The CHB hates the Yankees. He has to, right? If not for the Yankees, there's no Bambino, no curse, and -- most important -- no book sales for Dan Shaughnessy. How else do you spend some 20 years locked in a weird obsession over everything you think is wrong with the Red Sox if you don't have a personal interest in the outcome.
But does he really hate them, or just envy them? You can't do both: it's illogical.
With the Patriots owning the NFL for the better part of 15 years, the shoe's on the other foot. The so-called haters come out, tired of being outsmarted and outplayed by the Pats year after year. And like the Yankees, other teams' garbage has a way of turning into Patriot gold (see Moss, Randy; Dillon, Corey; etc.).
So cue the hyperbole!
And here it is! "In the last week, the Patriots have emerged as perhaps the most polarizing team in the history of American sports. They are loved and revered at home, perceived as cheaters almost everywhere else."
Really? More polarizing than the Bill Laimbeer-led Detroit Pistons? More hated that any of the Billy Martin/Reggie Jackson New York Yankees teams? More reviled that the Oakland Raiders featuring the headhunting Jack Tatum?
And that's just the pros. Ever heard of Notre Dame football? How about the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, which as an unfortunate consequence of America's problematic racist past probably set the polarization bar higher than any other team will ever match.*
No one outside New England hates the Patriots. There's an opportunity to pile on, perhaps, and they are taking advantage of it. But you can't hate the Patriots and envy them too.
Still, Shank's on a role, and we must humor him.
"Only the Patriots," he writes, "could work in a world in which a portion of folks think New England is unfairly targeted by folks jealous of their success, while other critics believe the unholy alliance between [Patriots owner Robert] Kraft and [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell will produce a bag-job investigation on a par with the much-mocked Mueller Report."
Well, no. The two things are not mutually exclusive. One need only look to The CHB, who has been front and center playing the contrarian card for years. When the Patriots break off a run of six straight AFC East titles, who writes column after column diminishing their competition? Who has written that "Kraft spent September sucking up to Goodell in the commissioner’s time of need"?
Is it hate? Is it envy? Did they cheat? Did they not? No matter the issue, The CHB can't parse the difference. Careful there, Danny Boy. When you come down on both sides of the fence simultaneously, you're going to split those vintage pants.
*Given Shaughnessy's own problems with all things non-white, you'd think he would have come up with this one.