Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Coming Out

In today's column, Shank discusses Jason Collins, former Boston Celtic, who announced yesterday that he is gay.
The big deal about this . . . is that it’s not a big deal.

Veteran NBA center Jason Collins came out of the closet Monday. In a first-person article for Sports Illustrated, Collins told the world that he is gay. He became the first active player in a major American sport to acknowledge his homosexuality.

And it is not a big deal. It is not Jackie Robinson in 1947. Collins has come out at a time when few will challenge his right to his own sexual identity. There no doubt are folks who wish Collins kept this to himself, but woe is the ballplayer or commentator who will question anything about Collins’s sexual orientation.

We have evolved. There are gay men and women in just about every workplace. There have been gay ballplayers for more than a century. We just didn’t know about it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

One Month In, He's Wrong Again

“The question now is, 'Who are you going to pick to finish in last place — the Red Sox or the Yankees?' ’’ -- The CHB, March 24, 2013

American League standings as of this afternoon:
Boston187.720-11-57-212888+40Won 57-3
NY Yankees159.6252.59-46-511297+15Won 47-3
Baltimore1510.60037-58-5129104+25Lost 17-3
Tampa Bay1213.48068-44-910397+6Won 27-3
Toronto917.3469.55-84-995130-35Lost 42-8

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wash, Rinse, Repeat!

Shank's Wednesday column on the Boston Celtics reflected on the team being down, 2 - 0, to the New York Knicks. Now that the Celtics are down 3 - 0, Shank recycles that column.
It’s ice time on Causeway Street. The Bull Gang can pack away the parquet after the Celtics and Knicks play Game 4 on Sunday. You don’t need Red on Roundball to tell you that this series is not coming back to Boston next week.
And what's a Shaughnessy column without a mention of Bill Belichick and cheap alliteration?
Draftmaster/sartorial savant Bill Belichick has a catch-all phrase for those rare occasions when the Patriots submit a terrible performance. The Hoodie will stand at the podium and mumble, “That’s not what we were looking for.’’

This is a polite explanation for what unfolded at the Garden on Friday. Fans came out to see the Celtics shake down the thunder from the banner-festooned rafters. Instead, they got another terrible performance from the Green Team. The Celtics were humbled by the Knicks, 90-76, and now face a potential season-ending Game 4. Two years after thumping their chests and sweeping the Knicks, the broom is on the other size-16 Nike.

Not what we were looking for.
Throw in a random Larry Bird reference for good measure:
It only got worse. Anthony (26 points on 12-for-25 shooting, no assists) was Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in the third and fourth quarters as the Knicks shot to a 21-point lead. He was the true Fab Melo. Every time the Knicks needed a basket, Anthony scored.
After two decent colums, Shanks reverts to form, or lack thereof...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The End Is Near

Hate to agree with Shank, but he may be right about this year's Boston Celtics.
NEW YORK — It feels like the end is near.

When Rajon Rondo went down with a torn ACL in late January, we all wrote the obituary for the 2012-13 Green Team. But then the Celtics started playing well again and we temporarily lost sight of the fact that they have little chance to advance in the playoffs this spring.

Tuesday night the Celtics were beaten, 87-71, in Game 2 of their first-round series with the overrated Knicks and now we are back to remembering what we felt when Rondo first went down.

It is not impossible, of course, for the Celtics to come back in this series. They’ve been down 0-2 and won a series before. They did it in in the spring of 1969 when Bill Russell and Sam Jones were getting ready to retire.
And now, for a little Rick Pitino flashback:
But it doesn’t feel like it’s going to happen this year. Bill Russell is not walking through that door. Sam Jones is not walking through that door. The Celtics scored 8 points in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and 23 points in the second half of Game 2. They shot an aggregate 14 for 63 in the second halves of the two losses.
Also of note - this is Shank's second consecutive quality column, which begs the question: are there any 'end of the world' prophecies in the near future we haven't heard about?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oink, Oink

For those of us who've followed professional basketball for years, Shank's column on the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony states the fairly obvious.
NEW YORK — Overrated ball hog.

This is Carmelo Anthony. He doesn’t seem to be a bad guy. He is not the devil. He’s probably going to shoot the Knicks past the Celtics in the first round of these NBA playoffs.

But he’s not going to be an NBA champion. He’s not one of the all-time greats. He appears to be incapable of doing anything to help his team unless he has the ball in his hands.
Shank then reels off many past NBA champions, including Larry Bird, natch, and bolsters the above statements throughout a pretty good column.

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Small Is This Group?

In recent months, Shank seems to be racking up accolades in one form or another:
Hall recognizes players, executives, journalists and entertainers of Irish descent.

New York, NY (PRWEB) April 17, 2013

The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IAB HOF) today announced its 2013 inductees: popular former Mets Rusty Staub and Joe McEwing; longtime owner of the LA Dodgers Peter O’Malley; Hall of Fame baseball writer Bill Madden of the New York Daily News; and award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe Dan Shaughnessy.
The authors of Dan Shaughnessy Watch aren't into cheap cultural stereotyping, but I feel compelled to point out the following:
The induction ceremonies will take place at Noon on Tues, May 7, 2013, at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), which houses the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Ballots were cast by past inductees and a panel of baseball experts and historians.

“We are proud to induct the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2013 for their contributions to the game,” said Shaun Clancy, president of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame and owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia. "The 2013 inductees include two of America's best known sports writers in Bill Madden and Dan Shaughnessy and the longtime owner of one of baseball's iconic franchises in Peter O'Malley. We are also proud to honor two of the most popular players in Mets history: Rusty Staub, a main cog in the 1973 NL Championship season, and "Super Joe" McEwing, a tough and versatile competitor for the 2000 World Series team."
Shank's contributions:
· Dan Shaughnessy: Award winning columnist for the Boston Globe for over 30 years, Shaughnessy is the author of 12 books including The Curse of the Bambino, which chronicled the misfortunes of the Red Sox after trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, and The New York Times bestseller Francona, which he co-authored with the former Red Sox manager. Shaughnessy has been honored 11 times as Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year and has been named nine times as one of the Top 10 Sports Columnists in America by AP Sports Editors. He serves on the New England regional board of UNICEF and is proud of his Irish roots in County Galway.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Out of Touch

Unbelievable. The same guy who has spent a career whining about how men in tights are overpaid and underappreciative of their luck in life now has the gall to say "We know our place. The games are entertainment."

If only he could show that perspective when people aren't getting killed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Day After

Shank writes about yesterday's bombing at the Boston Marathon.
You live here, so you got the calls. And the texts. And the e-mails.

Are you safe? Are you OK? Were you there? Is everybody in your family all right?

This was one of those days when you found out how many great friends you have. Worldwide, word spread that Boston — the Boston Marathon — was under attack, and folks from other corners of the country and the world reached out to find out how you and your family were doing.

More end to more innocence. One of our best days is forever tainted. The 117-year-old Boston Marathon will never be the same. The journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street is now a 26.2-mile stretch of yellow police tape. Do not cross.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Crying in their Weird

This is what passes for sports reporting in Boston these days: The CHB and some other dude talking about whether John Lackey is now a sympathetic person.

Not about whether he can pitch. Not about whether he can pitch well. But whether the fans (and media, of course) are ready to accept him as a Red Sox.

Sample analysis: "I don't know what we're going to get out of him. ... But first Lackey's gonna need to get back on the field."

Hey, and Silva sounds as effeminate as Shaughnessy. It's Douche Squared.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

DHL Dan - XX

The spring sports equinox is upon us. With so many different events going on, Shank can't pick just one, so he writes about all of them!
Picked-up pieces while waiting for Larry Lucchino to return a phone call . . .
Don't hold your breath, Shank - you burned your last bridge with the Red Sox organization. The only surprise is that it took this long.
Is your head spinning? The Sox are off and running. The Celtics and Bruins are readying for the playoffs. Tiger is getting ready to wear the red shirt at the Masters. Two Connecticut schools battled for the NCAA hockey championship in Pittsburgh Saturday night. The Red Sox play the major league’s only morning-start game on Monday and our city is peppered with folks from around the world who are here to watch and run in the 117th Boston Marathon.
Any word on where Tiger's gonna take a leak, Shank?

The rest of the column is predictable pablum; read at your own risk.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Swing And A Miss

I missed this column from Monday, and it's a gem. We're a Springsteen quote, a 'Sons of Tito' mention and a cheap shot at Bill Belichick away from this being the ultimate signature Shaughnessy column.

Sarcasm? Check:
The Redemption Tour comes home Monday afternoon and the “Please Don’t Hate Us” Red Sox are in sole possession of first place for the first time since Sept. 1, 2011.
Pretend that you weren't licking the previous manager's balls? Check:
It’s a good day to feel good about the Sox again. They have delivered on their promises to play hard and be more likable. They’ve vetted clubhouse poisons and assembled a unit of worthy veterans and wide-eyed kids. They are managed by a true professional, and ownership hasn’t insulted the fan base in several months. They have new-millennium gold dust twins Jose Iglesias (.529 average) and Jackie Bradley Jr., and sophomore Will Middlebrooks, who hit three home runs in Sunday’s 13-0 rout of the division-favorite Blue Jays.
Dump on Red Sox management? Check:
“Make no mistake,’’ Sox CEO Larry Lucchino wrote to fans in a spring training welcome letter (Lucchino specializes in letters to fans), “with a 69-win season in our rearview mirror, the challenge to beat back the skeptics and re-assert ourselves is an invigorating one for all of us.’’
Gratuitous acknowledgement of the team's performance so far this year? Check:
The 2013 Sox have blasted from the starter’s gate with four wins in six games in New York and Toronto. They hit a whopping six homers in the Rogers Centre Sunday and at 2:05 p.m. Monday play the Baltimore Orioles in the 113th franchise home opener.
Whine about a mild New England winter, having spent about a month of it in Florida? Check:
It doesn’t take much to rekindle the passion of New England baseball fans. Red Sox Nation wants players who hustle and appear hungry; players who pull for one another and don’t complain about travel, snitches, or scoring decisions. After all the snow and cold of the wicked winter of 2012-13, most New England baseball fans are thrilled just to think about being warm outside again.
Continue to run players out of town months after you've finished the job? Check:
The Sox haven’t been home since Bobby Valentine’s 2012 wretches slinked out of town under the cover of darkness late last September (that was the night Bobby V said, “I think I would have kept the beer in the clubhouse. I could have used it after a few of these games”). Bobby’s trainwreck Townies staggered to the worst Boston baseball season in 47 years (69-93, 26 games out of first place), which triggered the overdue overhaul.
Take a dump on ownership and piss on general manager Larry Lucchino again for the old 1 - 2 combo? Check:
Positioning themselves as “scrappy underdogs” (another Lucchino beauty), the $154 million payroll Red Sox launched their 2013 campaign with an 8-2 victory in Yankee Stadium one week ago. After starts of 0-6 (2011) and 1-5 (2012), the Sox come home with a 4-2 record, winning their first two series for the first time since 2006 — when everybody loved the Red Sox and the “new” owners.

The local landscape is very different now.
Presumably because of all the snow melting from the brutal New England winter...

Hype the new manager so Shank can help write his memoirs once he gets shitcanned? Big freakin' check!
Mindful of an angry fan base, the Sox spent the winter/spring apologizing to fans and asking forgiveness in the form of two-for-one hot dogs and reduced beer prices in April. They issued offseason slogans of “What’s Broken Can Be Fixed’’ and “162 Chances to Restore The Faith.’’ New manager John (Wayne) Farrell was summoned to clean up the Valentine mess and told fans, “It’s a whole new ballgame,’’ in a NESN spot that paints the 2013 team as “workmanlike” and “professional.’’
The last words go to The Duke:
“We had a tremendous spring training,’’ Farrell said after Sunday’s rout. “To go through New York and Toronto is a good start. We’re going to give effort and energy every time we walk on the field. We’re going to play with an intensity that should work in our favor. We’re looking forward to going home and getting before our home crowd. Hopefully, these six games will energize the fans even more than they normally would be.’’
Saddle up!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Battered Fan Syndrome

Now that the Red Sox are on a roll, Shank waxes estatic about how awesome our Red Sox are.
We love baseball. We love the Red Sox. Nothing else explains the wonderful, wacky reception the Sox received Monday in their 113th home opener, a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

You can insult the fandom. You can treat people as if they are imbeciles and win 69 games. You can produce the worst season in a generation (47 years). You can offend the sensibilities of smart people. It doesn’t matter. Give us a shred of hope and we are hooked.

The woebegone Red Sox are 5-2 and in sole possession of first place in the American League East. So now it looks like the pennant. Print the World Series tickets. And should the World Series reception be held at the JFK Library or the Museum of Fine Arts?

“This is a Red Sox town,’’ said Boston’s outgoing mayor, Thomas Menino, as he patrolled Level 3 behind home plate in the early innings. “Boston fans love the team. They are going to follow the team. We’re going to follow this team to a rolling rally in October.

“The Red Sox are part of the DNA of Boston. We always come back. We love the team.’’

We always come back.
I can't emphasize this point enough - just wait until the first two or three game losing skid, and Shank will be trashing everyone in the Red Sox organization from John Henry to the grounds crew.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Singin' Shank

The multi-talented Dan Shaughnessy sings the national anthems at the April 6 Canadiens-Bruins game. Is there anything that man can't do?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Overreaction - II

Shank trashed the 2012 Boston Red Sox for the entire playing year and the past offseason. Now that the 2013 Red Sox have a two game winning streak? Best. team. Evah!
NEW YORK — They may never lose.

They may never trail.

Worst to first. Two games into the season, this is the theme of the 2013 Red Sox.

And is it possible for Jackie Bradley Jr. to be the Face of the Franchise after only two games in the big leagues?
That depends - how many column inches you have on him so far?
Pump some air into the Duck Boat tires. Get going with the 2013 commemorative bricks. Maybe the phony sellout streak will live longer than we thought.
That's right, folks - Bandwagon Dan changed his tune on the current version of the Olde Town Team from last place laughingstock to write-in World Series favorite in under two weeks.

Do I even have to ask what Shank will be writing with the first three game losing streak?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


The 2013 Boston Red Sox win in Yankee Stadium yesterday on Opening Day, and Shank's doing cartwheels:
NEW YORK — First walk. First hustle on the basepaths. First strikeout. First run. First RBI. First “tremendous” catch.

How long before Dr. Charles Steinberg produces “The Ballad of Jackie Bradley Jr.?’’

How long before Yawkey Way is renamed JBJ Way?

How long before we’re eating loaves of Jackie Bradley Jr. Bread?

The kid made his major-league debut Monday afternoon and was instrumental in the Red Sox’ 8-2 Opening Day thrashing of the New York Yankees. In his first big-league plate appearance, in the second inning, Bradley turned an 0-and-2 count into a hard-earned walk off CC Sabathia that triggered a four-run Red Sox rally. Bradley beat shortstop Eduardo Nunez’s throw to second when Jose Iglesias followed with a hit into the hole. Bradley knocked in an insurance run in the seventh, doing his job when he batted in a first-and-third, one-out situation. He walked three times and saw 26 pitches in five plate appearances. He made a catch that reminded old-timers of Yaz’s iconic grab in the ninth inning of Billy Rohr’s major league debut, a one-hitter in April of 1967 at Yankee Stadium.
Speaking of 1967:
It’s 1967 all over again. The Cardiac Kids had rookies named Reggie Smith and Mike Andrews. They went from ninth place to Boston’s first pennant in 21 years. They had a first-year manager who said, “We’ll win more than we lose.’’ And they had a rookie pitcher who hurled a one-hitter in his big-league debut in Yankee Stadium in April.
Leading up to Opening Day, Shank was wondering which team would be finishing in last place; today the Cardiac Kids have been resurrected. So much for consistency.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Turn On A Dime Dan - VII?

Yesterday Shank was trashing the 2013 Red Sox before they played a single game, stating that "chemistry in a baseball clubhouse is way overrated." Today he writes an otherwise good column on Jackie Bradley Jr., starting his first game in the major leagues as the left fielder. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but you tell me:
NEW YORK — The worst Red Sox season in a generation angered and alienated a large, loyal fan base and gave way to an offseason of overpayment for ballplayers of character and experience. Expectations have been lowered and the club’s winter/spring ad campaign begged forgiveness while promising a team that will try harder.

Monday the torch will be passed to Boston baseball’s future, and its name is Jackie Bradley Jr. With only 138 minor league games under his belt — none in Triple A — the soon-to-be 23-year-old Virginia native will be the Red Sox’ starting left fielder on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.

Bradley is the perfect antidote for the infection that’s poisoned the Sox since September of 2011. Boston’s kid outfielder is a spotless soul with no baggage and no attachments to the hardball horrors that have plagued this franchise since the final days of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.
In other words, this kid brings character and talent to the clubhouse.

Shane Victorino wraps up the column with a great quote:
Seeing the four-deep group of reporters gathered around Bradley’s locker Sunday, Victorino walked by and warned, “They love you now, but they’ll be [expletive] burying you within a week.’’

Welcome to Boston, kid.
And avoid talking to Dan Shaughnessy!