Friday, May 30, 2014

The One Where Shank Found His Balls

Shank's doing Shank things again, ripping Red Sox players and the rest of the club:
Red Sox headlines I’d love to see:

Manny finds God, Sox lose minds

Let me see if I have this straight: Manny Ramirez hit like Jimmie Foxx for 7½ seasons in Boston, but it turned out he was cheating with PEDs the whole time. His name appeared on the list of 104 players who tested positive in 2003, and later he was twice suspended for failing drug tests. He’s the only big league star who got caught three times.

Ramirez also regularly ignored the kids from the Jimmy Fund and the soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. He was arrested for hitting his wife. In his final year with the Red Sox, 2008, he assaulted a 65-year-old Sox employee over a ticket request, then quit on the team in midsummer, forcing a trade after staging a sit-down strike.

After quitting on the Sox, he went to Los Angeles and hit .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in the final 53 games of the season. Without Ramirez, the Sox went on to lose the seventh game of the 2008 AL Championship Series to the Tampa Bay Rays.

So what happens? On the night the Sox chose to honor the most important team in their 114-year history, they made Manny the featured character. After legitimate Sox gods Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, and Curt Schilling were asked to step aside — Bloody Sock Schill was making his first public appearance while in the throes of a serious battle with cancer — Manny came out from the Green Monster and had the honor of throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
I wonder if Shank cleared this column with John Henry first?

UPDATE at 1:24 PM - Did Shank and Kirk Minihane co-write this column or something?
First, I'm on the anti-Manny side of this. A serial steroid abuser, a guy who quit on his team, skipping Jimmy Fund after Jimmy Fund event, blowing off Walter Reed, beating up old guys and his own wife -- we all know the greatest hits. He's personified everything that's been wrong with baseball the last 15 years, and the Red Sox decide to give him above-the-title billing for the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2004 World Series champions Wednesday? A stunningly tone-deaf move by the Red Sox, basically endorsing all the many transgressions of Ramirez.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Shank takes a break from bashing and second guessing the local professional sports teams and avoids the grueling commute from Newton to Morrissey Boulevard to profile Newton North's Joe Siciliano:
Tuesday afternoon at the corner of Hull Street and Lowell Avenue in Newton, 67 year-old Joe Siciliano ran baseball practice — just as he has done every May weekday since 1987.

Putting his guys through base-running and relay drills, Siciliano looked as enthusiastic as Pete Carroll on the sideline with the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. The old gray coach was laughing, grimacing, and gesturing nonstop. He was pumped and jacked as his teenage ballplayers went about their business with purpose and pleasure. A boring fundamental drill was somehow worthwhile and fun as the Tigers prepared for Game 1 of the inaugural Super 8 tournament. Top-seeded North (19-1) opens at home Wednesday afternoon against Catholic Memorial.

Joe Siciliano. Everyman. Teacher, coach, groundskeeper, grandfather, baseball lifer, sculptor of young souls. Every town should have one.
Here's the interesting part, at least for me:
[Disclosure: My son played four seasons for Joe Siciliano from 2003-06.]
I met with one of my clients in Newton a few months ago during tax season. I mentioned DSW to him, and he mentioned the fact that he used to coach kids in baseball some years ago. While he didn't mention if he was coaching at Newton North or whether it was Pony League, Babe Ruth or some other organized baseball, he did mention one of the kids by name - Sam Shaughnessy. Nearly every parent gave my client their condolences, thinking Shank was going to be a typically overbearing parent, demanding his kid play center field, or whatever. As it turns out, it was the complete opposite - Shank was cool as a cucumber, nice as pie, didn't yell or scream, etc. A pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Shank devotes a column to 'debunking' some alleged myths about this year's Red Sox team, as some sort of explanation for their recent losing streak, with a serving of Dan's favorite dish:
But the blame pie is large and a few myths need to be exposed.

Myth No. 1: The Sox are losing because of injuries.
Myth No. 2: The 2014 Red Sox don’t need to apologize for this early slump because this is not the same team as last year.
The first two are pure inventions by Shank; I have not seen any other local sports writer or talking head mention either of these two 'myths', hence the strawman angle.
Myth No. 3: The Red Sox have a great farm system.
They do, in fact, but Shank uses the lack of immediate help from Pawtucket as support for this 'myth'. I say that's bogus.
Myth No. 4: The swap with the Dodgers in August of 2012 was the greatest trade in the history of the Red Sox, and the Dodgers were complete fools to make that deal.
So Shank wants the Red Sox not only to be able to unload unfavorable contracts, but also expects a good number of MLB-ready players in return? I don't think it works that way. This is called 'trying to have it both ways'.
Myth No. 5: The Red Sox did not object to Yunel Escobar taking third base with a five-run lead in the eighth Sunday; they were only bothered because Escobar was chirping at the Boston dugout.
This isn't a myth, it's a dispute as to how a baseball 'fight' got started.

Other than that, it was a good column...

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Unwilling to rag on the Red Sox and their nine game losing streak, not having anything recent to use to beat the crap out of the New England Patriots, Shank sets his sights high:
Boston’s Green Team is tangled up in blue.

What a week for the local franchises. The Red Sox kindled memories of the Butch Hobson/Bobby Valentine days. We all know the Bruins should still be skating. It’s still impossible to walk by any television featuring the image of the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Ugh.

So, what happened with the Celtics?

More bad luck. More nothing. And a creeping sensation that the Celtics might be bad and irrelevant for a while.
Shank basically took Wyc Grousbeck's appearance on 'Felger & Mazz' from earlier this week, added his trademark negative spin, throws in a few names of former Celtics players, and repeats the sentiment, widely and numerously mentioned on Boston sports media the past week, that we should trade the pick and do whatever it takes to land Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and throws it all into a column. How lazy is that?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mute Button Is On - II

The Red Sox have now lost seven games in a row, so you'd expect Shank to blow a gasket and pull a nutty on the team, its management as well as ownership, like he used to as recently as a year ago, right?

Maybe the 2014 Red Sox just aren’t very good.

The free-falling Sox (ode to Tom Petty?) were routed at Fenway Park again Thursday and have now lost seven in a row. Ace Jon Lester tried to stop the bleeding in the late-afternoon series finale, but fell behind, 7-1, in the second inning of a 7-2 loss.

That’s three straight to the Blue Jays, after three straight Fenway losses to the Tigers as the Sox were blanked in a homestand of six or more games for the first time since Daddy Butch Hobson was at the wheel in the rotten old days of 1994.
In previous years, Shank would ream everybody in the Red Sox organization, including the grounds crew. This time around? It's pretty much the team's fault for not being very good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mute Button Is On

It's not really a surprise that Shank waited until after Stephen Drew was signed by the Red Sox to offer up a milquetoast take on the Sox' recent performance:
So there. The free-falling Red Sox are not giving up on the season, after all. They are not going to commit consumer fraud by selling “championship-driven” when they are actually giving you a bridge year. They are not going to pretend they are smarter than everybody else, just because things went perfectly last season.

They are not going to be hard-headed. They are willing to admit a mistake.

The Xander Bogaerts-at-short/Will Middlebrooks-at-third experiment was officially dissolved Tuesday when the Red Sox re-signed Stephen Drew as their shortstop for the remainder of the 2014 season.

This is a good move, and I’m not just saying that because John Henry (a.k.a. “greatest person ever”) owns the Boston Globe. (ha, that's a good one! - ed.) It’s a good move because it makes the Sox better for the rest of this season. It’s an indication that — despite the dreadful start to this title defense — the Sox know the American League East is up for grabs and they are still going for it this year.
Compare and contrast this tone to that of one of his columns from two years ago.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nabob Of Negativity Expected

The Boston Red Sox have just been swept in a three game home series by the Detroit Tigers this weekend. Dan Shulman of ESPN mentioned during the game that this is the Red Sox's first four game losing streak since 2012 and the first sweep by Detroit of the Red Sox in a home series since 1983, the year after I got out of high school.

Under normal circumstances, Shank would be at Defcon Fucking 1 with his next Red Sox column, which ought to hit the shelves any moment now, allowing him the opportunity to take a massive steaming shit on the Red Sox's performance so far this year. Since the most recent majority owner of the Red Sox is John Henry, who also just happens to be Shank's employer, the Boston Globe, does anyone out there think Shank will bite the Marcellus Wallace ball gag of criticism with the recent Red Sox's performance?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Speaking Of Tired Acts...

Stop me if you've heard this one before - Shank devotes a good chunk of a 'picked up pieces' column to bash the New England Patriots:
The Patriots and their fans need to retire “The Patriot Way.’’ No more, please. No more television commentators (this means you, Cris Collinsworth) watching a former bad guy rip up some yardage for the Patriots and announcing, “These players have baggage, but when they come here, it all goes away!’’

Convicted felon Nu’Keese Richardson is the latest troubled soul to get a shot with the Patriots. Nothing wrong with that. We are a land of second chances.
In other words: drafting Aaron Hernandez = bad; inviting Nu’Keese Richardson to try out with the Patriots = good. Contradict yourself much?

Later in the column, he describes former Celtic Kevin Garnett thusly:
Kevin Garnett was a no-show on the court and in the locker room after the Nets bowed out against the Heat Wednesday night. Tired act by a tired man.
Written without a hint of irony...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wish Finally Granted

The bad news - the Bruins lost game 7 to the Canadiens, 3-1.

The good news? It's Shank's last hockey column for months and months!

This point cannot be stressed enough: when a local team loses, Shank puts forth far more effort and verbiage into his columns. I think it's equivalent to shoveling more dirt on the grave to make sure the dead guy's good and buried.
OK to melt the ice at the New Garden before Thursday night’s Barry Gibb show. Perhaps the surviving Bee Gee can dedicate “Tragedy” or “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” to the 2013-14 Bruins.

The Bruins dissolved in front of our eyes in Game 7 Wednesday night. They were dominated by the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1.


This one goes into the Boston Professional Sports Hall of Pain, right there with Ken Dryden stuffing the Bruins in 1971 and too many men on the ice in 1979. It goes in there alongside some of the Red Sox collapses of the last century.
And who better to escort the 2013-2014 Bruins to that Hall of Pain than our very own Nabob of Negativity, Dan Shaughnessy?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Please Stop Writing About Hockey - II

Shank's Tuesday afternoon column is, well, let him say it:
Call me a homer. Call me predictable.
Throw in some lame song lyrics, rehash one of your previous Bruins / Canadiens columns, work the Red Sox into the column again and...
We have no shortage of hyperbole when it comes to Hub vs. Habs in playoff hockey.
Another underwhelming column, to say the least...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Please Stop Writing About Hockey, Shank

Not to go on a rant here, but today's column on the Bruins 4 - 2 win over the Canadiens (or, in Shank's self-satisfied mind, the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge) is Shank at his laziest worst. It sucks so bad I refuse to sample any of it in this post. It's his typical cookie-cutter, formula driven piece of utter garbage, completely flooded with cliché after cliché after cliché, toss in a few annoying samples of the French language, and what Shaughnessy column is complete without not just one, but two Red Sox references?

I can barely contain my enthusiasm for his next cliché riddled piece of Bruins prose...

Friday, May 09, 2014

I'm Shocked!

Shocker # 1 - Bruins beat the Canadiens, 1 - 0, in overtime last night.

Shocker # 2 - Shank does a column on a Bruins win.
MONTREAL — Matt Fraser was standing in the hallway, shoeless, skateless, wearing the Bruins’ hero jacket, and still sweating from overtime. He said he’d had lunch at Chipotle in Providence Wednesday before he got the call to the Stanley Cup playoffs. He said he’d topped off lunch with some frozen yogurt. He thought back to his youth hockey days “playing in outdoor rinks in Canada.’’ He said he had to remember to call his parents. He said, “I’m still shaking with excitement.’’

The Bruins beat the Canadiens, 1-0, in overtime on a goal by Fraser off a scramble in front of the net 79 seconds into the fourth period of Game 4 Thursday. This spectacular series is now guaranteed to go at least six games and Fraser has secured a place in Boston sports lore.
It's a typical Shank type of column - focus on the outstanding player, give the standard game recap and make at least one inane comment:
If Norman Rockwell had dabbled in hockey, he’d have created Matt Fraser.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Killing Me Softly

Shank's Thursday column expands on the Bruins - Canadiens series and focuses on the best player in the series so far, P.K. Subban:
MONTREAL — He is Pernell Karl “P.K.” Subban, and you cannot take your eyes off him. He is Montreal’s best player and he is the man who is thus far killing the Bruins in their conference semifinal series.

Subban is everywhere on the ice. He is in the middle of all the action. He has scored three goals in three games and he is, in the words of former Celtics general manager Jan Volk, “the consummate provocateur.’’

It is hard to remember anyone who has made more news in the first three games of any playoff series. Subban has 6 points in three games and has been involved in multiple controversies. He has thus far been better than (gulp) Zdeno Chara.
Overall, a pretty good column by the Shankster; his better columns, naturally, come at the expense of the local teams. Funny how that works!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Boston Globe's Answer To Old Faithful

Is there anything more predictable than a Shank column on the Boston Bruins following a playoff loss?
MONTREAL — The Bruins are the better team. This is what the hockey folks keep saying (someone forget the personal pronoun there? - ed). This is what the regular-season record shows. The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy, earning home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bruins are better than the Canadiens at the five-on-five game. The Bruins play a heavy game. They will overwhelm Montreal with Maximum Heaviosity.

Hmmm. This sounds like what folks in Detroit were saying last October when they played the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. The Tigers were clearly better. Just like the 2007 Patriots were clearly better than the New York Giants. Just like the ’84 Lakers were better than the Celtics.
Still, there is something nagging about this series.
If I hadn't been reading this crap for the better part of three decades, I'd say that the thing nagging me would be Shank's relentlessly negative tone of a solid majority of his columns, especially the ones involving Bruins playoff losses.
Buoyed by their Game 2 comeback at the Garden, the Bruins arrived in Quebec prepared to assume the role of Big Bad Bears. The Bruins’ decidedly bland postgame remarks from Saturday had been magically manipulated by the locals to make them appear cocky and ready for a fall. The Montreal Gazette led its Tuesday sports section with a nifty column by veteran Pat Hickey under the flaming headline, “Habs play down Boston’s trash talk.’’
Or as we call it in Boston, stealing a page from the Shaughnessy playbook. Great job, guys!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Trolling the 'Trolls'

Saturday's beers turn into Sunday's whines.

See if you can pick out the ironies:

  • The CHB, complaining about unfounded criticism: "When did anonymous Twitter trolls become a representation of the collective thought of any region? Tough-guy social media cowards are the same folks who used to write on the bathroom wall in high school. It’s a mistake to give them voice and there’s no need for a franchise to apologize for anonymous nitwits who could be spreading hate from anywhere. Stop the madness."
  • "Nothing against Ty Law and Raymond Clayborn, but Bill Parcells deserves to be in the Patriots Hall of Fame ahead of anyone else currently drawing a breath." Ever heard of Tom Brady?
  • "The Celtics went 25-57 this year. So why do I keep hearing that just about all of the players are coming back?" How often do NBA teams keep their rosters? (Try never.) How often does Danny Ainge telegraph his intentions? (Same answer.)
  • "Surprised there was so little commentary last Sunday when John Farrell elected to 'rest' David Ortiz against the Blue Jays.The Sox are having trouble scoring runs." Papi is 38, has no knees, and the Red Sox are built to win with pitching and defense. Toronto, meanwhile, has scored the most runs in the division ... and is in last place.
  • "[T]he shrinking number of black big leaguers is probably owed to a dearth of college scholarship opportunities more than anything else. College baseball has become the domain of affluent white players from suburban communities. The NCAA allows only 11.7 scholarships for a college baseball team (football gets 85), which means that programs with rosters of more than 30 players are cutting almost all scholarships into partial packages. Skilled high school athletes have betters odds of acquiring full scholarships if they play football or basketball." Basketball gets...13. Do we really think that extra 1.3 scholarships is a difference maker? Moreover, those numbers are for D-1 only. Once D-2, D-3 and NAIA and JCs are accounted for, free rides for baseball overwhelm those for hoops by a count of 24 to 15. Finally, the NBA won't draft high schoolers. MLB does.
  • "Here’s Larry Lucchino mocking the Yankees in Fort Myers Feb. 21: “They are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankee style of high-priced, long-term free agents. I can’t say I wish them well, but I think we have taken a different approach. If you compare what we did last year in the offseason with what they’ve done this year, there’s quite a difference." The Red Sox are 31 games into the season and the Yankees actually have the worst run differential in the division. Let's see where they are in September, shall we? 
  • "This is the trend [in public relations]. Control the message. Grips are overlapping (John Henry, for instance, owns the Globe, in case you had not heard), conflicts abound, lines are blurred, and true independence is hard to find." What's more important: independence or fairness?
  • "Alert to sports journalists: Time to stop with the “how” questions. They’ve become epidemic even though they are lazy and largely unanswerable." Right. But accusing anyone over 30 who hits a few homers of using steroids is good reporting, right?
  • Friday, May 02, 2014

    Tough To Stomach

    The only bad thing about this time of year is Shaughnessy covering hockey.

    I couldn't agree with that comment any more. Shank's Friday column is, naturally, the Bruins 4 - 3 double OT loss to the Montreal Canadiens, so let's drop some names to make it look like he knows what he's talking about:
    Paying homage to Bobby Orr, Maurice Richard, Milt Schmidt, and Guy Lafleur, the Bruins and Canadiens skated toward midnight in the first game of their 34th playoff series Thursday night. It was spectacular hockey and at times it felt like they’d still be playing when folks from Northeastern University lined up to get diplomas Friday morning, but it ended badly for Boston when P.K. Subban blasted a slapper past Tuukka Rask in the fifth minute of the second overtime.

    Montreal 4, Boston 3.


    This was a kick to the stomach. The most-hated guy on the most-hated team came into our town and won it with a blazing slap shot in the early seconds of a power play. The Bruins had outplayed the hated Habs for almost all of the third and fourth periods, outshooting Montreal, 28-12, in that 40-minute stretch. But they were beaten after Patrice Bergeron lost a faceoff in the Boston zone at the start of a penalty kill.
    Throw in some inane comparisons, mention with fantastic glee the Canadiens' historical playoff success against the Bruins, and feign solidarity with Bruins fans:
    And so, we worry.
    He's not worrying one damn bit - he's busy pounding water so he can take a huge piss on the Bruins if / when they lose the next game.

    Historical footnote - this is the DSW's 1,500th post - whoopee!