Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Ten days after predicting doom and gloom for the Bruins, Shank pretends to care about the Game 7 win over the Canadiens.

Of course he doesn't give a shit - he spends half the column telling us what massive choke artists they are / were :
Round 2 starts this weekend on Broad Street in Philadelphia against the Flyers. For sure, there are plenty of Philadelphia stories to be told, but let the Bruins and their fans enjoy last night for a few more hours. Had the Bruins lost to the Canadiens, it could have been a franchise-altering defeat, with dire consequences for coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli.

But this time the Bruins did not choke it away. Sure, they blew a 3-2 lead in the final two minutes of regulation, and they failed to convert on a single power play for another night (0 for 21 for the series), but who cares when you win it in OT? These Bruins become the first team in franchise history (in 28 tries) to win a series after falling behind, two games to zero.

Game 7s have not been the Bruins’ friends in recent years. The Pesky-Dent-Buckner-Boone torch has been passed to Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Andrew Ference. Julien has been in the Hub of Hockey for four years. His first three seasons ended in Game 7 defeats, the last two at home. Finally, he gets some relief and vindication.
From a Game 7 win emerges a comparison with Bill Buckner. I imagine Shank could wait until they actually choke again to make the comparison, right?
But we don’t care about any of those things today.
Nah, we'll just write a whole freakin' article about 'those things' instead!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bring It On

Shank's CNN / SI column sets up the next round of the NBA playoffs, as the Celtics wait for the Heat to finish their series with the Sixers. Semi-lame Buffalo Springfield lyric quotes aside, Shank writes a compelling column on what to expect for this series.

Since his last two Globe columns were much further south of 'compelling', this column stands out as anomalous. I'm pretty sure I've raised the "Shank has pictures of someone in the Globe in a rather bad situation" as the standard explanation here (that, or the Chief), but nothing explains the long standing nature of this divergence. I thought that his CNN / SI and Globe columns would converge into some vortex of suck, but that hasn't happened yet, and probably won't. I have to think through some theories (i.e., that he cares about CNN / SI and not the Globe), but your theories are welcome.

Winging It

The Boston Red Sox complete a four game sweep of the Angels and are one game below .500. Shank sums up the series, offers nothing (except a few sentences by Papelbon) in the way of analyzing how the Sox turned it around, but does offer up some old Shankisms (big galoot, Sons of Tito, Your Red Sox) and new ones (mention of Ed Cicotte, and what the hell is a Dust Devil? Isn't it a vacuum cleaner?).

Just like the Red Sox, Shank is slowly reverting back to form.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

DHL Dan VIII, Returning To Form

Unable or unwilling to write something positive about Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox 5-0 win over the Angels Saturday night, Shank inflicts another picked up pieces column on us. In true Shaughnessy fashion, the vast majority of the column is negative in tone.

'Not to be negative, but...'? Check.

Red Sox 1918 World Series tainted? Check.

Take shots at Yo! Adrian Gonzalez, Saltalamacchia and Crawford? Check.

Continue to talk about the marginalization of Larry Lucchino & Tom Werner? Check.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Showstopper / Stop Right There

Shank's Saturday column focuses on Dustin Pedroia and his five-hit game on Thursday night, helping the Red Sox win 4-2 in 11 innings. Keeping with the recent trend, another readable Shank column continues until the halfway point:
In many ways, he (Pedroia) is the anti-Nomar.

Nomar Garciaparra could hit .372 and inspire the worship of Hub fans, but he never got comfortable around Fenway. Pedroia understands and embraces the Boston Baseball Experience.
How many years ago did Nomar depart from the Red Sox, nearly seven? Shouldn't there be a statute of limitations on invoking former players names just so someone like Shank can take one more piss on them? Not when you're this petty and vindictive.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stirring The Pot, Again

Major League Baseball takes over the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise citing financial concerns, and that has Shank wondering about future ownership:
Within seconds of the announcement that the Dodgers were becoming a ward of the state, speculation swirled that Red Sox bosses Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner might be headed out of town to rescue or buy the National League’s signature franchise.
It's difficult to find any evidence of other writers swirling this speculation, so I'll point the finger at Shank being the source of these rumors.
Lucchino sounded annoyed when I asked him about the possibility.

“This is a highly charged, controversial issue of some real importance to baseball, and I’m not going to complicate it any further by saying anything or making any comment about the Dodgers situation,’’ he said from his Boston office last night.

OK. That’s a non-answer, I told him. It’s sort of like when you ask a guy if he’s running for president and he won’t say yes or no.

I gently asked Lucchino if he realized his vague response might be interpreted as leaving the door open.

“No, I don’t realize I’m doing that,’’ he said. “I realize I’m not making any public comment on the Dodger situation.

“I’m very happy right where I am. I love Boston and that’s really all I’ll say about the Dodgers. I love my position and I’m proud of my position with the Red Sox.’’

Werner is also at the top of the rumor list. He’s a former owner of the Padres, he’s tight with Uncle Bud, he’s a big-time Hollywood guy, and he has been decidedly marginalized in the John Henry regime.

Reached at his California office yesterday, the Sox chairman said, “Anything you can do to quash that [rumor] would be appreciated. I’m very happy as the co-managing partner of the Boston Red Sox.

“I look forward to summers in Boston, I pay property taxes in Boston, my daughter’s in Boston. I’m a member of Old Sandwich [Golf Club]. I’m very happy to be moving to Boston for the summer.
Doesn't sound to me like Lucchino or Werner have heard these questions about a hundred times already, and Shank's well documented use of the passive voice ("speculation swirled") to deflect any blame from him as the source of a rumor lead me to conclude that Shank's the source of this rumor. Don't want to piss off one of the guys that helped Shank's daughter get an internship a few years ago, right?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Come To Bury Them

... not to praise them:
OAKLAND, Calif. — A lot of stuff has happened to the Red Sox here over the years.
Nearly all of them negative, naturally...
This is where Tom Yawkey sipped champagne when the 1975 Sox clinched the American League pennant, completing a three-game sweep of the three-time world champion A’s.

It’s where Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers briefly wore Red Sox uniforms when Charlie Finley held a fire sale in 1976.

It’s where Jim Rice ripped the shirt off the back of future Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Fainaru in the visitors clubhouse.

It’s where Roger Clemens set himself on fire, wearing eye- black and Ninja Turtle shoelaces while getting ejected from a playoff game.

It’s where Johnny Damon collided with Damian Jackson when the soon-to-be-doomed Sox won the first round of the playoffs in 2003.
It seems but a mere ten days ago that Shank was dumping on the Sox, in part, for not changing the lineup, and now it's a source of contention.
Who’s at shortstop today? Who’s behind the plate? Where’s Waldo Crawford (Waldo Crawford? - Ed.) hitting? Who is leadoff man du jour? It’s a New England parlor game, from Eastport to Block Island.

Yesterday, Marco “Wally Pipp’’ Scutaro was back at short and banged out a couple of hits. Jed Lowrie played third base and hit his third homer in five games. No. 7 hitter Crawford actually knocked in a run. Leadoff man of the hour J.D. Drew homered. Jason Varitek caught Clay Buchholz while Jarrod Saltalamacchia sat.

Using the whole roster is great. It makes sense for Terry Francona to exploit righty-lefty matchups and keep his subs fresh. But some of the fluidity owes to underperformance more than flexibility.
Another lame Wally Pipp reference and Shank's done until the next Bruins loss...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wally Pipp?

Shank's Wednesday Globe column takes up the debate between Red Sox shortstops Jed Lowrie & Marco Scutaro, allowing Shank to make the annual Wally Pipp reference.

Three decent, readable columns in a row by Shank, Jed Lowrie tearing it up - which streak ends first?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jumping the Gun

Shank's weekly CNN / SI column portends doom and gloom for the Boston Bruins, just before the Bruins win Game 3. It's a fairly convincing column, as Shank has a stunning command of all things negative. But you knew that already...


That's how Shank describes last night's game as the Celtics win, 87 - 85 over the Knicks. A decent, readable column.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Woe Is Us

With the first loss by the Boston Bruins last night, Shank says the sky is falling on the local sports scene.
Our nerves are frayed. Our patience is running out. Hated rivals are beating up on Boston.

Lakers, Jets, Yankees, now the Montreal Canadiens. How much more can we stand?

Seeds of discontent were planted on Causeway Street last May when the Bruins came home for Game 7 of their second-round series against the Flyers and lost, 4-3, after leading 3-0. You might remember that as the same series the Bruins led, three games to zero.

Since that fateful night, we have seen the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (a game the Celtics led by 13 points). We have seen the Rex Ryan Jets humble the 14-2 Patriots in a playoff game at Gillette Stadium. We have seen the Red Sox miss the playoffs for the second time in eight years, appear to vault over the Yankees during an expensive winter, only to fall five games behind the Bronx Bombers in a thus-far miserable season.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feel The Hate

Shank rewrites this column from Feb. 28th, updates a few areas, and presto! A new column! Well, sort of...

Shank doesn't get much lazier than this, does he?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shank's Manny Ramirez column

Manny Ramirez retires from baseball rather than get hit with a one hundred game suspension for testing positive for an unspecified drug. A couple of commenters asked, 'Where's the Shank column ripping Manny?' Wonder no more.
Manny cared about serving Manny, making money and nothing else

Manny Ramirez is a cheater. He's a disgrace. He's not going to the Hall of Fame. And you know what else? Manny doesn't care.

So why should fans care?

Manny's not an evil person. He was a guy who'd come to the park early, whistle while he worked then go off into the night after the games. He stayed to himself and most of the time you hardly knew he was around. He usually had a hug for everyone but never had a lot of friends in the clubhouse.
Shank's just getting warmed up; read the whole thing. One of Shank's better columns in recent memory.

A few interesting side notes:
He was a latter-day, juiced-up Jimmie Foxx.
Shank, August 26, 2006:
As previously stated, he is a modern-day Jimmie Foxx, a certain Hall of Famer, and he works hard at his craft.
Just thought it interesting that Shank has some level of consistency in comparing Manny to Foxx.
He was Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series when the Red Sox put a 86-year-old Curse to rest.
A Curse, exploited by Shank for fun and profit! You'll find the book reviews especially amusing.

But really, what's a Shank column on Manny without a few cheap shots?

Manny was a savant slugger. His simple mind made it easier to hit.


Ever-clueless, he could be funny and charming.

The Total Package

Josh Beckett pitched one hell of a game against the Yankees yesterday, and Shank is there to recap the game. Can't wait for Shank to take a dump on Daisuke Matsuzaka after getting shelled by the Rays earlier tonight.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shiny Happy Shank

He does seem happier and a better writer of columns when others are miserable...

Why does today's column seem like Shank's washing his hands a little bit?
Now what?

Can the Red Sox summon savior Yaz to throw out another first pitch? Drop Carl Crawford to ninth in the order? Or perhaps this would be a good time to sign Manny Ramirez to a one-day contract so he can tell us how much he loved it here and retire as a Red Sox.

Anything to take our eyes off this train-wreck start for the “Best Team Ever’’ — the one that was going to win 100 games and return to the World Series.
You were one of the people hyping this team, Shank.

And when a team is doing bad, whose team does Shank say it is?
..your Red Sox were the worst team in baseball.
And we are all deeply concerned about what's happening:
We are saddled with a sudden fear that everyone around here badly overrated the capability of the Boston mound corps.
Does 'we' and 'everyone' include Shank? Was that a rhetorical question?

Throw in a nonsensical mention of Kendrick Perkins and laying some blame on the hitters (as opposed to any sort of mea culpa), and it's a fishwrap.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Low Point

I was expecting a lot more venom and negativity from Shank than this:
The 0-6 Red Sox stagger home today for the 100th Fenway opener. This means no more safe havens in Texas and Cleveland. After a week on the road, the Sox must wallow in regional hysteria triggered by their worst start since 1945 (when all the real players were at war).

Can it get any worse?

Of course it can. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles started 0-21. President Ronald Reagan called manager Frank Robinson after 0-18 and said, “I know what you’re going through.’’

“Mr. President, you have no idea what I’m going through,’’ snapped Robinson.
The column goes on, repeating many of the themes Shank talked about on Comcast Sports News last night with Michael Felger & Lou Merloni, including this always amusing gem:
Not to be negative, but the Elias Sports Bureau reports that only two teams have made the playoffs after starting 0-6 — the 1974 Pirates and the 1995 Reds. This is only the fourth Red Sox team to start 0-6, and if the Sox lose today, it’s officially the second-worst start in franchise history.
So you're saying... there's a chance?

If that falls through, we can take Shank's time tested advice:
It’s certainly a good time for the Sox to be petitioning the city to serve mixed drinks at Fenway. We all might need a little Jack to get through this season of great expectations.
My advice - start drinking heavily!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Remembering Lou Gorman

Shank's weekly CNN / SI column remembers former Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman. It's a good column, but one part stands out:
Things went downhill from there. In the early '90s, Gorman hired Butch Hobson to manage the Sox. It was a disaster. The Sox slumped and Gorman was harpooned by the Boston media.
I wonder how many those harpoons have Shank's name on them? Do you think Shank's trying to rewrite history when he writes things like that?

Monday, April 04, 2011

I'll Take Door Number Three, Monty

Funny how one week can change someone's opinion.

ARLINGTON, Texas — So far, this looks a little like the Charlie Sheen Torpedo of Truth tour. Is it possible to be mathematically eliminated before you play your home opener?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

What Column Does Shank Write Tomorrow?

The Texas Rangers complete the sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

What theme / themes does Shank write about in his Globe or CNN / SI column tomorrow? These aren't necessarily mutually exclusive choices:

1) Don't worry, be happy!

2) Man crush intact - Yo! Adrian Gonzalez still has a buttery smooth swing;

3) Panic in Detroit Boston?

4) Remain calm! All is well!

5) Our pitching sucks! Trade them all!

6) We're doomed! Wait until next year!

Silver Lining, Dark Cloud

Shank still has a mean man crush on Yo! Adrian Gonzalez:
ARLINGTON, Texas — There was only one Ted Williams. Nobody else gets to be Ted.

So let’s not get all “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu’’ and try to make Adrian Gonzalez out to be the next Ted Williams. Gonzalez still hasn’t played a game in his Red Sox home white uniform, and he’s not going to hit .400, and he’s not going to fly 39 combat missions over Korea.

But two games into his Boston baseball career, Gonzalez looks like one terrific hitter (three more hits in last night’s dreadful, 12-5 loss) and he’s got some things in common with the greatest hitter who ever lived.
Overall, it's another decent column by Shank, and we see a sign of a future column if the Sox lose a few more games:
The sky is falling on the Red Sox at this hour. But try to remember it’s only two games. The season is not yet over and Gonzalez is the bright light in an otherwise awful two days in Texas. All you nattering nabos of negativity need to calm down and remember the good stuff. Watch Gonzalez and you’ll feel better.
What's a Shank column without a forty + year old Spiro Agnew reference, even if the misspelled 'nabos' got past the editors?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Dan Overboard!

The Red Sox lose one game, and what happens?

ARLINGTON, Texas — I guess this means 162-0 is out.


Still, we are faced with a new reality. The 2011 Red Sox are not going to go undefeated. They aren’t going to be the 1972 Dolphins. They still have a chance to be the 1927 Yankees or the 1912 Red Sox, but they’re going to have to do better than they did in the franchise’s 111th opening game.
I think he overstates the meaning of this one game, but it's otherwise a passable column.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Shank On The 2011 Red Sox

Friday's Globe column predicts good things for this year's team.

ARLINGTON, Texas — They are on more magazine covers than Gisele Bundchen. Sports Illustrated picks them to win 100 games and beat the Giants in the World Series just like 99 years ago at Fenway Park. On these pages last Sunday, six of six Globe writers picked the Red Sox to finish first in the American League East and make it to the 2011 World Series (you’d think we owned the team or something). In Wednesday’s New York Post, seven of seven baseball experts picked the Sox over the Yankees.

There has never been anything like it.
In an otherwise good column, we see something that'll get old fast:

Yo Adrian Gonzalez is on the cover of the Improper Bostonian.