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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey

Someone must have pissed in Shank's Wheaties this morning:
The Patriots are not that good. Just as the Red Sox were not that good. Too much has happened to the New England football team. Too many subtractions. Too many injuries. Too many close games and comebacks generated by stupid and scared opponents. This New England team is artificially inflated by a terrible division and not built for playoff success.

Maybe the Patriots can ride these doubts all the way to the Meadowlands, all the way down Boylston Street in February.

Here are some takeaways from watching 15 hours (including pregame and postgame programming) of football Sunday . . .
Among those takeaways: The Cincinnati Bengals are 'tomato cans', former Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano is 'Belichick’s favorite pigeon', and it will be hard for the Patriots to win in Denver.

Incisive analysis like this is why Shank gets the big bucks...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Halling Down

Today The CHB complains how the availability of better data actually makes voting for the Hall of Fame more difficult. (It doesn't.)

In fact, it makes things EASIER! Here's the CHB on Jack Morris: "The sun-starved stat geeks hate him because — according to the new metrics — winning games and pitching well in clutch situations is wildly overrated. His ERA (3.90) is too high."

Pitching well in the clutch, eh? Well, one of those sun-starved stat geeks actually sat down and looked at every single Jack Morris start over his career, inning by inning, and he found, empirically,

1. No pattern in when Jack Morris allowed runs.
2. Morris was "at his worst" in one-run and tied games. "In fact," writes Joe Sheehan, "that looks like what you might find in a theoretical 'unclutch' pitcher, someone who chokes when the game is close."

Then there's Shank's timeless "character" complaint, the dreaded "Rule 5," which dictates voters take into account the player's integrity, sportsmanship and character.

As if Ted Williams never popped a greenie. As if Gaylord Perry didn't throw a spitter.

Btw, he is voting for Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux. So in short, he says that baseball's all-time leader in home runs and the No. 3 leader in strikeouts, among others, are not worthy, because they cheated (PEDs) but neither are Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza because they looked like they might have cheated. Huh. (Neither Bagwell nor Piazza ever failed a drug test but you know who did get busted for steroids? Manny Alexander -- all 5'10, 150 lb. of him.)

Indeed, it would take one of those sun-starved stat geeks to explain Shank's rationale, which is off-the-charts bad. He doesn't vote for Craig Biggio, since he had only one 200-hit season (Yaz and Williams combined for 0). He doesn't vote for Mike Mussina (he always pitched for good teams), while ignoring that Jack Morris also always pitched for good teams. You can't make this up.

Btw, Dan, you look like you could use a good tanning session or three yourself. Maybe time to find a nice beer garden? I'm sure someone will save your stool at The Fours.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pig-Headed Skin

Opinions are like assholes: Everyone has one, and they all stink.

Which is why "sports columnist" is the appropriate occupation for one Dan Shaughnessy. He has lots of opinions, and they all stink.

Here he's criticizing the decision for UMass to move to D-1 football. "It’s the worst idea since Bobby Valentine was hired to manage the Red Sox," Shank says. Of course, when that hiring happened, The CHB actually welcomed the move.

Now, pay attention, because Shaughnessy hasn't been.

1.  UMass has had two rotten seasons since moving to D-1. That's the curve for every program that moves up. Some eventually make the jump, some don't. But they do it because ...
2. ... The money available to D-1 schools is far and away better than what they can generate at the lower levels.
3. Being in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference doesn't guarantee you success. Look no further than Georgetown (which Shank did, since he claims he was at their season-ender at Holy Cross). They've had one winning season in the past 14, and are about to kill their program.
4. Shaughnessy says, "Folks here simply don’t have an appetite for big-time college football." Perhaps The CHB should pop in a bar anywhere in Boston on a fall Saturday. Oh wait, that could never happen. College games take place in the afternoon, when he's still sleeping off the previous night's binge.

The fact is, Shaughnessy has no business writing about college sports, especially college football. He doesn't follow it. He doesn't know it. He doesn't care about it. It's high time he left it to the experts and went back to doing what he does best: bad-mouthing minorities.

Monday, December 23, 2013

In Bill We Trust - This Week, Anyway

The New England Patriots crushed the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, 41 - 7. Naturally, Shank's firmly on the bandwagon again:
BALTIMORE — It has been ugly, unwieldy, and totally unpredictable. Bill Belichick never would admit it, but the 2013 Patriots season has been a bigger challenge than recovering from a 5-11 introductory season, a bigger challenge than going through an entire year without Tom Brady.

And no matter what happens now, this 2013 season will stand as Bill Belichick’s masterpiece; the Hoodie’s Sistine Chapel.

The Patriots thrashed and embarrassed the world champion Baltimore Ravens, 41-7, in their own house Sunday. The Belichickmen (now 11-4) were crowned division champs before the game even started — thanks to Buffalo skunking the Dolphins — then went out and annihilated the favored Ravens, who entered the game with four straight wins and a hard-earned reputation for staring down the Patriots.

Our boy Bill was really happy after this one. He even almost cracked a smile when he said, “It was nice not to go down to the last minute. We actually had a lead with a couple of minutes to go.’’
You know the drill by now - when the Patriots win, they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. When they lose (like they did seven days ago) he criticizes everyone in the Patriots organization from the owner to the equipment manager.

Last word goes to this commenter:
Lucky for Mr. Shaughnessy that he didn't produce a column yesterday or Saturday. It must be a welcome change for him to not have to ignore something he wrote less than 48 hours ago that contradicts what he's writing now.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dan-agrams

Dan Shaughnessy is a lot of things. So, too, is "DanShaughnessy." One online generator returned some 9117 anagrams, some of which were highly fitting. Behold:
  • Handy Asses Hung
  • Sashays Dung Hen
  • Gas Ashy Shunned
  • Head Sags Shy Nun
  • Hanged Says Shun
  • Gnashed Anus Shy
And perhaps most apropos: Gassy Ha Shunned

DHL Dan - XXVI

After Shank's hissyfit column on Wednesday, we're back to the regular order of things with an unremarkable picked up pieces column. Among other matters, we learn that Shank's against giving Big Papi a contract extension (at least that position is consistent), the Ravens have the ability to beat the Patriots tomorrow, Dave Cowens is an underrated Celtic, and Marvin Lewis, the Cincinnati Bengals coach, will make some sort of major mistake in the near future.

Way to go out on a limb, Shank!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dan Plays Defense

"Do you want coverage or celebration? Do you want subjective commentary and analysis, or do you just want writer/fans rooting for the local teams to win?"

That's what The CHB writes today.

So many things wrong with that single statement?

First, it's a false equivalency. Fans want all of it, and in appropriate doses.

But let's remind readers that Shank offers only snarky commentary, and no analysis. Consider this past week's "efforts," when over the span of 24 hours he went from calling the Patriots Super Bowl bound to "laughable."

"I don’t care if they win. I don’t care if they lose. I love sports. I love football. I love the story. The story can be great, win or lose. But I am not emotional about the outcome."

 Absolutely, irrefutably untrue. One needs only look vitriol he's spewed at players, managers, executives and yes, fans (including in today's column) over the years to recognize that 1) he is emotional, and about everything and 2) he roots for an outcome. And no, sometimes it's for the home team to lose, and that's in part what readers (if there are any left) both recognize and despise.

Today shows The CHB at his most defensive. It's the same column he writes roughly once per year. The fans don't know dick: That's the one thing he never flips on.

Dan, we don't care what you think. We don't care how you feel. We just want you to go away. John Henry, give us an early Christmas present.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Miami Vice

It's not like we didn't see this coming.

In yesterday's Shanktastic writeup, The CHB forecast a Patriots win: "On Sunday, the Patriots will assume their spot as the top-seeded team in the AFC."

Today, however, he's singing a different tune: "[T]hese Patriots simply are not that good. Sure, they are good enough to win the AFC East for the 10th time in 11 seasons — winning the AFC East has become like winning a trophy for playing T-ball in Newton — but the notion that they were the AFC’s top seed is laughable."

I guess it's too much to ask for Daiquiri Dan to recall that just three weeks ago he wrote "the Patriots are flexing their muscles after last Sunday’s dramatic comeback over the Broncos. The 8-3 Patriots are favorites to run the table and return to the Super Bowl."

But to not remember what you wrote the day before? That's what AA is for, Big Guy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Heat in Today's Piece

Today's piece is a recap of basically every Patriots trip to Miami since the NFL-AFL merger. 

It's long.

It's dull.

It's needlessly predictive ("This is where, on Sunday, the Patriots will assume their spot as the top-seeded team in the AFC. As “The Waltz of the Tomato Cans” plays over the loudspeakers at Sun Life Stadium, the Patriots will win the AFC East for the 10th time in 11 seasons.").

It's Shankesque.




Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cry Me a Rivers

In his writeup today on Doc Rivers' return to Boston, The CHB pulls out seemingly every last player or coach to leave Boston -- any sport -- in the past 20 years.

  • Bill Parcells? Check.
  • Johnny Damon? Check.
  • Ray Allen? Check.
  • Terry Francona? Check.
 It just goes on and on like that.
  • Grady Little? Check.
  • Dave Lewis? (Seriously, does anyone remember him? Or care?) Check. 
  • M.L. Carr? Check.
  • Bill Fitch? Check.
  • John McNamara. Check.
Oddly, he omits the insta-cliche of Rick Pitino, who isn't walking through that door.

But guess who does walk through The CHB door? Larry Bird. (You knew it was coming, didn't you?)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dream On

It's been a while since Shank wrote a column this incredibly stupid:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., FEB. 2, 2014 — The magic formula worked again. And now the Patriots are Super Bowl champs.

In what probably will go down as the greatest of all Super Bowls, the New England Patriots last night overcame a 43-point halftime deficit and came back to defeat Seattle, 44-43, to win their first Super Bowl since 2005.

In a wild and controversial ending, the Patriots scored the winning points when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — trying to run out the clock while clinging to a 1-point lead — lost track of where he was on the field and was tackled in his own end zone by Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Shank, Unshaved - II

Here's the obligatory Shank column on the Ellsbury trade.

Shank, Unshaved

Just when I was a few weeks away from mailing Shank a shaving kit:
Free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has reached agreement on a seven-year contract with the New York Yankees pending a physical exam, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

According to multiple reports, the deal will pay Ellsbury $153 million over seven years and includes an option for an eighth year that could increase the overall value of the contract to $169 million. Ellsbury's deal exceeds Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in December 2010.
Which was precisely what Scott Boras, Ellsbury's agent, was looking for.

For those who don't remember what Shank said about Ellsbury during spring training, it's right here:
Jacoby Ellsbury is the greatest flight risk in the history of baseball. There is no way he will be playing for the Red Sox next spring.

I’d bet my hair on it.

I tell him so in the clubhouse at JetBlue Park.

“Everybody knows you are gone,’’ I say. “If you’re still here next year, I’ll shave my head.’’

“Go for it,’’ says Ellsbury.

No problem. My hair is safe. Like everybody else around here, I know there is no chance Ellsbury will be with the Red Sox next year.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

We Came To Bury Them

Today's 'effort' pulls off the twofer, jumping on the Patriot's bandwagon:
ANYWHERE BUT HOUSTON — Last year, this was fun. The Houston Texans were 11-1 when they came to Foxborough. They were the Next Big Thing in the NFL. They were a team on the rise playing on “Monday Night Football” against a once-great franchise going stale. According to Houston wideout Andre Johnson, it was the biggest game in Texans history. Houston players wore their letterman jackets to Gillette and Football America waited for the torch to be passed to Gary Kubiak, Matt Schaub, and Arian Foster.

And then, the game started. It was an embarrassment. The Houston Texans were the Texas Frauds. The Patriots jumped to a 28-0 lead. Tom Brady was mercifully pulled when it was 42-7. The Patriots settled for a 42-14 win and sent the Texans on the road to ruin.

Less than a year later, the Patriots are flexing their muscles after last Sunday’s dramatic comeback over the Broncos. The 8-3 Patriots are favorites to run the table and return to the Super Bowl.
...and taking a huge dump on the Houston Texans at the same time:
And the Texans are a joke. Schaub (eight touchdown passes, nine interceptions) has lost his job to Casey Kasem, err, Case Keenum. Foster is recovering from back surgery. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke and has been coaching from a booth upstairs. He is expected to return to the sideline Sunday afternoon.
...
Mocking the Texans this year is like doing layup drills with an 8-foot rim. It’s simply too easy.

What about Houston itself? Easy to mock, no?
And easy to write about - Shank nails the triple play!

UPDATE AT 1:25 PM - When Shank says "The 8-3 Patriots are favorites to run the table and return to the Super Bowl", he means tied for third favorites to win the Super Bowl. Or something...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Picking On Shank

Adding to what Roger wrote on yesterday's column:
  • "... a Boston bid for the 2024 Olympics [is] the region’s worst plan since Larry Lucchino thought it would be a good idea to hire Bobby Valentine."  
Which The CHB wholeheartedly supported. Not to mention it was The CHB who so happily carried Lucchino's water on multiple occasions with anti-Theo columns.

And it was The CHB who after the end of the 2012 season wrote of the Red Sox owners, "It really bothers them that Theo Epstein isn’t getting enough blame for the train wreck that is the Red Sox of the last 12 months.
  • "We can certainly agree that the last group that should be passing judgment on candidates’ 'character' would be baseball writers."   
And that has stopped The CHB when, exactly?
  • "Can we slow down the David Ortiz Hall of Fame Train? ... I can’t get it out of my head that he looked like he was all done at the start of 2009 (39 games and 149 at-bats without a homer) and Mike Lowell was pinch hitting for him in 2010."
Ted Williams hit .254 with 10 homeruns in 1959. And he had the immortal Carroll Hardy pinch hit for him. In his followup campaign he hit 29 homeruns and batted .316. It happens. And no one accused him of using greenies -- although he almost certainly did. 

There's lots of reasons to keep Ortiz out, but singling out the worst 39 games of a 2,000 game career is proof that if The CHB wasn't the guy who sold Deadspin his Hall of Fame ballot, he should have been.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Shank's Turkey

On this day of thanks, Shank drops a picked up pieces column on us. It's the usual mash bag of semi-random thoughts, rip a few athletes, and so on.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Did Shank Sell Out?

The guys at Deadspin had an interesting proposition for a Baseball Hall of Fame voter:
Recently, as you may recall, we announced our plan to subvert the annual elections for baseball's Hall of Fame by buying votes from voters. Our idea was to make a mockery and farce of the increasingly solemn and absurd election process, and to take some power from the duly appointed custodians of the game's history and turn it over to the public.
Someone took them up on their offer:
Well, with the Baseball Writers' Association of America having released its official ballot today, we can happily announce that we have a vote. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America thought our plan sounded like a pretty damn good idea and sold us his/her vote, making a stand against the idea that a somewhat random subsection of the baseball press should maintain the power to confer what is, regrettably, the game's most prestigious honor. For obvious reasons, the voter will remain anonymous for now, but he/she will be filling out his/her ballot on behalf of Deadspin readers, who will be polled in binding elections. The voter will announce his/her name and motivations once his/her vote has been officially cast.
Shank was a bit high and mighty with last year's ballot (as many other voters were), so I don't expect high odds that Shank's the vote seller. That, and I'd expect the BWAA to revoke the vote seller's future voting privileges as soon as Deadspin reveals their identity.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Big Fumble

An instant classic? Last night's game?

Nuh-uh.

Bitter cold and a wind that made the passes of two Hall of Fame QBs look like dying ducks. A gazillion turnovers. A critical miscue that was mostly just bad luck -- late in OT the Patriots recovered their own punt after it hit a Bronco player deep in Denver territory -- set up the game-winning field goal.

The game wasn't won so much as it was lost. It's like an Ali-Frazier fight that gets decided because one of the heavyweights trips on a mouthguard and falls right into the other fighter's uppercut.

As usual, The CHB confuses a good outcome with a good game.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

His Math Doesn't Add Up

As cold as it is outside, it is no match for the iciness all over The CHB's piece today.

His  argument: If the Patriots don't beat the Broncos tonight, then the Patriots have no chance of going to the Super Bowl.

His rationale: The Pats can't get to the Super Bowl if it involves winning a game on the road. "The Patriots never do this, because they never have to do it. ... The Patriots haven’t won a road playoff game since beating the Chargers at the place we used to call Jack Murphy Stadium — seven years ago. Unfortunately, they have forgotten how to do it the hard way."

Forgotten? Just how many players not named Brady were on the Patriots seven years ago? Is it possible to forget something you've never done?

That's a lead in to the obligatory rant about -- who else? -- Bill Belichick. ("Belichick really seems to hate [Wes] Welker.") After 14 seasons, hasn't Shank figured out that Belichick is great with mind games? It seems improbable that Belichick "hates" Welker, but more likely, he is calculating, willing to do anything he can to win football games. Which is why he's lasted 14 years in New England.

The CHB, of course, is just as calculating: witness all the "Curse" books. Wonder if he's calculated just how much longer it will be before new Globe owner John Henry promotes Leigh Montville to the page 1 of the Sports section?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Obligatory JFK / Football Column

With the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, it's only natural for Boston Globe writers to pen a few hundred columns on the subject; here's Shank's contribution.
Friday is the 50th anniversary of the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Three-quarters of the people in this country today are not old enough to remember the tragedy, but Baby Boomers forever will recite where they were and what they were doing when they got the news from Walter Cronkite.

Two days after the assassination — the day before the president was buried in Arlington National Cemetery — the NFL went ahead with its full schedule of seven games. The decision was made by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and it haunted him for the rest of his days.
Like a few of Shank's columns, including the predictable next installment of the Brady - Manning saga in the next few days...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Picked Off Pieces

The CHB today on the Patriots loss. Entire column, never acknowledges that a non call on a play that some were claiming wanted pass interference was the actually the correct ruling, even if it's not what the Pats (and their fans) wanted.

There's a Michael Jordan reference, and Red Sox reference, and nod to the tuck call from, gosh, how many years ago was that? More than a decade.

Probably the last time The CHB actually watched a football game. Lord knows, he didn't watch this one.




Sunday, November 17, 2013

DHL Dan - XXV

Why it takes Shank three weeks to compare the three Boston Red Sox championship teams over the past decade is anyone's guess.
Parents are not allowed to designate a favorite child. You can think about it, but you can’t talk about it.

So how does it work with World Series championships? Are we allowed to say that one is more special than another?

I will. I am here to tell you to stop the madness. What happened last month at Fenway was great. We are still basking in the afterglow of the Brotherhood of the Beard. Who ever thought the 2013 Red Sox would win the World Series?

But 2004 is still the biggest thing that ever happened to our local baseball team.
He probably held this column for a few weeks, biding his time before the next Patriot's loss...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

As Long As It Helps The Book Sales

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, co-author of this book with Our Man Shank, wins the 2013 American League Manager of the Year.
After the epic worst-to-first season, after the knee-jerk pronouncement that the magical 2013 Red Sox championship run was greater than the 2004 title that relieved 86 years of frustration, Terry Francona somehow gets the final word on the 2013 baseball season.

Francona Tuesday was named American League Manager of the Year for 2013.

It was a shocker in Boston. And it was not a party-starter for the bosses who fired Francona after the 2011 train-wreck finish.

First, know this. Voting for 2013 AL Manager of the Year was conducted before the postseason. The Sox’ 11-5 playoff run and ride down Boylston Street was not a factor in this election. This vote was based strictly on the 2013 regular season.
Shank also gives his readers a first time print disclosure on his conflicts of interest, inadvertently making some of the article about himself:
In the interest of disclosure, this is where I need to remind you that I work for a paper owned by the Red Sox owner, John Henry. And I wrote a book with Terry Francona. It would be impossible to have more conflicts of interest. But the book is long gone, and the Red Sox have emerged from the post-Francona rubble in spectacular fashion. Farrell and the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. Compared with that, this is nothing.

All that said, the award to Francona is loaded with irony and symbolism. Think of it this way: the Red Sox won three World Series in this century and the only time Francona was named Manager of the Year was the year in which he was not managing the Red Sox. What’s up with that?
Given that the award goes out, in my observation, to the manager that does the most with the least, this year's outcome is unsurprising, and just.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Back On The Bandwagon

With Shank's second column on the New England Patriots this season, he goes all in on the bandwagon hijacking.
There’s been a lot of nice noise about Boston sports statues in recent weeks. Within a month we unveiled Bronze Yaz and Bronze Bill Russell. Now, in the the afterglow of the magical October of David Ortiz, there’s a rush to see Big Papi set in stone.

In this spirit, I submit a case for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Not today. Not tomorrow. But someday when this fantastic football fable is finished. It may be a long time from now. As the ever-amazing Patriots rest in the hard-earned comfort of their 7-2 record on their bye weekend, there is no indication that Belichick and Brady are near the end. Long may they run.

The Belichick-Brady combo is professional sports’ most successful coach-player partnership since Red Auerbach and Russell ruled the basketball world from 1956-69.
From the column's comments section, the combinations of Vince Lombardi / Bart Starr and Phil Jackson / Michael Jordan were overlooked and / or ignored. Throw in an Elvis & John Lennon mention and the obligatory cheap shot to Patriots ownership, and you have a carbon copy Patriots Bandwagon ColumnTM.

Retread

The Boston Globe re-hires longtime sports columnist Leigh Montville after a twenty-four year absence. He has a funny way of describing himself to a new audience:
“I was Shaughnessy before Shaughnessy,” I had to explain, the further removed I became from my time at the Globe.

Eyes would harden. Dispositions would become colder.

“Except maybe I was a kinder, gentler Shaughnessy,” I would add. “Hah.”

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Ass Covering

Longtime readers of this site will regard this as old news, but the folks at Awful Announcing review Shank's prediction about the 2013 REd Sox:
Sorry. The juice glass is half-empty today. These guys could be really bad. And really boring. “Scrappy” doesn’t sell in Boston in 2013. Not after everything that’s happened. For $170 million, a little more prime-time talent would have been nice.
That's not the thing that caught my eye; this is:
Shaughnessy also compliments the Red Sox on going through the season without any controversies, except, you know, the one he helped to create.
This, of course, refers to the accusation Shank levied at David Ortiz regarding PED's earlier in the season. Plus ├ža change...

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Missed Opportunity

The Boston Red Sox have won three World Series in the past ten years. Perhaps the biggest factor in this happening has been the John Henry ownership group, which bought the team twelve years ago:
What a difference a year makes for both the perception and the reality of the Red Sox ownership trio.

Here are subjects that didn’t come up during Saturday’s World Series-celebrating duck boat parade when team owner John Henry (obligatory mention that he is also the owner of the Globe), chairman Tom Werner, and president and CEO Larry Lucchino were being interviewed: the Liverpool Football Club, commemorative bricks, sellout streak, and television ratings.

People often ask what kind of sports town Boston is. Is it a baseball town, a hockey town, a football town, a basketball town? It’s a town that embraces winners, which the Red Sox are again. All the dissatisfaction and anger the Red Sox generated last season has been recycled into adoration and exultation.

That includes the oft-assailed Sox ownership.
Of course Shank didn't write this column - that would be too obvious!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Dr. Feelgood

Shank wraps up the Red Sox season in his latest column.
Red Sox were a true feel-good story for Boston

We are Boston. We love sports. We have brains and energy and tradition and history. Our young people carry their love of Boston teams when they move to other parts of the country and the world.

And those of us who have lived here for a while simply cannot believe what just unfolded with the Boston Red Sox in October of 2013.

The Duck Dynasty Sox will ride the duck boats Saturday. They will wheel down Boylston Street past the sad spots where the bombs exploded in April. They will do the right thing, just as they have done all season. They will honor the dead and the maimed and the families of victims. And they will be thankful for being allowed to help lift a region after the heinous events of Patriots Day.
Also mentioned in the column - lame lyrics, Manny was Manny, Schill was a blowhard, and Pedro was a diva. Some things, you just can't let go of.

Now it's time for Shank to do some Patriots bashing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Redeemed

The Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series last night, and judging from the first few paragraphs, Our Man Shank looks like he was celebrating early:
It was a Back Bay Bacchanal, a party unlike anything since 1918.

Six months after Shelter in Place, the city of Boston invites the world to celebrate a victory of team over self. Boston Strong, at least a variation of the theme, hit a crescendo Wednesday night on the Fenway lawn, the town common of 2013.

These Red Sox, the motley crew that left Fort Myers begging, “Please don’t hate us,’’ completed the ultimate redemption song, thrashing the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, in the sixth and final game of the 2013 World Series. The Brotherhood of the Beard are World Champions for the third time this century, worthy progeny of the 20th century Sox, who won five of the first 15 Series back in the days when Babe Ruth was a fuzzy-faced lefthanded orphan from Baltimore.

Nobody saw this coming. Nobody.
That would include you know who!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World Series Cup - Game 6 Preview

You just knew this column was coming, didn't you?
We have seen Game 6 heaven and Game 6 hell.

Game 6 gave us Carlton Fisk’s 12th-inning moon shot off the left-field foul pole and a video for the ages. Peter Gammons wrote a book titled, “Beyond the Sixth Game,” and a couple of kids named Affleck and Damon used the story line to win an Oscar.

Game 6 also gave us a little dribbler by Mookie Wilson, Vin Scully exclaiming, “Behind the bag . . . !’’ and Bill Buckner riding a Train They Call Infamy all the way to a featured role in an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.’’
Wacha vs. Lackey? To pitch (or not) to Ortiz? That's too much real work!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stayin' Alive

Two days after Shank buries the Red Sox, they pull off the Bela Lugosi routine and climb out of the casket with a Game 5 win, 3 - 1, over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Shank sings a different tune a mere forty-eight hours later, now assuring us of the inevitable Red Sox World Series win:
ST. LOUIS — They are coming home to win the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since young lefty Babe Ruth partied at the Hotel Buckminster after Carl Mays beat the Cubs Sept. 11, 1918.

Boston’s modern day southpaw, Jon Lester, hurled 7⅔ innings of four-hit ball in a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals Monday night, sending the pulsating 2013 Series back to Boston with the Red Sox holding a three-games-to-two lead.

The Sox have two chances to win their third World Series since 2004. It would be the city of Boston’s eighth title since Adam Vinatieri split the uprights in New Orleans in 2002. Game 6 is Wednesday night with John Lackey getting the ball against 22-year-old Michael Wacha. If the Sox fail in Game 6, they can wrap it up Thursday on Halloween. The Green Monster Mash.
Shank also praises David Ortiz:
Papi is destined to be MVP of this Series. Indeed, he is MVP of the Sox playoff run. Ortiz’s grand slam in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS against Detroit forever will be the signature moment of Boston baseball’s October of 2013. His dugout pep talk Sunday triggered the Sox winning rally in Game 4. Oh, and he’s hitting .733 through five games. A reporter asked Matheny if Ortiz is going to be MVP of the Series. Fortunately for all, Matheny did not lunge at the man.
That would be the same David Ortiz that Shank more or less accused of taking steroids back in May. What are the odds of Big Papi sucker punching Shank in the locker room?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Premature Obituary

It will be interesting to watch Shank squirm out of his false start half-burial after the Red Sox win, 3 -1 and bring it back to Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Write the Wrong

Here's Shaughnessy's lede from today's column:

"We had the obituary prepared."

Repeat: "We had the obituary prepared."

The Red Sox were down one run in the fifth inning, and down 2 games to 1 for the World Series. So naturally they were done.

Unreal.

Grafs later, he flip-flops on his analysis from the day before, when he wrote, "If Buchholz is good enough to pitch Sunday night, why didn't he get an assignment for one of the first three games. If he's not good enough to go, why is he getting the ball?"

Today, it's, "In 2007, Curt Schilling taught us that you can win postseason games with a high school fastball if you have sufficient smarts and location. Buchholz was barely able to break 90 on the radar gun, but he was effective for 66 pitches."

Moments later, he writes: "Boston’s winning rally started (naturally) with two outs and nobody aboard in the sixth." 

So the Sox have made a habit of never dying, yet you already "had the obituary prepared?"

 

Bad Pitch

The CHB in his page 3 of the World Series section column Sunday: 

"If Buchholz is good enough to pitch Sunday night, why didn't he get an assignment for one of the first three games. If he's not good enough to go, why is he getting the ball?"

The CHB in his page A1 column Sunday:

"[Peavy] owned the worst postseason ERA (10.71) of any big league pitcher with more than four starts. Peavy is on line to be your Game 7 starter. Gulp."

So per Shaughnessy, Peavy sucks but Buchholz still shouldn't pitch? Or perhaps he thinks John Farrell should look up Al Nipper's number?

I would like to think he actually, you know, reads what he writes. But apparently he doesn't.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cure All

The CHB doubts Clay Buchholz is up to the task of pitching in Game 4 tonight, comparing him to Al Nipper. Forget, for the moment, that Nipper is a journeyman if ever there were one -- career won/loss of 46-50, and a 4.52 ERA -- whose best claim to fame was being Roger Clemens' drinking buddy, while Buchholz is 58-33 with 3.60 ERA in a higher octane offensive era. 

Instead, let's point out the fallacy, propogated by The CHB, that the pitcher who starts the fourth game is by definition, the fourth best pitcher. 

"If Buchholz is good enough to pitch Sunday night, why didn't he get an assignment for one of the first three games. If he's not good enough to go, why is he getting the ball?"

Well, Dan, there's this little thing called "rest." And it does wonders for injuries. You should know: It also cures hangovers.

Friday, October 25, 2013

World Series Cup - Game 2 Recap

Shank cranks out another semi-inspired column on the Red Sox - Cardinals series.
Hmm. What is this?

The St. Louis Cardinals, apparently, did not get the memo.

Visiting teams at Fenway are supposed to melt into a puddle at the mere sight of Boston’s bearded warriors. For most of this year, especially in the playoffs, Sox opponents have lost their composure and their baseball skills upon walking into Fenway Park. The John Henry/Boston Globe Red Sox (has a nice ring to it, no?) are trained to play “Three Little Birds’’ and “Sweet Caroline” over the public address system, then watch the opponents beat themselves.

Not Thursday night. Not in Game 2 of the 2013 World Series. After a Game 1 embarrassment, the Cardinals played Big Boy Baseball, beating the Red Sox, 4-2, behind the power pitching of three baby hurlers who collectively are three years younger than the vice president of the United States.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

World Series Cup - Game 1 Recap

Shank gives us his rundown of the Red Sox 8-1 win over the Cardinals last night.
When do the St. Louis Cardinals get here for the 2013 World Series?

Seriously. What was that Wednesday night?

Determined to “bring the World Series Cup back to Boston” (thank you, Mr. Mayor), the Red Sox demolished the Cardinals, 8-1, in Game 1 of the 109th Fall Classic at Fenway. Jon Lester pitched 7⅔ innings of shutout ball, and the indomitable Sox lineup did more grinding than Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards, but the takeaway of Game 1 was the abject ineptitude of the venerable National League champions.

This looked like the 2004 World Series all over again. The Cardinals never had a lead when they were swept by the Sox in ’04 and they picked up where they left off, committing three errors, one wild pitch, and allowing four unearned runs in one of the sloppiest performances in World Series history.
Be afraid - is Shank updating his pop culture references? Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Near Ultimate Dan Shaughnessy Column

In seven hours the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals will play for the 2013 World Series Cup (that's what Mayor Menino's calling it). Naturally, Shank needs to write a column about it, a tour de force which encapsulates nearly every criticism of Shank over his three decade career.
Welcome to the 2013 World Series. I have just one question.

Where’s the hate?

We have the Red Sox and the Cardinals and one giant bowl of respect. Everybody loves everybody. The opponents are all worthy.

The Sox and Cardinals both worked out at Fenway Park Tuesday, and you could have gotten diabetes from the sugar pouring out of the clubhouses.

All You Need Is Love. Love Train. This World Series is all about Parliamentary Procedure, Marquis de Queensberry Rules, and (Dave) Roberts Rules of Order.
In no particular order, this column exhibits the following: Shank attempting to create controversy, Shank inserting himself (to a degree) into the column, Shank presuming to speak for the entire Red Sox fan base ("Sorry, St. Louis, but most of us here in Boston would rather have the Dodgers in town right now."), Shank lying once again about Carl Crawford ("We’d have asked Carl Crawford why he made up all that stuff about a “toxic” atmosphere in Boston."), waxing philosophic about Harvard, lame song lyrics, a random Larry Bird reference, and sundry others.

This is a true Shaughnessy masterpiece, right up there with the Velvet Elvis...

Monkey Wrench

From a few days ago - do you think Shank's attitude changes if this deal doesn't go through?
The sale of The Boston Globe is on hold after a Worcester Superior Court judge ordered a temporary injunction on the $70 million deal to Red Sox owner John Henry, the Herald has learned.
So far, Shank's playing it safe. But does this mean John Henry's not on the hook for the losses incurred in the interim? Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wrong Call / Shank On Twitter

Well, guess I was off base, expecting Shank to trash the Patriots after their loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. That will have to wait until the World Series is over, and Shank writes his next book, Reverse the Curse III - Rise of the Machines.

Also - Shank is no longer doing robo tweets on a full time basis. I applaud his occasional ability to poke fun at himself. I just wish this guy would get going again....

Monday, October 21, 2013

Change Of Vacation Plans

Here's an explanation why Shank did not write about the Patriots loss yesterday. We know that some writers and people in other professions eventually wind up losing it. You're probably in that group when you tweet something this stupid:
Downtown Detroit underrated," tweeted the "Curse of the Bambino" author. "Seriously. Friendly folks, great services, great ballpark. I would vacation here.
I'm sold - crossing off Bermuda as we speak!
When questioned if he was serious, Shaughnessy replied: "No. Love this place."

He's basically like a human "I'm a Believer" ad, except he isn't lame.
The writer, Jeff Wattrick, apparently doesn't know Shank very well.

Dropping The Ball

It's been brought up before, but why would Shank, the preeminent Nabob of Negativity in the Boston sportswriting world, pass a golden opportunity to take a world class dump on the New England Patriots after yesterday's overtime loss to the New York Jets?

But wait - there's still time! Today's Deadspin column reveals that Sunday's overtime penalty against the Patriots, a double team 'push' block on a field goal kick, was also done against New Orleans a week earlier. This push block was legal in previous years but has been ruled illegal this year. Now Shank has all the ammo he needs to take a few shots at Bill Belichick and rehash Spygate once again, or if he's willing to put in the effort, try to create a controversy over Belichick's coaching style like he tried to do three seasons ago. Surely Shank is writing a self-righteous stemwinder on this very subject as we speak?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's Easy to Be Right When You Have No Memory

The CHB on the 2013 season:
  • March 24, 2013: The question now is, “Who are you going to pick to finish in last place — the Red Sox or the Yankees?’’
  • Oct. 20, 2013:   One year after enduring last-place humiliation and the worst season in 47 years, the Red Sox are AL Champions for the 13th time since 1901.
On the Sox manager:
  • Aug. 24, 2012: Mike Scioscia has been manager of the Angels since 2000 and is signed through 2018. He has been on the hot seat because of the Angels’ underperformance. If the Angels want to make a switch, how about the Sox making a deal to pick up Scioscia’s contract?
  • Oct. 20, 2013:  [John Farrell] was the perfect candidate to replace clown prince Bobby Valentine. 
On chemistry:
  • March 31, 2013: I hate to break it to everybody, but chemistry in a baseball clubhouse is way overrated.
  • Oct. 20, 2013: In the winter of 2012-13, he went after quality clubhouse veterans, players who had played in big markets and big games. He acquired Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, David Ross, Ryan Dempster, Uehara, and Victorino. And they all contributed mightily. They changed the clubhouse culture.
 On the ALCS:
  • Oct. 20, 2013: "...eight days and six games of unforgettable baseball..."
  • Oct. 20, 2013: The Sox beat the Tigers in six pulsating games.
  • Oct. 20, 2013: The pace of these games is a serious threat to the erstwhile National Pastime.

So which is it?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Now You See Him...

The CHB goes almost all positive in this post-game (yikes!) TV spot.

Two exceptions: He basically says if the Red Sox don't win Game 6, they are toast. And he belittles Stephen Drew, saying "don't pitch to him like he's Ortiz."

David Ortiz vs. the Tigers: AB 19 H 2 BA .105 K 4 BB 2.

And what is going on with Shank's face? Yo, Dan, Don Zimmer wants his Gerbil eyes back.

Homecoming Weekend

With the Game 5 victory (4 - 3), the Red Sox return to Fenway for Game 6 and a possible Game 7 against the Detroit Tigers. Naturally, Shank thinks the series is in the bag, but not without a few trademark Shank cliches:
DETROIT — Ninety-seven wins begat a relatively easy first round against the Tampa Bay Tomato Cans, which begat five bombastic battles against the estimable-but-slowly-crumbling Detroit Tigers..
So a Tampa Bay pitching staff with David Price and Matt Moore, just to name two, is a so-called tomato can?
And now the 2013 Red Sox are coming home to win the American League pennant on the green, green grass of Fenway.
A bit presumptuous, are we?
The Sox put themselves in position to capture the flag by beating the Tigers, 4-3, in another grueling, midnight-hour carnival ride at Comerica Park on Thursday. The stunning surge, which started with Big Papi’s grand slam at Fenway on Sunday, carried over into Motown, where the Sons of David (Ortiz) won two of three thrillers. Four of the five games of this ALCS have been decided by one run.
So the Red Sox have won more close games then the Tigers, and Shank awards the AL crown to the Sox before the last two games are played?

And, after Shank nearly jumps off of it yesterday...
If you haven’t yet hopped on Boston’s Bearded Bandwagon, this might be the time.
Said without a hint of irony.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Half Off The Bandwagon?

With last night's loss to the Tigers, Shank is on the fence about whether or not to panic:
DETROIT — Glass half-full or glass half-empty?

Full — The Red Sox have the Tigers right where they want them. Wednesday night’s 7-3 loss is a mere speed bump on Boston’s unstoppable march to the World Series. The American League Championship Series is square at 2-2, and two of the final three will be played at Fenway Park. The Sox have their best three pitchers — Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey — tanned, rested, and ready to go.

Empty — It’s a miracle the Sox are even in this thing. The Tigers are better and easily could have swept the first four games. The Sox have led in only four of the 36 innings. Boston’s lineup is batting an aggregate .186. The Sox produced a conga line of K’s against a quartet of Tiger starters. Detroit has Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander ready for Games 5, 6, and 7. In the first three games, those three pitchers struck out 35 Red Sox in 21 innings and compiled an ERA of 0.86.
We know Dan's a glass half-empty kind of guy; whether John Henry's ownership of the Boston Globe affects his ability or willingness to print such sentiments about the Red Sox remains to be seen.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Team Redemption?

I find Dan Shaughnessy annoying nearly all the time and at other times duplicitous and mendacious; that is not exactly a news flash to regular readers of this site. What really pisses me off is his repeated attempts at rewriting history, like no one will notice (like he was able to do before the ascent of the internet) when he tries to airbrush his own past handiwork / bashing of athletes when good things happen in the present. No finer example of this can be presented than yesterday's win by the Red Sox over the Tigers in an absolute pitching gem (emphasis mine):
DETROIT — John Lackey is the poster boy for Team Redemption.

Nobody was more loathed coming into this season.
Not even the 'Texas Tough Guy', Josh Beckett?
Lackey got blamed for chicken and beer. He got blamed for Theo Epstein’s bloated payroll. He was blamed for the collapse of 2011. He snarled at the media on that night in New York, asking who called his cellphone. Fans wanted him out of town ASAP. Folks didn’t like the way Lackey showed up his fielders and his manager. Nobody liked the results. In 2011, Lackey had the worst season (6.41 ERA) of any Sox starter in history.
I will point out for the umpteenth time this use of the passive voice by Shaughnessy, a favorite rhetorical device used by douchebag columnists to deflect blame and accountability from themselves by the things they wrote in previous columns, betting that you don't remember any of it. He is nothing short of pure chickenshit when he tries to deploy this subterfuge in a pathetically weak attempt to deflect blame from himself when he was one of the critics right out of the blocks on John Lackey:
Your turn, Josh Beckett. You, too, John Lackey. Time for the rest of the beer-swillin’, biscuit-eatin’, fried-chicken munchin’ Red Sox starting pitchers to fess up.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox had Eight Men Out. The 2011 Red Sox have Three Men and a Bucket of Popeye’s.

The Red Sox hideous off season of 2011 continues, and today we had more truth set free when Jon Lester returned a phone call from the Globe’s Pete Abraham and confirmed information which until now has been only a “sourced report’’: instead of staying on the bench pulling for their struggling teammates, Red Sox starting pitchers were back in the clubhouse drinking beer and diving into the 16-piece family meal ($31.99, includes three large sides and eight biscuits) during the 2011 season.
Then, once Lackey was on the disabled list after Tommy John surgery, it was no longer necessary for the self-righteous columnist to continue his barrage on Lackey, since he was no longer in the news. The damage was done; mission accomplished.

After Lackey beats Justin Verlander in an epic pitching duel? We're good, right?
Now everything has changed, and Tuesday at Comerica Park, Lackey had his finest hour in a Boston uniform. He beat the Detroit Tigers, 1-0, in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. He outpitched Justin Verlander, a former Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player. Lackey allowed four hits and zero walks, fanning eight before he was lifted (against his will) by manager John Farrell with two out and one aboard in the seventh.

“It was awesome, for sure,’’ said the Gomer Pyle soundalike. “I knew I was going to have to pitch pretty good today.’’
...
All the themes have changed for Lackey. Now he is viewed as a great teammate who takes care of the clubhouse workers and the rest of the “little people” around Fenway. His teammates love hanging with him. He has an unsurpassed work ethic and has lost more weight than Lenny Clarke. Despite getting little run support, he pitched very well throughout the magical 2013 season.
Unbelievable - John Lackey pitches one of the best games of his life and Shank still feels the need to further disparage and take a steaming shit on the guy. He is beneath contempt.

Other than that, I liked the column.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Milking The Theme II / Late Editing?

Shank banged out a column yesterday about the by now infamous cop in the Red Sox bullpen during Game 2's grand slam by David Ortiz in the 8th inning.
A day later, there is still so much to process and digest. You look at the instant-classic photo by the Globe’s Stan Grossfeld. You think back to the moment and you notice things.

The police officer in the photo — the guy who signaled “touchdown” in celebration of David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam — has a Red Sox playoff beard. Steve Horgan is going to be remembered forever. As Boston’s finest. As a fan. Arms raised in celebration, beard down to his badge, Steve Horgan is part Bobby Orr, part Mike Napoli. Maybe he’ll get his own statue one day.
Of course, Grossfeld (egged on by Shank?) makes the only comparison he can:
“It’s like Paul McCartney on the cover of ‘Abbey Road’ in his bare feet,’’
Did part of this column get swept under the rug?
cheezwhiz10/14/13 06:52 PM

If there's ever a conspiracy theory about this game, the lady in the pink hat will be a central figure.

Did she already know the outcome of the game?

Rizfoshiz10/14/13 07:07 PM

I am pretty sure she is sitting in a wheelchair

cheezwhiz10/15/13 06:43 AM

Oops. Sorry about that.

If you read this story last night, Shaughnessey had a line about the lady in the pink hat being the only one not standing. That line has since been edited out.
It's not like Shank to be insensitive about other people's disabilities; Jeff Stone, anyone?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Repeating Himself

David Ortiz smashes a line drive into the Boston bullpen, breaking a long string of Red Sox futility against the Tigers in the ALCS.

This just hours after Tom Brady threw an amazing corner fade for a touchdown to beat the Saints.

Two exhilirating, exhausting games. Perhaps that's why what we get from Shank is a tired lede ("Close your eyes and it is 2004 all over again."), a tease for the Pats game, and a Red Sox game recap so full of cliche ("All hope seemed lost at Yawkey Way.") and mangled prose ("Papi struck on the first pitch. There was little doubt as his heat-seeking missile screeched toward the Sox bullpen.") that somehow managed to suck the life out of what was one of the great finishes in team history.

"Close your eyes and it is 2004 all over again,"  indeed. If that means we must endure nine more years of this tripe, kill us now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back in Time

Oh my goodness. It's the ALCS, and against all odds the Red Sox are hosting, and what does The CHB want to rehash?

"Nomar Garciaparra ... who hated every minute of his final half-season with the John Henry Red Sox in 2004."

And here's what passes for analysis: "The Sox will need more than one hit if they want to sell authentic ALCS celebration champagne bottles before the World Series."

Thanks, Dan!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Old School Column

On the day the American League Championship Series starts between the Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers, you get the column you expect from Shank.

I might be way off base, but I don't think Shank's terribly fond of Tampa or the Rays:
No Cirque du Trop in this round. No fish tank in right-center, no Catwalk B overhead, no new-age manager wearing trendy eyeglasses and reinventing baseball with sabermetric shifts and conga lines of relievers.

Welcome back to old-school hardball for the American League Championship Series.

In this round, we get a chain-smoking manager who wears rubber-spiked baseball shoes. We get the best home uniforms in all of sports, and all games played in the heart of real American cities. Uncle Bud Selig is also giving us 34-year veteran umpire Joe West and a couple of day games for the kiddos.

Playoff baseball in October sunshine. Imagine.

Friday, October 11, 2013

You Can't Hit If You Don't Swing

Sometimes I just don't understand Our Man Shank. For the second time in a week, he's passed on a prime opportunity for Patriots bashing:
To recap: Gronk originally broke the arm against the Colts in November. The Patriots and he opted to surgically install a plate so he'd ideally be back for the playoffs; the surgery was performed by Patriots doctor Tom Gill. Gronk broke the same arm again in the Patriots' playoff game against the Texans. Over the offseason, the plate created an infection, so Gronk went back for surgery to clean it out. In total, Gronk underwent three additional surgeries on his arm before it was clean. It was a long summer. But this report from Mike Petraglia of WEEI uses sources who claim that Gronk might have returned sooner if the arm break healed by itself:
One source with direct knowledge of the initial forearm surgery told WEEI.com Thursday night that there is “serious concern” about the integrity of the bone where the implement was placed and the surrounding nerves. The source indicated that if the bone had healed on its own without an implement, there would have been no infection. However, there now are concerns that an abscess developed, causing infection and seriously weakening the bone. This prompted three more surgeries in the offseason on the forearm, separate from the procedure on his back.
So, reportedly, Gill's hasty surgery compromised what could have been a much easier recovery for Gronk. Dr. James Andrews, who didn't perform any of the surgeries, will make the final decision about Gronk's availability this week, not Gill. The Patriots kept Gronk off of the revocable IR in hopes of his return; he still hasn't played a snap. If Gronk ends up not returning this week, this all seems even dumber.
This is an unbelievable chance for Shank to get on his high horse Shetland pony and crap on management and ownership like no one's business. In baseball terms, it's a hanging curve down the middle of the plate. What gives? It's not like the Patriots' owner also owns the local broadsheet newspaper...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Pink Champagne Iced And Uncorked - II

To no one's surprise, Shank wraps up the Red Sox win in today's column. To my surprise he did not go with lame lyrics written by guys who are now collecting Social Security checks.

The column itself is quality, but there's a few nits to be picked:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For six months the Red Sox have been under the radar, working their magic at Fenway Park in relative obscurity. While the Bruins skated into the Stanley Cup Final and Doc Rivers and Wes Welker walked away from Boston, the Sox grew beards, bonded in fraternity style, and ran away with the American League East.

Now the Redemption Tour goes national. John Henry and Larry Lucchino’s “scrappy underdogs” Wednesday morning finished off the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-1, at the Cirque-du-Trop. Winning the ALDS, three games to one, the Sox advanced to the American League Championship Series (opening Saturday at Fenway against the A’s or the Tigers) for the fifth time in 11 years.
I'm not inclined to keep referring to this Red Sox team as the 'Redemption Tour'; I think they've already redeemed themselves by the time they won the A.L. East title.

During spring training, Shank mocked the notion of team chemistry as a contributing factor in a team's success; now it's a selling point:
Get ready, America. Prepare for a bombardment of Boston baseball discovery. The Red Sox are back. They look like the old House of David barnstormers. They genuinely love one another and they have rewritten their sad story line from 2011-12.
I believe it's a little too late to be sucking up to certain management figures in the Red Sox organization, but he gives it the old college try:
Yale has been very good to the Red Sox through the years. Yale gave the Red Sox Thomas Yawkey, Theo Epstein, and Larry Lucchino (Yale law). Now a Yalie gets the win in the ALDS clincher.
Remember when Shank used to love ripping Jacoby Ellsbury? Not anymore!
Bogaerts moved to third on a two-out single by Jacoby Ellsbury (nine hits in the series).
Other than that, it was a good column...

Pink Champagne Iced And Uncorked

The Red Sox win their ALDS series against the Tampa Bay Rays early this morning, 3 -1, in a painfully long game clocking in at just under four hours. It will be interesting to see what lame, decades old song lyric Shank will use to commemorate this achievement.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

It's Why They Play The Game

Two days after Shank's ridiculous column, practically whining about having to go to Tampa to play Game 3 of the ALDS, the Red Sox lost said game, 5 - 4, and brings the possibility of the Dreaded Shaughnessy CurseTM to the fore. The only thing more painful (for Red Sox fans, anyways) is Shank's opening:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox were inches from a clean getaway. They had mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice in the visitors clubhouse at Tropicana Field.
I don't expect much from Shank's column, and he delivers once again...

Monday, October 07, 2013

Is Shank Losing It?

Maybe the better question is 'Did he ever have it?'.

After the Patriots lost to the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, 13 - 6, it would seem only natural and expected of Shank to capitalize on the first loss of the season. Bang out a column (or just reuse one of the many from previous seasons), point out all the team's shortcomings, take some shots at Bill Belichick & Bob Kraft, complain about Patriot Place & CBS Scene, etc., and presto - instant Shank column with minimal prep. time, ready in 45 minutes!

Ron Borges knows the score, and when it comes to their disdain for the Patriots, these guys are practically joined at the hip. So what happened?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Ultimate Weathervane

I've had the displeasure of reading Dan Shaughnessy's columns for over three decades. During this time, many themes have arisen about this columnist's abilities, and moreso, the lack thereof.

A mere forty eight hours ago, the Boston Globe's 'ace sports columnist' (a phrase we should use very, very loosely) lectured Red Sox fans about not taking the team's success for granted. You would expect some semblance of consistently in subsequent columns about the playoff success of the Red Sox, wouldn't you?

Today's column, in that regard, can only be described as epic fail:
Do we really have to go to Tampa/St. Pete? Can’t we just forgo the formalities and let the Red Sox advance to the American League Championship Series on sheer style, dominance, karma, and duende?

The Duck Dynasty/ZZ Top/Fidel Castro Red Sox look unbeatable at this hour. They bested the fatigued Rays, 7-4, at Fenway Park again on Saturday night and will send 12-1 Clay Buchholz to the mound to finish the series Monday.

The Sox look like the best team in baseball. No team won more regular-season games (97), and the Sox have played even better in the first two games of the playoffs. They won the opener, 12-2, with every man in the lineup registering at least one hit and one run. It was more of the same Saturday night (eight of nine starters got hits) as the John Farrell All-Stars bolted to a 5-1 lead, then cruised. David Ortiz hit two monstrous home runs. In games started by Matt Moore and David Price, the Sox have 19 runs and 25 hits.
I abandoned any further response to Shank's shameless, massively contradictory column once I found this absolute gem in the comments section:
FiveIslands
10/06/2013 09:45 AM

It does feel like abuse, picking up the globe and reading another one of these tiresome Shaughnessy columns filled with snarky comments declaring premature victory over an opposing team. What Dan, no calling the Rays frauds like you did the Texans last winter in the playoffs?

Of course the great Dan-o is always so right ... except when he is so wrong. Like when he went on TV with "Miss Heidi" (by the way Dan has she taken out a restraining order yet?) to pronounce the Sox were a lock for the 2011 playoffs in a middle of a rain delay in Baltimore. Or when he spent a week in California, in 2009, antagonizing the Angels by asking every player on that team the reasons why they had never been able to beat the Sox in the post season, and then proclaiming certain victory for the Sox in the Globe. Of course the Red Sox went on to be swept 3-0 by the Angels. Or enduring a week of Shaughnessy saying, before the 2010 AFC Divisional playoffs, that the Pats were a lock because Brady never loses playoff games in Foxborough and the Jets were exposed when the Patriots steamrolled them earlier in the year; and then seeing the Pats lose 28-21.

I place the time period when Dan-o started writing these columns around 2005, after Carl Everett "Shaughnessyed" Shaughnessy by called him a "curly haired boyfriend" of another writer. Too bad Carl didn't stuff him in a locker for all of enternity so we wouldn't have to endure the subsequent decade of Shaughnessy columns.
Word, brother...

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Milking The Theme

Granted, that's been a theme since this site started operations eight years ago, but in the 12 - 2 Red Sox win over the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, the game turned on a dropped fly ball to right field in the fourth inning. David Ortiz hit that ball that had the look of a two run home run, but Wil Myers, the Rays' right fielder, dropped the ball. Shank gets an entire column out of that play.
Bonehead Merkle forgot to touch second base. Mickey Owen dropped a third strike. Bill Buckner let that silly grounder slip between the wickets.

And Wil Myers let a fly ball drop for a ground-rule double.

“It was my fault,’’ Myers said. “I was calling for the ball. I messed it up. I should have made the play.’’

It’s not often that you have a game-changing play in a 12-2 ballgame, but this was one of those times. Myers’s misplay in the fourth inning of Boston’s Division Series-opening blowout victory changed everything for the Red Sox and Rays.
Nice touch, the Bill Buckner reference...

Friday, October 04, 2013

Team Taken For Granted

As the start of the American League Division looms in a few hours, Shank issues a blissfully unaware warning to members of Red Sox Nation:
Do not take the Red Sox’ success for granted
More on that in a moment. The column itself isn't bad, or mailed in, or any of that:
In the summer of 1976, nine months after the Greatest World Series Ever, the Red Sox acquired an outfielder named Bobby Darwin, and young Dwight Evans greeted his new teammate with, “You’re going to enjoy the Fall Classic.’’

“What Classic is that?’’ asked Darwin.

“The Fall Classic,’’ said Evans. “The World Series.’’

Dewey was 24 years old, full of energy and innocence. He’d enjoyed the 1975 Series immensely. He was surrounded by a cast of All-Stars, most in their athletic prime, and he figured the World Series was going to be part of his annual autumn routine.

He got back there only once, 10 years after his conversation with Darwin.

Which brings us to the 2013 Red Sox and guys like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, and David Ortiz. All played a big role in the World Series sweep of 2007. Ortiz was Boston’s Mr. October in the magical fall of 2004.
What's interesting about this column is the theme - don't take things for granted, right?
Then Theo Epstein assembled a transcendent team, a team that could win 100 games, dubbed “Best Team Ever” by a Boston tabloid before a game was played. That team folded in September of 2011, triggering the exits of Epstein, Terry Francona, Jonathan Papelbon, and, eventually, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett.
From a column around that time, it sure looked like Shank was taking the success of the Red Sox for granted, to a degree.

Well, until it's time to not take the Red Sox for granted:
“The question now is, 'Who are you going to pick to finish in last place — the Red Sox or the Yankees?' ’’
I understand that teams change, and so should opinions, but I think the theme of this column is just a bit forced.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Things You Learn Every Day

Did you know you could search the ESPN website for Shank columns and appearances on certain ESPN media?

There are one or two links to Colin Cowherd's radio show that at some level involve Shank. I can't wait to miss that...

Monday, September 30, 2013

DHL Dan - XXIV

On occasion it's obvious that Shank writes a column because he has to. Sunday's column is one of them.

And I'm mailing in this post in honor of Shank's 'effort'!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thank You, Mr. Spock

Fewer people have a better fundamental command of the obvious than Our Man Shank:
It’s important for Red Sox to finish first
You read it here first, folks!

While it may be unsporting to mock a columnist for writing something like that, it should be noted that Shank does a pretty good job of explaining the scenarios faced by the Red Sox in the upcoming weeks, best noted in the following paragraphs:
Finishing ahead of Oakland matters, and not simply because of home field. It matters because the team with the best overall record is going to play a frazzled, tired, pitching-depleted opponent in a best-of-five series starting at home a week from Friday. For the Sox, it means staying home and playing a best-of-five against the Rays, Indians, or Rangers. More important, it means not playing a first-round series against the Detroit Tigers.

The difference is enormous. There are no sure things in playoff competition, but your goal is to put yourself in the best position to advance. If the Sox play the Rays, Indians, or Rangers, they should advance; they will be playing a team that struggles through the final weekend to get into a wild-card game, uses one of its best pitchers to win a wild-card game on Wednesday, then travels to Boston to open a best-of-five at Fenway. The Sox went 6-1 against the Indians this year. They went 12-7 against Tampa Bay. They went 2-4 against Texas, but in September of 2013 the Rangers have looked a little like the Red Sox of September 2011.
Throw in a comparison to the Patriots playoff runs, and it's a wrap.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

His Reputation Precedes Him - II

The guys at Deadspin did a column on pompous columnists today, selecting fourteen columnists they regard as the worst of the lot.
Of all the stupid rhetorical plays columnists use—issuing thundering imperatives, positioning their banal opinions as the exact midpoints between varieties of unyielding madness, championing their cronies' worthless businesses as examples of the disciplinary power of markets, etc. etc.—the funniest are always the ones that reveal they truly do regard themselves as small stars, able to fix planets in orbit around them through the gravitational pull of their self-regard.
You'll never, ever guess who one of those columnists is!
One interesting finding that came up in the course of our research concerns collective pronouns: Dan Shaughnessy, the self-appointed tribune of all Boston fandom, managed to use "we," "our," and "us" more than anyone except Whitlock. (He in fact used "we" in all but one of the 25 columns we examined.)
I think there are at least two reasons for that: it's a way of making yourself part of the story without being bloody obvious about it, and it's also part of a rhetorical device used to speak 'for the fans'.

We think the findings, for what they're worth, bear out what we've always thought - there are many words and phrases we can use to describe Shank, but 'massively pompous' isn't one of them...

His Reputation Precedes Him

Searching for Shank columns (so you don't have to!), I ran across this soccer column at SB Nation. Brian Stultz has his number:
I expect Aaron Ramsey to save an orphanage full of children from a blazing fire the way he has been going lately. If this was an American sport, every sports columnist would be accusing him of PED use. I would love to know who the British equivalent of Dan Shaughnessy is. Wait, no I don't. I already despise that guy and I don't even know who it is yet.
Dan Shaughnessy - making friends & influencing people...

UPDATE AT 5:35 PM -Title corrected for the missing third 'e' in 'Precedes'...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Number 8

A few days ago, a statue of Carl Yastrzemski went up outside of Fenway Park. Shank was there, and we get a pretty good column out of it with lots of details.
John Harvard, Samuel Adams, Joseph Hooker, Paul Revere, James Michael Curley, Make Way For Ducklings.

Famous local statues, all.

Now make way for Yaz.

Carl Yastrzemski’s statue was dedicated outside Gate B at Fenway Park Sunday morning. At long last, the top performer in pennant-race history is cast in bronze outside the hardball house where he made his magic.
“It’s a tremendous honor,’’ Yaz said after the 40-minute ceremony. “This statue means as much to me as being inducted into the Hall of Fame and having my number retired.’’

Boston’s team owners and city fathers are assembling a nice little Freedom Trail dedicated to Hub sports. You can rub Red Auerbach’s bald pate as you stroll through Faneuil Hall Marketplace, salute Bobby Orr on the way into North Station, stare into the eyes of Cy Young in front of Churchill Hall at Northeastern, and admire Doug Flutie’s “Hail Mary” form outside BC’s Alumni Stadium. Pretty soon we’ll be toasting Bill Russell at City Hall Plaza, and the Sox already have immortalized Ted Williams and his “teammates” (Bobby Doerr, Dominic DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky) at the intersection of Ipswich and Van Ness streets.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Will Shank Be His First Guest?

Look who might be getting a slot on afternoon radio in Boston:
WEEI’s interest in making Curt Schilling a more prominent part of its programming is at least as real as one of his legendary bloody socks from the 2004 postseason.

The station’s management has spoken to the former Red Sox pitcher about taking on a significant role at the station, possibly as a drive-time co-host. The strong belief here after talking to a number of industry sources is that Schilling can have the job if he wants it.

The 2-6 p.m. program is currently hosted by Mike Salk and Michael Holley, with the former having taken over for Glenn Ordway in March.
I don't listen to sports talk radio all that much aside from the occasional Felger & Mazz blast, but a review of the comments on the Schilling article reminded me of something - WEEI's been changing their lineups with great enough frequency, it's like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. As a result, listeners are continuing to bail on WEEI for 98.5 The Sports Hub. I guess the next (obvious) question is - when does WEEI go the way of WBCN, WODS & WFNX?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Are You Not Entertained?

Maybe you will be, maybe you won't. Clear your calendars early next year and head down to Norwell, MA:
Norwell's Company Theater 2014 special events include Dan Shaughnessy, Jimmy Tingle

The Company Theater of Norwell special performances for the 2014 season include an eclectic lineup of music, comedy, drama and the 1980s. (J)an. 3 – Author and sports writer Dan Shaughnessy (“Francona”) talks Sox.
Not mentioned in the article is whether Shank's appearance is classified as comedy or the 1980's, or both...

Monday, September 16, 2013

DHL Dan - XXIII

I had a feeling this morning that it's about time for Shank to churn out another turd, and sure enough, he delivers:
Picked-up pieces while waiting for the Red Sox’ first playoff victory since Oct. 18, 2008, at the Trop.

■ Wes Welker has missed three games since 2004. Danny Amendola has missed 21 of his last 34 games and now looks like he is out for another 3-4 weeks because of a groin strain/possible muscle tear.

■ Lots of talk about “The Manning Bowl” on CBS Sunday. Peyton vs. Eli. Peyton won (even though Welker dropped a few). Swell. But those of us from New England think of the Manning Bowl as the sports palace in Lynn that was high school home of Harry Agganis and Tony Conigliaro, and also featured a concert by the Rolling Stones in June of 1966. Our Manning Bowl, the real Manning Bowl, was demolished in 2004.
The only semi-interesting part of the column relates to the new ownership at the Boston Globe:
■ Life works in strange ways. The owner of the Red Sox happens to be buying the dominant news institution in our region at the precise moment when the Red Sox are performing at a level that makes them almost above criticism. Perpetrating one of the most amazing turnarounds in baseball history, the Sox may make it to the World Series. The praise and gushing that comes with this is hard earned and well deserved, but it nevertheless will invite suspicion because of an unsolvable conflict of interest. Too bad. Nothing really changes. When good things happen, we write good things. When bad things happen, the coverage is not as favorable. Prepare for the deification of this ball club. Thus far in 2013, the Red Sox are more than worthy.
Writing nice things about the Red Sox? Not being able to rag on Jacoby Ellsbury at will? The horror!

Then again, if Shank's smart, he sees this instead as an opportunity and is already writing a book about this year's Red Sox team: Reverse The Curse III - Rise of The Machines...

UPDATE, 9/19/2013, 10:35 A.M. - Reader John G. points out the link to Shank's mailed-in effort is incorrect, so it's been fixed. It was a great link, if you're selling your C corporation...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How Soon He Forgets

So now the Red Sox are the "most endearing, clutch, unlikely, loveable bunch" since the Carl Yastrzemski-led Impossible Dreamers of 1967.

2004, then, must have retreated ever so deeply into the recesses of Shaughnessy's scotch-infused brain. Does it really get more clutch than facing the best closer in the history of baseball while down a run in the ninth inning and down 3-0 in a best of four series against your longtime nemesis, only to come back and win? Sounds like something only Larry Bird could ..., oh wait, now I sound like him.


Suggestion: Never compare your future boss to Tom Yawkey, a notorious racist and likely the leading reason the Sox went 86 years without a World Series crown.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hits and Misses

The CHB today suggests that by hitting Alex Rodriguez last month, the Red Sox might have kicked a hornet's nest: "We might end up looking back at that particular hit by pitch as part of what turned everything around for the Yankees."

Let's ignore that simply getting A-Rod and his .864 OPS back in the Yankees lineup, replacing the automatic outs they had been trotting out to the hot corner all season, is the rational reason.

And while we are at it, let's also ignore how just last April, The CHB had given up both teams for dead.

Hey trees! There's the forest!

Friday, September 13, 2013

At Least They're 2 - 0!

The Patriots beat the Jets, 13-10 last night. It wasn't a pretty game to watch.

You know the drill by now - when a local team's at its worst, Shank's at his best.
FOXBOROUGH — Dropped balls. Poorly run routes. Penalties. Reviews. Interminable commercial breaks. Eleven Patriot punts. The Patriots converting four of 18 third downs. Tom Brady’s worst game in at least four years. Frustration bubbling over.

It’s like Gisele says, Tom cannot throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. He looks like he’s reached his boiling point as Bob Kraft and Bill Belichick ask him to throw passes to Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch.

The Patriots staggered and sloshed to a 13-10 victory over the Jets Thursday night. It was virtually unwatchable professional football. In the words of my new favorite Twitter friend, it was like watching a start by Daisuke Matsuzaka. Brady completed only 19 of 39 passes for 185 yards. It was his first sub .500 percentage game since 2009.
...
OK, we won’t. But here’s a little hyperbole for you: The 2013 Patriots look like the worst 2-0 team in the history of football. “The Waltz of the Tomato Cans” is playing over the loudspeaker at Gillette. Again. The locals are artificially inflated by the incompetence of their division opponents. Again.

The 2013 home opener was primarily about Missing Persons. It was about the people who were not there more than it was about the people who were.

You know who.
We then get the modified Rick Pitino rant on who's not walking through that door, etc. Wonder if Shank tries to milk another column out of this game?

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Hunt For October

Now that the Boston Red Sox have taken three of four from the New York Yankees, Shank looks forward a few weeks, as the Red Sox are all but assured of a playoff spot.
NEW YORK — It’s not about the day-to-day wins and losses anymore. It’s about October.

In another year, the end of Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees game might make us reach into the Way Back Machine and speak of Bob Stanley clanging a wild pitch off the glove of Rich Gedman. We might be talking about buzzard luck, September swoons, and damn Yankees.

Not this time. Not now.

The Sox were beaten by the Yankees, 4-3, and allowed the winning run to score when Brandon Workman uncorked a high heater off the mitt of Jarrod Saltalamacchia with Ichiro Suzuki on third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
By the way, did you know Jacoby Ellsbury has a foot injury? We can't have too many reminders:
But the bigger news was the announcement that Jacoby Ellsbury has a compression fracture in his right foot. The Sox say he’ll play again this season, but we’ve been down this path before.
Yes, we have, and many times before that, every time Ellsbury's been injured, in fact.

And just in case you missed it the first time in the column:
But as good as things look right now, the uncertainty about Ellsbury is going to dog them for the rest of the regular season.
What about the uncertainty about Clay Buchholz? Shank's not terribly interested in that angle. This is just further evidence that at all times, Shank needs at least one member of the Red Sox, past or present, to beat the crap out of.