Saturday, August 31, 2013

Welcome To The Jungle

Shank sat in for Michael Felger today on 98.5 The Sports Hub radio show Friday afternoon, co-hosting with Tony Massarotti. The first half-hour had one guest, Ron Borges of the Boston Herald. Borges co-wrote the Rolling Stone article on Aaron Hernandez that came out on Wednesday and has dominated local sports talk radio ever since. Borges largely defended the article.

The second half of the hour featured weekly Friday guest Jerry Thornton of Barstool Sports. I've come here to say that Jerry is my newest hero. While I'm not familiar with Jerry's previous dealings with him, if any, Shank feigned (disingenuously, in my opinion) ignorance of Thornton and his work with Barstool Sports. Jerry then proceeded to lay into Shank and absolutely mauled him for the next few minutes, bringing up past works of art like this one and I believe this one, and mentioned past battles with Curt Schilling, and a few others. It was a pleasant walk down memory lane!

While it's possible I'm overreacting to what I thought was a complete beatdown of Shank, especially those first three minutes, I thought for a second - 'Is this guy's name Jerry Thornton or Shawn Thornton?' After a few minutes of that, Mazz finally stepped in to give Shank a standing eight count, then they went back at it to the top of the hour, mainly discussing the Rolling Stone article and Patriots related stuff.

This post cannot do that segment justice. Audio link is here.

UPDATE, 10:52 am - Here's the other column mentioned by Jerry Thornton.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fear Factor

After a 13-2 Red Sox win over the Baltimore Orioles, Our Man Shank accentuates the positive.
No one knows where this Red Sox season is headed. Every time the Sox start to slide, they do something to make you think maybe they can play deep into October. Case in point, Tuesday night’s 13-2 win over the Orioles. We know that this season is a gift, and suddenly there’s hope that it might be magical.

The only thing I know for sure is that somehow, someway, the Orioles are going to be a factor. That’s just the way it is with these two teams as we prepare for the final month of the 2013 baseball season.

The Sox crushed the Orioles Tuesday night but are still scheduled to play the Buck Showalter All-Stars eight more times in the final 29 games. The Sox finish their season with three games at Camden Yards, a schedule quirk that scares all thinking Red Sox fans.

Need we remind anybody that it was in Baltimore that the wheels fell off at the end of September 2011? Remember Robert Andino? The Sox lost two of their final three games in ugly fashion, triggering the departures of Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Jonathan Papelbon, Marco Scutaro, Josh Reddick, and Heidi Watney. New England’s nuclear baseball winter led to the worst Red Sox season in 47 years.

And it all started in Baltimore.

There is considerable hardball history involving these Eastern Seaboard franchises.

Ted Williams hit his final home run against the Orioles in 1960. Willie Tasby — the guy who once took off his spikes while playing during a thunderstorm — played for both teams. The great Earl Weaver Orioles of the 1970s annually tortured the Red Sox, especially in 1974 when the Sox held a seven-game lead on Aug. 23, yet finished third, seven games behind the surging Birds.

Weaver tried to scare a nervous Sox Nation again a year later when he came to Fenway to face the first-place Sox in September and warned, “We’ve crawled out of more coffins than Bela Lugosi.’’
This is how Shank will continue to 'criticize' the Red Sox - keep bringing up the negative stuff from the past, and avoid direct mention of Red Sox management and ownership.

Monday, August 26, 2013

We Love L.A.!

After the Red Sox wrap up a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, beating them 8 - 1, Shank sums up the road trip, and the series.
LOS ANGELES — On the one-year anniversary of the biggest trade in baseball history, the first-place Red Sox hit three homers, got a three-hitter from Jake Peavy, and defeated the first-place Dodgers, 8-1.

There was plenty of off-the-field action before the rubber game of the potential World Series matchup.

Pregame in the Sox clubhouse, we had Ryan Dempster explaining the he was not upset when David Ortiz told USA Today he “didn’t like” Dempster hitting A-Rod last weekend. In the dugout, John Farrell said he was OK with Jon Lester’s snappishness after Lester was pulled from Saturday’s brilliant start. Behind the batting cage we had Adrian Gonzalez talking to some of his ex-Sox teammates who pretended to be happy to see the Cooler.

Carl Crawford, meanwhile, continued to avoid anyone who’s ever set foot in Boston and said he would never eat the cream pie for which the city is named. In front of the Sox dugout, we had Dr. Charles Steinberg, who once worked for Frank and Jamie McCourt, and got fingered as the guy who assembled a position paper for Jamie’s planned presidential campaign.

While all this was going down, Janet Marie Smith, the Hall of Fame-bound architect who rebuilt Fenway before she was unceremoniously dismissed by the Sox in 2009, graciously walked her former Boston bosses (Red Sox/Globe owner John Henry, Linda Pizzuti, Tom Werner, Larry and Stacey Lucchino) around the famous LA ballyard. The unfailingly polite Smith has overseen a stunning renovation of Dodger Stadium and can make any situation comfortable.

Then, just when it felt like things couldn’t get any more awkward, ESPN analyst Curt Schilling walked into the pressbox.

Yeesh. Talk about no place to hide . . .
I wonder if they exchanged pleasantries?

Throw in a Larry Bird reference, and it's done.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vin Scully

Since the Red Sox are playing the L.A. Dodgers this weekend, it makes sense to have a column on Vin Scully.
Ted Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Russell, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jim Brown, Winston Churchill, Bobby Orr, Yo-Yo Ma, Muhammad Ali . . .

And Vin Scully.

The best who ever lived.

On Friday, the Dodgers announced that Scully will be back as team broadcaster for his 65th year in 2014. A humbled Scully, now 85, gracefully participated in a press conference, telling the assembled media that he wished the Dodgers had simply released the news with a single line in the evening’s game notes.

In all of sports, there is nothing like the Scully-Dodgers relationship. Ernie Harwell was the sweet honey voice of the Tigers for a million years and Marv Albert has been the signature caller of the Knicks forever. We came to associate Keith Jackson with college football and Al Michaels with believing in miracles. Boston has been graced with the iconic Curt Gowdy, the mellow Ned Martin, Drano-gargling Johnny Most, steady Gil Santos, puckish Fred Cusick, and pom-pom Joe Castiglione, who moved thousands of “can you believe it?” bottle openers after the Red Sox finally won in 2004.
And now have pom-pom Dan Shaughnessy, who moved thousands of books after the Red Sox finally won in 2004.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Day Skynet Became Self-Aware

Shank wonders aloud why his good buddies Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez (& Josh Beckett) won't talk to him anymore.
Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford won’t talk about Red Sox
Truth in advertising - Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford won’t talk to me about Red Sox
LOS ANGELES — I am standing in the swanky, though not overly spacious, Dodgers clubhouse. It is just after 3:30 p.m. Friday and the room has just been opened to the media. No sign of Josh Beckett. No sign of Adrian Gonzalez. No sign of Carl Crawford.

I am not discouraged. I have emptied bigger rooms than this.
This should surprise none of us! Surely he didn't just figure this out?
Suddenly, Crawford is at his locker. A radio guy is with him and it looks like they might be planning an interview for later. I walk toward Carl. He sees me and bolts for the door that leads to the “no media” area with the food room and trainer’s room.
Shank not scoring free food; war has just been declared...
Carl is muttering something as he disappears into the safe haven. From my distance, all I made out is, “[expletive] talk to the [expletive] Boston media . . . ’’
What could have ever been responsible for this change of heart, I wonder?
It’s not like we weren’t warned. Back on Wednesday in San Francisco, Boston reporters asked Red Sox PR people to approach Dodgers PR people to see if Crawford and Gonzalez would be made available before the first game in Los Angeles. Early Friday afternoon, we got word that Carl and the Cooler (Gonzalez in the last three seasons has been part of historic folds by the Padres, Red Sox, and Dodgers, hence, “the Cooler”) would not be speaking with us.

“You can try,’’ a Dodgers PR guy told me. “But that’s what they’re telling us. Adrian was pretty firm about it.’’


Despite failing after signing a $142 million contract, Crawford was rarely critiqued in Boston. But he has reinvented his time in the Hub, characterizing the Boston baseball experience as “toxic,’’ and telling the LA Times, “I knew with the struggles I was having, it would never get better for me. It puts you in a kind of a depression stage. You just don’t see a way out.’’
The italicized part of the first sentence, to be blunt, is a lie. Shaughnessy has a well-documented three decade history of criticizing professional athletes in Boston, and in particular members of the Red Sox. I've already noted numerous instances of Shank giving Carl Crawford the business. He writes (at a minimum) five articles where he rips Crawford, not to mention anything he may have said about Crawford when he's on the radio with Gresh & Zo on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and has the balls to write something so demonstrably false? That's just further evidence that Shank does not have an editor looking at his columns.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Even with a 4:00 PM start time for the Sox - Giants game yesterday, Shank wasn't able to come up with a game summary. Instead, he takes the easy way out and inflicts another picked up pieces column upon us.

And - let the ass kissing continue!
■ I e-mailed John Henry and Larry Lucchino to get a statement regarding Ryan Dempster’s suspension. Nothing. Crickets. And here I thought we’d be toasting one another on John’s boat and swapping secrets now that Henry is buying the Globe.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dempster's Mini Vacation

Since it's difficult to write game stories and meet Globe deadlines when the Red Sox play on the West Coast, Shank writes a column on Ryan Dempster's suspension instead.
SAN FRANCISCO — Sorry, but Major League Baseball had to suspend Ryan Dempster for throwing at Alex Rodriguez. Yankee manager Joe Girardi correctly noted that it would have been “open season,’’ on A-Rod if baseball did nothing. The message of a non-response from the league would have been, “Yeah, we hate him, too. Take your shots.’’

Certainly many fans would have been just fine with that, but as much as everyone hates A-Rod, it’s not OK for pitchers to have diplomatic immunity when they throw at the Prince of Loathe.

Hitting A-Rod Sunday gave most of you a tickle. It felt good. It was like unleashing a wild elbow in a crowded elevator of Sabermetricians, Jets fans, and folks wearing bicycle shorts. Anybody remember Dave Cowens taking a linebacker run at flopping Houston guard Mike Newlin and then declaring, “Now THAT was a foul!’’? Everybody loves a little frontier justice and nobody likes A-Rod, but gleeful Sox fans should remember that on Sunday night Rodriguez was standing in the same batter’s box where Tony Conigliaro was hit, on the exact same date 46 summers earlier.
A spot on column, I'd say.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Little Over The Top, Please

Shank goes a bit overboard for the newest member of the Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts.
This is big; something along the lines of the first moon walk and/or the Beatles debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February of ’64. Seriously, Bogaerts’ first start could be an important event in Red Sox history; like Tony Conigliaro’s first game in 1964 at Yankee Stadium when he was only 19 years old. Maybe it’ll be like Dwight Evans’s debut in 1972 when Evans was 20 and the Sox were in a first-place dogfight with the Tigers.

We went through a phenom false alarm at the beginning of this season when Jackie Bradley Jr. came north with the “Please Don’t Hate Us” Sox. It was the start of Boston’s Redemption Tour back when everybody thought Boston would finish fourth or fifth in the American League East.
Don't let this column fool you. Just remember who was hyping the hell out of Jackie Bradley Jr. in April, and who was also leading the call for a last place finish by the Red Sox this year. And nothing says hip and relevant quite like bringing up an event that happened a mere half century ago. Wait until Shank figures out Sir Paul McCartney's a Liverpool FC supporter...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Birds Of A Feather

Look who's sticking up for Shank - the biggest asshole sportswriter to ever walk the planet (given the context, that's saying something):
Mr. Mariotti: When people like (Boston Red Sox owner) John Henry buy the Boston Globe, I'm petrified (petrified? really? - Ed) for every writer on that staff. What happens when Dan Shaughnessy covers another story about a Red Sox clubhouse scandal. Is it going to make the paper? No. Shaughnessy has made a living on criticizing owners including Henry. Is he going to have a job in a year? These are the sort of people I have in mind down the road for this.
A reminder - Shank did not break the 2011 clubhouse story. He followed up on the story two days after it broke.

So, if / when Shank gets shitcanned, he has another job lined up. Sweet!

But wait - it gets worse (from another article):
Dan Shaughnessy is a sportswriting bad ass. He’s one of the country’s best columnists, opining fearlessly in the bosom of a readership base that is one part religious, one part romantic, one part provincial and one part lunatic. That is a dangerous mix that could get a hard-line commentator killed — I once called Dan for advice in that regard after some Chicago death threats — but Shaughnessy has carried on boldly with his coverage of the Boston Red Sox, taking on the beloved David Ortiz earlier this season by asking Big Papi if he also is a Big PEDer.

I’m afraid he’s about to be silenced.
I'm not. I'm also not worried about Shank getting kneecapped on his arduous one mile runs by the grandsons of Al Capone.

While it's good blog fodder to joke about the Dan Shaughnessy Death Watch, I've come to believe that this will not happen. For starters, Shank appears to be pulling his punches, based on his most recent Globe column. Second, I don't believe John Henry views him as anything more than a minor irritant. Third, shitcanning Shank would only play into the conspiracy theories of the likes of Jay Marrioti, and I seriously doubt John Henry would give a prick like that (or anyone else) the satisfaction.

Last thought - I've not noticed until today that Jay Mariotti and Shank appear to have some sort of professional friendship, a Brotherhood of Assholes, if you will. This may be a one sided thing, as I'm not aware of Shank throwing hosannas Mariotti's way, which is a good professional non-move. If I've missed anything about this bromance that Jay has with Shank, I'd appreciate some feedback in the comments section.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Doubting Dan

Now he's just being a dick.

The CHB pretends the Red Sox, who bested the Yankees Saturday, are a lovable bunch of resilient overachieving stragglers who have miraculously turned into a better behaved version of the Bad News Bears. They have, it's true, but that's not why Shaughnessy is struggling to keep down copious amounts of bile (as well as a case or two of Bud Lite) to fete them today.

Of course, it's likely he's just being ironic, for The CHB is no more a fan of the Red Sox than he is of hearing the bartenders yell "last call" at The Fours.

But at this point, he's writing not for the reader but for his job, and his career -- if we can call it that -- is now in the hands of one John Henry, the owner of the Red Sox and soon to be owner of The Globe.

Oh to be there when Henry goes Donald Trump on Shank's butt. This is gonna be great!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Prince Of Darkness

Move over, Ozzy Osbourne - there's a new Lucifer in town:
You could use plenty of choice words to describe the Red Sox after they dropped three out of four to the Royals over the weekend.

But the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, speaking on Sports Sunday with Damon Amendolara, has his word: fragile.

"I am the prince of darkness with these guys right now," Shaughnessy said of the Sox. "People think I'm negative? I am negative. They've done a great job. This is a wonderful season. It's a gift, it's magic, it's great. They are very fragile in my view right now. Every time it looks like something bad is going to happen, they come back and rip off four out of five or something like that. Maybe that's going to happen again. I would be very worried about them right now."
So, when does Shank officially step up his campaign to run Jacoby Ellsbury out of town? If you're the Prince of Darkness, that requires biting someone's head off, doesn't it?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Laying Low

You'd think the recent performance of the Red Sox, losing three of their last four games to the Kansas City Royals, would be enough to get Shank to write a panicked column, comparing them to the 2011 'chicken & beer brigade', or whatever other excuse he'd have to take a piss on the Olde Towne Team.

Did John Henry lay down the law already, or did Shank clam up on his own, thinking self-preservation? Is Shank on extended vacation? Did Whitey Bulger rub him out? Theories are welcome!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - XXII

The hits just keep on coming:
The New York Times Company [$NYT] reported second quarter 2013 earnings 48% below last year's quarter due to severance and other "special" items but digital paid subscriptions rose 40%.

The full results are here:

Despite rising numbers of readers and paid subscriptions, the company continues to struggle as advertising revenues continued to fall again— 6% in this quarter. This is the eighth sequential quarter of declining print and digital advertising revenues.

"Print and digital advertising revenues decreased…largely due to ongoing secular trends and an increasingly complex and fragmented digital advertising marketplace."

Jeff Bercovici, media reporter at Forbes, noted that the good news on digital was not enough.

Digital subscriptions still represent a smallish part of the company’s overall revenue picture — just 15% of circulation revenue and 7.8% of total revenues, which fell 1% in the quarter, to $485 million.
This is just a further indication that John Henry's recent purchase of the Boston Globe is a simple real estate play.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I'll Have A Bowl Of Awkward, Please

Fresh from updating his resume, Shank runs a copy by the folks at Boston Public Radio. Oh, and he also sits down with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan yesterday to discuss his imminent demise the recent purchase of the Boston Globe by Red Sox owner John Henry.

(full audio at the top of the page, 4:09)
Dan Shaughnessy: Globe Sale To John Henry A 'Bowl Of Awkward'

Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who at times has been critical of owner John Henry's management of the Boston Red Sox, spoke with Boston Public Radio about his new boss.
Kind of an understatement, don't you think?
"It's amazing how life works," he told Boston Public Radio's Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Monday. "It is a whole bowl of awkward. It's hard to get your head around it, and it is amusing to a degree."
You might not be laughing in a few weeks, mate...
Henry purchased The Boston Globe for $70 million early Saturday morning. Shaughnessy said he hopes the purchase of the newspaper by the principal owner of the very baseball team he has covered for three decades will not change his expectations as a columnist.

"What I've seen so far in statements by Mr. Henry - he's going to allow the Globe to do what it does, which is practice good journalism (first time for everything! - ed),” Shaughnessy said. “We've covered this team like nobody's business and when good things happen it's all good, and when bad things happen it's not so good. And I expect it to be that way, and hope that we have a wonderful run under new ownership."

Shaughnessy said the change in Globe ownership will not change the way he approaches his work as a columnist covering the Red Sox.
That will change when he has the sitdown with the new Vito Corleone...
"This is sports, and my agenda is running Red Sox players out of town how I feel about things," he said. "I feel I've always had the independence to have those opinions, and will continue to have those opinions and hopefully have the independence to put them out there."

Shaughnessy called Henry a 'forward looking guy.'

“This is a guy that likes devices, and he's always been a computer guy and the way the industry's going, that could be just the ticket," he said. “This is evolution. You can't fight it."
Fight the power, Shank!

To this point, I'll give Shank credit for taking it in stride.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


Nothing says "I'll write a halfassed picked up pieces column today because I'm probably getting shitcanned any second by the new owner I've been trashing for the past decade" like this one.
Picked-up pieces while reminding all of you that John Henry’s greatness has been vastly underappreciated . . .
It's gonna be fun watching Shank grovel over the next few weeks.

Or will he?
A losing Boston Globe contender is claiming his San Diego media company outbid Red Sox owner John Henry — and would have gone even higher — a bombshell allegation that he says could delay the deal and leave the New York Times Co. open to shareholder backlash.“We bid significantly more than Henry,” said John Lynch, the CEO of U-T San Diego, one of the Globe finalists. “At the end of the day, I’m certain our bid was higher and could have been a lot more higher if they had just asked. I’m just stunned. I thought this was a public company that had a fiduciary duty to get the most by its stockholders. ... From the beginning, I don’t think they wanted to sell to us.”
Probably because the owner & the newspaper are insufficiently liberal:
Douglas Manchester, the owner of U-T San Diego — the newspaper formerly known as the Union-Tribune — has come under fire for aggressively influencing his paper’s editorial content.
Here's another indicator that may be the case:
PS Two years ago they could have sold it to my friends at Freedom Communications (publishers of The Orange County Register) for 300 grand (and unloaded the pensions), but they would have been ideologically uncongenial to the Times. So the Gray Lady bravely took a quarter-billion hit in the cause of liberal torpor.
Popcorn time!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Big Tuna

Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and Shank pens a righteous column about him and his time with the Patriots.
Bill Parcells takes his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and there will be noise about his two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants (remember Scott Norwood and wide right?), and his rebuilding of the Jets, Cowboys, and Dolphins. Parcells is the only man in NFL history to lead four franchises to the playoffs and he is one of only five men to take two franchises to the Super Bowl. He is renowned as the great, almighty Tuna, the quintessential Jersey guy who engaged reporters and insisted, “You are what your record says you are.’’

All swell. The Tuna deserves props and is overdue for a bust in Canton. But it is his four-year stint as head coach of the Patriots that matters most to us here in New England. Parcells is the man who rescued the Patriots from irrelevance and maybe from a move to St. Louis.

More than Bob Kraft, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, Parcells is the man who changed the culture of football in Foxborough.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - XXI

The Boston Globe continues to flounder:
Circulation and advertising revenues at the New England Media Group — which runs The Boston Globe — took a dive last quarter, just as The New York Times gets ready to announce a sale of the broadsheet any day now.

New England Media’s overall revenue fell 7.4 percent last quarter compared to the second quarter of 2012, the Times announced during a quarterly conference call earlier today.

Advertising fell 9.5 percent last quarter. Circulation revenue dropped 2.3 percent, even though the Globe hiked up home delivery prices in May, Times execs reported. Other revenues dropped 14 percent.
Um, I'm pretty sure circulation revenue dropped because home delivery prices were increased, but maybe it's just me...

This part's interesting:
Times Chief Financial Officer James Fallo told analysts it’s “unlikely” that pension obligations will be included in the sale of New England Media, which also includes the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and
Does this mean the NYT assumes the pension obligations, or are they gone completely (i.e. - no pension for you!)? It could also mean that the bids are structured in a way not to assume those obligations (asset purchase only).

The long-awaited Globe sale could come any day now with several bidders reportedly in the mix, including a team consisting of former Globe execs Steve and Ben Taylor and former Time CEO Jack Griffin; Red Sox owner John Henry; and the Revolution Capital Group, which owns the Tampa Tribune.

Bid prices, however, have reportedly ranged between $65 million and $80 million — far less than the $120 million analysts had once projected and a shell of the $1.1 billion the Times paid for the Globe in 1993.
This tends to support what I said in previous Globe bashing posts - these bids look like a play only on the land, building & equipment at 135 Morrissey Boulevard (asset purchase), since there's no reason to offer a premium on a money losing operation. At least the Times will have a nice tax writeoff on the $1 billion loss, so they have that going for them...