Monday, October 31, 2011

Off The Bandwagon, Again

After yesterday's loss to the Steelers, Shank is, until the next winning streak, off the Patriots bandwagon:
PITTSBURGH - Watching the Patriots beat the Steelers at Heinz Field used to be one of those certainties of life, like Tom Menino carrying Hyde Park or Springsteen selling out the Meadowlands in less than an hour. In the immortal words of Pedro Martinez, the Patriots were the Steelers’ daddies.

No more. The Steelers spanked your football team yesterday, walking out of the Big Ketchup Bottle with a 25-17 victory that felt like a blowout.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Toughest Out

Shank writes a pretty good column today about Larry Lucchino. As with a few of Shank's previous columns, one glaring omission of fact is made:
The Lucchino-Epstein tandem delivered a World Series championship in 2004, but things blew up a year later when Epstein abruptly resigned because he thought Lucchino was leaking information that reflected poorly on the baseball judgment of the young GM. Epstein returned a few months later, but the relationship was never the same. In Theo’s final years, there was limited dialogue between baseball ops and all other departments at Fenway.
That would be Shank's direct involvement in said leaked information. Unless your last name is Shaughnessy, I think that's worth noting...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Should've Left It There, Shank

Forced to reach his monthly quota of insipid inspiring columns, Shank tricks treats us to another blase picked up pieces column where he takes shots at just about everyone except for Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling. Nearly the entire column is negative.

Miserable and ugly, just in time for Halloween!

This Explais A Lot

Since Shank won't have Theo Epstein to kick around anymore, we get one last decent column out of it.
It happens all the time when you get to be a cagey old sportswriter. You’re in a press box for a college game and a nervous, skinny kid with clear eyes and not-so-clear skin bounds up the steps, introduces himself, and tells you he wants to be a sportswriter after college. Sometimes he hands you the school rag and asks you to let him know what you think of his stuff.

That’s how I met Theo Epstein.

It was Nov. 20, 1993, and I was in the press box at Yale Bowl in New Haven when the 19-year-old Epstein came over to say hello and show me his latest entry in the Yale Daily News.

Appropriately enough, Epstein’s column was a rip job on legendary Yale coach Carmen Cozza. The Elis were staggering through a 3-7 season and the headline over Epstein’s column was, “Is It Time for Carm to Go?’’
Kindred spirits?
When Epstein walked away in October 2005 because of a breakdown of trust between him and Sox CEO Larry Lucchino (Epstein’s mentor), there was shock and fury in Red Sox Nation.
Like this infamous column had nothing to do with it. Disingenuous Dan at his least convincing ...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beating A Dead Horse

Shank continues to ignore the baseball playoffs and World Series with yet another Red Sox column; I think Shank referred to that yesterday as "amplification". Shank's amp goes to eleven!

Shank bitches about this saga leaving a "sour taste". What's really leaving a sour taste, at least for this commenter, is the fact that Shank continues to insult his readers by rehashing previous columns. I challenge anyone out there to identify any substantial difference between those two columns.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Bucket Of Popeye's

Shank does his part to keep the memory of the 2011 Red Sox alive. Time for everyone to come clean!
Your turn, Josh Beckett. You, too, John Lackey. Time for the rest of the beer-swillin’, biscuit-eatin’, fried-chicken munchin’ Red Sox starting pitchers to fess up.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox had Eight Men Out. The 2011 Red Sox have Three Men and a Bucket of Popeye’s.

The Red Sox hideous off season of 2011 continues, and today we had more truth set free when Jon Lester returned a phone call from the Globe’s Pete Abraham and confirmed information which until now has been only a “sourced report’’: instead of staying on the bench pulling for their struggling teammates, Red Sox starting pitchers were back in the clubhouse drinking beer and diving into the 16-piece family meal ($31.99, includes three large sides and eight biscuits) during the 2011 season.
Interesting that Jon Lester basically admits that former manager Terry Francona had few, if any, controls over the team this year.
We applaud Lester for coming forward. Unfortunately, his statements are only going to amplify the noise. The admissions certify the notion that the 2011 Sox are destined to be remembered as perhaps the most loathed Boston team in history.
Amplification also includes many Shank Red Sox columns for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Shank slaps together his ninth consecutive column on the Red Sox; this must be the slow sports news month. Typical Shank elements appear in the column; first among them is the convenient memory lapse / intentional disregard for the facts in order to bash his enemy:
John Henry lit the latest match Friday afternoon when he burst into the studios of 98.5 The Sports Hub on Leo Birmingham Parkway in Brighton in an overdue effort to tell his side of things.
Shank devoted an entire column to John Henry's appearance on the Dennis & Callahan radio show the week before, on October 7th, so I vote for lying prick intentional disregard of the facts.

What's a Shank column without a massively dated pop culture reference?
Unfiltered Henry was great stuff. His anger reminded me of “Back to the Future’s’’ George McFly rescuing a damsel in distress, cocking his fist, and telling Biff, “Get your damn hands off her.’’
I wonder if Shank still has it on Betamax?

Did I mention other sports in what's supposed to be a Red Sox column?
I’m told there is a pretty big football game going on at Gillette Stadium this afternoon. Indeed, this is the best part of the Patriots schedule. They had the Jets here last week, the Cowboys are here today, and after a bye week Bill Belichick & Co. will be in Pittsburgh.

As ever, football television ratings will be boffo, millions of fantasy players will bore fellow Americans, ESPN will furnish hundreds of hours of analysis, and all the data will support the obvious truth that the NFL is our national pastime. Football is king.
Shank, provincial? Come on, man!
Everywhere except Boston.
Just a Springsteen quote and a Schilling cheap shot away from the definitive Shank column; so close but yet so far...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Captain Chaos

Who better to keep fanning the flames of the postseason Red Sox than our human bellows machine, Dan Shaughnessy? The worse it gets for the Sox, the better it is for Shank.
Utter chaos.

It’s back to the bad old days over on Yawkey Way. The Red Sox of 2011 are the Red Sox of Buddy LeRoux and Haywood Sullivan - doofus co-owners wrestling on the carpet of their Fenway Park offices back in 1983. They are the Red Sox of Tom Yawkey and his chorus line of drunken employees finishing out of the money from the 1930s through the ’60s.

There are so many things wrong with the Sox at this hour, it’s difficult to know where to start. The manager is gone, the general manager is gone, the owners are in hiding, and the players are a loathsome lot totally unworthy of the money and adulation they receive.

Theo Epstein’s gone. It was a seismic event when Shank assisted mightily when he quit in 2005. This time, his departure is lost in the mix as the Sox go from freefall to nuclear fallout. The Fenway lawn is scorched earth.
Yes, a few things Shank says are overstated, but I think he's basically on target. I also think he's more or less genuinely pissed off, or at least it seems to help his writing in this column.

Then again, I think Dave M. paraphrased that quality like this = Shank - writing the occasionally good column makes it stand out because all his others suck by comparison...

UPDATE at 8:22 PM - False start penalty commited by Shaughnessy? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Will Shank Lose It?

I'm expecting every gasket to blow very soon...

Oh, and Shank (not sure if he reads the blog anymore)? Just a reminder to temper your comments on particular members of ownership, because you still owe Tom Werner one.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Feels Good?

Shank takes a column off from his Bash The Red Sox Ownership Tour to take in yesterday's Patriots win over the New York Jets.
FOXBOROUGH - It had to feel good.

Bill Belichick’s never going to admit this, but there is a healthy obsession with the Jets at Gillette Stadium and it’s a great day any time you can pin a loss on the donkeys from New York.

You saw a little of this truth when NFL Films wired Bill throughout the 2009 season. The friendly folks from the house network somehow managed to come away with nothing on the Richard Seymour trade or the infamous Late Gate episode, but they did catch Bill gloating a little when he walked out of the office and said it was a “good day’’ because the Patriots beat the Titans and the Jets lost to the Bills .
Fans of Shankology know how the rest of the column will proceed: talk about the Patriots postseason blues since 2007, a few sentences about Tom Brady and the rest (read - a lot of backhanded compliments) on coach Bill Belichick. In that sense, the column does not disappoint.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy 57th Birthday, Bruce!

Bruce - just wanted to wish you the best as you get closer to cashing your Social Security cheques.

Please don't respond with your usual nonsense about my math being bad or other unconvincing feeble countermeasures (that's a military term you're likely not familiar with). Yes, I am taunting you. Yes, I would love to launch my post that will reveal your identity and cause you a fair amount of personal and professional embarrassment.

Bruce, a former Boston Globe employee, now works for a local liberal outfit (shocker!) that publishes on dead tree on a quarterly basis ('in-depth, balanced, and independent'? Balderdash!) and they've redesigned their website since I last developed my dossier on Bruce. He has also appeared (another shocker!) on Howie Carr's radio show, about one year ago.

Noted on the quartely's Web masthead - "It is also the type of journalism that’s badly needed today as the economic model that fuels most news media is running out of gas." Glad you jumped ship when you did, Bruce? Doesn't that make you a raving hypocrite with all your previous blather about 'the Globe ain't going anywhere'?

Oh, and along those lines, you just did a story on a local hack, (Mr.) O'Brien! A liberal circle jerk on WGBH, complete with a 10:42 video clip! Why didn't you ever do these stories when you were a Globie? This is great!

In case you're wondering, Bruce, I have about sixty pages in said dossier. I've talked to a few Globies (one current, one retired) without finishing my descriptive sentence about you before both guys ID'd you. You stick out like a sore thumb. We've also traced a number of your comment postings to Boston Globe IP addresses when you were there, and I will congratulate on some of your residual intelligence for not repeating that mistake thereafter. Gotta love those AOL dynamic IP addresses, don't you?

Enough clues for everybody? I hope so.

Post one more time, Bruce - make my day...

Saturday, October 08, 2011

I Want Answers, Damn It!

In today's edition of the Theo Epstein saga, our man Shank keeps up the pressure on Red Sox owner John Henry, who is keeping his cards close to the vest.
Sox could use speedy resolution

The Theo Watch continues. He’s either going to the Cubs or he’s staying here for more years/dollars/power. Whatever happens, it needs to happen soon. The Red Sox have a lot of decisions to make, including hiring a new manager, but nothing happens until Theo Epstein’s status is resolved.

Sox owner John Henry ended his long, curious silence yesterday, and hinted that maybe we have seen the last of Theo on Yawkey Way.

“Theo is not going to be the general manager forever,’’ warned the low-talking owner, as he sat in a studio at WEEI, the station that pays him millions of dollars per year.
I'm not sure what that last statement's supposed to mean; I see it as a convenient and cheap way to score some points. Just remember, Shank writes for the fans.

I think Shank's position can be summarized thusly - is he being unreasonable in his demands for Red Sox ownership to make a quick decision with respect to certain managerial positions?

UPDATE at 6:30 PM - Great comment by Monkeesfan in the previous post's comments section:
"BTW, does Shank recall his role in Theo's 2005 hissy-fit?
Of course not! It's called a convenient memory lapse; anyone involved in an argument with your wife / girlfriend knows exactly what I'm talking about. Yet Shank feigns incredulity that Sox ownership might want to take a few more days this time around to get things right...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Stirring The Pot, Stomping His Feet

Those are the two overwhelming impressions after reading Shank's imperious demands for answers to the Theo Epstein saga.
The silence from Yawkey Way has been louder than a Metallica concert.
How many of you think Shank's ever been to a Metallica concert? Anyone?
Werner insisted that “John wanted to be here,’’’ but from Friday through the dinner hour yesterday, the only thing we got from Thurston Howell III was a tweet from Lovey explaining that John was home from the hospital in time to watch his beloved soccer team.
Shank mocks John Henry & his wife in a most juvenile manner, yet Shank seems baffled that...
I left messages with Epstein and Lucchino yesterday. No reply. I’ve left two messages with Henry. The owner tweeted last night, “Calls and maybe interviews next week.’’
I can see why these guys are rushing to the phone to return Shank's call...

Monday, October 03, 2011

Side Order Of Rehash

As with Terry Francona's last week with the Red Sox, Shank's days as a CNN / SI columnist must also be numbered. This is the second time in as many columns that he has 'sampled' large parts of a Boston Globe column and passed it off as a CNN / SI column.

In order to avoid becoming ther next Ron Borges, you'd think he'd insert some boilerplate language at the end of his column to protect himself - "Large parts of this column have already been written by me yesterday. The CNN / SI editors can't catch everything, and it's OK to steal from yourself, right?"

Boston Globe column, October 1, 2011:
Terry Francona was fired yesterday. The longtime manager and the Red Sox brass used a lot of polite words and tried to make it sound mutual, but Francona turns out to be the first victim of the greatest collapse in baseball history.

On a bizarre and historic Friday at Fenway, the Sox and Francona generated more spin than the Harlem Globetrotters.

Francona blamed himself, worked hard to stay on message, but late in his goodbye press session, he veered off the rails and threw John Henry under the team charter.

“To be honest with you, I’m not sure how much support there was from ownership,’’ Francona offered. “You’ve got to be all-in on this job. It’s got to be everybody together, and I was questioning that a little bit.’’
CNN / SI column, October 2, 2011:
Two days after the apocalyptic ending, manager Terry Francona became the first victim of the carnage, fired by management.

The Sox bosses used a lot of nice words when they cut the manager loose. They said it was Terry's idea to leave. They thanked him for his service. They said it was a mutual parting of ways.

But the man was fired. He managed all season without a contract for 2012. The club never exercised its option to bring him back next year, not even when the Sox went 39 games over .500 for a four-month stretch. They let him dangle all season, and the sloppy finish made it easy to send Francona packing.

Quite possibly the greatest manager in Red Sox history, Francona fell on his sword Friday, citing, "my inability to effectively reach the players ... out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it (I told them) they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.''

Unfortunately for Sox management, Francona went off message toward the end of his farewell presser, saying, "To be honest with you, I'm not sure how much support there was from ownership. You've got to be all-in on this job. It's got to be everybody together, and I was questioning that a little bit.''
Sheer coincidence, or another Shank hack job? You make the call!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Piling On

The worse things get for the Red Sox, the better it is for our man Shank. Read this column and compare it to the crap he churned out last week. There's no question he puts forth a better effort with this column, and I love how he uses 'the fans' as a shield to criticize John Henry, et. al., like he ever gave two shits about 'the fans'.
It just keeps getting worse. The general manager has the look of a man who'd rather be working at Wrigley Field. The ex-manager tells us that his players weren't committed to one another and that they showed their true colors when things went south. We get no denial that starting pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse on days when they were not scheduled to pitch. The ex-manager tells us he didn't have the support of ownership.
I wonder how many columns he can wring out of this mess?

Saturday, October 01, 2011


In case your bullshit meter was in the shop yesterday or you were otherwise not able to pick up on yesterday's press conference, Shank is here to again state the obvious.
Terry Francona was fired yesterday. The longtime manager and the Red Sox brass used a lot of polite words and tried to make it sound mutual, but Francona turns out to be the first victim of the greatest collapse in baseball history.

On a bizarre and historic Friday at Fenway, the Sox and Francona generated more spin than the Harlem Globetrotters.

Francona blamed himself, worked hard to stay on message, but late in his goodbye press session, he veered off the rails and threw John Henry under the team charter.

“To be honest with you, I’m not sure how much support there was from ownership,’’ Francona offered. “You’ve got to be all-in on this job. It’s got to be everybody together, and I was questioning that a little bit.’’

Bingo. Henry has had Francona in his crosshairs for a couple of years. Ultimately, Francona was not enough of a numbers guy to satisfy Boston’s Moneyball boss.
Not much of a surprise there, but this is a little interesting:
Based on Francona’s non-denial, it’s apparently true that some of the Sox’ starting pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse during games they were not scheduled to start. A report in yesterday’s Herald broke the story and Francona rejected an opportunity to say that it was untrue.
Funny how things like this only come up after the season ends, to be largely forgotten by the time spring training comes around.