In true Shank fashion, he tries to make poetry out of prose -- "They blew a lead of 6-3 with two out and nobody aboard in the eighth inning. Manager Joe Maddon was being measured for a Grady Little cap. [T]he Cubs ... won it when lefty Mike Montgomery retired Michael Martinez on a grounder to Kris Bryant with the tying run aboard at 12:47 a.m. You could hear Harry Caray hollering'Cubs win' and 'Holy cow' in hardball heaven." -- and in the process completely misses the actual drama of the game. No surprise there.
Even less surprising to those of us who have tortured ourselves to bring you this column for going on 10 years, is his attempt to stick it to the Red Sox in the process. Indeed, this was one of the classic World Series, and Shank spends most of it writing about the Red Sox.
Let's start with Theo Epstein, who has now "has punched his ticket to Cooperstown as the man who killed two curses."
Since The CHB doesn't seem to remember what he previously wrote about Theo, I'll remind him:
- "Epstein is a student of the game, but it's a mistake to say he knows more about baseball than [Larry] Lucchino or anyone else."
- "It was charged [in 2005] that Sox management conducted a ''smear campaign" against Epstein. How? Where's the campaign?"
- "Epstein made a ton of bad moves in the later years of his tenure, then went to Chicago for a $19 million contract and watched from afar as the Sox decomposed. ... Mistakes were made. Money was spent badly. The Sox lost their way and tried to throw money at their problems."
There's Jon Lester, "who was famously lowballed, then traded, by the smarter-than-everybody Sox in 2014, did what he proved he could do in Boston: he came up big in the big moment. Lester was called upon to pitch in relief and stuffed the Indians for three innings." Well, not exactly. Lester allowed two runs in three innings work, and it was his wild pitch that cut the Cubs lead to 2 in the bottom of the fifth, giving Cleveland hope they could come back.
There's John Lackey, who gave up 3 runs in 5 innings in a Cubs loss Game 5.
There's Terry Francona who "[had] a commanding World Series lead, only to see it implode over the final three games."
Imagine what Shank would have said if this had happened while Francona was managing the Red Sox. Oh wait, it did:
The greatest choke in baseball history ended the only way it could have ended, with the Red Sox gagging on the Camden Yards lawn one last time. ... Say goodbye to Terry Francona. In the midnight confessions, Francona spoke of “the mess we got ourselves in,’’ then said, “We needed to take care of business and we didn’t.’’
In historic fashion.
Wouldn't losing a 3 games to 1 lead in the World Series, dropping the final two on your home field, be even worse?
Yes it would. I can think of only one thing worse: Shank's column.