Thursday, October 31, 2013


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.


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 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:
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...