addresses for,’’ said Bresciani. “It’s a list of about 500 ballplayers, coaches, and managers.’’

And the possibilities are endless.


“He was an All-Star center fielder in his first year with the Red Sox. A switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, he scared the hell out of teammates, umpires, and media members. He head-butted Ron Kulpa, rolled on the clubhouse carpet with Darren Lewis, and told Joe Kerrigan to [expletive] off. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for ‘Jurassic’ Carl Everett!’’

“He was brought on board by Dan Duquette to replace Mo Vaughn. He was an All-Star in his first season with the Sox and later made a name for himself by assaulting another player with a bat. Let’s hear it for ‘meaner-than-a-junkyard-dog’ Jose Offerman.’’

“He was perhaps the biggest nitwit ever to play for the local nine, a guy who knocked a home run over the wall with his head. He’ll live forever as baseball’s Face of Steroids, please say hello to Jose Canseco!’’
Nice, entertaining column by Shank; has he used up his quota of these columns already this year?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Going Down

The Red Sox made some roster moves yesterday, including sending shortstop Jose Iglesias to the minors. Our Man Shank is on the scene:
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came out of his office and poked his head into the Red Sox clubhouse at 9:13 Tuesday morning. The manager was looking for 22-year-old shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Time for a meeting.

In the NFL, they tell you, “Bring your playbook.’’
One minor quibble:
The demotion of Iglesias means that 31-year-old veteran Mike Aviles will open the season at shortstop for the Red Sox. The Aviles vs. Iglesias competition provided abundant speculation throughout the first five weeks of spring training.
And Shank didn't write a single god damned word about it for five weeks. Until now. Not that I'm saying he's lazy or anything...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Catching Up

... on a two week absence, Shank interviews Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, out for the 2012 season with an elbow injury. A pretty good column ensues; "chicken and beer" is, of course, mentioned, and we get a timely and accurate quote from Lackey:
I reminded him that he used to be a go-to guy for the media in Orange County.

“Nothing positive ever comes out of saying anything here,’’ he said.
Or to Shank - I hope John Lackey remembers that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Where's Waldo Shank?

The Boston Globe's only remaining (alleged) full-time columnist has now been absent for an entire fortnight. The other Globe columnist, Bob Ryan, having announced his retirement five weeks ago, might be expected to coast into retirement. Instead, he has submitted five more columns just in the past week alone than has Our Man Shank.

Did the last two weeks in the baking Florida sun take all the piss out of him? Clearly, Shank is not being paid by the word.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - VIII

I think it was Foucault who once famously said, "The Boston Globe ain't going anywhere".

Well, going south is going somewhere, isn't it?
The headlines about the US newspaper industry have never been so bleak.

In recent weeks, LinkedIn, the networking website, and the Council of Economic Advisers have reported that the press is “America’s fastest-shrinking industry”, measured by jobs lost; the Newspaper Association of America has shown that advertising sales have halved since 2005 and are now at 1984’s level; and the Pew Research Center has found that for every digital ad dollar they earned, they lost $7 in print ads.
But wait... there's more!
Departing executives and bankruptcy advisers have been among the few people making good money from newspapers. The chief executives of Gannett and the New York Times (The Boston Globe's parent company - ed.) left in recent months with packages worth $37m and $24m respectively, while advisers to Tribune’s Chapter 11 proceedings have earned $233m.


Publishers have focused particularly closely on the New York Times, which began charging for online content a year ago and counted 390,000 digital subscribers by December. Barclays Capital estimated this month that digital subscriptions could add $100m to the group’s annual circulation revenues, more than offsetting an estimated $50m-$60m annual decline in print advertising.
That hasn't stopped a certain commenter, insistent in the Globe's lifespan, from bailing out on them in 2008. Hypocrisy, writ large...

Friday, March 16, 2012

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - VII

Since Shank's a part-time columnist, we need some blog filler, right?
O, brave new world that has so few paper products in it! The earth’s best-known encyclopedia (or encylopaedia, if you want to be all proper about it) announced today that it is producing no more print editions. Like so many newspapers and publishing houses, Encyclopaedia Britannica is going completely digital—after 244 years of providing some of the finest page-flipping man has ever seen. While the trees may breathe easy and people who write “r” instead of “are” may not understand why this is news, a certain crowd will shed a nostalgic tear for the Boston Globe on Dead Tree this 32-volume set, once the lifeblood of door-to-door salesmen and false comfort that there was a finite, digestible amount of facts worth knowing.
That above sentence fragment needed emphasis, lest the point gets lost on certain folk...

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Four days since his last column, Shank has had enough time to watch a few more Red Sox games, thoughtfully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current lineup, and give a rational assessment of this year's squad.

Ah, who am I kidding? Shank inflicts another picked up pieces column on us:

The Sox still have holes at shortstop, left field, and right field. They have downgraded at closer. They don’t have fourth and fifth starters. New York, Tampa, Texas, Anaheim, and Detroit all got better. The Sox are not better. Anybody else skeptical about the Local Nine? Who will be the first to note that the home opener is on Friday the 13th?
I like how Shank always accentuates the positive...

What's this? Shank turning sour on Adrian Gonzalez? It's like two peas in a pod!
Gonzalez is one sour dude. Almost Nomar-esque. Nobody likes a know-it-all.
Gonzo and Nomar mentioned in the same sentence? Consider it a badge of honor to make it to Shank's Shit ListTM. Remember when Shank had a man crush on Gonzalez? Seems like only yesterday.

Talk too much (Schilling, Manny) and Shank doesn't like you. Don't talk enough (Gonzalez) and Shank doesn't like you. Buy an English Premier League soccer team (Henry) and Shank dumps on you every other column. Is this guy ever happy with anyone?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

He Shall Return

Shank writes a pretty good column on former Red Sox manager Dan Duquette, now the head of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Full circle. Ten years after. Lots of water under the Edison Bridge.

Exactly one decade after he was fired by John Henry and Larry Lucchino at the Sanibel Harbour Resort, Dan Duquette returned to Fort Myers yesterday. He is the new executive vice president/baseball operations for the moribund Baltimore Orioles.

“I’m glad to be back, glad to be working for the Orioles, and I’m glad to get another opportunity,’’ Duquette said in the press box at Fenway South Tuesday. “I’m glad to back in the major leagues.’’
Surprisingly, Shank was not calling for Duquette's head (his usual M.O.) just before new ownership relieved him of his duties back in late 2001; quite the opposite, in fact. I guess Shank saves those special 'run them out of town' efforts just for Red Sox players.

Monday, March 05, 2012

A New Day

The new Fort Myers' baseball park had it's official Opening Day yesterday, and Shank is there to cover it. I was expecting Shank to completely rip Josh Beckett a new one in this column, but the appearance of many former Red Sox players at the Opening Day festivities nixed that angle.

We'll just have to settle for a single "chicken and beer" mention (and incredibly, a comparison of the Sox 2011 collapse to the fall of Saigon) and know it will probably be used every time Shank writes about Curt Schilling Manny Ramirez Josh Beckett.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Redemption Tour

Shank offers a game recap of Jon Lester's first start of 2012, two innings of work against Northeastern's baseball squad.

My column recap - the Shank phrase of the year ("chicken and beer") makes two appearances in this column, Lester sounds sincere in wanting to make up for last year's September performance, and that's about it.
The comparisons with the previous administration (read: Francona as manager - ed) will not go away.
That's because Shank will make damn sure it will not go away, by mentioning it in every column, including hockey, basketball and football columns. Shank loves beating dead horses...
Today it will be Josh Beckett taking the mound against the Minnesota Twins as the Redemption Tour continues.
This article is tame compared to the one he's gonna write about Beckett tomorrow.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Shank Hearts Bobby V - I

I get the feeling you'll be reading more of these columns, at least until the first four game losing streak.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - It’s been two weeks in paradise watching Bobby Valentine and the “all new’’ Red Sox. I see the new drills and the subliminal video messages and the longer workouts and the smarter-than-everybody manager and I keep asking myself the same question . . .

How did the Red Sox win two World Series, average 93 wins per season, and make the playoffs five times when they were clearly such a chaotic, disorganized mess in spring training for the last eight years?
I don't know - maybe the author of columns like these could have spent some time on that subject and then write a column about it?

The rest of the column reads as part Theo & Tito bashing, partly some good points being raised (i.e., stress fundamentals, more clubhouse changes, etc.), and part revisionist history ("Yes, we were all fooled, and I'm just the Globe's supposed expert on the Red Sox, standing in the back of the room each and every time, and even I was fooled!").

Disingenuous schmuck.

Shank on Jason Varitek

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek announced his retirement on Thursday. Shank writes a pretty good column about his years as a Sox player.

Just two things that irritated me about the column - normal peopls call "an establishment of commerce" a business and normal people call "saloons" bars.