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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Lost Season

If ever there was bulletin board material for the 2022 Boston Red Sox, here it is:
With atmosphere at Fenway electric, it’s hard for Red Sox to admit this is a lost season

Red Sox-Yankees. Good close games, full houses, and the Red Sox competed.

Sweet. Just like the old days . . .

Except for those nasty American League East standings that show the first-place Yankees 15½ games ahead of the last-place Red Sox.

There are 46 games left in the Red Sox’ Lost Season. Thirty-two of them will be against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and Orioles and we all know the Red Sox fare poorly when playing teams in their own division. The last-place Sox are 15-30 against the AL East.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXIV - Cutting No Slack

Shank seems to be a tad upset with Tom Brady today:
This time, Tom Brady shouldn’t get any slack, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while suggesting that our leaders find a more prominent spot for the Bill Russell statue . . .

▪ Tom Brady is a great football player and put the Patriots on the map.

He is also proof that winning a lot of championships cuts you slack forever in this town.

Brady turned 45 this past week while working out in Tampa, trying to win his eighth Super Bowl. On the day before his birthday, we learned that Tom was talking to the Miami Dolphins — angling his way out of Boston — before he even started his 20th and final season with the Patriots in 2019. Throughout the ‘19 season, Brady was actively working on his next gig while he was playing for the Patriots.

Beyond weak. Phony. A betrayal. Hard to forgive.
One thing potentially missing from this diatribe - given it was Brady's final season with the Patriots, was Brady at the point where he knew he was on the outs with the team? That might be a mitigating factor in all of this, no?
When all this came out, the Dolphins were docked a first-round draft pick (and a third) and slapped with a $1.5 million fine for tampering violations. Owner Stephen Ross was suspended for six games.

Brady got nothing … just like in an NFL game in 2022. You can’t touch the golden boy quarterback, which — avocado ice cream aside — is the biggest reason Brady can keep playing at this level at 45.
So it has nothing to do with Brady's training regimen? You decide if Shank's ignorant of this fact or deliberately ignoring it to make this point.
Brady’s integrity takes a well-deserved hit. You have to be a true sycophant/fanboy to dismiss this one. We know for a fact that while he was performing and pouting with the 2019 Patriots, he was scheming to join one of their hated division rivals.

He later did the same two-faced thing in Tampa; his “retirement” was merely a ruse to get him to a player/ownership role in Miami. The scam was foiled when Brian Flores filed his discrimination lawsuit against the Dolphins and Brady had no choice but to slink back to the Bucs, but not without first getting his coach (Bruce Arians) fired. For all these years, we’ve heard about how team-guy Tom took pay cuts to help the Patriots. In the end, it was just the opposite.

How is all of this OK with you, Boston? Your guy was mentally checked out of Foxborough in his last Patriot season. A lot of Patriot fans are still angry at Bill Parcells for talking to the Jets while he was taking the Patriots to a Super Bowl. The Tuna had a much better reason for leaving (stabbed in the back on draft day by Bob Kraft) than Brady. How is Parcells a traitor but Brady is OK?
This is another non sequitur - you can believe Parcells isn't a traitor, or that Brady is regardless of your opinion on Parcells. I think Shank's forcing things here so he can keep taking shots at Brady.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Bill Russell, R.I.P.

This was, of course, from a few days ago:
Bob Cousy remembers teammate Bill Russell: ‘He fought the good fight’

They had Hall of Fame players and a Hall of Fame coach, and the Celtics were champions every year, it seemed. They won eight consecutive NBA titles in Red Auerbach’s last eight years as coach. They won 11 championships in 13 seasons between 1957–69.

And the one and only constant was Bill Russell. The man in the middle. The greatest winner in team sports history.

Russell died Sunday at the age of 88.

We’ve been losing these fabled champs with somber regularity the last four years. Frank Ramsey died in 2018. John Havlicek in 2019, Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones in 2020, then seven months ago (just before New Year’s), Sam Jones. Hall of Famers, one and all.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXIII - The Bridge That Wasn't

Shank's very pleased with himself, coming up with a new catchphrase that we'll hear about for the rest of the season:
Red Sox fans should be aware that this might not be a bridge year, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether the Red Sox should be relegated . . .

▪ In a small moment after Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Guardians, lowlighted by Franchy Cordero’s three errors at first base, Alex Cora said, “He’s still learning the position. He hasn’t played too much at first base.”

There it is right there. Red Sox ownership/management has given Cora a roster peppered with interchangeable guys who should be learning their craft in Triple A while at the same time claiming the organization is still committed to winning this year.

Summary: You are paying the highest ticket prices in baseball to watch minor league players learning on the job.

And a lot of you are OK with this because, well, these Red Sox bosses won four championships in this century and we don’t want to be like those stupid first-place Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets who waste all their money signing stars to long-term contracts.

It’s been bad at every level.

Three years in, can we all acknowledge that the Mookie Betts salary dump was one of the worst moves in modern Sox history? It was the warning shot that the Sox won’t keep their stars anymore and are more about the illusion of contention (boosted by the phony, inflated playoff format) than about winning.
That's the new 'tomato cans' in the Shank lexicon.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

A Small Case Of The Vapors

Shank doesn't appreciate part of David Ortiz's attire: Neither does his fellow Globe scold and über-feminist columnist: Question for Joan - are all women 'hoes'? That's how I'm reading that little column blurb.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Immortal David Ortiz

Alternate Friends title - The One Where Shank Pretends To Like David Ortiz:
David Ortiz already achieved baseball immortality in Boston, and now the Hall of Fame has made it official

COOPERSTOWN, N. Y. — David Ortiz, a man who forever changed the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox, is a Baseball Hall of Famer.

Already immortal in Boston sports lore, the beloved Big Papi was welcomed to the Hall Sunday, serving as the walkoff speaker on a sun-splashed afternoon after six other 2022 inductees were feted by the baseball world.

“I will always be Boston,” Ortiz said toward the end of a 19-minute speech during which he alternated between English and Spanish. “I will always be there for you, Boston. I love you, Boston.”

In front of an estimated crowd of 35,000 gathered on the lawn and hills in the cradle of baseball, the 46-year-old Ortiz was enshrined along with 83-year-old Jim Kaat, 84-year-old Tony Oliva, and four baseball legends who have already passed: Gil Hodges, Buck O’Neil, Minnie Miñoso, and Bud Fowler (who actually grew up in Cooperstown). Big Papi’s 21-year-old daughter, Alex Veda, performed the national anthem before the induction program.
Contrast Shank's current near reverence of Big Papi with his attitude towards the latter nine years ago:
In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from The Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, “You’re from the Dominican. You’re older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don’t you think you’re a prime suspect?”

He’s saying this with a straight face. I had taken like 70 at-bats. Anybody can get hot and hit .400 with 70 at-bats. I was stunned. I’m like, I’m Dominican? I fit the profile? Are you kidding me?

I wanted to kill this guy. But you can’t react. That’s what they want. They want you to get angry so they can bury you. So I just smiled at him and asked for his address.

“Why do you want my address?” he said.

“Because I just got tested two days ago.” I said. “I’ll mail you the f****ing results.”

This is a reporter from my own city coming to my locker and telling me I’m too good, that I must be on some shit. I’m sitting there thinking, Man, I get tested 10 times a year and I’ve helped win this town two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 and this guy who has never played a game of professional baseball in his life is telling me I’m a suspect.

My test was clean just like the other 8 or 9 tests that season. My batting average settled down to .300, because of course it did. I hit like 30 home runs and we won the World Series. Was that acceptable for the reporter? Were my numbers too high for a player from the Dominican? Should I have taken another blood test before popping the damn champagne?

He never apologized.
Red jheri curl - does Shank have some awesome nicknames, or what?

To restate the 2013 brouhaha with Shank and Ortiz with a bit more pith, let's turn it over to former DSW blogger Dave M (some emphasis mine):
In case you have not been following, last week Dan Shaughnessy quickly ripped into Ortiz after Ortiz’s name was leaked to be on “the list” of steroid users. Shaughnessy declared “David Ortiz lied to you. It seems safe to say that his entire Red Sox career is a lie.” Never mind that Shaughnessy never talked to Ortiz. Never mind that Shaughnessy did not know what Ortiz tested positive for. Never mind that Shaughnessy did not know there was a question of the validity of the test. Never mind that Ortiz did not know he even tested positive for anything. These things did not matter because Shaughnessy was in such a rush to punch out a column. There was no time for fact checking; there was no time for corroboration; there was nothing anyone would expect of a professional journalist. No, this was yellow journalism at its finest This was Shaughnessy…. ever ready to bury a hatchet in someone, any proof be damned.

...

Shaughnessy may eventually prove to be right about Ortiz. But that doesn’t matter. At the time he accused Ortiz of being a liar, he did not have the information to make the accusation. He did not seek the full story because he is lazy. He was ready to prematurely attack because he is vindictive. If anyone lied to us, it was Shaughnessy. If anything is tainted, it is his ethics. He is the one who should be suspended for a year. And he is not the only one – Massarotti and Ryan and many others also piled on. It was disgraceful and shameful.
I'd go with 'bearing false witness' mysef, but these are somewhat equivalent terms, or sins in the biblical lexicon. In the sense that Shank's changing his tune nowadays without any mea culpa, he's still lying / covering his ass.

Bonus - a Larry Bird reference!

Friday, July 22, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXII - Lingering Pandemic

This fucking guy simply will not let up on Covid-19:
The pandemic still lingers, but it finally feels like a normal Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, and other thoughts

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Picked-up pieces while waiting for David Ortiz to join Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice in the Hall of Fame . . .

▪ Baseball’s Hall is an institution hit particularly hard by the death and disruption of our global pandemic. Ten Hall of Famers have died since the family of baseball last gathered here for a traditional induction weekend. It’s unclear how many of the Hall of Famers (if any) succumbed because of COVID, but the pandemic canceled the 2020 event and produced a makeshift, shrunken ceremony for Derek Jeter and fellow inductees last September.
At the risk of sounding like a cold-hearted bastard, it seems like the natural course of nature and human life expectancy for older men to pass away from one cause or another. That, however, doesn't stop Shank from suggesting a possible connection between their deaths and Covid-19, AKA the Wuhan Virus.
The Jeter induction had been expected to rival the record 82,000 gathering for Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn in 2007, but only 20,000 fans made the trek and COVID still lurked as Johnny Bench — who’d been scheduled to attend — had to narrate his video tribute from home because he’d tested positive.

The pandemic still lingers, but it finally feels like a normal Hall of Fame weekend as Cooperstown welcomes Big Papi, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and deceased inductees Gil Hodges, Buck O’Neal, Minnie Miñoso, and Bud Fowler. The Parade of Legends is back on Saturday, and Sunday’s ceremony figures to generate a big-time turnout at the Clark Sports Center.

Fifty-four Hall of Famers have pledged to attend and many haven’t had a chance to see one another since the exclusive club lost members Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, Tommy Lasorda, Don Sutton, and Hank Aaron.
So we have at least one survivor of Covid-19 and Shank insinuating / speculating its involvement in an unknown number of deaths amongst living Hall of Fame members. I just think it's a tad gouhlish, and part of the reason it still 'lingers' is media types like Shank who constantly bring it up at nearly every opportunity.

Yaz on Papi - Who Was The Better Hitter?

Now that David 'Big Papi' Ortiz is heading into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Shank asks Carl Yastrzemski a rather pointed question:
With David Ortiz headed into the Hall of Fame, we asked Yaz: Who was the better hitter?

In the 1990s, when Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio made rare public appearances together, DiMaggio would insist on being introduced as “the greatest living ballplayer.”

The gracious Teddy Ballgame never objected and Willie Mays was not asked for his opinion.

I thought of that this week when Carl Yastrzemski returned a call and agreed to spend a few moments talking about David Ortiz, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Like Ted and Yaz, Big Papi was elected in his first year of eligibility.

So, Yaz, what is Ortiz’s place in Red Sox history?

“He was one hell of a hitter, you know?” says Yastrzemski, who turns 83 next month. “One of the best hitters the Red Sox ever had. Probably the only guy that was a better hitter was Ted.”