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?


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


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.


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!