Sunday, July 28, 2013

Reggie Lewis

Twenty years ago, Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics died of a heart attack, and Shank writes an otherwise good column about it (emphasis mine):
Twenty years ago today, folks picked up their morning Globe and saw a front-page headline that read, “Celtics captain Lewis dies after collapse while shooting.’’

It was the story of the death of Reggie Lewis at the age of 27. It was a story that was as tragic as the premature deaths of Harry Agganis, Tony Conigliaro, and Len Bias. Until last month, when a star Patriots player was arrested for murder, the death of Reggie Lewis was perhaps the worst story involving a Boston athlete.
I say 'otherwise' because Shank poorly telegraphs his future punches against the Patriots:
For those of us who cover sports in Boston, it was one of the worst stories ever.

Until now.
Who does he think he's kidding? For Shank, it will be one of the best stories ever.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Big Bill Belichick

Shank was there to cover yesterday's Bill Belichick press conference, and gave it high marks.
FOXBOROUGH — Bill Belichick came up big Wednesday. Facing the media for the first time since his tight end, Aaron Hernandez, was charged with murder June 26, the legendary Patriots football coach was fair, measured, empathic, remorseful, dignified, ever-secretive, and best of all, human.
News flash - Bill Belichick is NOT a cyborg! I knew it!

Throughout the column, Shank lays it on thick in spots, and takes some shots along the way (emphasis mine):
This was necessary. The Hernandez case is nothing like Spygate, Tebowing, Fourth and 2, or hating on Eric Mangini. A young man is dead, an ex-Patriot is in jail, and the hard-earned brand of the local football team is forever tarnished.

There were still some toady Patriots fans who felt that their beloved coach (“In Bill We Trust”) could stay in the bunker forever, but Belichick put that nonsense to rest in his opening statement when he said, “I’m primarily responsible for the people we bring into the football operation . . . most of those decisions have worked out but some don’t. Overall, I’m proud of the hundreds of players that have come through this program but I’m personally disappointed and hurt in a situation like this.’’

Perfect. The coach knew that this was not the day to play the “stupid game,’’ that’s worked so well in Foxborough over the last 13 seasons. Belichick has demonstrated uncommon disdain for disclosure and public relations during his tenure with the Patriots. Ask him about tight end Rob Gronkowski’s status two days after a surgery and the coach might say, “I haven’t talked to the doctor yet.” Ask him if today is Thursday and he’ll deadpan, “Traditionally, Thursday is the day that follows Wednesday.’’
You get the sense from reading the column that Shank wants to rip Belichick a new one but never has an opening to do so, or just doesn't take it. With football season just around the cornere, there's still five more months to be an asshole. Patience, young Jedi...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Libel & Slander?

I'm kicking myself for not posting a prediction on Shank's next column last night, as it seemed to me almost too easy to predict this self-righteous column. Funny how a baseball writer can spend the entire part of the previous decade ignoring the likes of McGwire, Sosa and Bonds, and now takes a sudden interest in PED's.
Just call him Lyin’ Ryan.

In the pantheon of sports dirtbags, Ryan Braun goes down as one of the worst. He forever will be a baseball pariah.

Unfortunately that’s not enough. The disgraced Milwaukee Brewer got off easy. He deserved at least a one-year suspension. Probably more. I’d have been OK with a lifetime ban, which may be what’s coming for Alex Rodriguez.
As I was reading this column, I wondered if Shank would double down on his questioning of a certain Red Sox player earlier this year; and, sure enough:
It’s only going to get worse. At this hour, the Red Sox are engaged in a playoff hunt that no doubt involves players who someday will serve suspensions for their involvement with Biogenesis. You can guess some of their names and some of them already have prior positive tests. It makes you think twice about the “action” unfolding from now through October.
I wonder if Shank somehow got a list of names about the players involved in the Biogenesis matter? As of today, there are five names linked to this matter, none of whom are on the Red Sox roster.

I don't think it takes Albert Einstein to figure out who he's talking about. Good thing he didn't use his name in this article, or the Globe would be sued into bankruptcy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mr. Right (For Now)

Shank says many nice things about current Red Sox manager John Farrell and his positive influence on the 2013 Red Sox.
OAKLAND, Calif. — It was late morning on a splendid Sunday in northern California and John Farrell was holding court in the first base dugout at Coliseum.

He was asked if he might name his starting rotation for next weekend’s big series with the Yankees at Fenway Park when the Sox return from the All-Star break.

“We’ll announce that as soon as we tell the guys who are making starts for us,’’ Farrell said politely.

There you go. More boredom from the top. More keeping things in-house. More respect for the major league ballplayers.
Naturally, Shank needs to remind you how bad the previous manager was:
A year ago the manager of the Red Sox might have spilled the beans, or ripped one of his pitchers, or asked “who cares?’’ or answered his cellphone before answering the question. He certainly wouldn’t have told his pitching coach who was starting against the Yankees.

That was then. This is now. Chaos and calamity have been displaced by peace and tranquility. Speaking in tongues has ceded to actual communication. Last place has become first place.
Which keeps with traditional Shank themes - say lots of nice things about the manager until the first big losing streak, then it's time for the manager to walk the proverbial plank and get run out of town.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Oakland A's Road Trip

Shank joins the Red Sox on their annual trip to Oakland to play the Athletics. So far he wrote two columns while in Oakland, the first noting the number of former Red Sox on the A's roster, and what a lovable dump their ballpark is.

The second column, a game recap of the Saturday game, naturally comes after a 3 - 0 Red Sox loss. It seems to be a general rule of Shank's only to write about the Red Sox after a loss:
OAKLAND, Calif. — They started the season in New York, still shamed by 2012, promoting Jackie Bradley Jr. as the face of the franchise, admitting their phony sellout streak soon would end, and hoping to return to respectability. New manager John Farrell said he liked his team and Boston’s embattled ownership group promised “What’s Broken Can Be Fixed.’’

Sunday night the first-place Red Sox pause for the All-Star break. David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Clay Buchholz will travel to New York for the Midsummer Classic, while their teammates go home for a well-deserved rest.

After stumbling through their worst season in 47 years, the 2013 Red Sox own the best record in the American League, and a significant lead (3½ games entering Sunday) in the ever-competitive AL East. The Sox have 58 wins, tops in franchise history at the All-Star break.

How did this happen?
Eventually there will come a day where the near-constant reminders by Shank of how awful the 2012 Boston Red Sox were will run its course and deprive him of his much needed cudgel to bash the Red Sox over and over and over. Today is not that day.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Coliseum Column's a Dump

The Oakland Coliseum is a dump. Who knew?

It's not like the Athletics haven't been trying to move to San Jose for, oh, at least four years.

But that doesn't stop The CHB, in a hugely disjointed column, from first pointing out all that's wrong about the facilities, then noting all the former Red Sox players on the A's roster.

At least there's no reference to "MoneyBall" or "Billy Ball" (Martin or Beane). Probably because the A's are in first place.

Oh yes, and there's a random Larry Bird mention.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Monthly Update

Shank hasn't written a column for a few weeks, so we're treated to a monthly recap of the local professional sports scene.

Two things to note - he's using the column to suck up to the Red Sox; I wasn't aware that you could rebuild a bridge that Shank clearly nuked a few months back:
3. Red Sox. No team in baseball has more wins. And now that John Henry appears serious about buying the Globe (don't do it! - ed.), I must admit that, upon further review, everything the Sox do is just swell with me.

Since you have been away you need to know that the Sox have eight walkoff wins, love one another unconditionally, and clearly have the best chemistry in the history of baseball. The Sox lead the majors in runs scored and apparently can win the World Series without a legitimate closer. David Ortiz — teetering on the brink of outright release three years ago — has discovered the fountain of youth and simply gets better every day. Truly amazing. Jose Iglesias is putting up numbers that would make Rogers Hornsby blush and an outfield of Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, and Mike Carp is infinitely superior to those lean years when the Sox only had Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, and Dwight Evans. I am not the least bit worried about the Tampa Bay Rays, who have a cake schedule and just got David Price back. The Yankees and Orioles (both five back in the loss column entering Wednesday) also appear to be mirages. The Red Sox have 25 great guys who love each other. They are the envy of baseball. And John Henry might be the greatest human being who ever lived.
Also, Shank continues his jihad against the Patriots:
4. Patriots. Supreme tight end Aaron Hernandez has been arrested for murder, is a suspect in a 2012 double homicide, and owns a trail of guns and violence that resulted in at least one punctured eardrum and one lost eyeball. Some of this happened before the Patriots made the decision to reward him with a $40 million contract extension last year. Tuesday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft (looking more and more like Ralph Lauren and/or Hugh Hefner) broke the franchise’s extended silence and told a handpicked trio of reporters that the Patriots were “duped,’’ while still clinging to the whopper that it was Hernandez’s idea to donate $50,000 to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Fund when Hernandez signed his extension.

Please. Duped? This is an organization that requires media members to report to “security command,” then videotapes useless press sessions involving coach Bill Belichick and said reporters. Nothing is left to chance at Gillette Stadium.

Duped? Did Belichick ever talk to old pal Urban Meyer about this kid? Did the Patriots speak to any of their own players (check out the Matt Light quotes) before deciding that Hernandez, not Wes Welker, was the guy who should get the long extension and the bag of money? Players don’t know everything about one another. But they know whom they like and whom they trust.

The Patriots can’t win this one. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
And Shank will do his best to keep it that way. He'll milk this one for the next two years.