Monday, May 31, 2010


Shank offers up a by-the-numbers Celtics - Lakers column, the proforma walk down memory lane. One spot-on, relevant Celtics reference is noted:

Winning a second one is important to every Celtics team. Less than an hour after the Celtics defeated the Magic in Game 6 Friday night, a reporter asked coach Doc Rivers, “Does it almost take a second championship with the group to cement yourself in history — because of all the winning that’s come before you?’’

Ever media friendly, never disposed to ignore the obvious (imagine how Bill Belichick would have handled that question), Rivers admitted, “Obviously, one is special, but the other groups have a couple and we’d like to join that club.’’

Great answer. Honest. It demonstrates that Rivers is capable of thinking like a fan.
For Shank, the fact that he's only shitting on Belichick every fifth column is a sign of progress. Readers, rejoice!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The True Believer

After the Celtics win game six over the Magic, Shank proudly declares himself the vanguard of the Celtics bandwagon:

Wyc Grousbeck accepted the trophy from Dave Cowens, hoisted it with both arms, and repeated the mantra of all winners of the last 40 years . . .

“Nobody believed in this team,’’ said the Celtics owner.

Au contraire, Mr. Moneybags.

I believed in these Celtics when “nobody believed.’’ And I can prove it.

Before shamelessly wading deeper into this pool of indulgence and self-congratulation, let’s get something straight: I am almost always wrong about these things. I said there was no way the Red Sox were going to win the World Series after they lost Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS. I said the Patriots would win the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. I bought stock in Tweeter and Circuit City. I said David Ortiz was done. I predicted “Gigli’’ would win best picture. I delayed getting a cellphone because I thought it was a fad that would fade over time.

But I saw this Celtic run coming back in March when things looked hopeless. And it’s all in print.
When you water down your predictions with qualifiers and caveats, you're really trying to have it both ways in case things go south. The mention of all his bad predictions is merely a smokescreen for this fact.

To see it in action, take Shank's latest "prediction":

So this is it. Celtics win banner No. 18.

I haven’t felt this good about a pick since I bet the house on the Bruins in Game 7.
He was pretty upbeat about that game, wasn't he?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Looking On The Bright Side

I was thinking of posting last night about the subject of Shank's next column. Would it be about, for instance, the Red Sox getting swept? World Cup soccer? Tour de France? In this case, it was the bloody obvious:

It . . . cannot . . . possibly . . . happen . . . again.

But there is doubt. There is a lingering sense of dread. The Orlando Magic are Glenn Close, lifeless and submerged in the bathtub, but we are afraid she may yet rise out of the water and try to cut out our heart. One more time.

Let’s try some numbers, shall we? Big league baseball, basketball, and hockey have been playing best-of-seven series for more than 100 years, and in that time, 287 teams have taken leads of three games to none (thank you, Elias Sports Bureau). Only four teams have recovered from 3-0 to win the series. And now it’s going to happen twice within a span of 16 days? In the same city?

Still, we fret. We are damaged because of the Bruins. We are like the proverbial dog that has been kicked too many times. Every motion made in our direction causes us to recoil.

Do I have to remind anyone?
Some questions answer themselves.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beat L.A! Beat L.A.!

You can practically hear Shank yelling it from the rooftop after the Celtics torched the Orlando Magic last night. One win away from the NBA finals, Shank reflects on the Celtic's season:

Some day this will all make sense. We will look back at the season of 2009-2010 and wonder why there was any concern about the pedestrian (50-32) regular-season Celtics. We will clearly see that the fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference and all the blown double-digit leads meant nothing. We will wonder how we ever doubted them.
No need to wonder, Shank. You remember - big on attitude, low on work ethic, old as the hills and all that.

Shank gives the Celtics defense tons of credit, but...

Orlando has a roster of frauds with some explaining to do:
Could it be that Orlando simply got their asses kicked in Game 3, or must they be 'frauds'? You know, like this guy?

Round out the column with a Randy Moss cheap shot and the ubiquitous Red Sox reference (go forth and read it, for it is lame), and it's fishwrap time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Despite The Win...

Shank had a lot of time to assemble the most negative article about the 2010 Red Sox so far this year. It does contain many of the themes from earlier columns (run prevention, shaky starting pitching, Ortiz, etc.) but it's noteworthy for a few added tidbits:

Mike Lowell is clearly miffed. The Sox traded him last winter, but reluctantly took him back when the deal was voided. Now he’s sharing the DH spot with David Ortiz, but Ortiz was given the start last night even though the Sox were facing the lefty Sabathia. Lowell spoke at some length in front of his locker after the lineup was posted, said he has no role on the team, and suggested all parties might benefit if the Sox release him.

Francona was not happy with Lowell and when asked about the aging third baseman would only say, “He hasn’t said anything to me.’’


Meanwhile we have Ortiz, who has been coddled and protected by his bosses, yet sees a conspiracy in which the Boston brass is using NESN as a weapon to turn fans against the slugger. In an impressive opus for, Howard Bryant uncovered the Ortiz conspiracy theory and also reported that sources in the Sox front office claim Ortiz left the ballpark early in Toronto April 27.

Asked about leaving a game early, Ortiz last night said, “That’s a lie.’’ Francona also disputed the report.

Let’s not forget Matsuzaka and Victor Martinez. V-Mart was clearly annoyed with Dice-K shaking him off in the first inning Monday and said, “I don’t know. He’s the one . . . I’m just back there trying to help him go through the game. At the end, he’s the one who has the ball in his hand.’’

Francona and pitching coach John Farrell gathered Dice-K and Martinez for a clear-the-air meeting yesterday.

Matsuzaka further confused his bosses by claiming that he knows why he’s having one bad inning per start, but he doesn’t want to reveal the reason. It’s pretty clear Matsuzaka has worn out his welcome with the Sox. He’s never been viewed as a team guy and his performance and manner are getting under everyone’s skin.
Plenty of negative things here, but what's lacking is Shank's trademark viciousness. Then again, so is the petty vindictiveness. I wonder why he's holding back?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


That's the way Shank describes last night's Red Sox loss to the Yankees.

The 2010 Red Sox sank to a new low last night when Jonathan Papelbon surrendered a pair of two-run homers in the bottom of the ninth in an excruciating 11-9 loss to the Yankees. The late-night implosion erased a noble comeback in which the Sox recovered from a 6-1 deficit (next bus to Lake Wobegon for you, Dice-K) to take a 9-7 lead on five home runs in the Bronx bandbox.

Seasons are defined on nights like this and it looks like these Red Sox might be remembered as the Lost Boys of 2010. With almost a quarter of the season gone, Run Prevention has morphed into Win Prevention. This is the latest the Sox have been under .500 in a season since Nomar Garciaparra was a rookie in 1997.
Run prevention, shaky pitching, losing close / winnable games - Shank has plenty to write about all summer.

UPDATE at 1:14 P.M. - Deadspin piles on again.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Curse Of Bobby Orr

That's the suggested title of Shank's next book, to which he's just added the latest chapter:

The Grapes of Wrath or the Wrath of Grapes?

Only the Bruins could lose a 3-0 lead twice in the same series.

Only the Bruins could lose a Game 7 on a power-play goal after getting called for too many men on the ice.

Are you kidding me? Watching the Bruins blow a series on a too-many-men penalty is like watching the 2010 Red Sox lose a one-game playoff on a homer hit by a guy named Bucky.
How original - yet another Red Sox reference in a non-Red Sox column! Proof positive that Shank doesn't (as he stated some years ago) write for the fans, he writes to irritate the fans.

The rest of the article is standard Shank. Targets abound in the blame game - players, coaching, management. The best low blow Shank bestows on any manager is the Claude Julien comparison to Grady Little. Nary a word of blame, however, is placed on owner Jeremy Jacobs, legendary cheapskate.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Give Shank Some Credit

... for his ballsy call in the wake of the Celtics' win over the Cavaliers tonight.

City of Brotherly Love

Shank does a Boston - Philadelphia sports history column before last night's 2 - 1 Bruins loss to the Flyers. It's a pretty good column, with obligatory cheap shots (the 'run prevention' Red Sox and The Big Blowhard) thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Shank contributes his occasional Bruins column today. True to form, it comes after a painful 4 - 0 shutout, courtesy of the Flyers.

Even by Shank's standards, this is a subpar column. References abound to the Red Sox, and a Shank column just isn't the same without a bunch of references to lame, dated song lyrics. Add in a pair of tenuous assertions:

Sad, but true: The 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers are scaring the daylights out of New England by summoning the ghosts of Messrs. Millar, Schilling, Damon, and Vinatieri, er, Varitek.


Six days ago the Bruins beat the Flyers in Philly, 4-1, to take a 3-0 series lead. We all figured the Flyers would roll over at home in Game 4.
...and you have another fine piece of work from the Boston Globe's 'ace' sports columnist. Compare and contrast this 'effort' to the one he wrote yesterday for CNN / SI; it's like night & day.

A sixth seed is playing a seventh seed and it never seems to occur to Shank that this might be the logical outcome of said series.

Great Moments In Boston Mayor Speech Giving History

To those of you unfamiliar with the Churchillian oratory prowess of the current mayor of Boston, I present the most recent example:

Menino was talking about great athletic feats in Boston history, and called them “ionic” moments (see the :35 second mark).
Ion storms are dangerous. We've been warned!

Maybe he meant bionic? Who the hell knows?

But wait - there's more!

“In Boston, we have an amazing set of remarkable athletes whose actions have become ionic (sic) in sports,” Menino said. “Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waiving the ball fair, Flutie launching the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights.”

What Mayor Menino meant to say was kicker Adam Vinatieri’s name. Vinatieri booted the game-winning 48-yard field goal in 2002 to help the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl, 20-17, as time expired.
Something got booted, all right...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Panic Button

After the Red Sox got clobbered again by the Yankees on Saturday, 14 - 3, Shank unloads on the front office:

I don’t want to panic or overreact, but is it possible the Red Sox season is already over?
If Shank didn't panic or overreact, half his columns would disappear.

Was run prevention a giant sack of fool’s gold?

Did Theo Epstein know this might be coming when he talked about the bridge year?

I’m being silly, right? The Sox (ghoulish 14-3 losers to the Yankees yesterday) have played only 31 games, 20 percent of the schedule. In past years we have seen 14-game deficits erased after July 20. There’s tons of time. The season has only just begun.
Thus the tone for the rest of the column is set. We are treated to a few standard Shankisms ('Your Sox', 'Theo and the minions', 'immortal') and lots of doom and gloom with respect to the upcoming road trip. The only thing missing is an explicit 'I told you so' from Shank.

In other words, it's a standard Shank column.

UPDATE at 1:12 PM - Deadspin piles on.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Shelled... and Shanked

Choosing between last night's trio of Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox games was difficult for most of us 'root root root' types (I went with Celtics & Bruins myself). Shank chose the Red Sox and watched as Josh Beckett got shelled in the sixth inning. Another deployment of the annoying and overused 'immortal' is noted in reference to Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli.

Earlier in the week Shank summed up Game 2 of Celtics - Cavaliers, a blowout win for the Celtics. Last night, Cleveland returned serve.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I Love Cleveland

Expecting a column on last night's Celtics win over the Cavaliers, and the first good game from Rasheed Wallace since joining the team, we are instead treated to Shank's new favorite city:

CLEVELAND — I love this town.

That’s right. Cleveland. You call it “The Mistake By the Lake.’’ You make it a punch line for every Rust Belt joke.

Not me. I call it a once-great American city in need of a comeback . . . and a championship, of course.

No fooling. Cleveland is great. It’s got a real downtown. It’s got clean, wide streets that are (unfortunately) never crowded with traffic nor people. Cleveland’s got cab drivers who speak English and know their way around town. Many of them remember when Jim Brown toted the pigskin for the Browns and when Rocky Colavito hit majestic homers for the Tribe.
It's a decent article but would have been better timed between Games 1 and 2.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Stack 'Em High

Shank focuses on LeBron James in yesterday's dispatch from Cleveland. While recognizing the two-time MVP as the best player in the league, he states the semi-obvious: LeBron needs to win championships to be considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. That's interesting, considering how he leads off:

Sorry, I know this is sacrilegious, but I’ll always be a Wilt Chamberlain guy. The man averaged 50 points and more than 48 minutes per game over an entire season. His dominance forced multiple rule changes, including widening the lane.

You can’t go wrong with Bill Russell, of course. He won 11 championships in 13 NBA seasons. Russell never lost an NCAA Tournament game, an Olympic game, or a Game 7. Including Game 5’s (in best-of-five series), Russell went 21-0 in those contests.
You can't go wrong, but sometimes you manage to...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Old School

Shank offers a few reasons why the Celtics lost to the Cavaliers last night:

And then it was just . . .



And then the big lead evaporated faster than you could say “Rasheed Wallace.’’


...but in the end it was the Celtics who looked worn down.

Old bones.


This is the last roundup for the old guard.
Old starters and Rasheed Wallace, The Human Pylon. This will be a tough series to watch.