Saturday, April 28, 2012

Shank's Quarterly Hockey Story

Not that it takes Einstein to figure this out, but Shank's Thursday column was on the Bruins' Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to access the article, even after signing up for the one month subscription, due to a bad link. I'm not going to waste any more time trying to figure out how the Globies managed to make a poorly performing website even worse. If his future articles also have bad / malformed URL's and / or are not able to be accessed, this site will be shutting down sooner than anticipated...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - IX

The parent company of the Boston Globe (the New York Times) is implementing a 'restructuring' of its' pension plan, which has many journalists' panties in a bunch. As if to parody an arrogant, elitist bunch of snobs, the first guy in this clip is wearing a bowtie like the Tom Oliphant Jr. clone he is.

I hope you Globies are taking this to heart; this shitstorm's coming your way...
New York Times staffers, like suffering proles all over the world, belong to a labor union, and over the years the union has negotiated a very comfy defined benefit retirement plan. The staffers love the plan.

But economic reality is intruding. Times management, perhaps reading the coverage in its own pages about the companies and cities going bankrupt due to unsustainable union-bargained pension systems, wants to make a change. It wants to offer a defined contribution plan, instead. Workers and the company pay into a 401(k) plan, workers invest it, and when they retire, that is the amount they have towards their income.

It’s an entitled blue deer, meet onrushing truck kind of moment. The Guild is talking about a strike, and an array of Times staffers, including some famous bylines that are well known in news circles, worry aloud that the new plan could make them eat cat food and sleep in boxes on the street in old age. (Or late middle age, anyway; not one staffer talks about working past 65.)

Nobody in the video talks about the changes in the news business that threatens to drive the Times into a deep dive. Nobody talks about the prospect of future significant staff cuts if costs can’t be contained. None of them discuss the incongruity between their own naive sense of entitlement and what is going on in the cities, companies and countries they cover.

They just want the money.
I wrote the following two years ago:

It's worth remembering this the next time the Boston Globe / New Your Times editorial writers sanctimoniously lecture you about the virtues of unions while their ownership is simultaneously pissing on their own unions...
I sympathize with the Times staff about living in tougher economic conditions,
That makes one of us...
...but that is what people are adjusting to all over the world; I’m not sure what gives them an exemption. Newspaper reporters of all people should have seen this coming long ago, and have made savings and retirement plans on the assumption that their defined benefit plan would be going the way of the passenger pigeon and sooner rather than later.
I know what they feel gives them an exemption - they are (more or less) pretentious, arrogant pricks with an entitlment mentality the size of Canada. I need only to show you the board's resident Globeophile, Bruce M___, as Exhibit A. I will give him some credit for bailing out on the Titantic Globe and taking the buyout in 2008; any (unlikely) defense by him of his former employer on strictly financial terms should be rightly viewed as self-evident hypocrisy.
If anything, their feelings of regret and chagrin should be tinged with at least a soupçon of relief. In the end, a defined benefit plan is only as solid as the company behind it, and given the turmoil on today’s media landscape it’s not at all clear where the Times will be or how it will be restructuring its debt 20 years from now. The good thing about a defined contribution plan is that you don’t lose the money if your ex-employer goes broke.
I doubt they'll make it past ten years from now. Time will tell!
For readers, this is a fascinating and revealing glimpse inside the Times bubble. I am not sure which is more disconcerting; the deeply embedded sense of blue entitlement so palpably on display or the poor political judgement that led the union brass to think that releasing this video to the public would be good PR. Either way it serves as a powerful illustration of just how fundamentally out of touch many of the people working at America’s most famous newspaper have become.
This isn't exactly a shock - there are recent examples of General Motors & Chrysler going south in much the same way - entitled employees and stupid, ossified management. I'm sure further research would point out these two dynamics contributing to many a company's demise.
I like and admire many of the people who write for the Times.
I don't know about you, but I'm having trouble coming up with a single name...
Some of them I have known for years and, happily, the judgment and sensibility behind this video doesn’t characterize everyone who works there. But I suspect that most viewers around the world are going to find this video funny and revealing rather than heartfelt and convincing.
I'm in the former camp, I have the video on replay and my amp's cranked up to eleven...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Bad Time Was Had By All

First, on Friday the Red Sox celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, and lose to the Yankees.

Yesterday the Red Sox sprint out to a 9 - 0 lead, only to lose the game, 15 to 9, also to the Yankees.

Marvel as Dan Shaughnessy basks in the glorious negativity; this is his Super Bowl Week right here.
This is bad. Four Yawkey Way feels like 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. during the final days of the Nixon Administration. It is only April and the Sox have unraveled completely. Saturday night in the park, the Red Sox blew a 9-0 lead in the seventh inning and were thrashed by the Yankees, 15-9. On national television. Mercy. Bobby Valentine has crossed into the Joe Kerrigan Zone. He is the dartboard ornament of Boston baseball. Fans are chanting “We Want Tito,’’ and booing Bobby V every time he pops out of the dugout.


Bobby Valentine has crossed into the Joe Kerrigan Zone. He is the dartboard ornament of Boston baseball. Fans are chanting “We Want Tito’’ (they are not calling for the Yugoslavian president who died in 1980), and booing Bobby V every time he pops out of the dugout. Terry Francona will be in the broadcast booth Sunday, pretending not to be enjoying himself. The Sox are praying for a rainout so they can get out of town without any more hideous home cooking.
Let the speculation on Valentine's future commence:
When is it too early to speculate on Valentine’s future? Would the Sox make a change in April? Would Bobby quit?

Doubtful. But Cal Ripken Sr. didn’t last this long with the 1988 Orioles.

After Saturday’s debacle, I asked Bobby if he was still glad he accepted this job.

“Absolutely,’’ he answered. “It’s my job. If I said I was only going to be in it for the good days, I probably wouldn’t have come. Challenges are great . . . You’ve got to be tough. I think we’re a tough team.’’

This much is certain; Valentine’s bravado is gone. His energy seems spent. The Ultra Brite smile flashes less than it did when the Red Sox were in Fort Myers, still 0-0. This new manager who invented the wrap sandwich and dances like Astaire has become the poster boy for the Sox early-season struggles. John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino aren’t on the field to be booed. Ben Cherington doesn’t change pitchers in mid-inning. Theo Epstein made a clean getaway to Chicago. John Lackey and Carl Crawford are on the disabled list.


They have lost five in a row. They have not won since Bobby went on Channel 7 and decided it would be a swell idea to call out an eight-year veteran who was part of two championship teams. The cover of Saturday’s New York Post featured a full-page photo of Alex Rodriguez homering at Fenway Friday, headlined, “100 Years of Ass Kicking.’’

This must be the bottom.

Pray for rain. Bobby V and his players need to get out of town as fast as possible.
Programming note - this site will continue to operate for the next month. Once the Globe's online paywall fees increase to $4.00 per week, it will suspend operations indefinitely. I will only encourage the bastards by paying this fee.

My prediction - within three to four months, the Globe will a) sharply revise this paywall fee downward or b) eliminate it altogether. I also note that the Shank article comments section are down sharply. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Back To Business Tomorrow

Responses to Shank's columns will resume tomorrow, despite the Boston Globe's recently instituted paywall. I found a few dollars under the cushions of my couch, which should keep things going for a while. That, and given the manner of the Red Sox probably losing this afternoon's game to the Yankees (currently 15 - 9 in the bottom of the eight inning), it will be money well spent to watch Shank shriek in hysterics.

My only question - when will he call for Bobby Valentine to get fired?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To Kill A Newspaper

Whenever there's dissension and controversy with the Red Sox, our man Shank will surely be there to cover it.

I, however, will not. The Globe has instituted its paywall, now requiring me to pay for the 'privilege' of reading the Globe, where the old tricks no longer work. I wonder how long that'll last...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pop Quiz

Three Boston professional sports teams played games yesterday. Which one did Shank write his latest column on?

A) Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 13 - 5;

B) Celtics beat the New Jersey Nets, 94 - 82, or

C) Bruins lose to the Washington Capitals, 2-1 in overtime.

The correct answer is C). I didn't say this would be a difficult quiz!
Bruins fans loved it when Tim Thomas shoved Washington center Nicklas Backstrom in the third period of Saturday’s game. Backstrom kept digging near the crease after Thomas covered a shot, and the Capitals forward absorbed two gloves to the face from the Bruins’ combative netminder.

It was mildly reminiscent of a moment in Game 3 against the Canucks last spring in the Final when Thomas coldcocked Vancouver superstar Henrik Sedin.

Unfortunately for Thomas and the Bruins, Backstrom had his revenge when he scored the winning goal (wrist shot, stick side) nearly three minutes into the second overtime to give the Capitals a series-squaring 2-1 victory over the Bruins.
Shank has written nine columns this month; six of those focused on Red Sox or Bruins losses and the Red Sox' (poor) prospects for the 2012 season.

Dan Shaughnessy - international man of misery...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Still Sour

That's not exactly a news flash, but even with the Red Sox's first home win, Shank still manages to see a dark cloud.
They’ve been playing in the old yard for 100 years now, but rarely has a win felt more urgent or welcome for the Sox and their unsettled fans


It was a soft opening, played one week before the baseball bacchanalia promised when the New York Yankees come to town for the official 100th birthday of every New Englander’s summer home, Fenway Park.

Red Sox warriors Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, decorated veterans of great days at Fenway, emerged from the Green Monster to throw ceremonial first pitches. “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy’’ by Blood, Sweat & Tears blared on the speaker system while the recently retired batterymates made their way toward the mound.

Good choice of a tune. After seven-plus months of chaos and disappointment, the Red Sox on Friday finally reminded us that we can still have good times at the ballpark that has become the franchise’s centerpiece star. Josh Beckett ignored some pregame boos and stuffed the Tampa Bay Rays on five hits over eight innings in a 12-2 Red Sox breakout win. The Sox pounded 16 hits off five Tampa Bay pitchers.
From there, it's a standard game recap and one funny anecdote:
Fans walking from Kenmore Square up Brookline Avenue early in the day got a laugh when they saw the sign over Popeyes that read, “Four out of five pitchers prefer our chicken BEST.’’

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wash, Rinse, Repeat - II

Shank loves recycling. How can you tell, other than the fact that he works for the Boston Globe? Look no further than today's column. The first five or six paragraphs are a rehash of any of his previous dozen Red Sox columns.
Two days after that, Terry Francona - growing in popularity by the hour...
Nice - insert a completely self-serving sentence, in order to help you boost the sales from a book Shank's helping Francona to write.
Whoa. Sorry to be so negative.
And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell...

And now, for the obligatory "beat up on ownership" section of the column:
Speaking of Sox ownership, a ball club spokesperson said principal owner John Henry will be at the game. We were a little worried about this because Liverpool is playing a big match Saturday and the British tabloids are full of “sacking’’ stories regarding Henry’s futbol club.
Which happens with every English Premier League team as the season winds down, making that point, well, pointless.
Too bad. Henry could do himself a lot of good if he grabbed a microphone during the pregame ceremony and told fans, “We appreciate your loyalty. We’re sorry about all this and we pledge do better.’’
If Shank wasn't already persona non grata with Red Sox ownership, you think his writing a book with Francona helps him in any way, besides the royalties? To me, it will only reinforce this point - that ownership, through Larry Lucchino, will use Shank as an outlet for bad stories, rumors and innuendo, like when Valentine will be blamed for everything if the Sox go on to have a bad season. And that point is - Shank is a tool.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Francona To Red Sox - Piss Off

Weary of writing about the first four losses of the Red Sox's 2012 season, Shank shifts gears and talks to former Sox manager Terry Francona, who will not be attending next week's 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park.
Don’t look for former manager Terry Francona at Fenway Park when the Red Sox celebrate the 100th anniversary of their beloved ballpark a week from Friday against the Yankees. Francona is still smarting from the way things ended between himself and the Red Sox after the collapse of 2011.

“Somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad,’’ Francona said, referring to a story by the Globe’s Bob Hohler that cited unnamed club sources expressing concerns that Francona’s job performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication. “It’s a shame. I’m sure they’ll have a great event and I was part of a lot of that stuff there, but I just can’t go back there and start hugging people and stuff without feeling a little bit hypocritical.’’
Pretty unusual for Shank to get this kind of access / story, right? That is, until you read the very end of the article:
Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at He is working on a book with Terry Francona on Francona’s career as Red Sox manager.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Off The Bandwagon So Early, Shank?

I've been saying this for a while now - Shank will be all over Bobby Valentine when the first three game losing streak happens.
DETROIT - Bring back Terry Francona?

Why not bring back Joe Kerrigan, Butch Hobson, Dave Lewis, and Pete Carroll while we’re at it?

Did Bobby Valentine have any idea what he was getting himself into?
With many Dan Shaughnessy columns, we are 'treated' to Shankisms, lame lyric fragments and overused words. Today's treats are 'hideous', 'emotional rescue', and a new one for the Shank lexicon, "Schiraldi Eyes" - the eyes a pitcher has as his last pitch achieves lunar orbit. It's the new 'Way Back Wasdin'!

Surely you're keeping track of all this, right? You're not? The ever helpful Shank's right on cue:
If you’re still keeping track, the Red Sox now have lost 23 of their last 30 games. Last season’s 0-6 start has surrendered to this season’s 0-3 as they prepare for the Blue Jays Monday night at Rogers Centre.
To paraphrase a Globe commenter from last year - "Good thing there's always a losing team, or Shank would have nothing to write about."

Sunday, April 08, 2012


The Red Sox lost this afternoon, 13 - 12 in 11 innings, giving the Detroit Tigers a sweep of the series.

You just know Shank's gonna lose it in tomorrow's columm, don't you?

What natural or man-made disaster will Shank use to describe this loss?

* Plague of locusts;

* Drought / famine;

* Three Mile Island, 1979;

* Breakup of the Beatles, 1970;

* Hiroshima & Nagasaki, 1945;

* Lost Russian submarine Kursk, 2000;

* Eruption of Krakatoa, 1883;

* Annual floods in Bangladesh;

* Sunk freighter Edmund Fitzgerald, 1975;

* Haitian earthquake, 2010;

* San Francisco earthquake & fire, 1906; or..

* the bombing of Dresden, 1945?

Just Like September

Alternate headline - "I rewrote Friday's column, inserted the final score, dumped on Josh Beckett and owner John Henry, used the phrase 'chicken and beer' one more time, and presto!"
DETROIT - The omens were all good. The game was played on Bobby Doerr’s 94th birthday. The first pitch was thrown at a Teddy Ballgame time of 4:06. Boston’s absentee owner was buoyed by a big 1-1 draw in Liverpool, and the Red Sox had Josh Beckett on the mound, with a plan to “execute pitches.’’

And then it all came apart in a hail of home runs by the Bash Brothers of Detroit.

What a beating!

Beckett surrendered five, count ’em five, homers in a mere 4 2/3 innings of a 10-0 Tigers beat-down of the Red Sox Saturday. It was the worst possible start for a $17 million pitcher who failed the Sox down the stretch in the epic collapse of 2011, then was outed as a primary perp in the chicken-and-beer fiasco that finished Terry Francona in Boston.
Utterly predictable column, and you'll see the same basic column tomorrow if the Sox lose this afternoon. I'm willing to bet it's already half written...

P.S. - spot the lame lyric fragment - it's classic Shank!

UPDATE at 6:00 P.M. - Deadspin piles on.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Beating A Dead Horse, Ad Infinitum

Shank's Saturday column focuses on today's Red Sox starting pitcher (and 2012 Shank bête noire) Josh Beckett.
DETROIT - Maybe Josh Beckett wasn’t being a swell teammate and selfless guy when he told Bobby Valentine to go ahead and let Jon Lester pitch Opening Day. Maybe Beckett was just being smart. The guy who pitched Game 1 against Justin Verlander was not likely to come away with a win for his effort. Going up against Verlander in 2011-12 is like going up against Pedro Martinez in 1999-2000.
Interesting that Shank lauds Pedro Martinez in consecutive columns. Wasn't it Pedro Martinez that Shank ran out of town nearly a decade ago? Why, yes it was!

Clearly lacking new angles on which to write about the team or individual players, Shank is more than happy to remind readers yet again about the Red Sox circa September 2011.
The tall Texan can complain all he wants about snitches in the clubhouse and folks who don’t understand that his wife was about to have their first baby when things fell apart for the Red Sox last September. He can roll his eyes when talk shows in Boston overreact to his little side trip to visit a doctor a few days before the start of the season.


Beckett got fat and sloppy last season. He was outed as a ringleader in the Beer-and-Chicken debacle. And in a season in which he went 13-7 with a nifty 2.89 ERA, he came up small when it mattered.


Beckett gets the ball Saturday afternoon. It’s a chance to restore his place as a staff stopper and leader. It’s a chance to make folks forget some of the bad things that happened at the end last year.
The best way to forget some of the bad things that happened last year would be to stop writing about them in every damn column. This horse isn't just dead; it's decomposing.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Glass Half Empty - II

The Detroit Tigers won yesterday's Opening Day game by a score of 3 -2. In a fashion that should surprise no one, Shank made many, many comparisons to last year's Red Sox team, and I have no doubt whatsoever this will be the main theme every time he writes about a Red Sox loss. I was actually having a flashback to Game Six of the 1986 World Series when I was reading this column.

In typical Shank fashion, only he can describe the outcome thusly:
And that is precisely how a Tigers win became a Red Sox loss.
Stolen from the comments section (re: Shank's use of decades old song lyrics - "Wearing road grays, they jogged off the field, spitting out pieces of their broken luck after a one-out, walkoff RBI single to left field."):
Dan- Ian Anderson called, he wants a (royalty) check.
If the Red Sox lose the next two games, it will be fun to watch Shank blow a head gasket.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Expect The Unexpected

Shank musters the energy to write his first column in a week about the prospects for the 2012 Boston Red Sox. As any 'fan' of Shank knows, such columns are full of the trademark cheery optimism that he's renowned for the world over.
DETROIT — I We traditionally overrate the Red Sox. They have the best lineup. They have too much pitching. They have great ownership. They have dedicated fans and a cozy, celebrity ballpark. This is the year. Best Team Ever. Leave calendars open for October. Strawberry Fields Forever.
Shank obviously doesn't listen to WFNX...
Not this year. No one is picking the Red Sox to win. The Sox are careening down the dugout steps and they haven’t even played a game yet. The Red Sox this year are underdogs, hiding in the weeds while all the attention is focused on American League teams from New York, Detroit, Anaheim, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Tampa Bay.
From there, he goes on to chronicle the Sox' 2011 collapse, which by my count is the 200th time he's done so since October 1, 2011. We are deprived of a 'chicken and beer' mention, perhaps because he's used up the quota for the year.

Just remember the Reverse Shank Curse - last year he was helping to hype the 2011 Red Sox as the best team EVAH! and the Sox wound up missing the playoffs. With that in mind, the Sox should be a lock to make the playoffs this year.

P.S. - does Shank start ripping Bobby Valentine with the first three-game losing streak? I think that's another lock.