Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Going Green

Our Danny Boy repeats his prediction from nearly a fortnight ago:

The Celtics will beat the Cavaliers in Round 2 of the NBA playoffs.

There. I said it.

Call me a knucklehead. Call me old-school. Call me a fool (Cedric Maxwell did). This was my pick before the start of the playoffs.

It's right there in black and white, on the sports pages of The Boston Globe on April 15:

"I'm picking the old green guys to at least make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. That means they'll beat Miami in the first round, then beat Cleveland in the second round.''
I think he's putting too much faith in Rasheed Wallace coming through in any meaningful way, and he's definitely putting way too much stock in the following:

The Cavaliers carry the weight of all Cleveland teams that failed in the last half-century. They are burdened by Earnest Byner's fumble and John Elway's Drive, and Jose Mesa spitting the bit in the 1997 World Series. Clevelanders live with the Curse of Rocky Colavito. The Cavaliers have not recovered from the stunning loss to the Magic in last year's conference finals. They play with the pressure of knowing that LeBron might be gone at season's end.
You know, you could probably write a book on such a phenomenon...

Monday, April 26, 2010

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing

Since Shank cannot be bothered to write about two professional sports teams currently in the playoffs (Bruins & Celtics) or the Red Sox for the past four days, here's something to pass the time - is it called cause and effect?

Circulation at major newspapers around the country, including The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald, continued to drop as more readers get their news online, according to new figures released today.

The Globe's daily circulation fell 23.2 percent to 232,432 in the six-month period that ended in March, compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The Globe's Sunday circulation dropped 18.8 percent to 378,949.
The trend seems to be accelerating.

One commenter insists that the Globe ain't going anywhere. Wouldn't the environment be better served with less newspapers printed, thus saving key portions of the rainforest?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Hondo, And More

You turn your back for one day, and what happens? Shank comes out with three columns, that's what.

Shank compares Glen Davis to Hondo and other Celtics:

No problem. In the proud tradition of Frank Ramsey, John Havlicek, and Kevin McHale, Glen Davis reminded us that he’s good enough to start every night in the NBA. Baby Grande torched the Heat last night, scoring a bull-rush 23 points with eight rebounds in 29 minutes of a too-easy 106-77 Game 2 victory.
Shank then doubles up on Beatles (ok, one John Lennon) song references when discussing Red Auerbach:

Kevin Garnett, Boston’s most important player, could not play in the second game of the Celtics-Heat first-round playoff series. When Kendrick Perkins and Jermaine O’Neal jumped center just after 8 p.m., Garnett was reported to be watching from an office inside the New Garden. The combustible KG was serving a one-game suspension for throwing an elbow in a stupid incident that unfolded near the Miami bench in the final minute of Game 1.

Red never would have allowed this to happen. In Red’s world, you instigate, then let the other team get penalized for hitting back. Or maybe you send Jim Loscutoff into a game to mix it up with Wilt Chamberlain, hoping they both get ejected. You’ll gladly swap Loscy for Wilt. It’s a good deal for the Celtics.

Losing Garnett while the Heat lose no one? That’s a horrible deal. It’s an example of the Celtics getting whupped at the game Red invented.

It would not be incorrect to say that Red wrote the book on basketball gamesmanship. Because . . . Red literally wrote the book on basketball gamesmanship.
Then Shank watched the Bruins in double overtime while working in a Simon & Garfunkel reference:

The Bruins last night beat the Sabres, 3-2, on Miroslav Satan’s backhander past Ryan Miller in the eighth minute of the second overtime. Boston takes a 3-1 series lead back to Niagara Falls tomorrow night.

After a spring in which we worried about early tee times for our winter franchises, the Celtics and Bruins are both on track to make it into the second round. Certainly there will be no sounds of silence on Causeway Street this month.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marathon Man

Shank covers two Boston sporting events on Monday:

Early in the afternoon, there were thousands of people running toward Kenmore Square, their faces twisted, their pain obvious at the end of an excruciating ordeal. Some needed medical treatment.

Those were the Red Sox fans, beating feet out of Fenway Park after another hideous (8-2) loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Marathon runners? Most of them were doing pretty well by comparison. Running 26.2 miles is a piece of cake compared with watching the local baseball team these days. In April 2010, the Fenway mound is Heartbreak Hill.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Celtics New Star - Hondo?

In the giddy aftermath of the Celtics 85-76 win over the Heat last night, Shank cuts loose with some serious bullshit:

Those Celtics had a star in his prime named John Havlicek, and who would have guessed that mercurial Tony Allen would morph into the Hondo of the new century?

It’s true. Allen was Mr. Sixth Man last night, beating the Heat with All-Star defense and a surprise surge of scoring. He played 29 Havlicekian minutes, scoring 14 points with three steals and two blocks, guarding Dwyane Wade for most of the second half. All this came on the night Allen won the Comcast SportsNet Sixth Star Award.

“The key for us was the defense Tony Allen did on Dwyane Wade,’’ said Celtics captain Paul Pierce.
Tony had a good game, granted, but now he's the new Hondo? This notion is too absurd to need refuting.

Not absurd is the following observation:

As for “Big Game’’ Rasheed Wallace, he scored 4 points with one rebound in 14 minutes. Maybe he’s saving his energy for the next round.
It takes a lot of energy for a 6' 10" forward to hang out near the top of the key and jack up three pointers...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Steppin' Up

That was Shank's challenge to the Boston Celtics, who host the Miami Heat for the first round of playoff basketball.

Shank makes another fearless prediction:

I’m picking the old green guys to at least make it to the Eastern Conference finals. That means they’ll beat Miami in the first round, then beat Cleveland in the second round.

That’s right. They’ll beat Cleveland. The Cavs have the best record in basketball and they have LeBron James, but the Celtics match up well with Cleveland and the Cavaliers know it.
I hope they can pull this off, but I won't be this bold.

Shank also throws in a column during a rain delay. These aren't the highest quality of column types, but at least it's a good use of time during a rain delay.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And Now For Some Boston Globe Bashing

After months of grueling, contentious negotiations with the Boston Globe's parent company, the New York Times, the Boston Newspaper Guild agreed to huge pay cuts designed to save $10 million for the struggling regional newspaper in an industry in a death spiral.

How does the ownership of the New York Times express solidarity with their union members? By rewarding themselves with massive pay raises!

Top executives at the beleaguered New York Times Company reaped hefty rewards last year, with Chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger more than doubling his total compensation to $6 million.

CEO Janet Robinson got even more, reaping $6.3 million, a 31.9 percent hike.

The pay numbers were disclosed in Securities and Exchange Commission filings yesterday.

The increases come against a backdrop of declining ad revenue, layoffs, frozen pension plans, unpaid vacations and a 5 percent pay cut for most of the rank-and-file workers last year.
Reaction to the executive compensation restructuring was wholly supportive:

"Our members are really unhappy with what is happening," said Bill O'Meara, master of the understatement president of the Newspaper Guild of New York. "They made a voluntary sacrifice to give up some of their pay to help the company out. People are losing their jobs still."

One corporate governance expert warned that even if a publicly traded company's compensation committee OK'd the compensation, it could backfire in the court of public opinion.

"I think the board may want to weigh the consequences of rewarding their executives, who may be worthy of the increases, against the damage that may occur to the company's reputation," said William Sannwald, a business professor at San Diego State University.

Michael Golden, a first cousin of Pinch's who is vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Times' Regional Media Group, took home $2.4 million in total compensation last year, up 71 percent. CFO Jim Folo received a 20 percent boost, earning $1.3 million.
In other words, 60 percent of the monetary concessions made by the Boston Newspaper Guild went into the pockets of three New York Times executives. It's worth remembering this the next time the Boston Globe / New Your Times editorial writers sanctimoniously lecture you about the virtues of unions while their ownership is simultaneously pissing on their own unions...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Save The Environment By Recycling!

Shank follows up his Thursday Globe David Ortiz column with a Monday David Ortiz column at the CNN / SI website. He borrows aplenty from the Thursday column, updates it for a few more weak Ortiz games, and voila! It's nice to know Shank cares enough about his environment to recycle.

This one from the CNN / SI article jumped out at me (emphasis added):

There's also speculation that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Last summer The New York Times revealed that Ortiz was among one of the 104 major leaguers who tested positive when all players submitted to drug testing in 2003. The Major League Players Association rushed to Ortiz' defense and childish Sox owner John Henry stated, "David said he didn't do it,'' but the damage was done.
While I don't expect Shank to be a lapdog to ownership, his current attitude towards Henry stands in sharp contrast to this column from October 2008. With respect to this one item, my opinion of Shaughnessy is somewhere between 'typical Shank backstabbing' and 'classless prick'.

Man For All Seasons

Shank keeps the Boston College theme going for another article, writing about BC's athletic director Gene DeFilippo and the 24 / 7 search for a basketball coach that resulted in the hiring of Cornell's Steve Donahue.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We Are The Champions

Boston College wins its fourth national championship in hockey last night, defeating Wisconsin 5 - 0. Shank waxes ecstatic about the composition of the team:

The BC goalie is from East Falmouth. One of the captains is from Milton, Massachusetts. They’ve got players from Weymouth, Boxford, Springfield, Reading, Braintree, Dorchester, Shrewsbury, and Needham. They’ve got a skater from Biddeford, Maine, and another one from Wallingford, Conn.

Oh, the coach is a New Englander, too. Try to find somebody in Watertown who hasn’t bumped into Jerry York at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Mt. Auburn Street.
So glad Shank's shredding that parochial New England attitude...

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Shank pens a pair of pretty good articles about Boston College's hockey team and the senior captains (three from the hockey team, one from the baseball team) that share the same dorm room / apartment on the BC campus.

BC plays the Badgers of Wisconsin tonight for the college hockey championship. Win or lose, expect Shank to make at least one cheesy reference in tomorrow's column.

Go Eagles!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Decline And Fall

...of David Ortiz is the topic du jour of Shank's Thursday column. Although it may seem shortsighted to give Ortiz this much scrutiny this early into the season, there were plenty of signs over the past two years that Ortiz has peaked as a batter, so Shank's not exactly treading new ground here. Maybe Ortiz turns it around, maybe he doesn't, but there's not a lot of room for optimism on this subject.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Two Down, 160 To Go

Shank recaps the last two Red Sox games. While there are many good points made in the article, Shank can barely contain his glee when sarcastically writing about the 'Run Prevention Sox':

■ You knew it was going to be bad when the Run Prevention Sox made their first error of 2010. And it was. The Sox and Yankees were locked in a 4-4 game in the eighth last night when Derek Jeter hit a routine grounder to short with two on and two out. Marco Scutaro’s throw bounced in front of Kevin Youkilis and everybody was safe.

What could we say other than, “Lugo would have made the play, Renteria would have made the play, Nick Green would have made the play’’? Naturally, Hideki Okajima walked the next batter and the Yankees went ahead, 5-4, on the way to a 6-4 win. It’ll probably be Boston’s only unearned run all season, but it hurt nonetheless.
Shank writes about Odd Couples:

■ There’s a catching problem in New York. Last night’s Yankee battery featured Burnett throwing to Jorge Posada. This is like pairing Nomar Garciaparra and Curt Schilling on the set of “Baseball Tonight.’’ It’s awkward. It’s two guys who don’t work well together and don’t care for one another.
You learn something new every day!

Shank then sets his sights on Red Sox ownership:

■ The Sox’ home sellout streak reached 552 last night. Boston’s immature owners (Tom Werner went on NESN’s pregame show last night and twice spanked “journalists’’ who raised questions about the club’s operation) want us to promote the brand and tell you that everything is swell in Red Sox Nation. But the sellout streak is in jeopardy, and some serious house-papering will be needed to keep the streak going this year.
So an owner defends his team against 'journalists', and somehow that makes him immature? Maybe there's something in those interviews that we didn't see, but don't you think Shank's probably taking this one personally? When I think immature owners, Mark Cuban comes to mind, and that's about it.

These dinosaur media types really hate it when they're challenged, don't they?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dancin' With The Shanks

Shank's latest column focuses on yesterday's dog and pony show, know to the rest of us as Tiger Woods' latest press conference.

One of yesterday’s questions started with, “Tiger, after what you’ve been through the last five months . . .’’

Stop. This is not a guy coming back from flying 39 combat missions over Korea. This is not a guy coming back from leukemia or a death in the family. Let’s admit that some of the salacious stuff is none of our business, but could we please not paint Tiger Woods as a comeback hero? I fear that’s the way it’s going to be framed this week at friendly Augusta (“A tradition like no other’’).

It’s always been about image with Tiger and it’s no different now.
While I largely agree with these sentiments, compare and contrast this article with Shank's previous column on Tiger. It's fair to say the previous article stands in contrast with the current article.

In the middle of the 35-minute session, Tiger looked out at the group and said, “A lot of my friends are in here. A lot of you in here are my friends and will always be my friends.’’

Geez. Nomar and Schill never said that to me.
I think the word Shank is looking for here is 'asshole'.

When faced with a couple of tougher questions, Tiger went to his Bill Belichick playbook.

Asked what he was in treatment for, Woods said, “That’s personal. Thank you.’’
When Shank compares your answer to Bill Belichick, you know exactly where you stand with Shank. In the doghouse.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Red Sox Lead The A.L. East

Shank recaps last night's 9-7 Red Sox win over the Yankees. Even with the target rich environment of Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and Nomar Garciaparra, there were no cheap shots to be had in the column. Must be the Opening Day spirit...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Play Ball!

Shank hearlds the unofficial beginning of spring as the Red Sox take on the Yankees to open the 2010 season. It's a decent enough article, although it reads a bit tedious and underwhelming.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Running The Numbers

Shank doesn't actually run the numbers (that would be too much work), but he uses a few hundred words to say this:

Welcome to the world of run prevention and the quantification of defense. Say hello to your 2010 Red Sox, who will try to convince you that a team with Mike Cameron in center and Jacoby Ellsbury in left is better than a team with Ellsbury in center and Jason Bay (36 homers, 119 RBIs) in left.
Thus the template for the 2010 Boston Red Sox is set. If / when the Red Sox lose a couple of low-scoring games, he'll bang out a few columns citing the lack of offense as the reason while saying "I told you so". It's nice to know the lineup in advance...