Sunday, September 30, 2012


Shank takes a trip to Buffalo to cover today's Patriots - Bills game, then says next to nothing about the game he's ostensibly there to cover.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — A year later, once again, we have Patriots, Bills, Red Sox, Orioles, and Yankees.

We have Ralph Wilson Stadium, Camden Yards, and Yankee Stadium.

We have a football coach hoping to make it to the Super Bowl, and a baseball manager scheduled for a firing squad at the end of the week.

It is the last weekend of September, and our local teams are playing the same opponents in the same places where they played at this time last year. Everything is the same . . . and everything is different.
Much like the content of this column. The casual Boston sports fan already knows what's going on with the Patriots and Red Sox; Shank simply restates the obvious in order to fill up column inches. He devotes three thin paragraphs on the subject he's allegedly in Buffalo to talk about:
The view is a little different now. The 2012 Patriots arrive in Buffalo with a two-game losing streak. They are in last place in the AFC East, trailing both the Bills and the hated Jets by a full game.

Once again, we have questions about the young New England defense. The Patriots couldn’t stop Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter last week at Baltimore, just as they couldn’t stop Harvard’s Ryan Fitzpatrick when they played in Buffalo last year.

We are no longer talking about the Patriots as a 16-0 team. We are no longer certain that they will finish first in the AFC East. The Patriots have lost three of their last four games. They are suddenly vulnerable.
At least we are updated on the important things, like "Where do New England area sportswriters go after a football game?"
A few hours after the football game, members of the New England media gathered at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. It’s the birthplace of Buffalo wings. When you cover sports for a living and travel to Buffalo, you are required to close the Anchor Bar.

We did the job.
Bars in Buffalo close at 4:00 AM. I know Mike will be shocked, SHOCKED at Shank's revelation. Any bets that Shank wrote this column on the back of a napkin while he was waiting on his order of chicken and beer?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Look Away

Shank today accuses Red Sox management of using the celebrations of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park as a front to obscure the performance on the field, calling it "a last shameless attempt to direct your eyes away from the playing field." (As if the connotations of a losing record are so complex, your average fan hasn't yet figured it out.)

The solution, says the Bold One, is to hire former Red Sox pitching coach and now Blue Jays manager John Farrell, because no one can turn around a fourth-place team like a guy who is coaching a fifth-place team!

And The CHB -- who when it comes to baseball matters has been right about, what, 3% of the time? --  claims that the Sox need to lose as much as possible "because they need to hit rock bottom in order to get better." 

There you go again, Dan, quoting your AA counselor. 

We say, Direct your eyes from the writer for the Globe.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Moonlighting / Get Me Rewrite!

At least we know where Shank's been recently, besides writing columns for the Boston Globe:
Boston Herald columnist Dan Shaughnessy knows how out of hand things have gotten, and even takes offense to the NFL trying to play the old "they got it right" card.

"The statement that came out today is pretty much an insult to our intelligence," Shaughnessy said. "Basically, nobody is buying that. We know what our eyes told us, what we saw."

Shaughnessy continued: "With the dollars that are being wages (sic) here, to have the product compromised over such a short amount of money is preposterous."
Other than that, it was an accurate quote...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Leap Too Far

The CHB's wrapup of the Patriots-Ravens matchup Sunday night has all the color and life of a plate of tripe.

Put another way, there's nothing but nothing there. Of course, he does manage to work in the obligatory gratituous shot at the Red Sox:

"Walking past Camden Yards on the way to M & T Bank Stadium, I had flashbacks from last Sept. 28 when the Red Sox melted into a puddle of sorrow in the shadows of Eutaw Street."

Reading this column, I had flashbacks to pretty much every run-of-the-mill, mailed-in piece The CHB has ever written. Not a happy place to be.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Asking The Stupid Questions

We were eagerly awaiting Shank's first column in a week, and with him finally realizing it's no longer sport to dump on the Red Sox this season with an entire column, Shank talks up tonight's Patriots - Ravens game with a "serious" question:
Are Ravens now a rival for the Patriots?
Like they weren't rivals from January 10, 2010, nearly three years ago? I think you're a little late on this one, Shank!

Shank then trots out the same tired formula he always does when comparing Boston against Our Newest Rival.
We want the Baltimore Ravens to be our natural-born football rivals.

We can make this work.

Boston-Baltimore. We have history. We have tradition.

Patriots vs. Ravens. Patriots vs. Colts (in the old days). Celtics vs. Bullets (in the older days). Red Sox vs. Orioles (ouch). USS Constitution vs. USS Constellation. Waterfront vs. Inner Harbor. Ralph Waldo Emerson vs. Edgar Allan Poe. “Good Will Hunting” vs. “Diner.” Mass. General vs. Johns Hopkins. Lobster rolls vs. crab cakes.

Luis Tiant vs. Jim Palmer.

Baltimore gave us Janet Marie Smith, who rebuilt Fenway Park. Baltimore gave us Larry Lucchino, who hired Bobby Valentine.
You get the idea. I should check the tires on Shank's car; they're probably retreads, too.

But what's a Shank column without another dig at the Red Sox, complete with a decades old song reference?
And then there was last Sept. 28, at Camden Yards. The day the music died in Boston baseball.

A soft liner to left . . . Crawford can’t make the play! . . . Here comes Reimold to the plate and the throw is not in time! . . . Tito fired . . . Chicken and beer . . . John Henry storming into The SportsHub . . . Theo resigns . . . Bobby hired . . . The return of the “varsity” . . . the palace mutiny . . . worst roster in the history of baseball . . . Nava is coming out to hit for Iglesias . . .

On and on it goes.
That's an understatement...

UPDATE AT 2:10 pm - Steve Buckley and I agree on the rivalry timeline, for what that's worth.


So Shank, talking with one of the titans of baseball brilliance Michael Felger, says Ben Cherington should quit if he doesn't get to choose the manager.

It's a shocking statement for a guy who prides himself so much on baseball history. Doesn't The CHB remember that the one and only George Steinbrenner hired (and fired) every manager of the Yankees during his 37-year reign? And that the Yankees won seven World Series championships during that time?

Can it be the same CHB, who has been whining for two years that the John Henry Group isn't involved enough in the team, is now bitching that the ownership is too involved? (head spinning)

Oh, and there's the gratuitous shot at Bill James. Let's go over this again:
  • No. of World Series wins with Bill James-influencing the Red Sox: 2
  • No. of World Series wins with Bill James not influencing the Red Sox: 0
Perhaps that math is too much for Shank.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don't Believe The Hype

That's what Shank is selling with today's column concerning a potential sale of the Boston Red Sox, first reported by Fox Business Network yesterday.
Don Draper sat in John Henry’s seat next to the Red Sox dugout for the Yankee finale Thursday night.

Perfect. “Mad Men” comes to Fenway Park for the final days of the train-wreck season of 2012.

“Mad Men.” It works in many ways. The Red Sox owners love money. They love to sell their product and they do it well. They are geniuses of presentation. They are the Ultimate Ad Men of Major League Baseball.

They are also mad men, as in angry. They won’t look in the mirror. They want to blame everybody else for what has happened. They want you to remember that this is all Theo Epstein’s fault.
No, Shank, you want the fans to remember this is all Theo's fault. Shank does not do disingenuous well.

So, to sell or not to sell?
Henry, Werner, and Lucchino say it’s not true. I believe them. I think they are fans. I think they are men in their 60s and even in bad times like this, this is nothing more fun than owning Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox. Lucchino has re-upped with the Red Sox for three more years. This will keep him in Boston until he is 70.

Maybe I’m the fool. Maybe Henry is Montgomery Burns, cares only about cash, and will unload the Sox and laugh as he flies to his new home in Liverpool. Maybe Lucchino will bail on Boston.

I’m betting against it.
This is wishful thinking on Shank's part, and his contention that current ownership are fans is contradicted by the third paragraph in this column ('Red Sox owners love money', etc.), so yes, he is the fool here. Getting rid of Beckett, Gonzalez and Crawford is a classic way of cleaning up the balance sheet before a sale by getting rid of future liabilities. That, and John Henry is first and foremost a businessman. If Shank thinks current Sox ownership are fans first, he's a poor judge of character. I say the team gets sold within two months.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Short at Center

Today, Mr. Grumpy has in his sights Jacoby Ellsbury, calling him "greatest flight risk since Whitey Bulger."

Now, yes, it is just a tad extreme to compare a baseball player to the man who topped the FBI's Most Wanted list for years, and who is accused of murdering more than a dozen people. Then again, excrement extreme is what The CHB is known for.

But Shank's crystal ball tells him that the Red Sox are "not going to contend next year with him in center field." Never mind that Ellsbury was runnerup in the AL MVP race just last year. Clearly, he sucks.

The CHB insists the Sox "must trade" Ellsbury immediately, but in the next breath notes Ellsbury's apparent brittleness and lack of performance: "He’s not even Carl Crawford this season. Trade the dude." How are the Sox to get quality in return for this apparent sack of crap? The CHB never gets around to saying. Keep in mind, Shank was the one who insisted the Red Sox keep Kevin Youkilis, who is just as brittle as Ellsbury (not to mention older and less valuable), and for whom the Red Sox already had more-than-capable replacements, and whined like a two-year-old that they didn't get enough in return for him. But no matter. That was two months ago, and drinking does hamper the memory.
And The CHB cites Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram. Is that the same Bill Ballou who has repeatedly said Bill James has been right? The same Bill James The CHB routinely mocks?

Parting shots: "ESPN was here, Wednesday night, which meant sharing the press box, elevator and media bathroom with Nomar Garciaparra and Curt Schilling. That’s a lot of awkward for one night, don’t you think?" Only if you are, you know, a dick.

Monday, September 10, 2012

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - XV

I wonder if this is a good thing for the Globe?
The blue line in the chart above displays total annual print newspaper advertising revenue (for the categories national, retail and classified) based on actual annual data from 1950 to 2011, and estimated annual revenue for 2012 using quarterly data through the second quarter of this year, from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). The advertising revenues have been adjusted for inflation, and appear in the chart as millions of constant 2012 dollars. Estimated print advertising revenues of $19.0 billion in 2012 will be the lowest annual amount spent on print newspaper advertising since the NAA started tracking ad revenue in 1950.

The decline in print newspaper advertising to a 62-year low is amazing by itself, but the sharp decline in recent years is pretty stunning. This year's ad revenues of $19 billion will be less than half of the $46 billion spent just five years ago in 2007, and a little more than one-third of the $56.5 billion spent in 2004.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Accentuating The Positive

Since the 2012 Boston Red Sox are no longer in contention for the postseason playoffs, Shank will turn to his fall whipping post, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
The Patriots open their season today against the Titans, seven months after losing the Super Bowl to the Giants.
As if you'd need to read any further...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Ridden Over

 The CHB proves once again that knowledge is his enemy, taking time out from his busy radio schedule (still laughing about that one) to write that Bill James is NOT the answer, all while noting that James was against the expensive and failed Carl Crawford acquisition.

So The CHB admits James was right, then says we don't need him anyway. Hmmm....makes sense!

Then The CHB hammers Lance Armstrong, calling him a cheater and drug user. Keep in mind, this is the same CHB who ignored all the steroid talk (and praised Barry Bonds) up until the point that the Mitchell Report came out. And for good measure he also ignored any possibility that Armstrong might be doping while the rider was actually, you know, riding. So it's nice to see the Globe's top sports columnist is remaining so far ahead of the curve.

Oh wait, here's Shank's predictions for 2011: "Lance Armstrong will be indicted and Roger Clemens will go to prison." The 0-fer continues!

Anyone else notice how The Globe has quietly brought Shaughnessy back out from behind the pay wall. It seems Boston's paper of record is awaking to the fact that readers view The CHB the way we slow down to gawk at a disabled car: we'll take a passing interest in the wreck, but we would never care enough to actually pay for it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

'O' My

Waiting for the The CHB column where he tells the world that the Red Sox once had Dan Duquette, GM of the first place Baltimore Orioles, but then fired him for the "Boy Wonder."

That would be the same Dan Duquette who, and Shank has repeatedly reminded us, said Roger Clemens was in the "twilight of his career" upon letting him go to free agency, and mocked him for his managerial choices (Jimy Williams, Joe Kerrigan) and free agent signings (Jose Offerman, et al).