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.