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!