Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Franchise

Shank puts together a decent column today, looking back over the past decade and writing about Tom Terrific's rise to the top. It helps to have decent material to work with, and Shank doesn't screw it up with "Brady Gaga" forced cuteness or other lame Shankness. There is one mention of 'the immortal Spergon Wynn', but it works in that context. Even more shocking is a mention of this song, perhaps begrudging acknowledgement that good music continued well after the Beatles broke up.

One quibble with the column:

He’s one of the most famous men in the world ...
And what was Brady a mere fourteen months ago?

Over here, he’s just a good-looking American football player who occasionally shows up on ads for Nike, Glaceau Smartwater, Stetson cologne, Visa, and Netjets.

London Fog?

That account belongs to Gisele. She’s famous like Jacko and Bono.

Tom? He’s not David Beckham, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James. Over here, he’s not even Serena Williams.

I’ve been checking for three days. Haven’t seen a poster of Tom. Haven’t seen Tom’s photo on the cover of any local newspa pers or magazines. Went to Waterstone’s bookstore in Piccadilly Circus Friday night and there wasn’t a single copy of Charles Pierce’s “Moving The Chains.’’ For that matter, there wasn’t any book regarding American football, though I did see the Beckham bio in which the uber-star rips the Braintree Sheraton.
In other words, Shank's full of it. Still a good column, though...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Still On The Bandwagon

Shank summarizes yesterday's beatdown of the Bills in today's Globe column. It's a decent column, but it's hard to escape the notion that Shank has no editors when you read the following:

While snow fell back home at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots put down the Bills, 34-3, at (makes you want to) Ralph Wilson Stadium, clinching the AFC East title for the eighth time in 10 seasons.
Stay classy!

Shank's CNN / SI column has him making a bunch of predictions, one of them absurd:

The New England Patriots think they are going to win the Super Bowl...
While there's the possibility he has inside information, I don't recall any member of the Patriots actually saying something like this in public this year, or this is just Shank making shit up & stirring the pot once again.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DHL Dan - IV

You'd think having four days to write a column would result in something that has a few halfway original insights, unique angles, or other items of interest. You'd be wrong:

Christmas in Buffalo. If you play for the Patriots, you cannot beat it. You get to hang out with Bill Belichick in the darkest, snowiest corner of America and then you get to play the Bills — a team you have beaten 14 consecutive times.
The rest of the column is as inspiring as this mailed-in paragraph.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carry That Weight - II

Today's Boston Globe column finds Shank in a tough moral dilemma:

The Hall of Fame ballot goes in the mail today with check marks next to the names of Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar, and Jack Morris.

We won’t know who’s in until January, but this year’s ballot has some new challenges because the Steroid Boys are stepping forward in large numbers.

The Hall has a problem and it’s going to get worse every year. Baseball scribes are asked to weigh off-the-field stuff such as “character’’ and “contributions to the game,’’ and this clause puts us in the uncomfortable position of measuring moral fiber. The character clause is what’s kept Mark McGwire out of the Hall in his first four years of eligibility and it’s going to put Rafael Palmeiro and his 569 homers on the sideline when this year’s vote is announced.
Just when you thought you've read everything! Does anyone seriously believe Dan Freakin' Shaughnessy has a problem measuring the 'moral fiber' of professional athletes, or coaches? If Shank no longer opined on 'moral fiber', about one-fourth of his columns would disappear.

Other than that laughable statement, it's a fair read.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Tale Of Two Columns

Compare and contrast - a pretty good CNN / SI article, and an average effort at the Boston Globe. At least in the CNN / SI article, he admits having an editor, but that's about all to note for either column.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What? No Blue Christmas?

Not content to write yet another meandering picked up pieces column, he even manages to choose weak Christmas music:

Picked up pieces while listening to Mitch Miller Christmas carols . . .
How can you not pick The King?

What follows from the dreadful opening sentence is the fruitcake of sports opinion columns. Feel free to regift this one!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Forget It, He's Rolling

I get that very impression after reading Shank's latest Globe effort, an effort whose quality exceeds many recent Globe offerings. I'm enjoying the positive / decent writing combinations right now (a whole week? Really?), as you'll never know how abrubtly it will end. I sometimes forget that the person who writes stuff like this:

We are 13 games into the 2010 Patriots season and it would appear that we are watching Bill Belichick paint his Sistine Chapel. He is a real man of genius with plenty of masterpieces on his résumé, but this one is looking like the best of them all. I’m betting he likes this team more than the undefeated warriors of 2007.
...used to write stuff like that not too long ago:

Unfortunately, New England’s easy win, coupled with the Jets’ pitiful performance, has righted the football universe and now most prognosticators believe the Patriots will stuff the Jets in their new stadium this weekend. Belichick has lost some of his motivational weaponry.

The Patriots are all about spin and staying on message, and it does not serve the cause to have Belichick stand at the podium on Wednesday of Jets week and hear, “Given how poorly Mark Sanchez played Monday night, how do you prevent your defense from taking him lightly?’’

Old Laughing Boy didn’t like that one, not one bit. He’s best served when surrounded by doubters and lightweights buying into the myth of Jet supremacy.

“When you are out there playing against these guys, there’s a certain level of intensity that these rivalries bring out,’’ said Brady. “And it’s not just another road game for us. They’re a division opponent. We know how hard it is playing a division opponent on the road.’’

Division opponent. I love that one. It’s so understated. The Jets are a divisional opponent the way the Yankees are a divisional opponent.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Has Shank Ever Quoted The Who?

I might think more of him if that was the case, as I was reading Shank's latest CNN / SI offering, hopping on the Celtics bandwagon. Comparing February's link (below, also CNN / SI), I'm not sold on Shank's reasoning. Is this year's bench that much better to be able to deliver the starters enough rest to do what Shank thinks is possible? I think that's the only question here. Shank doesn't ask it.

Meet the new Celts, same as the old Celts, Shank?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Early Xmas At Fenway

Shank expands on the Carl Crawford signing at yesterday's Fenway introduction. It's a standard Shank effort, complete with a shot at Jacoby Ellsbury. I mean, you have to have at least one current Red Sox player to take shots at, right! It's probably a clause in Shank's contract.

I'm stealing this thought from one of the commenters at the Globe (following Shank's quotes):

He is a superior athlete who is not particularly fluid nor graceful. His swing is on the choppy side. But he gets the job done. And Sox fans are going to like his defense.

I worry about his legs. Crawford does a lot of his damage with his wheels and the horrid surface inside Tropicana Field no doubt took a toll. There is also his mediocre history at Fenway — a .275 career average and .301 on-base percentage with only four homers in 320 at-bats over 76 games. Fenway doesn’t seem to amplify his offensive skills.
This is a common tactic for Shank - marking his territory in advance. When Crawford goes into a slump, or otherwise doesn't perform, Shank can fall back on this article (and rip a huge money, long-term deal) and say 'I told you so'. If the subject concerns Shank's disclaimers that he's now cool with players being 'overpaid' (and then he won't be cool with it the first time he jumps on Crawford), that part will be simply ignored or not mentioned by him.

Shank writes the following:

Across Baseball America, this signing makes folks hate the Red Sox more than ever. The Sox for years have presented themselves as a middle-market franchise, crying about the Yankees’ ability to buy championships. Signing Crawford, especially on the heels of trading for Adrian Gonzalez, merely confirms what we already knew: The Red Sox can get any player they want. Even Mark Teixeira.
Here's a question - does that paragraph remind you of this paragraph?

This assures that the rest of sporting America is going to hate us more than ever. The Sox-Yankees rivalry dominated the first half of this decade, and baseball fans outside of Boston and New York got sick of our quest to overthrow the Evil Empire. Now the Boston-New York war is back with a vengeance, and the Red Sox have become the Yankees.
If you're going to be a lazy writer, you might as well go all in and just reuse entire columns!

Speaking of which (or, in the At Last I Admit It When I'm Stealing From Others Dept.):

On the other side of the Atlantic, there may be carping about John Henry pouring all of his available dollars into his baseball operation. No doubt Liverpool fans would rather see money spent on Henry’s futbol team.
Interesting observation - is this a) a remarkable coincidence, or b) a theme shamelessy lifted from the Wall Street Journal on Friday? You make the call!

P.S. If you run into the registration screens at like I did this morning, just use Firefox (or another non-IE browser) or clear your temporary files, kill IE and start it again. I didn't have to delete cookies to resolve this one, but it's possible you may have to.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shiny Happy Person

Yesterday's Globe column has Shank practically busting a nut:

Adrian Gonzalez on Monday. Carl Crawford on Wednesday. In between those acquisitions, we had Bill Belichick and Tom Brady (best record in the conference) blistering the Blowhard Jets on “Monday Night Football’’ and a Celtic edition (best record in the conference) with four or five Hall of Famers dismissing the Denver Nuggets on ESPN.

This is New England professional sports in December 2010, and it is downright ridiculous. It’s a glut of talent, success, and celebrity, and no American city has seen anything like it.
In other words, forget everything I've said about these teams in the past few months! There's no better example of Weathervane Dan than this column.

Onward for more statements with expiration dates:

I take back everything I was thinking about John Henry losing interest and commitment after buying a soccer team. I hereby purge “run prevention’’ and “bridge’’ from my laptop. I shall mock NESN no more. The Red Sox once again are hotter than Jonathan Kraft’s temper and might get ratings for PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) come late February. Truck Day can’t come soon enough.
The over / under bets start at 4 months.

Shank finishes off his column with a few predictions, which should make all of us nervous:

No more crying about the Yankees. Your team has become the Yankees. Sit back and enjoy it while you wait for the Patriots in Super Bowl XLV and the Celtics and Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It's A Twofer - III

Today we are blessed (if that's the right word) with two columns by the Boston Globe's bravest sports columnist. Writing at CNN / SI, Shank replaces his desire to sign Derek Jeter with the lauding of landing Adrian Gonzalez.

Suddenly, the Red Sox are back. Hours before one the biggest regular-season games in the history of the New England Patriots (more important than the Super Bowl? - ed.), the Sox put themselves back into the sports discussions in New England. Loyal legions of Sox rooters have been hungry for Gonzalez for a couple of years and finally it looks like Boston has found the guy they lost when Teixeira went to the hated Yankees.
The second column, from the Globe, is a straightforward recap of the thrashing of the Jets, 45 - 3, by the New England Patriots. Thankfully, we are spared the 'Brady Gaga' lameness, but naturally Shank cannot resist another dig at Danny Woodhead:

Think Danny Woodhead is happy today? The Jets cut New England’s lovable end table in September. In an ultimate act of revenge that typified Patriot Monday, the 5-foot-7-inch Woodhead collected 115 all-purpose yards against the team that told him he wasn’t good enough.
Sometimes you just have to ask yourself one question, perhaps unprofessionally - what the fuck is wrong with Shaughnessy? Woodhead has a career game, and the only way Shank can find to describe him is an end table, then the obligatory umpteenth reference to his height? I'm positive this isn't a term of endearment. Then again, I'm also positive there are few terms of endearment to describe Shank.

A View To A Chill

Just caught Shank on the local Comcast Sports / N.E postgame show after the Patriots 45-3 win over the Jets. He looked a little cold on the Patriots field after the game (as 25 degree weather is wont to do) as it looked like he needed an extra layer underneath the wool coat (or maybe one of these Russian comrade hats). Shank and fellow pessimist Michael Felger both reluctantly agreed that its the Patriots holding the upper hand as the playoff hunt progresses.

Comments on his CNN / SI column tomorrow.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Finally, Let's Mail One In

Six days after his last column, Shank delivers a Monday column dedicated to tonight's Jets / Patriots game. You may expect a quality column full of insights and meaningful facts, given all this time to prepare a column. You'd be wrong.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady — the Red Auerbach and Bill Russell of our 21st century football renaissance — have done their best to remind us that this is just another game.


He’s right, of course. This is not the Super Bowl.

It’s bigger.
You read that right - tonight's regular season game is bigger then the Super Bowl, one of the most idiotic statements Shank's made in a while. Nearly the entire column is filled with bluster and mail it in statements that are obvious to the casual fan; some more then a year old and previously used by Shank umpteen times. End the column with hackeneyed half-quoted lyrics by James Taylor and Springsteen, and you have a column not worth reading past the first sentence.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Bad Idea Jeans

Missed this one on Tuesday.

I understand that everyone can have a bad day, or a bad column. This is one of those columns. At least he has the decency to attribute the original idea to someone else, and there's a word bonus (fortnight):

The Globe’s intrepid Peter Abraham floated the idea in a blog back on Nov. 18.

What if the Red Sox decided to make Derek Jeter a contract offer? Abraham framed his piece in sheer speculation. He was just having a little fun. He wanted to know if Sox fans would tolerate such a notion.
Further down, we have this:

Which brings us back to John Henry. Suppose the Red Sox step up and shock the world? There is simply no downside to making Jeter a massive offer. In the worst-case scenario he calls your bluff and you get the Yankees captain.

I don’t care if Jeter is way past his prime or if the Sox would have to wildly overpay a player of his diminished skills.


What’s the harm in offering Jeter $20 million a year over three years? If you can pay J.D. Drew $14 million per year . . . if you can pay a Japanese team $50 million just for the right to speak with Daisuke Matsuzaka . . . if you can buy a futbol club for $476 million, why not spend $60 million to bust pinstripe chops for all the ages?
Hey, what's one more overpaid player?

Shank fails the logic test with this suggestion. When Matsuzaka and Drew were being pursued by the Sox, the expectations / anticipated production from these guys were significantly higher than is expected from Jeter, at age 36. The $476 million plunked down on Liverpool FC, Shank, is called an investment. I saw higher numbers when Liverpool first went on the block, so at this point John Henry might have a steal on his hands. The next time Shank bitches about an overpaid Red Sox player, we'll always have this article to prove a) he's a hypocrite or b) he's just stirring the pot with silly ideas.

Granted that it's part of a columnist's job to offer opinions, bit I've always thought it takes a special kind of prick to tell someone else what to do with his money.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Rolling Shank Gathers No Moss

Shank's weekly CNN / SI column summarizes the Randy Moss Tour of 2010. While it may not be the topic du jour that we'd normally expect of Shank, the column does neatly summarize the season for Moss, for better or worse (mostly worse). A quibble arise:

And what did Randy do in Minnesota? He got Brad Childress fired, that's what. Moss' last game with the Vikings was a one-catch special against the Patriots (who else?) in Gillette on Halloween and after the game he threw his coach and all of his teammates under the bus. He professed his undying love for the Patriots. Hours later, Moss was fired by the Vikings. And then we learned that the last straw in Minnesota was an embarrassing outburst aimed at a Twin Cities catering company which came to the Vikings facility to serve lunch.
I think this stuff just pushed Childress over the edge, as he was well on his way to getting shitcanned before the Moss trade.

This was funny, and pithy:

And years from now when we want to study a free agent setting himself on fire in his walk year, we will study Randy Moss 2010.
One more question - when does Shank, on the CNN / SI pages, give Patriots coach Bill Belichick the next round of props he deserves?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tale Of The Videotape

It didn't take Shank long to revert to form. Today's column concerns the Denver Broncos and various fines involving a videotaping of the opposing players' walk-through session.

Sound familiar? It should. And in case you forgot, guess who's here to helpfully remind us? Call this the Anatomy of A Smear.

First - Shank wants to make sure this story gets adequate coverage:

I don’t expect to hear much about this on any of the Patriots’ Pravda news outlets, but you can be pretty sure the New York tabloids are going to run hard with it. The headline in yesterday’s Daily News was “It’s Spygate II in Denver,’’ and the vaunted Post went with two stories, one titled “Pats’ coach will always be tied to scandal,’’ and the other with a subhead stating “Incident also has Belichick ties.’’

You bet it does.
Attempt to further propagate the story through additional media writeups.

Second - Of course, these guys (Shank, et. al) don't mean direct ties; what follows is classic guilt by association:

Bill Belichick’s bio in the Patriots media guide proudly features a half-page section entitled “Bill Belichick’s Tree.’’ It reads, in part, “Bill Belichick has had strong influences on hundreds of coaching, personnel, and football operations staff, many of whom have been hired to coach and manage other teams.’’ The lengthy list includes McDaniels and Eric Mangini, both of whom broke into the NFL under Belichick. Young Scarnecchia also broke into the NFL with the Patriots. He is listed as a “video assistant’’ in the Patriots’ staff directories of 2002, 2003, and 2004. He is also the son of Dante Scarnecchia, a beloved presence as an assistant coach on the Patriots’ sideline for the last 27 seasons.

Dante Scarnecchia is one of the finest men you’ll ever meet. He has been a part of all six Patriots Super Bowl teams and currently serves as offensive line coach and assistant head coach. In 1992, he served as Patriots’ head coach for seven games when Dick MacPherson fell ill. He is certainly not responsible for the actions of his son.
Certainly not! So a few people are off the hook. Interesting. On whose doorstep do you think this one will end up?

Now we have the first spy sanction since then, and there are Belichick footprints all over the place. The head coach of the Broncos was one of Bill’s guys. The guy caught taping was one of Bill’s guys and is the son of one of Bill’s present guys.

Oh, and just for good measure, we learned that Steve Scarnecchia was one of Mangini’s video operators when the Jets ratted out the Patriots in 2007. More than that, some folks think Steve Scarnecchia was the one who ratted out the Patriots.
Third - passive-aggressive assertions; "Belichick footprints all over the place". Now, for the passive-aggressive disclaimer (emphasis mine):

It’s important that we remember that Saturday’s sanction was against the Broncos. It is not a Patriots matter. Asking Belichick or any of his people about this is wildly unfair. It’s strictly a matter between the Commish and the Broncos.
So far, it's "Belichick footprints all over the place", but "It is not a Patriots matter". Got that?

So where does Shank finally come down on the matter? As if you have to ask!

But once again, the trail of espionage leads directly back to Route 1, and that is . . . unfortunate.
It's fair to conclude that Shank, a fifth-degree black belt in the dark arts of character assassination and innuendo, is trying to tie this to Bill Belichick any way he can. If he's called on it, he can simply say he was repeating what the New York papers were writing, and he'll say it in spite of his statement ("directly back to Route 1") to the contrary. Talk about a clean hit!

How long did Shank's faux fondness for Belichick last, barely one month?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making The Rounds

During the "holiday" season, Shank normally treats us to a few human interest stories, the only type of Globe column he's seemingly able to write with any consistent quality. Today, he's finally out of the box with a story about Children's Hospital Boston. An unusual thing about this particular column is its length - 3 pages total.

I guess not even Shank can be all asshole, all the time, or is that what he wants us to think?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eat Me

Shank's Thanksgiving column is about the Thanksgiving tradition of football in Detroit. It's a decent enough column.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shank Starts On The Second Bridge

How boring and predictable is Shank? Last year we had Shank taking a dump on Red Sox ownership. You may have wondered if this self-serving, pot-stirring type of column would become an annual event.

Wonder no more.

This is one giant turkey.

The Red Sox just lost their 31-year-old, middle-of-the-order, switch-hitting catcher. On the eve of Thanksgiving. It feels like the old Haywood Sullivan/John Harrington days when the ball club would announce a ticket-price hike on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the 2010 Red Sox cleverly released their new prices on the day of the most hyped NBA regular-season game in 63 years).

The hot stove season is young, but losing Martinez at the jump is a public relations nightmare for a ball club that’s suddenly fighting for market share and TV ratings. The local landscape is peppered with popular, playoff-bound teams. The Sox did not make it into the tournament this year and the bland ball club is scuffling to generate positive buzz. Subtracting Martinez a month after ponying up $476 million for a soccer team com pounds the fallout.
When last describing the need to retain Martinez's services, Shank wasn't exactly throwing around words like 'linchpin' and 'must-keep' (emphasis mine):

It's more complicated with Martinez and Beltre. Martinez is a switch-hitting catcher, which puts him on a lot of wish lists. There's well-founded doubt about his ability to manage a pitching staff and throw runners out, but he's improved behind the plate and he brings the lumber.

He's also in his prime.
Are we supposed to believe Shank's newfound interest in Martinez is genuine?

Shank then pops the question:

Sounds like they’re selling bridges again, no?


Why are the Sox acting like they are a small-market team? They sell out every game. They have the second-highest-priced tickets in baseball. Their payroll is exceeded only by the Yankees’. And now they won’t pay the going rate for their starting catcher? How often do the Yankees lose a player they want to keep?
I don't know, Shank; you might want to ask Derek Jeter:

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that the Yankees have made a "fair and appropriate" contract offer to Derek Jeter and suggested that if the 36-year-old shortstop thinks otherwise, he should shop himself around to find out.
I wonder if Shank thinks that Cashman & Co. are acting like a small market team, or are trying to, you know, save some money / avoid overspending?

Conveniently ignoring previous opinions and an occasional market force or two allow Shank to use Martinez's loss as an excuse to take the annual crap on Sox ownership.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Papers In One - II

A flurry of activity from Shank on Sunday. We have a Globe column that is heavy on the hyperbole and pleads for more Indy - New England games, replete with nicknames, pop culture references and the like. His CNN / SI column leans a little more on the game stats, but I'm hard pressed to make anymore distinctions between the two.

Now that's lazy!

UPDATE, 11/23, 7:30 PM - Lazier still, Shank is ripping off other writers. Have you no shame, sir?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Utterly Predictable

Shank's Sunday column could be about many things:

Tom and Peyton don’t defend one another, so this latest Patriots-Colts Game of the Century can’t be about Brady vs. Manning. It’s really about Belichick vs. Manning. It’s about the Revenge of Fourth And 2. It’s about the Colts beating the Patriots five of the last six times they’ve met. It’s about the young Patriots defense. It’s about Bill Polian hating the Patriots the way the Patriots hate the Jets. It’s about perennial conference kingpins deciding who’ll get home field if they meet again when it counts in January.
Since this is written by Shank, you already know the real answer:

There will be no ignoring the obvious in this space. I’m riding sidecar with the dumbed-down story line, the lowest common denominator. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This game is all about Brady vs. Manning. Football’s 18-12 Overture comes to Gillette.
Little surprise; this column looks enough like the one he wrote last year.

Lazy, predictable & boring pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something Slipped, All Right

Shank does the first of the annual Thanksgiving columns on local high school teams that 1) are designed to make you think that he's not a big an asshole as is amply demonstrated the rest of the year; 2) exhibit student - athletes overcoming adversity, low odds of success, yadda3.

In previous years these columns used to be a cut above his normal articles, but not this column, featuring Newton North's high school boy's soccer team, recently blessed with a $200 million school facility. It's something every teenager can relate to!

Perhaps in bad taste, I have to remark that this column reads like an obituary.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Welcome Aboard

Shank climbs aboard the Patriots bandwagon in his weekly CNN / SI article. This one's worth reading, as his outside the Globe efforts are of far better quality. The title to the article was a bit misleading, leaving me unable to accuse him of reusing a previous article.

Is Shank deserving of a partial break because of this?

A lot of us (particularly me) thought Belichick was giving up on the season when he dumped Randy Moss after a big Monday night win in Miami in early October. But it turns out Belichick was right. He knew he wasn't going to get much more out of Moss. So he cut his losses. He got a third-round pick from the Vikings. Three weeks later, the red-faced Vikings fired Moss. Belichick was right again.
I'm leaning towards HELL NO! because I'm confident Shank will change his opinion yet again, as soon as the next loss occurs. Can you go broke betting against Shank? Commenter g is correct - just wait for the next weather pattern. But do his recent mea culpas (by my estimation, there have been about five or six over the past year) bail him out somewhat?

Monday, November 15, 2010


Shank, one week ago:

Suddenly the SS Patriot looks like a southbound cruise ship.
Shank, this morning:

The Super Bowl is officially up for grabs, ladies and gentlemen.
What a difference a week makes. Or one day, for those who read yesterday's paean to the Steelers. Is it really too much to ask for some semblance of even-keel consistency?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Over the Top

Shank once again blows an opportunity to write a decent column. He should be penalized for excessive hyperbole:

The Steelers are football.

The Steelers are the NFL.


If you have been to Pittsburgh to watch the Steelers, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you’ve never been, maybe you’ve picked it up just by watching on TV. Pittsburgh is simply the cradle of the NFL.

The Steelers are about continuity, excellence, toughness, and tradition. They are football’s comfort food. You see the logo on the right side of the helmet and you know you are watching the NFL at its best.
Throw in random mentions of the Beatles, Randy Moss, Larry Lucchino and Johnny Unitas in the present tense as if he was still alive, and Shank snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can't Stand The Heat

I wonder where Shank got the idea for that column title, or am I reaching here?

Can’t stand the Heat
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / November 11, 2010

I am a Heat Hater.

Miami’s basketball team can’t lose enough games to make me happy. When I pass under a television in a crowded airport and see the score crawl, if the Heat are losing, I crack a big smile. I hope they lose ’em all.

The Celtics are in Miami tonight to play the third-place Heat.

The third-place Heat. Don’t you love it? I want them to be the Miami Clown Machine.

We are a couple of weeks into this historic NBA season, and the Heat own a 5-3 record, trailing the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks in the vaunted Southeast Division of the NBA East. If the playoffs started today, the Heat would be the No. 4 seed, behind the Magic, Hawks and Celtics.
Naturally it's still early in the season, so things can and will change, but it's almost refreshing to see Shank dumping on a pro sports team located outside Massachusetts, if for mothing else as a reminder that there are occasional blue moons. Now fans in Florida will also be blessed with Shank's trademark thoughfulness ("I hope they lose ’em all"), forced '80's pop culture references ("Miami Clown Machine", wash / rinse / repeat), over the top judgements ("The Miami Frauds"), and his ability / desire to keep controversies burning ("Of course Riley wants another ring from the bench"), all of which basically killed the first half of the column.

Shank finishes strong when he gets around to looking at why Miami's overrated (i.e., by comparison with other championship teams), and I'll state again that as far as LeBron's asshattery when making & announcing "The Decision", I'm with Shank 110%. At least this article had the sense to make the necessary halftime adjustments...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Two Papers In One!

Paper Number One:

It’s not often Belichick is beaten by a rookie quarterback (with a “Friday Night Lights’’ name of Colt McCoy).
Paper Number Two:

He's got the name of a guy from central casting.

Colt McCoy. Quarterback.

Perfect, isn't it? Right out of Friday Night Lights.

A guy named Colt McCoy was born to play quarterback. He was born to play quarterback for Texas. He was born to play quarterback in the National Football League.
Shank runs with the theme from there and delivers a good article on Colt McCoy. If you've seen him in college and especially this Sunday, you get the impression that McCoy is the real deal, although agreeing with Shank is, you know, awkward...

Monday, November 08, 2010

Stand By Your Man

Shank's column is, sure enough, about yesterday's loss to the Browns, mentioning (in no particular order) Fredo Corleone, Belichick, Mangini, the Sopranos and Bill Parcells. His mindset, for now, remains "In Bill We Trust"; the rest of the team, not so much:

Oddly enough, this horrible loss beautifully demonstrates how great Belichick has been this year. Through the first seven games of the season, he had this suspect group compiling the best record in the NFL. Truly amazing. We knew it was a house of cards. How often does the team with the best record in football rank 28th in total defense and 31st in pass defense? Even the hired hands from “The Big Show’’ and the WBZ All Suck-up gang knew this was not the best team in football. Still, it sounded good for the week that it lasted.

Now we all are back to reality. The Patriots are 6-2, tied with the Jets. Next week they are at Pittsburgh. Then they have the Colts at home. Suddenly the SS Patriot looks like a southbound cruise ship.
Like the New England weather, ask yourself this: don't like Shank's opinions? Just wait a column or two; it'll change.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Name That Column Theme!

Today's New England Patriots' loss to the Cleveland Browns, 34 - 14, will be the first big test of Shank's newfound love affair with coach Bill Belichick.

Will Shank a) stand by his man, or b) turn on a dime and throw the coach under the proverbial bus? Will there be c) no column for the next few days as Shank broods in his hotel room? Did I d) miss any scenarios here?

I'm going contrarian with a), because I have trouble believing that even Shank would be so transparently stupid and turn on a dime so suddenly. Then again, he's done that before. Who knows with this guy?

So, vote early and often!

Laying It On, Thick

I smell a rat - Shank manages to write something nice about Bill Belichick. The column starts off badly (Paul Simon lyrics), and how can a column not get better from there?

I still can't believe he wrote this column. Is this the universe where Spock has a goatee?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

An Excerpt From Shank's Radio Show

I tuned into his radio show this morning around 11:45, and I heard something that was both amusing and telling.

The amusing part - co-host Adam Jones dressed up for Halloween as... Shank Shaughnessy! He bought this curly / shag wig and went to a Halloween party with it; apparently a few people got the joke, but that was the extent of the costume.

Here's the telling part. As they segued to what other things would have made a good Shank costume, a few items mentioned were a notepad, pencil, tape recorder (that's from memory; wasn't able to take notes on that part). When discussing Shank costume accessories, the very first thing out of Shank's mouth was:

"Having bloggers say nasty things about you." (said in an entirely serious tone - ed.)

OK, that was amusing, too! But it reinforces the sentiment written a few times on this website over the past years - Dan Shaughnessy has very thin skin. He routinely says nasty things about others in his column (Belichick, Kraft, Ortiz, Jeff Stone, Ramirez, Martinez, Garciaparra, Schilling, Epstein, Henry, et. al.), but basically complains when others return fire. Shank's whining reminds me of this phrase...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

He Said / He Said, or Man Up, Hypocrite

Take your pick. Today's Shank Globe column is as predictable as it gets. Behold, the power of words:

All-World yapper Kevin Garnett got into it with Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva with 2:39 left in the Celtics’ victory over the Pistons at Auburn Hills, Mich., Tuesday night. Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis, a skin disorder that causes hair loss, and after the game, he tweeted that Garnett had called him “a cancer patient.’’ As part of a taunt.

Do not underestimate the power of the tweet. The story took on a life of its own. ESPN was quick out of the gate, then the story hit local sports radio. Just after 4 p.m., Garnett issued this statement: “I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night. My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact, ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.’

“I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball.’’

“I actually heard what Kevin said,’’ Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before last night’s 105-102 overtime victory over the Bucks. “What he released is what he said.’’
The rational person would think the story ends right then and there, but this is Shank we're talking about. While this column does not rise to the level of "Shank's on his high horse again", we are treated to his level of tolerance:

But the disclosure of Tuesday’s events was a rare window into what goes on between the lines, where the basic rule of engagement is that there are no rules of engagement. Nothing is off-limits. What has changed is that now we find out about vile garbage that dares not speak its name. We never would have known about it in the genteel good old days.

Whichever version you believe, it’s tasteless. It’s offensive. It’s way beyond the typical schoolyard, “You’re fat, you’re ugly, your mother wears army boots.’’ There’s nothing funny about poking fun at cancer. It is a universal scourge. It is off-limits in every arena of mankind.
Further into the column, Shank demonstrates his hypocrisy (We never would have known about it in the genteel good old days.):

“You could not print all the things we said,’’ said Cedric Maxwell, Ainge’s teammate from the 1980s and a Hall of Fame trash talker. “You could not write it all down. The families. The moms. Didn’t make any difference. We didn’t have to be politically correct. We could be asinine.

“I remember one guy, before the start of a playoff series, saying, ‘No way that bitch is getting 40 points off of me.’ Somebody wrote that down and it actually got in the paper.’’

I know. Because Max said it about Bernard King, and I wrote it down, and it appeared in the Sunday Globe on the day of the first game of the 1984 Eastern Conference semifinals between the Celtics and Knicks. King refused to shake Max’s hand before the game. King didn’t get his 40 until Game 3, but the Celtics won the series.
Does anyone seriously think this (or the 1984) column get written if Larry Bird was the trash talker in question?

Like writing about Jacoby Ellsbury getting 'carved up' on Boston sports talk radio, with Shank being one of the carvees, he bemoans the trash talking in the NBA, but eagerly participates in its dissemination when it suits his purposes. This is the picture perfect definition of hypocrisy. If there was any to be had in the first place, this column serves to pour Shank's credibility down the drain.

UPDATE at 6:40 PM - commenter 'redsock' points out something Shank wrote some time ago. I can't find the original article; looks likely that the Globe deep-sixed it, and for good reason: (link isn't working - copy & paste )

Once ripped on a mentally-disabled ballplayer (Jeff Stone) for his lack of intelligence.
I'd like to see the original article before commenting further, but if this is right, Shank goes far beyond hypocrite, and I'll leave it at that. Commenter 'g' - I know where you're coming from, but I need to see the original article in some form before ripping the sonofabitch. I'll do some more digging and report back anything I find.

UPDATE II at 7:15 PM - I bet it's this article, which sits behind a pay wall. I'm not going to break a sixteen year streak of not giving the Globe money, so there it will sit.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I'll Take Door Number Two, Monty

That was a tough call. It's mea culpa time!

Shank, October 7, 2010:

Not me. I’m with the late George Allen. The future is now, baby. And the Patriots are not better now than they were Monday night in Miami.

Once again, we are reminded that the Patriots believe “the system’’ is more important than the talent. Who needs Moss when you have Tate, Ninkovich, and Chung? Emboldened by Monday’s impressive win — scoring 41 points without Moss catching a pass — Belichick is again telling Patriot players and fans that the vaunted machine can operate with any combination of parts. Players don’t matter. They are all replaceable (except Brady, of course). And just think how good the Patriots will be when they draft all of those players.
Shank, this morning:


The Patriots are better without Moss. I certainly did not believe this when they dealt Moss to the Vikings four weeks ago. I thought it was a signal that they were giving up on the 2010 season. But as always, Belichick knows his team better than us. Bill could not be more right about this one.

The Patriots are better without Moss because they are more like the old Patriots we came to know and love back in the beginning of the 21st century. Those Patriots stressed team above self, a mind-set impossible for Moss to grasp. Randy has no problem with the one-handed catch, but he can’t handle the concept that he’s part of a team. With No. 81 (or No. 84 in Minnesota) it’s always about Team Moss. It’s about touches and that all-important next contract.
It must have absolutely killed Shank to write this paragraph:

Belichick is vindicated by the release of Moss. Coach Bill doesn’t have to say a word. Once again Football America can see that Belichick was right. The Patriots have the best record in the National Football League and Belichick’s decision to release Moss was in the best interests of the Patriots.
Assuming he's honest, it's ironic that Shank fell into the same trap that Moss did - a decade of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (Belichick's record), Shank & Moss thought otherwise. Until now.

That's not the funniest part of the column; I hope you're sitting down for this one:

Now he has been released by a 2-5 team and he’s looking for a new job and a future contract.

It won’t be here.

Unless Bill surprises us again and decides that having Randy Moss is in the best interest of his football team. At this point, who’s going to challenge anything Bill does?

Not me.

Never again
I mentioned earlier this month - ALL of Shank's statements have an expiration date (re: above, three plus weeks). How soon will Shank backtrack on this last statement?

A Journey To San Francisco

After the San Francisco Giants stake themselves to a 3 to 1 World Series lead, Shank bravely pulls for a Giants series win:

My heart's with San Francisco.

I love the Giants and I hope they win the World Series. They take a 3-1 Series lead into tonight's Game 5 in Texas against Cliff Lee.

A lot of folks don't care about this 2010 World Series. We don't have high-profile teams from New York, Boston, Los Angeles or Chicago. There's no Texas Ranger Nation and the Giants don't have a galaxy of Cooperstown candidates. Executives at Fox no doubt would prefer the Phillies and Yankees, but I'm into the Giants. I'm into the city by the Bay.
A word of advice - it is difficult to ape lamer song lyrics then Journey, even if they are from San Francisco. Next time, at least try a (semi) San Francisco band with balls.

Other than Journey lyrics (please) and the timing of this sudden support for the Giants, I don't see a problem with the column. Shank knows his baseball history extremely well and makes compelling points. Too bad this column was written a few hours before the Giants sealed the deal. To have written this column last week would have taken, well, balls.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Grist For The Mill

I give it one in three odds that Shank's next Globe column will be on Randy Moss getting shitcanned from the Vikings. If he trashes Moss, he contradicts this Oct. 7th column; if he agrees with the move, he'll need to write a mea culpa column and admit Belichick was right to dump Moss. Tough call, eh?

UPDATE at 12:10 AM, 11/2/10 - Don Banks has the last word.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Familiar Subject For Shank?

Two or three years after everyone else who follows the National Football League already knows, Shank notices Brett Favre's massive ego. Was it the hundreds of ESPN stories that gave it away?

But enough about grudges and genius coaches and all-world wideouts. We need to remember that the most important thing about today, about every day, is insufferable glory hog Favre and his consecutive-game streak. If you don’t believe me, check out ESPN’s 24-7 candlelight vigil for Brett.
Toss in shots at Curt Schilling, A-Rod, a mention of the 'immortal' Tavaris Jackson and a song quote from the overrated Bob Dylan, and you get a truly awful column. Trick, not treat.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dan, Dan, Bandwagon Man

Shank continues to ride the wave of good Patriots tidings, at least until their next loss. Shank picks up on the PR ineptness of Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress:

He tugs on Super Coach’s cape, reminding the world that the Patriots were cheaters back in the days when they thrashed the Vikings (31-7) on “Monday Night Football’’ four years ago.

Brilliant, Brad. Why not give Bill Belichick a little more incentive before a game that could effectively end your season on Halloween?

Strange. So strange. Must be the season of the witch.

This is what Childress said Monday:

“I’m mindful of the last time we faced them here, on ‘Monday Night Football.’ It was like a surgical procedure. These were some of the all-time great signal stealers. In fact, that’s what was going on. They were holding, holding, holding. We were signaling from the sideline. They were good at it. It’s like stealing signals from the catcher.’’
Jim Croce and Donovan quote lameness aside, does anyone else find it amusing that Shank, with all his dumping on coach Bill Belichick, now reveres him? This guy's hypocrisy knows no bounds. Of course, that will change in short order.

But wait - there's more! Check out the false bravado (Shank is such a mush):

Still, I had to give it a shot. I had to demonstrate some false hustle and do the fool’s errand. Knowing it was like building a sand castle before high tide, I drove to Foxborough.

Near the end of Belichick’s always-wacky media session, I asked, “What’s your reaction when you hear an opposing coach talking about games in 2006 and stealing signals?’’

“I’m not really too worried about 2006,’’ deadpanned Bill. “I’m worried about this Sunday against Minnesota. I’m not worried about next Sunday, last Sunday, ’06, ’02, ’89. Really, it’s just Sunday.’’

OK, that’s not exactly the same as saying, “I hate the guy with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns,’’ but I sensed a little something between the lines of his non-answer. So I went back with, “What would motivate a coach to do that?’’

“I don’t know,’’ he said patiently. “Really, I’m just trying to coach this team and get ready for the Vikings. You’ll have to talk to other coaches. I don’t know.’’

(Tom Landry, George Halas, and Amos Alonzo Stagg did not return my calls.)

Giving it one more try, I offered, “As a policy for yourself, do you ever go back and talk about past games?’’

“We’ve talked about some other games before,’’ he said (he was grinning a little now). “But really, my focus is the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon. That’s what I’m here for.’’

Then he smiled, exited stage right, and said, “Is that what you were looking for?’’

Enough with the foolish questions about the desperate coach. It was time for the serious man to go to work.
My only surprise - Belichick not beating Shank with an axe handle. Finish the column off with yet another Brady Gaga reference (You're so lame, I can't believe this column's about you), and it's another fish wrap with Bruce M's favourite boring broadsheet.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - III

Since Shank can't be bothered writing Globe columns for the past ten days (Bob Ryan has at least five columns in that time span), I need to keep things moving, right?

This one's dedicated, more or less, to Bruce M., aka 'Objective'Bruce, who used to post quite frequently in previous years as Shank's sole defender. He's commented in the single digits over the past thirteen months. I wonder why that is?

Actually, I don't. There are two main reasons he is absent from this site. To the detriment of page hits to this site, I have given him nothing to argue about. I'm well acquainted with liberal / leftists with little real world experience beyond the spheres of academia and journalism, and Bruce M. fits the mold to a tee. It's a narrow, parochial world view that lends itself to snotty, condescending comments to those that disagree with said worldview, and Bruce M's. historical comments amply demonstrate this attitude. I, for one, applaud his ability to derive a living through semi-parasitic means as a former Globe writer. Shall I provide the readers of this site with a link to your current 1927-like Yankees Murderers Row of co-worker individuals with scant / nonexistent private sector experience? I eagerly await the opportunity to provide readers of this website numerous examples of Bruce M.'s world-class arrogance, and perhaps his identity, if he pisses me off enough. It's like a Shank template shitting on Coach Belichick, writ large. Bruce, do you think the DSW readers will like that NECN clip from last year?

I've hinted at the other in comment threads - I'm quite sure I know who Bruce M___ really is. I figured it out after one week of posting on this site. I talked to two Globe employees, describing the situation thusly: "There's this guy posting at the DSW site, he calls himself 'Objective'Bruce, his every post is in complete support of Shank, he supports the Globe in the most effusive manner possible..."

Both times, I was cut off in mid-sentence and given the same name, Bruce M___. Who can argue with gems like these?

As long as there is a Boston Herald, the Globe will never suck by comparison. The Globe is a good paper. It could be better. It used to be better. And if you don't read it, you are missing something.
Now there's a rallying cry - Read the Globe! We don't suck as bad as the Herald!
Sorry, I'm supposed to be bashing the Globe. My bad:
Circulation declines slow at the Globe, other newspapers

Oct 25, 2010
By Johnny Diaz, Globe Staff

Circulation declines at The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, and many other newspapers around the country slowed in the six month period that ended in September.

The Globe's daily circulation dropped 15.6 percent to 222,683 while the Herald's fell 9.8 percent to 124,691 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which measures industry results.

The Boston Sunday Globe's circulation dropped 12 percent in the period to 368,303, while the Herald's Sunday circulation fell 5.6 percent to 90,222.

The Globe's publisher, Christopher M. Mayer, said in a memo to the paper's staff today that the lower circulation figures were expected after the newspaper raised prices last summer in most areas by 30 percent to 50 percent to increase revenue.

He noted that the rate of daily and Sunday circulation declines between the new reporting period and the previous six-month reporting period last March are smaller.

"The good news is the rate of circulation decline has slowed as we cycle through the impact of the price increases,'' Mayer said.

He also noted that local traffic to the Globe's website,, grew by 2.9 percent.

"Print and online media work in concert with one another to build audience," he said.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, daily circulation at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette fell 9.3 percent from 73,207 last year to 66,397 this year. (The New York Times Co. owns T&G, The Globe, and the namesake flagship paper, The New York Times.) The Patriot Ledger in Quincy dropped 10.2 percent, from 44,729 last year to 40,154.

In Rhode Island, The Providence Journal's daily circulation declined 9.6 percent, from 106,861 to 96,595.
You still want to make some circulation bets, Bruce? You wanna dance?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Questions Unanswered

1) Why hasn't Shank written a column for the Globe in over a week? Maybe we should be grateful for small favors.

2) Shank's weekly CNN / SI column features Red Sox owner John Henry's recent purchase of English Premier League's Liverpool FC, and gives the thumbnail sketch of John Henry's biography. One part juts out more than others:

The most traumatic event of Henry's Red Sox tenure came when brilliant young general manager Theo Epstein resigned suddenly after the 2005 season. Henry blamed himself for the departure and suggested, "Maybe I'm not fit to run the Red Sox.'' Epstein eventually returned and Henry came to regret his remark.

Unanswered: just why did Theo Epstein suddenly resign? It couldn't possibly be a direct result of Shank's infamous Dirty Laundry column, could it? Did he have a hard time convincing others his hands were clean?

Then again, some questions answer themselves...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Question Answered

Monkeesfan asks - Oh my goodness gracious, to coin a Susan Waldman-ism. What will Shank say now, with the Patriots grinding out a 23-20 overtime win?

This is a rhetorical question. Fans of the site know precisely what will happen - Shank will jump back on the bandwagon!

It was the feel-good game of the year in New England. It reminded Patriots fans of the good old days when the Pats won with brains and teamwork.

Playing without Randy Moss for the first time since 2006, the Sons of Bill Belichick beat the estimable Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in overtime on Sunday to improve to 4-1, a half-game behind the Jets in the AFC East.
Since this is a CNN / SI article, check out the rest of it, and try to ignore yet another mention of Danny Woodhead's height...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Angst For A Readable Column

Shank accentuates the positive yet again in today's column:

FOXBOROUGH — Losses sting. Season-ending losses last. They are the broken hearts of competition. The mind never forgets.

One of the curses of athletic success is that it generally puts you into some kind of tournament. Playoffs are designed to produce a single champion, which means that most good teams end their season with a loss. Talk to friends who played on a winning high school sports team and you’ll find that 95 percent of them finished their careers with a loss.
In a column that sets the table for today's Ravens / Patriots game, Shank passes on a free dump on coach Belichick and actually heaps a small amount of praise on him for opening up a little bit. And I was expecting the worst from Shank...

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Spoke Too Soon

If you thought yesterday's column was bad, Shank lowers the bar today with a Picked Up PiecesTM column, the type of column you write when you need to hit a monthly quota and / or need to demonstrate to the whole world you have nothing else worth writing about. That, or he's just flipping the bird to his editors again.

DHL Dan, mailing in yet another underwhelming column...

In other news, commenter Paul points out a Globe letter to the editor written by Claudia Williams, daughter of Ted Williams. Claudia took offense at one sentence of Shank's tribute to Ted from a few weeks ago. She mentions something interesting & revealing with this sentence:

John-Henry (Claudia's brother - Ed.) trusted Shaughnessy and provided him with firsthand information to help him write privileged stories.
I wonder if that will make Shank feel like the asshole / scumbag Claudia's making him out to be?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Shit From Shank

Shank ungracefully covers a mini-press conference with Tom Terrific yesterday, with equally ungraceful writing:

FOXBOROUGH — The door to the Patriots locker room swung open at 11:15 a.m. The media herd shuffled through the doorway and slouched to the stall of Tom Brady. This was QB 12’s first group session since the Randy Moss shocker, and everybody with a microphone wanted a spot at the foot of Brady Gaga.

In the wake of Charley Casserly’s wild report on CBS last Sunday, I was expecting to see Brady rolling on the clubhouse carpet, wrestling with Jerod Mayo and tugging at the linebacker’s whiskers. I figured there might be a photo of Floyd the Barber on Brady’s locker — more evidence of teammates chiding him for his long hair. Just as Randy Moss supposedly did.
The 'ace' Boston Globe sports columnist continues to be pleased with his self-defined wit with the 'Brady Gaga' moniker. Well, we know they both have dicks, right?

Shank lies to his readers yet again:

Asked about the fashionable, post-trade Moss bashing, Brady said, “I didn’t follow any of it. I wouldn’t bash him. I don’t think any of our teammates would bash him. Were you guys bashing him?’’

Not me.
Give me a break. Bashing Randy Moss was so last month! Shank's opinions have expiration dates. It's as simple as that.

Read the rest of the article, if you dare, for Shank's seething, barely concealed contempt of the New England Patriots organization.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Carry That Weight

The Curse of Juan Gonzalez has been lifted. While Shank did not explicitly predict the Rangers to fold like a cheap card table, do you think there will be a mea culpa from him on this series? I don't know about you, but I'm not holding my breath...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Curse of Juan González?

Shank's weekly CNN / SI article features the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, currently tied at 2 games apiece. As befits Shank's primary strength, he focuses on the Rangers' playoff futility:

The Texas Rangers might be moving slowly Tuesday night when they play the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth and deciding game of their American League Division Series. The Rangers will be carrying the weight of five decades of failure. It's a heavy load.

Born as the second version of the Washington Senators in 1961, the Rangers are the only major league franchise which has never won a playoff series. That's oh-for-a-half-century. It's a lot of weight.
A decent column follows, including an Elvis sighting and a few sentences on the Red Sox. Just don't call Shank provincial!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Right On Cue

Barely a day passes, and we see Shank go from happy to sad, declaring the Patriots a worse team since the Randy Moss trade. With Shank's track record on predictions, that tells me the Patriots will probably win their next six games.

Also, I thought Shank would be a bit harsher on Moss, right?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Day Late, Dollar Short

I'm semi-interested why it took the alleged ace Boston Globe sports columnist to write an article about an event that happened a full day prior to publication, and a rather poor article at that:

Bill Belichick has front teeth.

He’s been here more than 10 years, and I never knew. But Monday night, in the minutes after a wildly satisfying 41-14 road demolition of the Miami Dolphins, Belichick actually smiled when he was asked a question. I saw the front teeth.

Belichick grinned in response to a query regarding the stellar play of his special teams in the big Monday night win. After his guys blocked a field goal for a touchdown, blocked a punt to set up a touchdown, ran back a kickoff for a touchdown, and forced five touchbacks on seven kickoffs, Belichick was asked about the play of his special teams.

The official transcript of BB’s response starts, “They were all right (laughing) . . .’’

They were all right? It is the first time I can remember Belichick described as “laughing’’ while giving a response.

Wow. Belichick is going all Pete Carroll on us. Pumped and jacked. Old Laughing Boy. Mr. High Five. It’s surprising that BB didn’t pull a Francona and start talking about “Tommy,’’ “Woody,’’ “Chungy,’’ “Ninky,’’ “Happy,’’ “Grumpy,’’ and “Sneezy.’’
I'm not an English major, but this 'style' of writing is absolute rubbish. The only person who could defend this drivel (yes, another 'Brady Gaga' quip follows) are folks like Bruce M. ObjectiveBruce, former commenter on this board (and there's a reason for that).

POLL TIME - To paraphrase Richard M. Nixon, Shank won't have Randy Moss to kick around anymore. Or will he? Do you think Shank, obviously brimming with contempt for the Patriots, will take one last shot at him in his next article? Isn't this an easy bet? I say yes. Vote early & often in the comments!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Shank On The Yanks

The general pattern is that Shank's CNN / SI columns are well superior to his Boston Globe columns (not a high bar to clear), but this one sticks out more than others on a few levels. His interest in baseball seems a little more heightened than it's been for the past six months, plus he talks to the Yankees' A-Rod, which seems to fit the pattern of antagonizing playoff baseball players. What's not to like?

A personal touch is needed for this part of Shank's ouevre:

I spent last week in Los Angeles as a panelist on ESPN's Jim Rome Is Burning. On Friday afternoon, while the Yanks were in Boston in the cramped visitors' clubhouse (New York had 56 players on its roster for the final weekend), I was on TV expressing my thoughts about the Yankees' apparent disinterest in winning the AL East. I warned that it could be tough on the Bronx Bombers if they went to Minnesota for Game 1 and lost the first game with CC Sabathia on the hill.
I saw this segment at the bar. I did not hear a freakin' word he said, but he was so much more relaxed and smooth than I've ever seen him on air. I'll give him props on that front.

Back in Boston, the Rome show aired live in the visitors' clubhouse. When Alex Rodriguez heard me casting doubt on the Yankee strategy and painting a doomsday scenario against the Twins, he walked over to the clubhouse TV and turned it off.

Sunday morning in Boston, when the Yanks still had a chance to win the division, I sauntered over to A-Rod's locker at Fenway and asked him why he turned me off on the clubhouse TV.

"Too negative,'' said the Yankee slugger. "I didn't want our young players to hear that.''
Too negative. That's our Danny Boy! I wonder what A-Rod thinks of Michael Felger?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Beating A Dead Horse

With all the predictability of the sun rising in the east, Shank's latest (and hopefully last) column on the 2010 Red Sox reads like most other 2010 Red Sox columns. In fact, Shank needs to tell you twice about how many errors the Red Sox committed this year:

Your 2010 Red Sox made a whopping 60.8 percent more errors than the playoff-bound Yankees. The Red Sox finished 12th out of 14 American League teams in fielding percentage. The Sox made 42 more errors than the Yankees in 2010.
You ever get the feeling he's just piling on?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

It's A Twofer - II

Shank had a long day yesterday. First was his radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, where he helpfully informed the audience that he'd be at the BC - Notre Dame game last night, which ended close to midnight. He weaves accounts of that game with partial mentions of the Red Sox - Yankees doubleheader into a column that comes across as bland and semi-informative.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shank On Teddy Ballgame

Shank's column from Wednesday focuses on Ted Williams, who hit a home run in his final at-bat a little over 50 years ago.

My favorite part:

I met him for the first time at Cooperstown in the late 1980s. He arrived for an interview at the Otesaga Hotel, sat down at a giant round table of scribes, and waited for a first question from the intimidated bunch. After a long, awkward pause, Ted finally said, “Scared to death, aren’t ya?’’ Ted was a man who could make “writer’’ sound like a four-letter word.
In some quarters, it is.

Excellent article by Shank.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Red Sox Post-Mortem At CNN / SI

Shank devotes this week's CNN / SI column to the 2010 Boston Red Sox, aka The Bridge Year. He cites the highlights & lowlights and wonders what's in store for next year and beyond. Quite the tame article when compared to his Sunday article, which conveniently omitted the rash of Red Sox injuries this year...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just A Little Bit

When you start an article with a Spiro Agnew reference, there isn't too much hope for the rest of the article. However, Shank eventually delivers the goods about the newest member of the Patriots, Danny Woodhead.

It's a test of wills. Can you endure Shank's stupid nicknames and a wave of short jokes for 9 paragraphs to get to the readable part? Take the test!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game Over, Man!

Shank comes here not to praise them, but to bury them:

Not long ago, Red Sox Elimination Day was part of the New England calendar, right there with Evacuation Day, Flag Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Elimination Day is the day when the Red Sox are officially erased from playoff contention. In most of the 1950s and 1960s, E-D (works on multiple levels, no?) usually fell sometime in the middle of September as the woeful Red Sox wrestled for seventh or eighth place alongside the likes of the Washington Senators and Kansas City Athletics. There was a lot of bad ownership and bad baseball. The Sox made it to the postseason only once between 1918 and 1967.

We are spoiled in this century. The Red Sox have made it to the postseason in six of the last seven seasons. There has been good ownership and good baseball.
Not sure when the last time he's ever praised ownership, but it's one of the few positive angles you'll find in the column. He's all over Big Papi for comments made last Wednesday, then (surprise!) calls the Red Sox 'hypocrites' for planning a day to honor retiring Red Sox player Mike Lowell. Why let consistency get in the way of a good ranting column?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Class Warfare?

Imagine my surprise at a Boston Globe columnist complaining about the types of fans that attend New England Patriots home games nowadays.


Not when Shank leads off with perhaps John Lennon's funniest comment:

“Would those of you in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.’’
Shank then goes on to rehash Tom Brady's comments from last week concerning Patriots fans leaving early from the win over the Bengals. Anyone who has experienced the pleasure of driving Route 1 northbound after a Pats game would probably tell Tom to ride shotgun (better yet, let him take the wheel) during said drive, then ask him if his opinion's changed. According to Shank, we're all cool with Tom Brady's opinion:

Typically, most Patriots fans accepted the slap. New England football fans rarely challenge Messrs. Kraft, Belichick, or Brady on any topic.
Shank then puts a few words in Tom's mouth:

This explains why Brady can call them out as overstuffed brie-eaters who want to beat the traffic.
Way to interject yourself into the story, Shank! Brie must taste better when it's force fed down your gullet. That's how they fatten up geese, right?

Finally, Shank puts his finger on one of the reasons for Tom's comments:

They admit they are quiet. A lot of them are in a rush to get out; Route 1 on game days is a blacktop gulag. Some have complained that they are not encouraged to stand and make noise during the games. After Brady’s remarks, there were calls to talk radio from fans who said they’d been told by security that they cannot stand during the games.

“We don’t have a policy that you can’t stand,’’ Patriots publicist Stacey James said. “If there are multiple complaints about someone standing the entire game, then sometimes an usher will try to mediate and ask people to sit. But it’s got to be multiple complaints.’’
Interesting remarks: "most Patriots fans accepted the slap", doesn't quite square with "there were calls to talk radio from fans who said they’d been told by security that they cannot stand during the games" unless specific numbers are involved, does it? So who's lying, the fans or the publicist? I'll go with the publicist. Can't be Shank lying to us...

The other reason for the lack of noise: Gillette Stadium is basically open on one end, which makes it quite different from, say, Arrowhead Stadium, which Shank touches upon later in the column.

One more Shank oddity coming up:

Brady’s words won’t change anything. Ours is not a football culture.
But what did you tell us a mere eight days ago, Shank?

All football all the time. Nothing else matters.
Dan Shaughnessy, the Ultimate Weathervane.

UPDATE at 7:30 PM - It may have been Shank who coined the phrase 'pink hats' to describe recent (post-2004) Red Sox bandwagon converts; we need something equally condescending for recent Patriots converts!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Mojo Is Back

That's Shank's basic description of the New York Jets after Sunday's win over the Patriots. As is the case with most of his CNN / SI articles, it is a good article and does not 'sample' from other written Shank articles.

I wonder how this incident will affect the Jets' mojo.

Monday, September 20, 2010


A good first half for the Patriots, followed by a bad second half, results in a 28-14 loss to the New York Jets yesterday afternoon. Shank is all over the Patriots loss, chock full of lame metaphors, dumb cliches and choppy, disjointed writing. I was expecting a little more (ok, a lot more) nastiness in this article, but a little nastiness goes a long way (say, over the next five columns or so).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hype Not Believed

Shank goes out on a limb today:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — What would be sweeter than beating the Jets today?

The Jets have it coming. They’ve been talking trash for months, and now the larger forces are coming back to bite them in the glutes.


New England won eight of the last nine games it played against the Jets in Giants Stadium. Most of those games were played in the glare of massive media hype — back in the days when neutral fans rooted for the Jets to beat the blue meanies from New England.

Not now. Against the Jets today, the Patriots are America’s Team.
America's Team? Give me a break. What Shank's doing is obvious - if the Patriots win, he can pat himself on the back. If they lose (or tie), he can continue shitting on them for another week. Disingenuous to the extreme.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pitiful Performance

That's Shank's description of the Jets' game last week. It also serves to describe the effort (lack thereof) put into this column. Third sentence in, we are welcomed once again to the cleverness of Dan Shaughnessy:

Yesterday, Brady Gaga softened his stance a little.
Soon thereafter, the column looks a lot like Shank's CNN / SI column from August 30. Shank keeps the professional tone intact by referring to Bill Belichick as 'Hoodie' and
Old Laughing Boy didn’t like that one, not one bit. He’s best served when surrounded by doubters and lightweights buying into the myth of Jet supremacy.
Compare that last sentence to what Shank wrote 2 weeks ago - not a hint of doubt about the myth of Jet supremacy. "I was for the Jets, before I was against them!"

Shank finishes with trademark mockery:

Division opponent. I love that one. It’s so understated. The Jets are a divisional opponent the way the Yankees are a divisional opponent.
Can his columns get any more derisive of the Patriots? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nothing Else Matters

This week's CNN / SI column focuses on the NFL and how it crowds out other sports this time of the year. The early portion of the column exhibits Shank's continuing man crush on Tom Brady, and there's also some 'sampling' from an earlier Shank column, which doubles as a sorry excuse for rapier wit:

In this century, Brady is New England's Michael Jackson. He is Brady Gaga.
There are fewer things more pathetic than being pleased with your own cleverness; I just can't think of them right now...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mountain... Molehill

Randy Moss plays right into Shank's hands with his post-game press conference.

FOXBOROUGH — It would be overstating things to claim that we’ve never heard or seen anything like this before. We have, after all, seen Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch, and there was the night in Miami when Billy Sullivan yanked coach Chuck Fairbanks off the field before the start of a game. We watched Roger Clemens set himself on fire in Oakland and Don Zimmer make a bull rush for Pedro Martinez.
The only thing that's overstated is Shank's reaction to it. To compare this presser to Tom Cruise jumping on a couch is absurd, as are the Oil Can Boyd / Manny Ramirez comparison. The column drips with lame metaphors and subtle (and not so subtle) digs at the Patriots organization. I cannot take this column as seriously as Shank would like us to. His agenda is pretty obvious.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Glass Is Half Empty

Leave it to Shank to commemorate the 2010 - 2011 New England Patriots in the most negative light possible:

The last memory is a bad one.

For every team in town.

The moribund Red Sox came into this season still smarting from Jonathan Papelbon setting himself on fire on the Fenway Park mound and melting in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 2009 Division Series.

The Celtics will go into their new season looking at champagne bottles that never were popped at the Staples Center, still wondering whether Kendrick Perkins could have made a difference in Game 7.

The Bruins want to burn the tapes and make fans swallow amnesia pills. The 2010 spring hockey choke in the Hub was as bad as any wound the Red Sox ever inflicted, and the Sons of Claude cannot start soon enough to make us forget the Flyer debacle.

Now say hello to your 2010 New England Patriots.

Our last memory of the Patriots at Gillette Stadium is no better than the nightmare finishes furnished by other local teams. Eight months ago, we watched Ray Rice run 83 yards without being touched (it was Gump-like) as the Ravens bolted to a 24-0 first-quarter lead in a playoff game against the once-unbeatable-at-Gillette Patriots.
Shank dumps on all four professional franchises, hitting for the cycle...

Bumpy Column

When Shank starts off like this:

Tom Brady is our Beatle. He is our Jacko. He is Brady Gaga.
...there isn't much need to read further. A simply awful column, even by Shank's standards.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Show And Don't Tell

Shank is not a fan of New England Patroits press conferences. His disdain for coach Bill Belichick is on full display in today's column, which is more 'standing headline' than anything else. It's no secret that Belichick keeps his cards close to his chest and says next to nothing at these press conferences, but Shank inevitably writes one such column every year in order to generate some faux outrage in over-the-top prose worthy of an Al Pacino movie:

But the Patriots are not the Jets. The Patriots are the Nixon White House of sports. They see demons everywhere. They bash dissent, deny the obvious, and rely on a silent majority of loyalists (including some credentialed media) to pledge allegiance.

The Patriots have a Kremlinesque video camera trained on the assembled media during Bill Belichick’s press conferences. (Think they’d send me a highlight tape of myself eating cookies and asking keen questions over the last 10 years?) I’ve always wondered whether there is some in-house lackey responsible for logging the tapes and identifying enemies.
I think you'd have to go back 10 years, or more, to find an example of Shank asking a keen question. I will agree that the Patriots training a camera on the press pool is creepy and, yes, Kremlinesque.

Throw in a Red Sox reference in a column ostensibly about the Patriots, and you have another of Shank's templated columns.

UPDATE at 2:25 PM - Tom Brady doesn't want to talk about his contract extension, either. Soviet Premier Belichickov got to comrade Bradovsky somehow...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

But When Did He Take A Leak, Shank?

Shank covers the last round of the Deutsche Bank Championship yesterday and strangely devotes nary a word of the column to Charley Hoffman, the winner by five shots. Instead, he writes his entire column about Tiger Woods, who finished in 11th place. In what may be termed a bipolar column, Shank shows half man-crush, half Shank throughout. He throws in a few half-clever sexual double entendres, reuses a stock explanation ("His is not a comeback to be equated with a guy returning from major surgery or major leaguers who came back from World War II to play baseball in 1946.") and summarizes Tiger's post tournament interview while weaving in a comparison to Wade Boggs.

Shank's conclusion:

What else is there to say? It was awesome.
What a fanboy...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Who Cares About College Football?

According to Shank, it's not us. Although college football was "practically invented in the northeast", Shank assures us that we are a professional sports town. It's not the first time Shank has expressed such an opinion (I'm unable to locate previous articles stating this sentiment with respect to college football), and Shank also throws in the seeming disinterest in local college basketball and hockey to bolster this argument.

While it may be difficult to actually gauge or quantify levels of interest between college and pro sports in this neck of the woods, Shank provides many examples of the past popularity of college football (roughly dating from 1920 to the Flutie-era BC Eagle football teams) and the more recent dearth of college sports coverage in print and radio. It's likely that shift is attributable in part or in whole to the likes of Yaz, Orr, Bird & Brady. I don't agree with him on the John Calipari era UMass teams, probably because this is where I started following college basketball. While I follow college and pro sports (currently half-watching the Navy - Maryland football game), I think there are more occasions where the pro games (of all types) seem to be bigger events, and perhaps more numerous, than their college counterparts. For example, (end of September - early October) even with the Red Sox out of playoff contention, the Red Sox - Yankees series will always draw like a magnet, or the Patriots playing a division rival. To quote Shank,

That's just the way it goes. We are a professional sports town.
A reasonable statement; I'm just not entirely convinced.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Wonder What Took Him So Long?

Manny Ramirez, newest member of the Chicago White Sox, comes to Boston on Friday. Shank waits until today to unload on Manny, leaving virtually no stone unturned. It's one of Shank's better vindictive pieces. I can't do it justice with excerpts; go forth with pinched nose and read it all, for it is classic Shank...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pick Up The Pieces

Maybe the recent string of 90+ degree days in the Boston area has something to do with it, but Shank trots out another edition of the Picked Up Pieces column, normally a disjointed pile of rambling twaddle with a few interesting nuggets thrown in so as to prevent us from shaking our heads throughout the entire column. This month's edition is no different, and, practically in midseason form, starts off with Take A Dump On Bob Kraft Day:

The once-great Channel 4 has officially sold its news soul to the New England Patriots. “All Access’’ is one thing, and here on Morrissey Boulevard we are compromised because of the awkward New York Times 17 percent stake in the Red Sox (hence, our court-mandated NESN appearances). But WBZ-TV has officially morphed into a 24/7 Patriot infomercial for Bob Kraft enterprises. These preseason home broadcasts have become outright ridiculous. Channel 4 feeds us nonstop promotions on the owner, Patriot Place, and the CBS Scene.

For the Rams game, Kraft insisted that the “talent’’ wear red shirts with Patriot logos. This was done in the interest of promoting the Patriot “brand.’’ Affable Steve Burton plays along, calling the diminutive Kraft “Mr. Big.’’ What’s next for Burton and Dan Roche — propeller beanies with Flying Elvises and Pat Patriots? Pom-poms, megaphones, and Patriot letter sweaters?

It’s one thing to insist that broadcasters spread the gospel of the team, but when you make them wear team garb, you’re telling the world that the station is in the bag. “All Access’’ becomes All Suck-Up. The station can’t be trusted to report anything real or remotely negative about the team. Channel 4 is deeper in the tank with the Patriots than WEEI is — no small achievement.
I wonder what's worse - a TV station that has a pro-Patriots reporting slant, or a Globe sports columnist who criticizes a Red Sox player by stating
"Ellsbury has played only nine games all season and is clearly at odds with the Sox management, medical staff and teammates. And he's getting carved up on Boston's sports talk programs."
...who fails to disclose the fact that he's one of the carvees? You make the call!

P.S. Hey, Danny Boy, you gonna watch Tiger Woods take a leak this weekend?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Ask, and ye shall receive:
It’s liberating.

We can all stop now. We can stop scoreboard watching, and doing math tricks, and harboring silly hope that there’s a big surge ahead that will thrust the Red Sox into the 2010 playoffs.

Better to cease with the torment now and accept the obvious. The Sox are not going to be in the hunt in October. The Boston baseball season is going to end Sunday, Oct. 3, at Fenway Park. When Game No. 162 is over, the Yankees will leave town and start their American League Division Series. The Sox will scatter to the four winds.
I think having 20 guys on the disabled list during the year is the only reason Shank's column isn't as vicious as I was expecting.

Anyone else believe Shank had half this article written back in February?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shank On Patriots / Jets

We're all waiting for the inevitable 2010 Red Sox post-mortem / reaming from Shank, but we'll have to make do until then with another good CNN / SI column:

The pro football season can't start soon enough. Here in New England, we can't wait for Week 2 when the Patriots play the Jets at the new football theatre (WTF? - Ed.) off exit 16W in the Meadowlands.

The Patriots and their fans hate the Jets with the proverbial power of 10,000 suns. It's Red Sox-Yankees with tailgates and goal posts.
I didn't agree with this sentiment last year, but as time and events march on, I'm closer to agreeing with it. Shank starts the rivalry's history with Bill Parcells bolting for the Jets in 1997 and takes it to last week's comment by Tom Brady that he hates the Jets.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good Josh, Bad Josh

Making up for lost productivity over the past month, Shank bangs out his third consecutive column in as many days. Today he focuses on Josh Beckett, who's not exactly having a career year in 2010 but had a good game yesterday until the seventh inning.

Also worth mentioning - good Shank writing and, um, most of his other stuff...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


In rare consecutive day columns, Shank ponders Johnny Damon's reason(s) for not coming to Boston. Naturally, he trashes Damon's book before coming close with...

It really makes me wonder how bad things got for him in Boston at the end, when he was negotiating for a new contract after the 2005 season.
He then trashes Red Sox fans (childish, inane, nitwits) before coming out with this gem:

Damon came here from Oakland because Boston offered the best deal. When his contract was up, the Sox offered four years at $40 million while the Yankees offered four years at $52 million. It’s a significant difference. Damon wasn’t a guy who left for one extra dollar. He left because the Yankees outbid the Sox — by a lot.
That's not exactly how Shank viewed the situation at the time:

Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing. ... So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue. It's fair to say this is becoming a winter of discontent in Red Sox Nation. Ben and Jed and Craig and Larry and Tom and John and Crosby, Stills & Nash can spin this anyway they want, but Sox fans can't escape the conclusion that there's chaos at the top. The Josh Beckett trade bought some goodwill and glad tidings, but losing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow to the foundation of the Nation.
And the finish:

Damon’s decision to eschew Boston hurts the Red Sox on and off the field. And we may never know the real reason.
It's kind of funny to observe the undisputed heavyweight champion of running athletes out of Boston act like he doesn't understand why Johnny Damon isn't coming back to the Red Sox.