Monday, September 30, 2013


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


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.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Foot Fault

Let's pretend, shall we?

Let's pretend The CHB cared about something more than a paycheck, free drinks at The Fours and alienating sports fans for being sports fans.

Let's pretend Shank isn't mocking when he says the "good scenario is [Jacoby Ellsbury] leads the Sox to a World Series title, then sign[s] a long-term contract extension and gets his No. 2 on the right-field facade ...."

Let's pretend Shank didn't compare the loss of Ellsbury to the loss of Jim Rice late in the '75 season, and that he didn't write the Sox lost "firepower" when Rice went down. Let's pretend The CHB had looked up the research and learned that in his place Bernie Carbo hit .429, slugged 1.429 and hit 2 homers in Rice's place, and had Dick Williams played him more, the World Series that year might have had a very different outcome.

Let's pretend a Sox player could have an injury without The CHB, in describing it, dredging up every single negative thing that ever happened to said player.

Let's pretend Shank is a real human being.

Then let's get back to reality, because pretending is for kids, not for adult sports fans, and certainly not for over-the-hill sportswriters who so clearly hate sports.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Friday, September 06, 2013

Wrong Again, Redux

“The question now is, 'Who are you going to pick to finish in last place — the Red Sox or the Yankees?' ’’ -- The CHB, March 24, 2013

American League standings as of this afternoon:


Tampa Bay 7752.5546.5

NY Yankees



If the Red Sox keep playing like this, The CHB will have to turn his attention to the Celtics in order to find someone to bash.

Metaphor Alert

The Red Sox beat the Yankees yesterday, 9 to 8, in ten innings. Shank had a lot of fun writing about it:
NEW YORK — Was it 2003 or 2004?

Was it Grady or Tito?

Quintin Berry or Dave Roberts?

Mariano Rivera or Mariano Rivera?

Alfonso Soriano or Bonehead Merkle?

Tim Wakefield, Keith Foulke, or Koji Uehara?

The high-flying Red Sox came to the Large Apple Thursday night and we saw a regular-season game for the ages. Absolutely everything happened. In the end, the hardball gods were with the Sox, just as they have been all season. Soriano ran the Yankees out of an inning, Cowboy Joe West blew a call, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino got the big hits, and Uehara was perfect again. Oh, and the son of a former Red Sox outfielder couldn’t handle a throw from Ichiro, which allowed the winning run to score.
I'm guessing flashback...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

More Is Less

Continuing the theme with Sunday's empty and pointless column, Shank writes about yesterday's Deutsche Bank Champoinship in Norton, Mass., won by Henrik Stenson of Sweden.

And what other things has Sweden bestowed upon the world?
NORTON — Thank you, Sweden. Thank you for “Dancing Queen,” the Nobel Prize, Volvos, Ingemar Johansson, Ingrid Bergman, Bjorn Borg, P.J. Axelsson, and the Sedin twins.

Lastly, thanks for Henrik Stenson, winner of the rain-soaked 2013 Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.
Does this qualify as cheap ethnic stereotyping?

Fortunately, this should be his last golf column for the year. It's not often Shank puts together two successive columns that has many words in them, yet says so little.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Mixed Bag

I'm not sure what to make about today's 'effort' by Shank.

Add one part name-dropping:
NORTON — We get all the big names in sports around here.

Rich, famous, infamous — they all take their turn in New England. Tom Brady and David Ortiz live here. LeBron James was in Boston in March, Mr. Stanley Cup appeared on the Garden ice in June, and Peyton Manning will be at the Razor in November.

Alex Rodriguez was in town two weeks ago. A-Rod was right in the middle of his latest crisis when Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster plunked him on “Sunday Night Baseball.”

Let’s not forget Tim Tebow. The most famous backup quarterback of all time played his final preseason game for the Patriots Thursday night and Saturday was told he did not make New England’s 53-man roster for the 2013 season. Very big news. part Tiger Woods:
Last, but never least, we have the world famous Tiger Woods playing the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston this weekend. Woods shot 67 Saturday to finish Day 2 at 7 under, six strokes off the lead and in a 10-way tie for 20th.
...and one part interview / backhanded compliment:
Tiger talked college football with some media members after his round Saturday. I asked him if he’d been able to watch the second half at Gillette Thursday. He said he’d only stayed for the first quarter.

“Oh, so you missed Tebow then,’’ I offered.

“I saw it on TV,’’ said Tiger.

Did you hear that he did not make the team?

“No,’’ said Woods.

Well, he didn’t make the team.

“That’s obviously Bob and Bill’s decision,’’ said Tiger.

Yikes. He’s even starting to talk like the Hoodie.
...and you get a not quite bad, and not quite good column out of it.

At least with this year's installment, Shank spared us the discussion of where Tiger goes to take a piss on the golf course, so there's that...