Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Speaking Of 'Put A Lid On It'

Shank passed on bashing the Patriots yesterday for their 17-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Instead, he writes a column today to tackle the really important issues.
Isn’t it time to put a lid on these college bowls?

It’s college football bowl season. Hope you’re up to speed.

If you’re really paying attention, you watched West Virginia against Texas A&M on ESPN in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Monday afternoon. That was followed by Clemson vs. Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl, and the time-honored AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl featuring a pair of 6-6 teams (Texas and Arkansas) at NRG Stadium in Houston Monday night.

What in the name of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl is going on here? Anybody out there old enough to remember when the college football bowl games were actually played on New Year’s Day? When playing in a bowl game meant you were a superior football team? When we could all set our New Year’s Day watches by the Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Orange Bowl?

Those were the golden olden days of rotary phones and long-distance calling.
Nothing like dating yourself for the four thousandth time to make a point! Didn't have any Elvis or Everly Brothers lyrics on hand to drive that point home?

How can you tell that Shank's been sitting around his house this past week, doing absolutely nothing? This column, that's how.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Well Past The Expiration Date

Here's Shank, reusing the same meme for the hundredth time this year:

Nice 'game over' call, asshole. Jesus H. Christ, give it a rest and get on with your doom and gloom Patriots column already...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The One That Got Away

This column just showed up in Shank's Globe timeline. It was written just before the Patriots / Jets game on Sunday, and for the most part a decent Shank columm.
NEW YORK — I am feeling a little sorry for the Big Apple on this pre-Christmas weekend.

Christmas in Gotham is always a treat. We’ve got folks skating in Rockefeller Center, drinking hot chocolate, talking about miracles on 34th Street. You can go to Macy’s Santaland, or watch the American Ballet Theatre’s performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Gilman Opera House.

Too bad you can’t find any good professional sports teams.

Wow. After all these years of arguing with our New York friends, most of that thrill is gone. Think kids at Boston University or NYU still argue about Celtics vs. Knicks, Red Sox vs. Mets, or (gulp) Patriots vs. Jets?

Let’s go down the list:
That's all well and good, but let's look at a couple of semi-interesting descriptors:
The 11-3, Super Bowl-bound Patriots storm the Meadowlands on Sunday in a game that serves nicely as Rex Ryan’s opening farewell to Jets fans.
The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl and the Jets are one more sad franchise in New York’s losing state of mind.
It's worth pointing out the before and after ever-so-slight change of attitude after the close Patriots win over the Jets on Sunday. There's rarely any middle ground with Shank.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Shanka Claus - XXIX

Dear Reader:

Hoped you liked the year in review with respect to Shank's Twitter feed! We will strive to keep you updated on the best worst of Shank's tweets, promise!

For you non-Christmas music fans, Eric Clapton. Which may or may not include Shank, who knows...

For you Christmas music fans, Crosby / Bowie. The ultimate odd couple...

Merry Christmas, everybody! Thanks for reading DSW. We appreciate it.


Shanka Claus - XXVIII

Dear Shanka Claus:

If I get a pint of your blood, probably of type AB Negative, and decide to take up a career in journalism, will I become as hopelessly negative and miserable as you've been since you began writing at the Boston Globe?

Thanks in advance,

Sarah L., Medford, MA

Shanka Claus - XXVII

Dear Shanka Claus:

Please try to keep the ball rubbing to some sort of minimum. I mean, it's embarrassing - for you, not for me, capiche?

Your Bud Light Buddy,

Larry Legend, French Lick, IN

Shanka Claus - XXVI

Dear Shanka Claus:

False start, bro?

See you next month!

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, WI

Dear Shanka Claus - XXV

Dear Shanka Claus:

Because you're a cynical, relentlessly negative asshole?

Just a guess!

Your blogboy,

Roger Bournival, Quincy, MA

Dear Shanka Claus - XXIV

Dear Shanka Claus:

You like us! You really, really like us!

Hugs and kisses,

The Boston College Women's Soccer Team

Dear Shanka Claus - XXIII

Dear Shanka Claus:

Thank you for treating me with dignity and respect throughout my brief career with the Boston Red Sox!

Your buddy,

Carl Crawford

Dear Shanka Claus - XXII

Dear Shanka Claus:

Leave the redneck / racing jokes to me, ok?

Yours truly,

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Charlotte, NC

Dear Shanka Claus - XXI

Dear Shanka Claus:

Just delete the fucking Boston Globe web browser cookie from your computer and save $5 a month!

Your welcome,

Roger B., Quincy, MA

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Shanka Claus - XX

Dear Shanka Claus:

Leave the lame Animal House jokes to me.


Dean Vernon Wermer

Dear Shanka Claus - XIX

Dear Shanka Claus (in reverse, from me to you):

Sorry for my previous attempts at running you guys out town and the dozens of negative columns I wrote when you reached the end of your careers as Red Sox players. We're good, right?

Thanks in advance,

Shanka Claus

Dear Shanka Claus - XVIII

Dear Shanka Claus:

You had nothing to do with it. Really, you didn't. We're good!

Your pal,

John Lackey

Dear Shanka Claus XVII

Dear Shanka Claus:

I was happy to see you because it was the first time in two fucking years you didn't mention 'chicken and beer' when interviewing or mentioning me. Sometimes it pays not to be an unrepentant asshole. You might want to keep that in mind.


Jon Lester

Dear Shanka Claus - XVI

Dear Shanka Claus:

Now that's just fucking good. Bravo!

Sonny Corleone

Dear Shanka Claus - XV

Dear Shanka Claus:

You mad, bro?


Kansas City Royals, 2014 AL Champions

Dear Shanka Claus - XIV

Dear Shanka Claus:

The Sixties called - they want their pitcher back.

Thanks in advance.

Bob Gibson

PS - there have been bands after the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan - you might want to check them out...

Dear Shanka Claus -XIII

Dear Shanka Claus:

How about making me #4 on this list for my Christmas present? I don't care if I never swung a bat - you haven't rubbed my balls in a while, so you owe me one!

Just don't bring up that Chelsea bar fight again, ok?


Larry Bird, #33

Dear Shanka Claus - XII

Dear Shanka Claus:

Glad you enjoyed the match at Fenway, mate! Bloody good, wasn't it? About the same level of excitement that you Yanks get from one of those baseball pitching duels, eh right?


Steven Gerrard, Liverpool F.C. captain

Dear Shanka Claus - XI

Dear Shanka Claus:

That was a good one about deferring the opening kick. The last time I heard that joke, I fell off my dinosaur.

Your pal,

Bill Belichick

Dear Shanka Claus - X

Dear Shanka Claus:

Remember when you loved soccer, then you hated it, then you loved it again?

Don't leave us hanging next year, ok?

Hugs and kisses,

The US Women's National Soccer Team

Dear Shanka Claus - IX

Dear Shanka Claus:

I was managing the Orioles when you were a young reporter for the Baltimore Sun back in the Seventies. I pass away two years ago, and you can't even bang out a column about it? And you give this guy a tweet?

Thanks for nothing.

Earl Weaver

Dear Shanka Claus - VIII

Dear Shanka Claus:

Could you get this guy to do a correction? I'm pretty sure that's me, and not you.

Much obliged,

Napoleon Dynamite

Dear Shanka Claus - VII

Dear Shanka Claus:

Remember when you thought I was the cat's ass, and then you didn't?

Good times, man!

Yours truly,

Bobby V.

Dear Shanka Claus - VI

Dear Shanka Claus:

If only you could put together a whole bunch of those grueling one mile runs...


Abby D., Boston, MA

Dear Shanka Claus - V

Dear Shanka Claus:

Thank you for your kind words and wishes that I should play for your beloved New England Patriots and their owner, for which you've shown so much love and respect over the years.

From one Shaughnessy that doesn't try and beat the piss out of the cops,

Matt Shaughnessy, Glendale, AZ

Dear Shanka Claus - IV

Dear Shanka Claus:

Thanks for welcoming me into Boston. Us hated people have to learn to stick together.

Now fuck off.

Yours Truly,


Dear Shanka Claus - III

Dear Shanka Claus:

We really could use some help with those circulation numbers!


Your Employer

Dear Shanka Claus - II

Hey, dickhead:

I had nothing to do with the lane closures, ok? How about a retraction?


Chris C, Trenton, NJ

Dear Shanka Claus - I

Dear Shanka Claus:

All's I want for Christmas is this - I left Boston six fucking years ago. Don't you have some other Red Sox player to run out of town? Give it a rest, asshole.


Manny R., destination unknown

Close Shave

The Patriots beat the New York Jets yesterday, 17 - 16. Since this was a close game, it allows Shank to do one of his favorite things, and that's second guess the team.

But not before he tries to belittle owner Bob Kraft again (new winter fashion - out goes 'high chair'; in goes 'lifeguard chair'. Gee, I wonder why he changed that?):
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The 11-3 Patriots fully expected to beat the 3-11 Jets Sunday. I don’t want to say there was any lack of urgency, but Bob Kraft didn’t even bother bringing his lifeguard chair for this one.

With Kraft and Jon Bon Jovi watching from standard elevation in a luxury box, the Patriots made the necessary plays in a 17-16 victory that guarantees they don’t have to play a game during the first weekend of the playoffs.

If the Bengals can beat the Broncos in Cincinnati Monday night, the Patriots would clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Further down the column, Shank half-cleverly disguises his second guessing:
That said, here’s what I’m wondering: In the wake of a narrow road victory against a bad team, do you feel better or worse about the Patriots’ chances to break their decade-long Super Bowl drought? Let’s examine the cases for better and/or worse:
Not having declared better or worse himself, Shank carves out maximum wiggle room to a) stay on the bandwagon if the Patriots keep winning or b) write the mother of all negative Patriots columns if they lose.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Deep Thoughts, By Dan Shaughnessy

Brace yourself for some serious inanities, ladies and gentleman - it looks like Shanks Twitter feed has stopped robotweeting, and has become self-aware. Just like Skynet, but in reverse!

I just took a stroll through his Twitter feed, and I feel dirty and dumber for it it looks like the robotweeting stopped some months ago. Contrary to Shank's propaganda, some of us 'blogboys' who don't live in mom's basement have jobs & mortgages and shit, so we don't have time to savor the finer things in life, like the barrel of fish that his feed provides.

For example:

Aside from the actual final score, he was right on! This tweet is posted in one form or another every damn week. He also mentions 'tomato can' in nearly the same frequency. I think they used to teach you in journalism school not to be repetitive. He must have been out on one of his grueling one mile runs that day.

To further illustrate Shank's occasional foray into rank unprofessionalism with respect to the Kraft family, here's Shank retweeting (i.e., endorsing) some literally childish notions about them, including one by a fellow Boston Globe employee:

Stay classy, Shank! And you too, KPD!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Consider The Source

Here's Shank on the Rajon Rondo trade:

Because when I think about redoubtable IQ, the first name that comes to mind is Albert Einstein Stephen Hawking Dan Fucking Shaughnessy. It's also amusing to get lectured on civility by the legendary Boston Globe curmudgeon and shit stirrer.

Self-awareness has never been this guy's calling card...

UPDATE, 12/21, 4:00 PM - Post edited to embed the tweet itself.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shank's 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

As much as I don't really give a rat's ass about the sport, Shank's Hall of Fame ballot looks pretty good:
More than a quarter of a century after getting my first ballot, the Hall of Fame selection progress just keeps getting more challenging.

Wednesday my ballot will be mailed with boxes checked next to the names of Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell.
Interesting that he's voting for two Red Sox players he absolutely hated when their careers were winding down. I did not figure Shank for the forgive and forget type.
Six votes. I think it’s a personal high.

This means I am not voting for (among others on the ballot), Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Lee Smith, Carlos Delgado, and Nomar Garciaparra. Oh, and I also am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Gary Sheffield, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell.
Remember when Roger Clemens was cool in Shank's book? I guess big stuffed teddy bears don't get you as much goodwill with Boston sports writers as they used to.

Every now and then, Shank feels the need to troll his readers. Here he is, ringing the dinner bell:
So let it rip. Bring on the hate. Bring on the humiliation. Bring on the blogboy outrage. Bring on the analytic arrogance. Bring on the PED Hall Pass. It’s a tradition like no other.
From there, at least Shank makes good pros and cons about who belongs in the Hall of Fame, and who doesn't. Then there's this part:
The Roids Boys are the greatest burden on voters. Some voters don’t care. Some cherry-pick the cheaters. Some turn away from anything that even looks dirty. Withholding votes for guys who cheated and guys who look like they cheated is unfortunate, sometimes unfair, and almost impossible to impose consistently.

Objection to the Roids Boys is gradually eroding. As years pass and new voters replace older voters, it is likely there will be increased leniency. Each year there are more voters who don’t care about PEDs. The thinking becomes, “This was the era. They were all doing it.’’ Or, “Bonds and Clemens were already Hall of Famers before they started cheating.’’

Sorry, I am not there. No votes for guys caught using. And worse — no votes for guys who just don’t look right. Bagwell and Piazza are the two players most penalized for this arbitrary crime. By any statistical measurement, Bagwell and Piazza are first-ballot Hall of Famers, yet their vote totals (62 percent for Piazza last year, 54 percent for Bagwell) remain considerably lower than their résumés merit.
What about the sports writers who ignored all this crap and happily sat back in the press boxes and enjoyed the home run chases and the pitching duels for a decade or more?

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Bandwagon Needs Reinforced Axles

Dan Shaughnessy, the raving hypocrite who buried the Patriots earlier this year, who vowed not to judge this team until January, and who took a massive steaming shit on them a mere ten weeks ago, just grabbed the reins of the bandwagon and is riding high!
F OXBOROUGH — The Patriots  beat the Dolphins, 41-13, to win the AFC East Sunday. Praise the lord and pass out the hats and T-shirts. The Warhol/Tomato Can Division belongs to New England once again.

In other news Sunday, New York City was named one of America’s five biggest cities, Amazon is among the top booksellers in the nation, Willie Mays is one of the best 100 outfielders of all time, and “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II’’ are worthy of at least two stars out of four.

This is not meant to diminish what the 11-3 Patriots have accomplished this season. We all know that this Patriots team feels better than recent local playoff entries. The Patriots are playing like a Super Bowl team. But we also know that winning the AFC East is a mere formality. It’s like Navin R. Johnson (played by Steve Martin) from “The Jerk” bragging that his name has been published in the phone book.
Throw in your modern, up to date band reference to go with your modern, up to date movie references...
The quarterbacks in the AFC East this season are Brady and guys name Geno Smith, Kyle Orton, and Ryan Tannehill. It’s Paul McCartney . . . and Wings.
...and your pro forma cheap shot at the owners you hate...
I don’t even think the Kraft high chairs were at maximum elevation.
...and it's a wrap.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Life After Lester

The Red Sox not getting Jon Lester was a "debacle" of epic proportions, says The CHB.


Why is it so critical to bring back a guy who pitched on two teams that finished in last place in the past three years? As the saying goes, "I can lose just as easily without you..."

Why is it so critical to have him?

Answer: It's not. Lester is a terrific pitcher. He also has never won 20 games, he's had exactly one season with an ERA under 3.13, he's never led the league in anything except for K/9 ratio, which he did in 2010 -- four seasons ago. He's basically parlayed the best 143 inning stretch of his career into a world-beating contract. Bully for him, but that's not reason for the Red Sox to go batty. Has The CHB forgotten the lessons of 2011-12?

There is, in fact, a better pitcher available in Max Scherzer. If money is no object, which it isn't according to Shank, then the player the Sox should break the bank for is Mad Max.

Would I have liked it for the Sox to have brought Lester back? Sure. Is it the end of the world? Hell no.

Back to the hyperventilating of Shank. He complains that John Henry et al weren't available to comment on the "departure of Lester." Excuse me, but Lester departed in July, in a trade for Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes, in turn, brought Rick Porcello, a player who is five years younger than Lester, and thus entering his prime, and whose overall value (WAR, or wins above replacement) was nearly the same as Lester's last year, and over the past three years has been less than one game less.

Let's remember one more thing. When the Sox failed to re-sign Roger Clemens at the end of the 1996 season, The CHB was highly critical. One year later, the Red Sox landed the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. And Pedro Martinez was even better than Clemens.

These things have a way of working themselves out. Just don't expect The CHB to admit that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Right And Wrong

Turns out Shank was right in the end, as Jon Lester signed with the Chicago Cubs about an hour ago. Earlier rumors had this signing going down between Boston and the Cubs, so while the CHB was right in the end, he wasn't exactly on point approaching the finish line.

While I can't speak for my co-blogger here, I'm okay with Shank's prediction, as that's what a columnist should do. I would encourage it, and not for the obviously self-serving reason of being able to bash Shank after the fact. Give an opinion and back it up, that's not too much to ask.

What we can agree on is a lack of consistency in his application of reason, logic, or whatever the hell it is that Shank uses to change opinions from one column to the next. Generally speaking, that's been demonstrated with many of Shank's posts since this site's been up for the near decade of its existence, and with this Lester signing in particular. It should be entertaining to see his reaction, if any, to this signing.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Lack of Knowledge Doesn't Equate Lack of Opinion

Nobody knows where Jon Lester is going to sign.

Yet The CHB seemed so sure just a few months ago that the Red Sox were NOT going to sign him.

And while acknowledges Lester isn't saying anything, that doesn't stop The CHB from expressing -- without a wit of evidence, mind you -- that the Red Sox have "bungled" this and that Lester has been "insulted" by the Sox.

And The CHB is pessimistic, as always, that Lester will choose Boston. Big surprise there.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Predictibility - II

In his second consecutive column in as many days, Shank gets around to writing about the actual football game between the Patriots and the Chargers.
SAN DIEGO — Welcome to Gillette West. Where everybody knows your name — especially if your name is Belichick, Brady, Gronkowski, Edelman, or Kraft.

Boston accents and attitude invaded San Diego over the weekend. From Herbert Hoover High (home of Ted Williams) to Helix High (home of Bill Walton); from Petco Park to Qualcomm Stadium; from the San Diego Zoo to San Diego State, it was wall-to-wall New England. And since the Patriots were made to feel at home, they played like they were at home . . . they won a game they needed to win.

In front of 68,815, which included tens of thousands of Boston transplants and road-trippers, the Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers, 23-14, Sunday night.
Cheesy sitcom lines, Red Sox references, etc. - all the telltale signs of another paint by numbers column by the Boston Globe's sole 'full-time' sports columnist are only a click away...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Predictability that quality you get whenever Shank goes to another city to write about an upcoming game with a team from Boston going up against their team. Today it's the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers. Anybody familiar with Shank's typical coverage won't be surprised to see the template employed with today's column:
SAN DIEGO — This is the town that gave Boston Ted Williams, Bill Walton, and (gulp) Adrian Gonzalez. This is where Dr. Charles Steinberg put young Theo Epstein to work handing out press notes. It’s where Tom Werner ran the Padres into the ground and where Petco Park stands as The House That Larry Lucchino Built. It’s where Brandon Browner and Shane Vereen went to high school and it’s where the late Junior Seau made his bones as an NFL superstar.

It’s where the Patriots play the Chargers Sunday in a prime-time game that could dramatically impact seedings for the 2014-15 AFC playoffs.

Original members of the upstart American Football League, the Bolts were the Los Angeles Chargers and the Patriots were the Boston Patriots when they first met in the Los Angeles Coliseum while Dwight Eisenhower was still working in the Oval Office on Oct. 8, 1960.

Since that date, the Patriots and Chargers have played one another at Nickerson Field, Balboa Stadium, Fenway Park, Boston College’s Alumni Stadium, Harvard Stadium, Schaefer Stadium (also known as Foxboro Stadium and Sullivan Stadium), Gillette Stadium, and Qualcomm Stadium, which has also been known as Jack Murphy Stadium and San Diego Stadium.

There's half the column right there. His 'formula' consists of going to a city, mention famous people from that city, drop a few Red Sox references, mention the places they've played the games and mention the big games between the two clubs. That's it. It's the same formula he's been using in these types of columns ever since he's been at the Boston Globe. He's not even clever enough to work in a Dan Fouts reference, but there's always tomorrow's column!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Oh Henry! Does The CHB Need a Reading Comprehension Course?

The CHB says John Henry's assertion that his comments on giving contracts to players over 30 were "overblown" is, in The CHB's typically elegant style, "baloney." Is his representation honest?

Here's what Henry told Bloomberg last summer: “We had a certain discipline for the first five or six years that really paid big dividends, and we got away from that,” he says. “We learned a lesson in ever-growing, long-term contracts with free agents.”

Here's what Ben Cherington added: [It] was a recommitment to a long-term strategy built on data, performance analysis, and finding hidden value. “In my conversations with John, he has always stressed that it’s really hard to predict the future. He sees the game objectively. He was able to really look down deep into the engine and be impervious to all the pressure coming from outside.”

Says Henry: “We went back to what had made us great for a very long time.” That, reads the article, meant the Red Sox "got on base more often than any other team in baseball, saw a ton of pitches, rarely swung, and crushed the balls they did swing at, especially fastballs.

Referencing a study “Can’t Buy Much Love: Why Money Is Not Baseball’s Most Valuable Currency,” in which author Martin Kleinbard found a weak correlation between payroll disparity and winning, Henry said, "To me, the most important thing this study shows is that virtually all of the underpaid players are under 30 and virtually all the overpaid players are over 30. Yet teams continue to extravagantly overpay for players above the age of 30.”

So is The CHB correct? Of course not. Henry at no time said the Red Sox will or will not sign expensive free agents. All he said was that he agreed with the study.

Moreover, Henry correctly pointed out that the Red Sox are best when they grind out at bats. In 2013, Boston led the AL in OBP at .349. In 2014, they were eighth, at .316. In 2013, they were fifth in the league in homers at 178. In 2014, they were 12th, with 123. The two weakest spots for the Sox were outfield and 3B, and in signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez they have managed to get the two best available free agents to play those positions in 2015. That sounds consistent with Henry's statements. They now have exactly five players under contract after the 2015 season: the two aforementioned plus Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz (who has a cheap team buyout clause) and Allen Craig (who almost certainly will be traded before then).

So yes, The CHB is being completely disingenuous in his criticism. What else is new?

Oh and then there's this: "Maybe this is what happens when radio studios are populated by fan-boy 'comedians' and 'professional' announcers suck up to local team ownerships in a quest for employment." Fan boy watch! It's always a pleasure knowing how much this site gets under his pale skin.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Day

This is not to diss Peter Capodilupo, the retiring varsity football coach for Newton North High School. But what's interesting is that The CHB today chose to fete a guy who had a career losing record instead of someone who, you know, actually accomplished something.

But wait! Per Shank, "It was never about winning state championships or creating a Bay State League dynasty. For Coach Cappy, it was about sculpting young souls, leaving a mark, and preparing them for life after high school, life after football."

OK fine. Then what about the coaches at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, where softball players practice while gunfire fills the air? Think they prepare their charges for a life after high school?

Heck, they're probably just happy to live through high school.

And while Coach Cappy plied his trade at a $197 million taxpayer-financed campus, other local athletes play on carcinogenic fields or without proper equipment. The rate of participation in sports at Boston public high schools is less than 30%, less than half that of the statewide total.

It's great Newton North had someone like Capodilupo. (No word on whether Shank's kid, a Newton North alum, played for him.) What's not great is that The CHB used Thanksgiving as an opportunity to celebrate someone who had all the breaks, rather than use the occasion to take notice of others whom, like the Pilgrims, faced down adversity daily as part of their hardscrabble yet mundane lives.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Money Can't Buy Memories

Quick: Who remembers what The CHB said when the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford?

"Carl Crawford brings new dimensions" and "He is a superior athlete ... And Sox fans are going to like his defense.

And remember what he said when the Sox signed Adrian Gonzalez?  "[Gonzalez] could be the answer to Mark Teixeira, and "Suddenly, the Red Sox are back.

Here's what else he wrote:
  • "It’s a glut of talent, success, and celebrity, and no American city has seen anything like it."
  • "Now they have new weapons, guys in the primes of their career, playing first base and left field deep into this new decade. Christmas at Fenway. Indeed."

Now let's look at the false equivalency he lays out today: "When you have won a playoff game in only one of your last six seasons, it’s time to throw cash at the problem, even if it means blowing up your blueprint."

They won a goddamn World Series, dumbass! Yet there's Shank, acting like the Sox are the New England version of the Pirates, a bunch of penny-pinchers who are just glad to be here.

Keep in mind that the Red Sox spent  $312 million on player salaries in 2013-14, good for fourth in all of baseball. The Yankees -- the team The CHB thinks the Sox should emulate -- spent $432 million -- and didn't make the playoffs. The Phillies spent $345 million -- and didn't make the playoffs. And the Dodgers spent $451 million; they made the playoffs both years but never even got to the World Series.

Also keep this in mind when Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval get old or hurt or go hitless for a few games next year. Need we remind you what The CHB said about Gonzalez and Crawford when things went south for them?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Just Spend, Baby

The Boston Red Sox have made a few acquisitions in recent days, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and outfielder Hanley Ramirez. Shank weighed in on yesterday's Gresh & Zolak show.
“This isn’t quite Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, but I’m applauding this,” Shaughnessy said Monday. “They have a surplus of outfielders, a surplus of right-handed bats and now they can trade some of that to get starting pitching.”

After winning the 2013 World Series and then resting on their laurels with minimum impact signings, Shaughnessy is glad they’re finally spending money again.

“At least what they have demonstrated is they’re willing to spend some dough. There was a lot of money off the books last year, and now they’re putting money back into the payroll. I applaud that. Some of these contracts may not look so good four, five years from now when you see what these guys look like, but I won’t care.
And if anyone believes that last bit, just wait until the first three or four game losing streak. At that point, one or both of these guys will join that long, long line of Boston Red Sox players like the aforementioned Carl Crawford who have made the Shaughnessy Shit List TM.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Super Dull

With the line "See you in Glendale (the site of the Super Bowl) Feb. 1," The CHB has officially jumped on the Patriots bandwagon.

Yet all we need to remember is the piece Shank wrote back in January -- headlined "Championship Days are All Over for the Patriots" -- where he predicted:

They are not good enough to win championships. When you have a roster of smurf wideouts, young defenders, undrafted free agents, and guys cut loose by other teams, eventually you come up against somebody with better players, somebody who is not going to wet his pants at the sight of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It happens every year. 
[W]hen they get to the end of next season, they will not have won a Super Bowl for 10 years.


So today's lesson, following seven straight W's, is "Can we start the playoffs now? The 2014 Patriots have taken the regular-season test and they have passed."

Remind me: Was it only mid September when The CHB called the Patriots' offense "a raft of low-grade receivers?" (Yes.)

Is "smurf wideout" Julian Eddleman still the team's leading receiver? (Yes.)

Is the defense suiting up five rookies, with only two members of the secondary over the age of 25? (Yes.)

Did "guy cut loose by other teams" LeGarrette Blount run for 78 yards and two touchdowns yesterday, just one week after "guy cut loose by other teams" and "undrafted free agent" Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four TDs? (Yes.)

Does The CHB wonder why Bill Belichick (correctly) looks down on sportswriters? (He should.)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Game

Shank took in the Harvard - Yale football game yesterday. In an otherwise decent column, Shank mounts his Shetland pony high horse a couple of times.
It’s not as pure as it was when players hailed from New England, wore leather helmets, and folks in raccoon coats exhorted them to “fight fiercely,” and “demonstrate your skill.’’ These are no longer the days of Ted Kennedy catching a touchdown pass and George W. Bush carrying a megaphone. But Harvard-Yale is still a nice break from the hideous big-time money machine that masquerades as college athletics, blighting and corrupting our sports landscape.

When you’re talking Harvard-Yale football (as opposed to Florida State football or Kentucky basketball, for example), most of the cash lives in the stands rather than in the closets and kitchens of the “student-athletes.”
Typical of a number of his columns, Shank gets one major fact wrong, further proof that he lacks an editor and the Globe just doesn't care about it:
That was no problem for Harvard senior quarterback Conner Hempel, who connected with Andrew Fischer on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds left on the clock.

“Honestly, this game makes my career,’’ said Hempel.

That’s the way it is for just about every player in The Game. There is no tournament. No BCS. No wait for the polls. There is no NFL on the horizon. There is no proverbial “next level.’’
Forget about the fact that he mentioned Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard's most notable NFL player in recent memory, earlier in his column. When his name is mentioned on ESPN, Chris Berman falls all over himself to remind viewers of his alma mater. This Google search took approximately thirty seconds, and this one took about ten more seconds. Fifty-four is a larger number than zero, is it not? Why let facts get in the way of a melodramatic end to a column?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forget Me Not

So Jon Lester is the antidote, the savior, the solution. Just spend whatever it takes to get him, and that's the panacea the Red Sox are seeking.

Don't get me wrong: What's not to love about Lester? He's been a big part of two World Series wins, and he's held up under severe scrutiny during and after the "chicken and beer" controversy.

But he'll be 31 when the season starts next April, he has a lot of mileage on him, and he's going to be very, very expensive. All of which are trivialities The CHB mocks, per usual, pointing to John Henry's comments from last spring about what empirically constitutes a good or bad baseball deal, and emphatically arguing "hopefully [that] philosophy is out the window."

How painful it must be for The CHB to continue to be proved wrong. Three World Series titles in 10 years ... doesn't that make Henry and Co. perhaps just a little smarter than your average baseball guy? Not one iota, according to His Shankess. The 2013 World Series win was a "fluke," he says, as if it's possible to win 97 regular season games (tied for the best record in baseball) and then go 11-5 in sweeping three playoff series on luck alone.

Outbidding the world on Lester comes down to "being competitive in the marketplace," argues The CHB, again forgetting those three trophies. (Since he is so clearly suffering from dementia, I've posted a photo below to help jog his memory.)

Should Red Sox management go long and deep on Lester when there's actually a better, younger pitcher available on the free agent market? Readers will never know, since Shank doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Max Scherzer.

And yes, The CHB appears to have forgotten his own questioning of Lester's integrity back in February.

I don't know what's ahead for the Red Sox, but I see a dementia screen in Shank's future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dan Shaughnessy Orgasm Watch

OK, maybe you can do without that visual, but look at whom the Boston Red Sox just made some offers:
Free agents Jon Lester and Pablo Sandoval have been offered multiyear deals to play for the Red Sox, according to a major league source.

Lester, who met with Red Sox owners last week in Atlanta, is believed to be looking for a six- or seven-year deal in the range of $23 million-$25 million per year.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox offered him between $110 million and $120 million over six years, which would average $18.3 million-$20 million a year.

Lester also visited with the Cubs, who along with the Red Sox were expected to be the most aggressive in their pursuit, and the lefthander will meet with the Braves Thursday. He also could make trips to Toronto and St. Louis. It’s not clear where the Yankees stand in all of this, but they, too, could enter the Lester market.

Sandoval is seeking six years for up to $20 million per year, and the Red Sox and Giants appear to be the front-runners for the third baseman’s services. Details of the Red Sox’ offer to him were unknown.
Shank had a major hard-on for 'The Panda' a month ago; let's see what he says a) if he's signed by the Sox and b) if he's signed, what Shank will say about Sandoval with his first serious batting slump, despite his insincere "promise never to rip Sandoval for being out of shape or going on the disabled list."

An Early Christmas Present From DSW To Shank

The next time you want to rip a local professional athlete, here's how you do it.

You're welcome, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ryan in the Sun

Here's the title and deck from The CHB's column today: "For Suns GM Ryan McDonough, sports is in his blood" / "The son of sportswriting legend Will McDonough is making a name for himself in the NBA."

Before I click on the link, I'm going to guess what Shank writes. Then let's see how close I came.

1. Retelling of Will McDonough's toughness, including the time Willie punched out  Patriots defensive back Raymond Clayborn, an event that spoke more to how weak the Pats were at the time than it did about McDonough's right fist.
2. Reference to Ryan's brothers Terry and Sean, the latter once a voice of the Red Sox.
3. Mention of Sean calling the 2011 Red Sox-Orioles game which sealed the fate of Terry Francona and countless other "beer and chicken" players.
4. Recounting of history between Suns and Celtics, including name players (Paul Westphal, Dennis Johnson and of course Danny Ainge) who suited up for both teams.
5. Mention of the incredible 3-OT Game 5 between the C's and the Suns in the 1975 NBA Finals.
6. Mention of Ryan's runnerup finish for the NBA Executive of the Year Award.

Here we go!

1. "He studied sports at the right hand of his dad — the toughest, most street-smart and knowledgeable sports reporter of all-time." Point!
2. "I wasn’t nearly as good as Sean [Ryan’s brother is ESPN’s Sean McDonough], but I missed the competition. I wanted to have something to do with winning and losing.’’ 1/2 point!
3. Swing and a miss. 0 points.
4. No game mentions, but Danny Ainge is all over the piece. 1/2 point!
5. No mention. 0 points.
6. It's there. 1 point

Well, three out of six. And the rest of the piece is a montage of Ryan's youth and early days with the Celtics. Utterly predictable.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Let The Debate Begin

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers won a squeaker over the Boston Celtics last night. Shank naturally focuses his column on the man who gave us 'The Decision':
He looks older now. He really does. We’re not talking Morgan Freeman or Danny Glover in “Lethal Weapon 10,” but LeBron James will be 30 years old next month and he’s got a few lines on his face these days.

LeBron made his first trip back to the Garden as a Cleveland Cavalier Friday night and scored 41 points as the Cavs overcame an 18-point, fourth-quarter deficit and beat the Celtics, 122-121, in a wildy entertaining game that ended with Rajon Rondo dribbling out the clock as time expired.
So, LeBron's a good player. Thanks for sharing!
We live in an age of instant analysis and GOAT (greatest of all time). There is a rush to anoint the latest as the best and there’s been a premature push to position LeBron as the best basketball player of all time.
So, where does Shank come down on that question?
GOAT? We’ll look at LeBron again when he’s got some gray hair and a few more lines on his face.
Way to go out on a limb there....

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

It's not often we say it around here, but here's some good advice from Shank (except for the part about getting a copy of the Globe):
No sports Tuesday. No games in Boston. Power down your computers and cellphones, find an actual newsprint copy of the Globe, turn to the obituary page, and look for the little flags that accompany some of those obits. Those are the men and women who served our nation so that we would have our freedom to watch ballgames and do everything else we do. Read some of their stories. The Department of Veterans Affairs calculates that we are losing more than 550 World War II veterans every day.

We lost Ted Williams (World War II and Korea) in 2002. Warren Spahn, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge before coming back to record the bulk of his 363 victories, passed in 2003. The great Bob Feller, who served aboard the USS Alabama in the North Atlantic and South Pacific, died in 2010. Johnny Pesky, a World War II vet, died at the age of 92 in 2012. Yogi Berra, a gunner’s mate on a rocket-launch craft during the D-Day invasion, is 89 years old.
Normally, this site would rip Shank for making himself part of the story. Today is not that day.
My dad, who died in 1979 at the age of 64, never played Major League Baseball, but he was part of that Greatest Generation and I think of him at this time because he was born on Nov. 11 before it was Veterans Day.

One hundred years ago Tuesday.

William J. Shaughnessy was the oldest of five children in a family that lived on Kirkland Street in Cambridge. My dad played some baseball, hockey, and football at BC High, but wasn’t any kind of sports star. At Boston College he dabbled in track and occasionally rowed, but I had trouble finding him in team photos from the dusty yearbooks. He graduated from BC in 1936, class treasurer in a class that included Thomas Philip “Tip” O’Neill.
Read the whole thing. Seriously.

Saturday, November 08, 2014


With the Patriots in their bye week, and thus not having an opportunity to second guess or goof on coach Bill Belichick, Shank makes his occasional half-assed effort to justify his salary in the form of the Picked Up Pieces column.

But hey, why let that inconvenient fact stop His Shankness from taking a crap on current Public Enemy Number One, Patriots owner Robert Kraft? It doesn't take a lot of imagination to translate the following sentence, does it?
Don’t you love how Bob Kraft saved his midlife transformation for his 70s?
Class act all the way, Shank!
Has there ever been a sports pinata like Alex Rodriguez?
Does that include the two or three dozen athletes he ran out of town during his career? Just curious...
This from Bill Parcells’s just-released authorized biography: “Kraft’s sons, who worked as Patriots executives, despised Parcells, convinced that he was trying to make their father look foolish. The owner’s family and inner circle occasionally used a demeaning nickname among themselves when referring to Parcells: ‘Fatty.’ ’’
Expect Shank to reveal more of this from Parcells' book, if there are any more anecdotes like this one.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Ball Dropped

Apologies, as professional obligations prevented me from commenting on Shank's latest foot stomping until now.

The again, it doesn't matter much. His complaint from yesterday's column reads like your standard whining from the leftist Globe weenies - Entity X is bad because it derives money from a product we don't approve of. Which is rich, coming from a columnist getting somewhere between $80K and $100K in income every year to write two or three columns of questionable quality every week.

I'll grant his point about the long-term effects of concussions on football players, but let's ask this question - why is this issue now coming to light in the press in recent years when that specific phenomenon may have been known for decades, and these reporters and columnists probably / likely knew about it and chose to look the other way? Long term injuries from football, like former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Dan Hampton's ten (maybe twenty) knee surgeries, are fairly well documented. Should we be led to believe that the media simply didn't know about concussions until recently? Much like the steroid era in baseball, can we conclude that sports reporters and columnists were aware of the situation and chose not to report on it until other forces compelled them to do so?

If columnists like Shank want to pretend that they didn't know about these situations and now use them as cudgels against certain professional sports organizations, what weight should we give to their opinions now? I say little, if any.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Making A Statement

The New England Patriots rolled against the Denver Broncos yesterday, 43-21 at Gillette Stadium. Unable to take shots at head coach Bill Belichick or the Kraft family, Shank devotes a column to the game instead.
FOXBOROUGH — Now everything changes.

Before Sunday, the Patriots were suspect. Sure, they were 6-2, resting in their comfy spot atop the suddenly competitive Warhol, but we were waiting for a victory that would make them legit. Crushing the mail-it-in-Bears at Gillette Stadium did not do the trick. Ditto for a win over the ever-ordinary Bills in Orchard Park. Beating the Bengals seemed like a big deal at the time, but that was before Marvin Lewis and his players again demonstrated their limitations.

And so we gathered at the Razor on a blustery Sunday in November and wondered if this would be the day the Patriots would make a statement.

And they did.

New England 43, Denver 21. It was Tom Brady over Peyton Manning, Julian Edelman over Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski over T.J. Ward . . . and Bill Belichick over Grady Fox . . . and Harvey Leonard.
Because a column by Shank just isn't complete without a reference to the Boston Red Sox!
It’s hard to believe now that as recently as Sept. 29 we had Trent Dilfer declaring that the Patriots are “not good anymore,’’ and there was some local conversation about maybe trading Brady, who appeared to be in “serious decline.’’ We groused about New England’s swiss cheesy offensive line and the arrogant trading of Logan Mankins.
And who does grousing better then Shank?

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Door Number Two Taken

Let the record state that the vast majority of this Brady / Manning column are repeated themes, and then some, from the six columns mentioned & linked to one post below, or seven columns if you include the substantially duplicate column for SI on November 22, 2010.
Boxer Jake LaMotta, now 93, likes to tell folks, “I fought Sugar Ray Robinson so many times, it’s a wonder I don’t have diabetes.’’

Sunday afternoon in Foxborough we’ll throw the curtain back for Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady — the NFL’s “1812 Overture” — for the 16th time since Brady became New England’s starting quarterback in 2001.

It’s a wonder Brady doesn’t wake up at night shouting “Omaha!’’ Maybe Manning will arrive at Gillette Stadium wearing UGG boots.
These three paragraphs appear to be the only original ones in the entire column, except for that cutesy '1812 Overture' phrase that he lifted from someone else, natch. And he has the nerve to go around calling other people frauds?

At least he's not stupid enough to outright copy & paste half the column, is he?

Saturday, November 01, 2014

I Figure The Odds Be Fifty-Fifty

Don't you think Shank owes his massive and long-standing readership base a hot take on tomorrow's Patriots / Broncos game? Will he serve up a bland team matchup / revenge factor column?

Or - will he think outside of the box and compare & contrast the two Hall of Fame quarterbacks like he did with this column, or this column, or this column (which, in an amazing coincidence, has enough common elements with this column he did for the very next day that SI finally got rid of him for serial column reuse & abuse), or this column, or this column, or this column? Time will tell!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Deadly Prose

Former Boston mayor Tom Menino has died, may he rest in piece.

So The CHB eulogizes him by contorting the late mayor's 20-year run into one of the most random factoids imaginable:

"What mattered (about Menino) was the fact that he was the proud mayor of the City of Boston and he presided at a time when our town did something no town has ever done: win championships in all four major sports in a period of six years and four months."

Just. Plain. Weird.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

He Apparently Found the Daisy's of KC

The CHB shows off his knee-jerk reactionism in today's column, yet another that pretends to be on the World Series but is really just a series of shots at the Red Sox.

Let's begin!

  • "Having watched the Giants in October of 2014, does Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington still think a team can win a World Series without an ace?"

  • This suggests Cherington said something along those lines, which he didn't. What Shank is referring to is the Red Sox' trade of Jon Lester last July. What Shank ignores is that 1) the Red Sox were going nowhere and 2) Lester is a free-agent to be and was set to walk.

    What Shank could have noted is that 1) the Royals are one game away from winning the WS without an ace and 2) if the Giants win, it will extend a streak whereby the WS winner was the team with the home runs during the regular season -- a place the Red Sox are much better position for with Yoenis Cespides (the player received in exchange for Lester) than without. But that ruins Shank's argument.

    • Who should the Red Sox sign: James Shields or Pablo Sandoval? Probably not Shields, based on the Series performance.

    Yes, Shields has shit the bed in the post-season. And yes, Sandoval is hitting up a storm (.360 through Game 6). So naturally we should make $100 million decisions based on a handful of games, right? Guess who is hitting just 10 points less than Panda? The immortal Brandon Crawford. Perhaps we can make it a package deal.

    • Did you know that Back Bay watering hole Daisy Buchanan's is closing? 

    Where is The CHB going to get his pre- and post-game drink on now? My guess is he's not allowed in Sonsie.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Today's Secret Ingredient Is - Free Food!

    Alternate title - Comic Relief!

    Some of you may know that the 'Top Chef' show has been in the Boston area in recent months. At some point, they held court at Fenway Park, where one of the judges is none other than Our Man Shank!

    If it's free, it's for me!
    The e-mail arrived in my in-box in the middle of May. A fellow named Chris wanted to know if I could join the “Top Chef” judges for a lunchtime taping at Fenway Park over the weekend. They already had booked Dennis Eckersley and they were looking for another person familiar with Boston baseball.

    I can do that, I figured.

    I know all about Fenway.

    I know how to eat.
    That's what we hear, Mr. One Mile Run...
    I checked with my 28-year-old daughter Kate, a high school English teacher who is something of a reality TV buff. A couple of weeks earlier, Kate had mentioned that “Top Chef” might be shooting its upcoming season in Boston. This seemed to be a very big deal to her. When I casually mentioned the invitation, my smart, mature daughter reacted as if I’d been asked to join the Rolling Stones on stage at their next concert.
    Ahhh, still dating ourselves, are we?
    “Are you kidding me?’’ asked Kate. “You have to do that! That’s the coolest thing ever! Tell them ‘yes’ and then find out who is going to be there!’’

    OK. I called Chris and told him I could tape the show. I asked him who was going to be at the table with Eck and me and he started rattling off names. Padma. Tom. Hugh. Ming. Blais. The names meant nothing to me, but when I relayed them to Kate it had the effect of someone telling me they were going to sing with Mick, Keith, John, Paul, and Janis. Clearly, these “Top Chef” judges are the rock stars of food tasting.
    Except these 'rock stars' aren't dead or collecting Social Security cheques.
    On Sunday, May 25, Kate and her husband accompanied me to the show’s taping at Fenway.

    “Top Chef” is top secret. Show representatives repeatedly reminded us that we couldn’t talk about anything until the episode aired (Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. on Bravo). There was to be no tweeting, no Facebooking, and no casual conversation of this day. We had to sign a confidentiality agreement; any breach would put us at risk of paying a Dr. Evil-esque penalty of “ONE MILLION DOLLARS.’’
    Forget the million bucks; missing out on free food would probably make Shank wire his own mouth shut.

    We met the big shot judges and they were all very nice. Tom is from New Jersey and knows a lot about sports. Hugh is a Montreal Canadiens fan and wanted to know where he could safely watch a Habs playoff game on TV in Boston. (nowhere! - ed.) I recommended Post 390, because it has great food and it was near his hotel. Padma was tall and friendly. She had a lot of questions about sports and said she’d been asked on dates by a couple of the New York Yankees.

    “Jeter? A-Rod?’’ I wondered.

    She wouldn’t say.
    Of course it's Jeter! Come on, will ya?
    It didn’t matter to me. Even if Padma dished about the famous Yankees, I couldn’t write about it because of . . . ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

    Just before noon, we started our taping in the third base dugout. We paraded up the steps and strode toward our elegant table on the warning track, directly in front of the Green Monster. We had assigned seats — mine was across from Tom and next to Padma. Color me happy. A little nervous with the cameras rolling, I neglected to pull out Padma’s chair when we seated ourselves.
    Such an inconsiderate cad. No Padma date for you!

    Now here's the really funny part:
    Then came the parade of chefs from the visitors dugout. Three at a time. Carrying all forms of meatballs, peanut sauces, ribs, duck, and pork bellies. They all seemed pretty nervous.

    Tom, Hugh, Ming, Blais, and Padma were pretty rough on the contestants.

    Not me.

    I couldn’t bring myself to insult the anxious young chefs. Call me crazy, but ripping professional ballplayers comes easily compared with this. Who accepts a dinner invitation, then insults the host or hostess?
    Because they're professional food assholes. Shank's a professional sports asshole. That's the difference.

    Tune into Bravo tomorrow night at 10:00, everybody!

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    His Brain's Still In Boston

    Shank finally gets around to writing about a baseball game while on his mini-vacation assignment to cover the World Series in San Francisco. In an otherwise respectable column, Shank's occasional foray into snotty, elitist Boston provincialism raises its head again:
    SAN FRANCISCO — Which Bay Area bard will compose “The Ballad of Madison Bumgarner’’ when this World Series is over?

    Is this big lefty from Hudson, N.C., (population, 2,800) really only 25 years old? Did he really give his high school sweetheart a 5-day-old bull calf as a wedding present when they were married on Valentine’s Day in 2010? Where does he rank on the list of best postseason pitchers in the history of baseball?
    Probably right down there with his neighbors:
    Bumgarner is from the land of the goobers.
    Stay classy, Shank!

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    Leaving His Heart In San Francisco

    Only a columnist of Shank's legendary miserableness and negativity can travel to San Francisco, ostensibly to cover the World Series, and use the trip to take a shit on Fenway Park.
    SAN FRANCISCO — The World Series said goodbye to this baseball palace Sunday night. The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals will resume their nifty joust Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.


    But I am here to tell you that AT&T Park might be the perfect baseball stadium. Most of you have a soft spot in your hearts for the old bandbox near Kenmore Square, but if you have made the trip west to watch the Giants at home you know that what I’m telling you is true: AT&T Park is a better ballpark than Fenway Park.

    Let us count the ways:
    I see the logic of a newly built stadium that cost $357 million having better amenities than a stadium that's well over a century old, but does anyone seriously believe that this column isn't written as the thousandth shot from Shank at the Red Sox organization? That, coupled with the fact that he hasn't written a single column about the World Series games themselves while he's been in San Francisco, basically proves the point.

    Turned Off by World Series Column Errors

    So watching TV has changed since 1962, eh? Who knew?

    Because that's the essence of The CHB's column today. Perhaps the World Series isn't what it used to be (according to today's headline), but in truth, this piece is not so much about baseball as it is watching it on the tube.

    The problem with Shank's column is that, while he runs down a litany of reasons why today's product isn't as good as yesteryear's, he lists the wrong reasons.

    To wit, he cites bottomed-out interest because there are no college scholarships for baseball players: "The game has also lost most of its appeal in America’s inner cities owed to fallout from NCAA scholarship regulations — baseball is a non-revenue college sport that provides few scholarships — as much as anything." Well, as we've noted here before, we are sure it would come as a surprise to a non-athlete like Shank to learn that DI and DII baseball offers a grand total of one less scholarship per team than does basketball, which, we hear, is thriving in urban areas. Moreover, JCs, where a tremendous number of baseball players end up, can offer nine more free rides than their basketball brethren.

    Scholarship Stats puts the chances of a high school baseball player competing in college at 11.2%, nearly twice the likelihood a hoops player will make the grade.

    So much for research.

    Shank also compares baseball to well-worn (or worn out) symbols such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Peanuts," relying as always on vapid cliches like "your father's Oldsmobile" (block that metaphor!).

    He complains that the average age of a baseball viewer is nearly 55, but fails to note that the start time of games (8:07 pm Eastern) means that, for one-third of the country, an entire generation of potential new fans is going to bed as the first pitch is being thrown. You can't watch what you can't watch.

    It's not baseball that is obsolete, it's over-the-hill mediocrities like Dan Shaughnessy.

    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    Sandoval Signing Will Beget Major Hissy Fits

    Funny the headline over The CHB today uses the word "fit" to describe the hypothetical match between the Red Sox and current Giants 3B Pable Sandoval.

    Funnier still, The CHB's proclamations and assertions that he "promise(s)" never to rip Sandoval for being out of shape or going on the disabled list."

    This is the guy who mocked Dustin Pedroia (future MVP and Rookie of the Year) for being small and no good, David Ortiz (two time playoff MVP and six time Silver Slugger winner) for being fat and no good, Pedro Martinez for being sensitive and injured (3 Cy Youngs; future Hall of Famer), Roger Clemens for being fat and good (7 Cy Youngs), and Curt Schilling (3 Cy Young runner-ups) for being injured and talking too much?

    And those guys are total studs. So do we really think Shank is going to sheath the daggers for a middle of the pack infielder who is already on the wrong side of 27 and has had three straight years of diminishing performance?

    "Promises" are made to be broken.

    Friday, October 24, 2014

    And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - XXIII

    This author hasn't taken a crap on Dan's employer in well over a year, more or less coinciding with John Henry's purchase of all that fine Morrissey Boulevard real estate the Boston Globe newspaper company. If this report is any indication, the migration to online sales and the related advertising revenue won't be enough to save that sinking ship (or any other newspaper, for that matter).

    That, and it's pretty straightforward to defeat the Globe's paywall, so they're getting skinned to a degree in their online subscriptions to boot. So where's the revenue going to come from again?
    "...putting newspapers online has not remotely restored their profitability..."

    "Now, however, in the first years of the 21st century, accelerating technological transformation has undermined the business models that kept American news media afloat, raising the possibility that the great institutions on which we have depended for news of the world around us may not survive."
    Depends on how you define 'news', doesn't it?

    (link via Zero Hedge)

    Better Late Than Never

    It may or may not be news to you that the World Series hasn't been terribly popular TV viewing this year, although the numbers for Game 2 showed some improvement. This general apathy may or may not explain Shank's own absence in covering the World Series.

    But find a Red Sox angle to tonight's Game 3? Shank's on it!
    SAN FRANCISCO — Remember Tim Hudson, Red Sox fans?

    Hudson was part of a dominant pitching staff that Billy Beane assembled in Oakland in the early part of this century. Hudson averaged 17 wins per season with the A’s from 2000-03.

    In the first game of the 2003 American League Division Series, Hudson won a duel with Pedro Martinez in Oakland. The A’s took a 2-0 series lead and were perched to eliminate the Cowboy Up Red Sox in swift fashion.

    When the Series shifted to Boston, Hudson was involved in an altercation at a bar near Faneuil Hall. Two days later, he was Ken Macha’s starting pitching for Game 4 at Fenway and was lifted after one inning because of a muscle strain in his left side. At that time, it was the shortest outing of Hudson’s career. The Red Sox won, 5-4, and a day later, the Sox went to Oakland and won the Series in five games. It was one of four consecutive Game 5 eliminations for the Moneyball A’s.
    Now that Shank's in San Francisco for the next three games, we can look forward to a few more baseball columns, that is, if 'look forward' is the right choice of words...

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Shank On The World Series

    After writing a few columns during the past fortnight about the American and National League championship series', Shank sits down, analyzes the strengths & weaknesses of both the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, offers a few opinions, and puts all of that into a thoughtful, concise and timely column.

    Almost had you there for a second!

    Seriously, if Shank can be bothered to churn out a few columns during the championship series of both leagues, why not do a column before the series starts? If he can do the trite 'compare & contrast' type of columns like this one, why not do a similar / some sort of column on those two teams before the World Series starts? Is he on vacation? Is that too much work? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    Once In A Blue Moon

    Today, Shank tries his hand at comedy:
    Man, it’s getting angry out there in the unsocial media world. A fellow tries to write a few opinions about sports and next thing you know you’re a good-for-nothing, over-the-hill troll who’s trying to agitate faithful fans. Lately I’ve had to don a hazmat suit before booting up my laptop.
    Surely you jest! For starters, I stopped buying the Boston Globe in 1995 because of this guy. This site was established nearly a decade ago. Go read any of the comments section on his columns. For Shank to pretend that this a recent phenomenon is complete bullshit.

    Speaking of bullshit...
    Not today, gentle readers. On this leisurely October weekend I am going to give you nothing but positivity. No sarcasm. No cynicism. No cheap shots mixed in with the bon mots. Promise. It’ll be fun. Let’s see if we can get through 1,000 words in which everything really is awesome.

    The Patriots are in first place. Folks need to stop complaining and telling us what is wrong with our local football team.
    Except for when it's time to pile on!

    How many teeth did Shank grind to dust writing this mini-paragraph?
    We should all grow up to be as powerful, stylish, and charitable as Robert Kraft. And we all secretly wish we had the brains of Jonathan Kraft.
    All you need to know about how amusing this column is can be found in the next paragraph:
    The Red Sox have an excellent chance to get right back into the race in the American League East next season. The East is weak and the Sox have a lot of money off the books, and we’re pretty sure general manager Ben Cherington will go get a couple of established starters this offseason. While Cherington is at work, he should take a long look at robust Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. The Kung Fu Panda is a free agent and would look good at the hot corner at Fenway next year.
    He'll be bitching about the 2015 Red Sox as soon as they hit their first three game losing streak, if not sooner.
    The Celtics have that lean and hungry look and a terrific coach in Brad Stevens. They’re going to surprise a lot of folks this season.
    Shank will be surprised in about a month - 'Boy, this Celtics team really sucks this year! I didn't think they were going to be this bad!'

    How long until Shank reverts to form? Yes, that's a rhetorical question...

    Bust(er) A Move

    Shank wrote a column on Friday on San Francisco's best player, catcher Buster Posney. Two things interfered with a timely response, primarily work and, perhaps more importantly, these recent baseball columns are so damn boring and tedious. Let's hope the anticipated World Series columns breaks away from that trend.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    In Defense of Small Ball

    It's baseball Armageddon!

    Let us count the ways:

    1. Barry Bonds threw out the first pitch at an NLCS game.
    2. At least one small market team will be in the World Series.
    3. Neither the Red Sox nor Yankees will be in the World Series.
    4. The World Series won't be watched by people who like home runs or big market teams.
    5. Pitching and defense are in vogue.
    6. Major league baseball players can actually, you know, catch the ball!

    Today's utterly meandering column, which begins in San Francisco with Barry Bonds and ends with somewhere outside Cleveland with Indians manager Terry Francona pondering the Kansas City Royals, begs the question as to whether The CHB realizes that several years ago, Mr. Moneyball Billy Beane started investing in defense, seeing that as the undervalued asset, and that since 2012 no team has converted a ball in play into an out more often than Oakland, and the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox were built on -- you guessed it -- pitching and defense.

    No, he doesn't realize it, because he spends half the piece quoting Terry Francona on how great Kansas City's defense is, while never pointing out that KC finished just 12th overall in defense efficiency.

    Guess Shank won't be watching, either.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    Oh, That Shank

    Our Man Shank is in San Francisco to cover the National League Championship Series and has fallen for another team.
    SAN FRANCISCO — Oh, those Giants.

    I mean, they are really not that good, right? They don’t have a lot of star players, they go long stretches without any kind of offense, and every other year they out-and-out stink.

    But this is one of their “on” years, and the Giants did it again Tuesday, beating the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, in the bottom of the 10th on a walkoff sacrifice bunt/throwing error. The crushing “blow” came after a walk and a hard-fought single by the Giants’ eighth and ninth hitters.

    San Francisco leads the National League Championship Series, two games to one, heading into Wednesday night’s game at AT&T Park, the best ballpark in America.
    How could you desert us Red Sox Nation fans after all these years?

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    World Series Remembrance Falls Apart at Seams

    Only The CHB could take an event as dramatic as an earthquake which interrupts the World Series just before the start of a crucial game and leaves more than 60 people dead in the San Francisco Bay area and turn it into something completely trite.

    Which he does today.

    Writing on the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, Shank manages to reduce both the elegance of the World Series and the solemnity of a wide-scale tragedy into a pronounced heap of metaphorical slop, thanks to such phrases as "unforgiving riptide," "angry earth," and "the upper deck was ...  frozen in time." (Not to mention his self-characterization of trying to get his work done before being escorted from Candlestick Park: he "typed feverishly." Ugh.) He simultaneously manages to depersonalize the significant while inflating his own role in the proceedings, describing how he sneaked back to the press room to grab his jacket.

    Let's hope The CHB spends the next 25 years learning to compose better prose. And growing a heart.

    Sunday, October 12, 2014


    A day after telling Red Sox Nation they should be rooting for the Baltimore Orioles, Shank notices what's actually happening on the field.
    BALTIMORE — They are the hardball heroes of the Heartland, anonymous to sports fans everywhere else in America. They are Nielsen-killers, lacking both star power and home run power. And at this moment they are a star-kissed juggernaut, threatening to literally run away with the American League pennant and maybe even the World Series.

    Meet the Kansas City Royals, the mystery guests and (thus far) dominators of the 2014 Major League Baseball tournament.
    This column feels like a mailed-in one - cheap alliteration, a Springsteen reference, and a Cheers reference. That's original...

    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    Overused Formula

    Now that the baseball playoffs have entered the league championship stage, Shank takes a break from pretending he likes the Boston Bruins to tell you why you, the Boston Red Sox fan, should be rooting for the Baltimore Orioles.

    Say what?
    BALTIMORE — You are a citizen of Red Sox Nation, still basking in the glow of last year’s unexpected October magic, but you are having a little trouble getting into an ALCS with no Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, or Tigers.

    This year it’s the Orioles and the Royals — pennant-starved franchises that have lost more games in this century than any other American League teams. The emerging stars of this ALCS are guys named Eric Hosmer and Zach Britton, and the key players could be the long relievers. Not very sexy. You might even have trouble finding the games on your cable system.

    Take heart, Sox fans. The Orioles are your hardball cousins, and I am here to tell you why it matters that Baltimore is back in baseball’s Final Four Showcase. You’d do well to adopt the Orioles for the next three weeks. The “modern day” Orioles joined the American League 60 years ago and have played an enormous role in Red Sox history over the last seven decades.
    As Mike noted from the Sunday column, Shank has a formula that's lazy and trite - throw out a bunch of names and take it from there. In this case, mention how they're connected to one another and cite the relevant history between the teams (and one of them graduated from Holy Cross!)

    There's just one problem with this column - in the discussion of the 'interaction' of these two franchises, Shank takes great pains to avoid the singular reason it doesn't mean a damn thing - they're rival teams!

    If Shank's now 'rooting for' the Orioles, you know who we're rooting for!

    Thursday, October 09, 2014

    A Sour Spectacle

    Yes, that really was the (alleged) top sports columnist for the Boston Globe referencing the Lego Movie theme song in the lede of his piece today.

    That nod to a ditty so mindlessly craptacular is surprisingly apropos, and about all you need to know about today's hatefest, a patented CHB special that takes shotgun-style aim at the Bruins, Red Sox, sports fans, Celtics and Patriots. Oh, and Hank Finkel too.

    Sample flame: "The embarrassing, ill-prepared 2014 Red Sox were never taken to task this year. Boston fans soaked up NESN happy talk, paid the highest prices in baseball, sang “Sweet Caroline,” and enjoyed watching “the kids” finish in last place. After all, those lovable, cuddly Sox won the World Series in 2013. They won three in 10 years. So there’s no need for accountability anymore."

    All this in a column about Bruins' opening night, mind you.

    Keep in mind The CHB was all praises for the Red Sox in spring training, and his chief complaint about the Patriots and Bruins is that they have been too good for too long.

    Look around, Mr. Historian: No one always wins in the current era of team sports. Three Super Bowls in four years, or three World Series crowns in 10 years, is today's gold standard, and if you can't at least appreciate that, I have some puppies, a bag and a map to the river. Knock yourself out.

    By the way, the Bruins won the game. And never was heard an encouraging word.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2014

    Trying To Have It Both Ways Again

    Dan Shaughnessy, the columnist who vowed not to judge the Patriots until the playoffs, now feigns praise on the team after their beatdown of the Bengals on Sunday night.
    Your New England Patriots completed a rare NFL doubleheader sweep Sunday night on national television.

    Game 1: Patriots 43, Bengals 17.

    Game 2: Patriots 73, Media 0.

    Crafty righthanded veteran Bill Belichick was credited with the win in both games. It was a performance worthy of Iron Man Joe McGinnity, who three times won doubleheaders all by himself in August of 1903.

    The Patriots’ Game 1 victory was impressive. Reeling from a week of discord, rumor, and innuendo in the wake of a nationally televised beatdown at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots thrashed the undefeated Bengals for a full 60 minutes.
    I wonder if there was a Globe columnist involved in that week of discord, rumor and innuendo?

    What's amusing about this piece of work is the fact Shank took a dump on the team last week, but somehow fails to mention, allude to and / or own up to this pertinent fact anywhere in the article:
    But the beatdown of the media was even more impressive. Exploiting the “us against the world” approach, Belichick successfully debunked all the nasty stories about his team, then smirked and pretended he hadn’t heard any of the noise.

    Q: How needed was this win . . .?

    A: I don’t know. It was the next game. It was good to win.

    Q: Was this a satisfying victory given all the criticism and questions that were asked this week about the team?

    A: Criticism from who?

    Q: The media. People in this room. The fans.

    A: With all due respect, I mean really. Look, we have a job to do. We’re focused on doing that job. We’re not going to sit around and listen to what everybody else says . . .

    Perfect. You know that deep down he wants to jab his finger toward his interrogators and say, “You’re damn right I ordered the Code Red!’’ but he’s too smart and he’s always on message and he’s never going to give his critics the satisfaction of knowing that he listens to them.
    And if that wasn't enough, here's Shank putting words into Belichick's mouth:
    And there it was. The game unfolded like so many others over the last 15 years. Full fury in Foxborough. Belichick was master of the universe. Brady was the Brady of 2007. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth gushed about the Patriot Way and how New England overcame so much adversity during the week.

    And then Bill told us how proud he was of his team and refused to admit that this was one of the most satisfying nights of his Hall of Fame career.

    So we have to say it for him. Sunday night in Foxborough was one of the most satisfying nights of Belichick’s career. The Bengals were beaten. The nattering nabobs of negativism were destroyed.
    It's pretty disingenuous for Shank to pretend that Belichick's flipping the bird to the media and not to him first and foremost, isn't it?