Sunday, February 11, 2024

DHL Dan CCI - Theo's Back!

Shank notes the return of former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein as an adviser to the team:
Theo Epstein has been away a while but he knows how the Red Sox work, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while remembering the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady nine Super Bowls from 2002-19 …

▪ Theo Epstein is back with the Red Sox as a part-owner of Fenway Sports Group and a senior adviser to its many holdings.

Too many holdings.

FSG’s insatiable quest to expand its portfolio and take over the world has made the Red Sox the abandoned stepchild of the corporation’s family. The Sox might as well be Connor Roy.

Theo and Sam Kennedy were teammates at Brookline High and did a lot of their learning as very young men under the tutelage of Larry Lucchino with the Padres in the 1990s. When Lucchino came to Boston as part of John Henry’s group, he had to negotiate with the Padres to acquire the services of “The Brookline Two.”
I don't think he's going to impact things much with the Sox, if at all.

Saturday, February 03, 2024

DHL Dan CC - Hope Springs Eternal

Shank thinks (or pretends to think) that we're winning two championships this year:
Again we have two shots at championships this spring, but we’d settle for one, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if the Red Sox can get the Dollar Store to sponsor Truck Day …

▪ This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of New England’s last men’s professional sports championship, when the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots beat the Rams, 13-3, in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

By the gaudy standards of our 21st century sports high renaissance, five years without a parade is a certified drought.

Which brings us to the spring of 2024, when both the Celtics and Bruins have a chance to get everybody back on the Duck Boats.

I wrote about this one year ago (“Bruins and Celtics may be climbing toward a rare double this spring”) and we all know what happened: The Bruins, after compiling the greatest regular season in NHL history, flamed out in seven games of a first-round series against the Florida Panthers. The Celtics made it to the NBA’s Final Four for the fifth time in seven years, but dropped the first three games of their conference final series against the Heat, then collapsed in Game 7 at home.
And Shank will pick right back up with negative / critical columns about both teams when their seasons end.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Dude, I'm Extremely High

Shank's not trying to put too much pressure on the guy, is he?
Expectations are extremely high for the Celtics — and Joe Mazzulla is fine with that

He grew up here, just like you and me, and he knows how important the Celtics are going to be in this spring of 2024. He has seen the recent decline of the once-great Patriots and Red Sox, and he knows fans think it’s about time for the Celtics to step forward and win a championship — the way they did regularly in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

Rhode Island-raised Joe Mazzulla is still only 35 years old, and the franchise he coaches has won only one banner in his lifetime (2008), but he knows the expectations that come with coaching a team of All-Stars after recent playoffs featuring near-misses.

Everybody says the Celtics have the best team this year. And … if the Green don’t win it all, everybody probably will say it’s because their coach is too inexperienced, and they rely too much on threes, and he doesn’t call enough timeouts, and he cares too much for analytics, and that the late-game execution is lacking when the score is close.
This site has knocked Shank early and often when his columns contain the element of overhyping a team for the sole purpose of knocking them down later. I don't believe that applies with this team this year, but as Shank has noted a few columns ago, they need to win the tough games in order to win it all.

DHL Dan CXCIX - A Dear John Letter

How do you know when someone's close to retirement age and just doesn't give a fuck anymore? Like this:
A Dear John (Henry) letter to the Red Sox owner, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while composing a Dear John (Henry) letter to the owner of the Red Sox …

In all sincerity:

Dear John,

It’s been a long time since we’ve spoken. I hope you are well. Like all who follow the Red Sox closely, I also hope you still love owning this team and value the lifelong loyalty of a fan base that considers the Red Sox something of a public trust.

I know you’re busy expanding the portfolio of Fenway Sports Group, but by now you must have noticed that many of your fans are angry with the way the team is being run. They feel you and your people haven’t done a great job explaining the year-to-year plan for the ball club.

You and your group have been great owners since taking over in 2002. You’ve made the ballpark better and brighter and you’ve delivered four World Series championships, breaking an 86-year drought and giving the Red Sox more rings than any other major league team in this century.

Out Of Excuses

Shank does his first Celtics column in a while and naturally it has a critical edge to it:
No more excuses: Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have to come up big in big games

“So you’re scared, and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore.”

Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”

It’s time.

No more “they are so young.”

No more “they are both All-Stars and max contract guys and top 20 guys.”

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown need to be NBA champions. In June. It’s time for them to win banner No. 18 for the Boston Celtics.

Brown is 27, playing in his eighth NBA season. Tatum turns 26 in a few weeks and is playing in his seventh NBA season. Brown has been to the conference finals in five of seven seasons, Tatum in four of six. Both made it to the NBA Finals two years ago but came up short after taking a 2-1 series lead against the Warriors.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

DHL Dan CXCVIII - Tuna Talk

Shank's taken some interest in the post-Patriots Bill Belichick. Shank talks to another former Patriots head coach for some clues as to what's next for the other Bill:
Getting Bill Parcells’s take on Bill Belichick’s next move, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering why wannabe Patriots general manager Jonathan Kraft was called away to deal with a corrugated cardboard issue while the team he runs was introducing its new coach …

▪ Bill Parcells, now 82, is a Hall of Fame coach who won two Super Bowls with the Giants, then changed the culture of the Patriots when he came to New England in 1993. After four seasons and a trip to the Super Bowl with the Patriots, Parcells coached the Jets and Cowboys, then retired from the sideline at the age of 65.

The Tuna knows what it’s like to work for Bob and Jonathan Kraft, and he knows what it’s like to take on a new team late in his coaching life.

When I reached him on the phone this past week, Parcells was careful not to say too much about what went down in New England or what might happen with Bill Belichick.


I'm answering Shank's question about the rumors earler this week that Bill Belichick is heading to Dallas:
Imagine what might happen if Bill Belichick signs on to coach the Cowboys

It’s always about revenge here in New England, and we’ve seen this play out in dramatic fashion over the last week in Foxborough.
Shank knows a thing or two about revenge...
Bob and Jonathan Kraft are rolling out their new head coach (Jerod Mayo) Wednesday, but perhaps the larger story concerns the destination of Bill Belichick, who (along with Tom Brady) led the Patriots to nine Super Bowls in his 24-season run as head coach and emperor of the franchise.

Belichick already has interviewed with the Falcons, but there is a more intriguing possibility out there that he could take over the ready-to-win Cowboys, which would only escalate the personal war between the Krafts and the Hoodie, a dispute over credit, blame, legacy, and pro football immortality.

Can you imagine Belichick coaching Dallas and humbly telling Football America, “It’s nice to be working for a Hall of Fame owner”?
Nice shot at the Krafts, Shank! There's more of that in the column, like that's a surprise.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Situation Resolved - Au Revoir, Bill

The New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick by 'mutual agreement' parted ways earlier today. Shank had this column done and posted a few minutes after the first noontime press conference had finished.
It’s Belichick and Auerbach, then everyone else when it comes to New England coaching greatness

Bill Belichick and Red Auerbach are the greatest two coaches in New England sports history.

By a mile.

Belichick and Auerbach are gold and silver. Or silver and gold. It’s not even worth talking about candidates for the bronze medal platform. One could argue Terry Francona, Harry Sinden, Dick Williams, Milt Schmidt, Tommy Heinsohn, Bill Parcells, Chuck Fairbanks, Claude Julien, Jimmy Collins, Bill Carrigan, and Joe Cronin. You get silly and make a case for Bobby Valentine and Clive Rush if you insist.

It does not matter.

It’s Bill and Red.

There is no other.

Belichick and Auerbach were the bookend builders of our two great sports dynasties ― the 1950s-60s Celtics, and the 21st century Patriots.
Since this was mostly written in advance, we'll probably see more Belichick / Patriots columns in the upcoming days. I fully expect one of those columns to place most or all of the blame for this separation on Robert Kraft.

Monday, January 08, 2024

Situation Not Resolved

As we await the fate of Bill Belichick, Shank pens another column and gives 'ol Bill some wet, sloppy ones:
If it was his final game as Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, a man of history and accomplishment, never, never, never gave in

FOXBOROUGH — It’s always about history with Bill Belichick.

He’s famously chasing the late Don Shula (347 wins) to become the winningest coach in NFL history (Belichick has 333). He donated his collection of football history books to the US Naval Academy in 2006. When it came time to tell his secrets to an author, Belichick favored the late David Halberstam, one of the great American history writers of the last two centuries.

Quite possibly, Belichick is now history in New England.

Sunday in a freezing, January snowsquall, Belichick coached his 429th and possibly final game with the Patriots, a 17-3 loss to the hated Jets in a largely empty Gillette Stadium.

Belichick reportedly has one year left on a contract that pays him around $25 million annually, but reports also claim he’s had no discussions with owner Bob Kraft regarding his future. The two are scheduled to meet Monday, a session that is expected to include Kraft’s combustible/fortunate son, Jonathan (Wonder if the Krafts will bring their high chairs to the meeting to remind Bill who’s boss?).
And now it's a bit clearer - Shank's buttering Belichick's ass now so he can use the firing / separation to blame in all on the Krafts. That'll be good for at least three columns, won't it?

Sunday, January 07, 2024

DHL Dan CXCVII - The End?

Shank has some surprisingly good things to say about likely soon to be former New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick:
If this is the end for Bill Belichick, he deserves gratitude, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if it’s Breslow-Ball or Bres-LowBall …

▪ Is this really it for Bill Belichick?

After 24 years, 17 division titles, 13 AFC Championship games, nine trips to the Super Bowl, six Lombardis, Spygate, Deflategate, Mona Lisa Vito, and 10,000 “just doing what’s best for our football team” non-answers … is this really the end for Belichick as head coach of the New England Patriots? ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Thursday that Belichick, Patriots owner Bob Kraft, and team president Jonathan Kraft have a meeting scheduled for Monday. Putting beleaguered Bill in a room with combustible Jon is not likely to yield an amicable split.

Back at the turn of the century when Bill was hired, “Mr. Kraft” (a.k.a. “Robert”) was still plain old Brookline Bob and the ringless Patriots were playing in third-class Foxboro Stadium with aluminum bleachers. Myra Kraft was the franchise’s North Star, Gil and Gino were telling us where they ate dinner in Miami, and Scott Zolak was starting his media career with Bob Lobel after being cut by Dave Wannstedt in Miami. Tebucky Jones was trying to figure out what “press corner” meant.