Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All's Quiet

Setting a blistering pace of five columns in five days, Shank sits down with Adrian Gonzalez for a chat.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - He is polite, aloof, and wildly talented. He is part Ted Williams, part Tim Tebow, and he doesn’t care what we think. He’s never going to get caught up in the noise of the Boston baseball experience.

He is Adrian Gonzalez, the sweet-swinging, soft-spoken, almost invisible star of the Red Sox.

Spring training 2012 thus far has been everything we thought it would be. The chicken-and-beer boys have been sufficiently contrite, the new manager has been fun and ubiquitous, the new GM has been working 24/7, the new ballpark is spectacular, and the owners dropped by to say hello on their way to Sunday’s big soccer game at Wembley. You’ve read feature stories about Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The "chicken-and-beer boys" is the new Curt Schilling!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beer Was A Four Letter Word

That is, until the Red Sox banned beer from the clubhouse.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - No beer in the Red Sox clubhouse.

What’s next? No Swan Boats in the Public Garden? No Pops on the Esplanade on the Fourth of July? No L Street Brownies swimming in the ocean on New Year’s Day?

Beer in the Red Sox clubhouse is older than baked scrod on the menu at Legal Sea Foods. It’s older than Jermaine O’Neal. It’s older than Fenway Park.
I know it's supposed to be a sarcastic / humorous article, but it's interesting that the guy who wrote column after column after column mentioning "chicken & beer" in every third sentence, raking the Red Sox over the hot coals the entire time, now has no problem practically celebrating the history of alcohol and the Red Sox.

Then again, maybe interesting isn't quite the right word here...

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - VI

Speaking of things that suck (for the Boston Globe and New York Times):
Newspaper Ad Revenues Fall to 60-Yr. Low in 2011

The chart above displays total annual print newspaper advertising revenue based on actual annual data from 1950 to 2010, and estimated annual revenue for 2011 using quarterly data through the third quarter, from the Newspaper Association of America.  The advertising revenues have been adjusted for inflation, and appear in the chart as millions of constant 2011 dollars.  Estimated revenues of $20.7 billion in 2011 will be the lowest annual  amount spent on newspaper advertising since $19.5 billion in 1951, exactly 60 years ago.

The decline in newspaper ad revenues to a 60-year low is amazing by itself, but the sharp decline in recent years is pretty stunning.  Last year's ad revenues of about $21 billion were less than half of the $46 billion spent just four years ago in 2007, and less than one-third of the $64 billion spent in 2000.

And even when online advertising is added to the print ads, the combined total spending for print and online advertising in 2011 will still only be about $22.6 billion, just slightly more than  the $22.5 billion spent on print advertising in 1954.

Economic Lesson: It's another one of those huge Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction.

Update: Here's another perspective: It took 50 years to go from about $20 billion in annual newspaper ad revenue in 1950 (adjusted for inflation) to $63.5 billion in 2000, and then only 11 years to go from $63.5 billion back to about $20 billion in 2011.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whole Lotta Suck

This has to be one of the worst Shaughnessy columns in quite some time. Let us count the ways:

Belittle Red Sox owner John Henry on multiple fronts? Check. When an owner speaks, it's not a talk, it's...
Henry’s chatter minimal
Stir the pot yet again, pound your fists and demand answers to relevant and non-relevant matters? Check.
It was Henry’s chance to:

1. Comment on no beer in the clubhouse after the disaster of 2011.

2. Deny that he loves Liverpool more than the Red Sox.

3. Promise Sox fans that he’s not done spending on the baseball team.

4. Acknowledge the darkest period of his decade-long ownership.

5. Apologize to Carl Crawford for ripping him during a spontaneous appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

6. Explain why he wouldn’t return phone calls from his fired manager, Terry Francona.

7. Explain why the Sox allowed an under-contract Theo Epstein to go to the Cubs before agreeing on compensation.

8. Deliver one of those patented, Steinbrenneresque win-one-for-the-Gipper pep talks to the 2012 Red Sox.
Deliberately misrepresent one of those assertions so you can further pile on the owner? Check.
5. Apologize to Carl Crawford for ripping him during a spontaneous appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
And what constitutes 'ripping' a baseball player?
Regarding his radio remark that he was against signing Crawford to the $142 million contract,...
"I was against it" is ripping a player? Please. "He sucks; he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn & throws like a girl" is ripping someone.

Continue on with the obsession over Liverpool FC? Check.
What about Liverpool, John? Have your attention and wallet moved across the Atlantic in the quest to battle Manchester United?
You think Shank's got the stones to criticize the rest of John Henry's investments? Me neither.

Screw up a semi-obvious name / offer further proof that Shank's column are not edited? Check.
“I think more recently there’s been more to attend to,’’ he acknowledged, without referencing Liverpool, Fenway Rousch Racing, or LeBron James.
Nice try, Shank & the copy desk!

UPDATE at 12:30 PM - Shank's gonna go apeshit; just spotted John & Mrs. Henry in the owner's box at Wembley Stadium (Liverpool v. Cardiff for the Carling Cup).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shank Almost Gets Whacked

Finally, a non-chicken & beer story from the Globe's part-time sports columnist:
FORT MYERS, Fla. - I was standing outside the Red Sox clubhouse yesterday morning, minding my own business, not looking for any trouble, when David Ortiz came out and started yelling at me.

OK, maybe “yell’’ is too strong. But it was unhappy talk and it caught me by surprise.

“Dan, you think I’m going to break down like Jim Rice did when he was 36? You’re wrong. It’s not the 1980s. It’s 2012.’’

“Whoa, big fella,’’ I offered. “I don’t remember writing that.’’
Shank then recounts how many people have screamed at him over the years; my only surprise is how short the list is.

But Our Man Shaughnessy's a stand-up guy, right?
Me: “Well, if it makes you feel any better, he’s (the guy who said Papi will break down) our hockey writer.
Kevin Paul Dupont, you just got Shanked!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beating A Dead Horse - III

The surest sign of a lazy part-time Globe sports columnist is to write about the same thing over and over and over:

Chicken and beer. Beer and chicken. If you played for the 2011 Red Sox, it will always be part of your legacy, even if you did nothing wrong. Just as Al Pacino will go to his grave knowing he appeared in “Gigli,’’ Dustin Pedroia has to live with the fact that he was part of the 2011 Red Sox.
You'd think that a scribe, in Florida for about a week, would have something else to write about...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Utterly Predictable Shank Column

...will be written tomorrow. Jon Lester had this to say about September 2011's collapse:
"They should be (angry),'' Lester said Sunday morning, reporting day for Red Sox pitchers and catchers. "We didn't play very good. With all the other stuff added on top of that, it's obviously going to make it worse. I don't blame them for being mad. We didn't play good. We stunk. I stunk. I take complete responsibility for it."
That seems to meet the criteria of an apology that Shank demanded earlier today. Somehow I doubt that will suffice in Shank's eyes.

And now, Josh Beckett:
"We made mistakes in the clubhouse, and that's about as far as I'll go talking about the clubhouse,"


Beckett also insisted there was never a time he wasn't ready to pitch and when asked if it was fair to be singled out for being out of shape at the end of the season, he said, "I put on a little bit of weight. I don't have a reason for it, but it happened. I'm looking forward to going forward from here."
No apology for you! Cue Shank's self-righteous indignation as he attempts to drag Beckett further over the hot coals.

Beating A Dead Horse Again

It does seem to be a recurring theme for the Boston Globe's only part-time sports columnist. Spring training opens today for the Red Sox, which allows Shank to mount the Shetland pony once again:
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox throw open the doors to their clubhouse this morning for the first time since that final night in Baltimore last September. Later in the day, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester will be made available to the media.

Is it just me or is anybody else interested in a few mea culpas?
I'm pretty sure it's just you...
Perhaps we could hear an admission that things were not quite right by the time the SS Francona sank in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Can just one guy stand up and say, “We [bleeped] up. We’re sorry. We were unprofessional and we let it get away from us. Sorry we betrayed your trust.’’?

That’s what I’m in the mood for.
You know what I'm in the mood for? A column that doesn't read like the one from October 18, 2011 or the one from October 20, 2011, or the constant harping on Sox owner John Henry for his ownership of Liverpool FC. Naturally, I'm not holding my breath...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bob Ryan Retiring From The Globe

Specifically, he'll be 'retiring from a full time basis' after the London Olympics this summer:
"I really and truly believe that my time has come and gone, that the dynamics of the business, of what it takes to be involved in the business with all the tweeting and the blogging and that stuff, with an audience with a different taste ... I'm not comfortable -- it's not me any more.

"I very happily say I've had a great run, and I think it's time for somebody else to have their run."
Translations - 1) he's sick of the competition from blogging and tweeting; 2) he has indeed had enough; 3) print media's toast. OK, I threw that last one in there...

Bob Ryan and Will McDonough, I think, are the best sportswriters the Globe's ever had. Now he'll be a part time Boston Globe columnist, just like Shank!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Point Made

Shank takes in yesterday's Celtics game against the Chicago Bulls and pens a pretty good column about Rajon Rondo, who had a triple double in the game. Shank gets carried away comparing him to other great Celtics of yesteryear (when Shank calls him 'a 6-foot-1-inch Larry Bird', I'm pretty sure that's a stretch) and also compared Rondo to Manny Ramirez, because Rondo did not speak to reporters after the game. At least we were spared Springsteen or Beatles lyrics...

Thursday, February 09, 2012

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - V

I, for one, am enjoying the slow, painful death of the parent company of the Boston Globe.
The New York Times newspaper just took a big hit, a hit worth $40 million in the year 2011. Although the shift from print to online publishing in journalism no doubt contributed to the loss of millions, it doesn't help that NYT's writers produce work from a Leftist perspective Americans just aren't interested in reading.
No matter how you slice it, it's hard to imagine a lifespan longer than ten years if the NYT continues to lose money at this rate. Looking at the latest balance sheet, net current assets (current assets of $680 million less current liabilities of $440 million) are at $240 million. Current burn rate ($240 million on hand divided by the $40 million annual loss) gives the company six years to live without major structural changes.

Since they don't know if or how to get out of this jam, the first utterly predictable line of defense is for the NYT to respond by (what's that euphemism?) "asking for" and getting expense reductions from their employees, then defeat the whole purpose of the reputed restructuring when the executives pay themselves a substantial amount of those savings a few months after the furor dies down, just like the last time they played this song. It's that, or a number of employees won't bend over and take yet another major pay cut and quit in disgust, which will be precisely what management is hoping for. Trust me, the employees and the union leadership will remember this stuff, and if anyone forgets, I am happy to refresh your memory.

They can't reasonably jack up prices past $2.50 - they'll lose a decent amount of buyers and subscribers, oblivious to the concept of price elasticity.

Always remember - when you're at the NYT and you step out of line, you get whacked.

History repeats itself - first time as tragedy, second time as farce. I'm sure the blog's resident Globe cheerleader communist has this tattooed on his lower back like a tramp stamp...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I don't think the horse is dead yet, Shank - could you beat on it some more just to be sure? Thanks.
INDIANAPOLIS - Here we are again, standing above the medal platform, arguing about who’s going to get the gold, silver, and bronze.

It’s a parlor game we play in the sports department.

What are the most disappointing losses in New England sports history? Where do we put Sunday night’s disaster at Lucas Oil (Can Boyd) Stadium? Is it the worst loss ever, the worst loss in Patriots history, or just a crushing night that won’t hurt so much after we let a few weeks pass?
Oil Can Boyd Stadium? Nope, that one will never get old!
A team that overachieved is suddenly under the gun. No franchise in NFL history has more Super Bowl losses (four) than the Patriots.
Has Shank never heard about the Buffalo Bills or the Minnesota Vikings? Where in hell are the Globe editors, man?

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Master Of Misery

Shank sure likes writing these types of columns, doesn't he (with a bonus Jethro Tull reference)?
After a decade of dominance, New England seems to be shifting back toward the Big Middle. The Bruins have been in a midseason slump. The Celtics are calcifying before our eyes. The Red Sox are pinching pennies, falling further behind their rivals in the American League. And the Patriots have lost two straight Super Bowls in the final minute against the New York Football Giants.

Instead of celebrating a grand slam - championships in every major sport over a period of four years and four months - New Englanders are spitting out pieces of their broken luck, bracing for the avalanche of grief from those annoying New Yorkers.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Prototypical Shank Column

This is the type of column we expect from Shank:
INDIANAPOLIS - It’s not about revenge. There’s nothing the Patriots can do tonight that will change what happened in the desert against these same Giants four years ago. Most of the players from that game have moved on. This Super Bowl has zero connection to Super Bowl XLII, when Elisha Nelson Manning broke New England’s heart and killed dreams of perfection and immortality.




Lies, lies, lies.

This is all about revenge. It’s about driving a Rolls-Royce to your high school reunion and laughing at the cheerleader who ruined your life when she wouldn’t go out with you. It’s an opportunity to fire the boss who once fired you.

The Patriots have been working overtime to convince you all that this has nothing to do with four years ago. This is an opportunity to win a Super Bowl. It would be no different if they were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Shank's formula is well displayed - take the most negative angle possible and beat the living snot out of it. Toss in a Larry Bird reference, and presto - instant column!

Friday, February 03, 2012


So much for the decent column streak!

Nothing says a) lazy, b) complete and utter lack of imagination, c) contempt for your readers and your editor, or d) all of the above, quite like a picked up pieces column when the hometown New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl for the fifth time during Bill Belichick's tenure as head coach. The usual Shankisms are there, natch, but it's pretty insulting to have to read a de minimus effort on Shank's part when there's probably a hundred different other things to write about.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Shank's On A Roll

You turn your head for a day, and what happens? Shank bangs out two columns, that's what!

We first get a decent column about Rob Gronkowski, and, since he's in Indiana this week, your obligatory Larry Bird column, another decent column. I wonder how long that streak's gonna last...