Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey

Someone must have pissed in Shank's Wheaties this morning:
The Patriots are not that good. Just as the Red Sox were not that good. Too much has happened to the New England football team. Too many subtractions. Too many injuries. Too many close games and comebacks generated by stupid and scared opponents. This New England team is artificially inflated by a terrible division and not built for playoff success.

Maybe the Patriots can ride these doubts all the way to the Meadowlands, all the way down Boylston Street in February.

Here are some takeaways from watching 15 hours (including pregame and postgame programming) of football Sunday . . .
Among those takeaways: The Cincinnati Bengals are 'tomato cans', former Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano is 'Belichick’s favorite pigeon', and it will be hard for the Patriots to win in Denver.

Incisive analysis like this is why Shank gets the big bucks...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Halling Down

Today The CHB complains how the availability of better data actually makes voting for the Hall of Fame more difficult. (It doesn't.)

In fact, it makes things EASIER! Here's the CHB on Jack Morris: "The sun-starved stat geeks hate him because — according to the new metrics — winning games and pitching well in clutch situations is wildly overrated. His ERA (3.90) is too high."

Pitching well in the clutch, eh? Well, one of those sun-starved stat geeks actually sat down and looked at every single Jack Morris start over his career, inning by inning, and he found, empirically,

1. No pattern in when Jack Morris allowed runs.
2. Morris was "at his worst" in one-run and tied games. "In fact," writes Joe Sheehan, "that looks like what you might find in a theoretical 'unclutch' pitcher, someone who chokes when the game is close."

Then there's Shank's timeless "character" complaint, the dreaded "Rule 5," which dictates voters take into account the player's integrity, sportsmanship and character.

As if Ted Williams never popped a greenie. As if Gaylord Perry didn't throw a spitter.

Btw, he is voting for Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux. So in short, he says that baseball's all-time leader in home runs and the No. 3 leader in strikeouts, among others, are not worthy, because they cheated (PEDs) but neither are Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza because they looked like they might have cheated. Huh. (Neither Bagwell nor Piazza ever failed a drug test but you know who did get busted for steroids? Manny Alexander -- all 5'10, 150 lb. of him.)

Indeed, it would take one of those sun-starved stat geeks to explain Shank's rationale, which is off-the-charts bad. He doesn't vote for Craig Biggio, since he had only one 200-hit season (Yaz and Williams combined for 0). He doesn't vote for Mike Mussina (he always pitched for good teams), while ignoring that Jack Morris also always pitched for good teams. You can't make this up.

Btw, Dan, you look like you could use a good tanning session or three yourself. Maybe time to find a nice beer garden? I'm sure someone will save your stool at The Fours.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pig-Headed Skin

Opinions are like assholes: Everyone has one, and they all stink.

Which is why "sports columnist" is the appropriate occupation for one Dan Shaughnessy. He has lots of opinions, and they all stink.

Here he's criticizing the decision for UMass to move to D-1 football. "It’s the worst idea since Bobby Valentine was hired to manage the Red Sox," Shank says. Of course, when that hiring happened, The CHB actually welcomed the move.

Now, pay attention, because Shaughnessy hasn't been.

1.  UMass has had two rotten seasons since moving to D-1. That's the curve for every program that moves up. Some eventually make the jump, some don't. But they do it because ...
2. ... The money available to D-1 schools is far and away better than what they can generate at the lower levels.
3. Being in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conference doesn't guarantee you success. Look no further than Georgetown (which Shank did, since he claims he was at their season-ender at Holy Cross). They've had one winning season in the past 14, and are about to kill their program.
4. Shaughnessy says, "Folks here simply don’t have an appetite for big-time college football." Perhaps The CHB should pop in a bar anywhere in Boston on a fall Saturday. Oh wait, that could never happen. College games take place in the afternoon, when he's still sleeping off the previous night's binge.

The fact is, Shaughnessy has no business writing about college sports, especially college football. He doesn't follow it. He doesn't know it. He doesn't care about it. It's high time he left it to the experts and went back to doing what he does best: bad-mouthing minorities.

Monday, December 23, 2013

In Bill We Trust - This Week, Anyway

The New England Patriots crushed the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, 41 - 7. Naturally, Shank's firmly on the bandwagon again:
BALTIMORE — It has been ugly, unwieldy, and totally unpredictable. Bill Belichick never would admit it, but the 2013 Patriots season has been a bigger challenge than recovering from a 5-11 introductory season, a bigger challenge than going through an entire year without Tom Brady.

And no matter what happens now, this 2013 season will stand as Bill Belichick’s masterpiece; the Hoodie’s Sistine Chapel.

The Patriots thrashed and embarrassed the world champion Baltimore Ravens, 41-7, in their own house Sunday. The Belichickmen (now 11-4) were crowned division champs before the game even started — thanks to Buffalo skunking the Dolphins — then went out and annihilated the favored Ravens, who entered the game with four straight wins and a hard-earned reputation for staring down the Patriots.

Our boy Bill was really happy after this one. He even almost cracked a smile when he said, “It was nice not to go down to the last minute. We actually had a lead with a couple of minutes to go.’’
You know the drill by now - when the Patriots win, they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. When they lose (like they did seven days ago) he criticizes everyone in the Patriots organization from the owner to the equipment manager.

Last word goes to this commenter:
Lucky for Mr. Shaughnessy that he didn't produce a column yesterday or Saturday. It must be a welcome change for him to not have to ignore something he wrote less than 48 hours ago that contradicts what he's writing now.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Dan Shaughnessy is a lot of things. So, too, is "DanShaughnessy." One online generator returned some 9117 anagrams, some of which were highly fitting. Behold:
  • Handy Asses Hung
  • Sashays Dung Hen
  • Gas Ashy Shunned
  • Head Sags Shy Nun
  • Hanged Says Shun
  • Gnashed Anus Shy
And perhaps most apropos: Gassy Ha Shunned


After Shank's hissyfit column on Wednesday, we're back to the regular order of things with an unremarkable picked up pieces column. Among other matters, we learn that Shank's against giving Big Papi a contract extension (at least that position is consistent), the Ravens have the ability to beat the Patriots tomorrow, Dave Cowens is an underrated Celtic, and Marvin Lewis, the Cincinnati Bengals coach, will make some sort of major mistake in the near future.

Way to go out on a limb, Shank!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dan Plays Defense

"Do you want coverage or celebration? Do you want subjective commentary and analysis, or do you just want writer/fans rooting for the local teams to win?"

That's what The CHB writes today.

So many things wrong with that single statement?

First, it's a false equivalency. Fans want all of it, and in appropriate doses.

But let's remind readers that Shank offers only snarky commentary, and no analysis. Consider this past week's "efforts," when over the span of 24 hours he went from calling the Patriots Super Bowl bound to "laughable."

"I don’t care if they win. I don’t care if they lose. I love sports. I love football. I love the story. The story can be great, win or lose. But I am not emotional about the outcome."

 Absolutely, irrefutably untrue. One needs only look vitriol he's spewed at players, managers, executives and yes, fans (including in today's column) over the years to recognize that 1) he is emotional, and about everything and 2) he roots for an outcome. And no, sometimes it's for the home team to lose, and that's in part what readers (if there are any left) both recognize and despise.

Today shows The CHB at his most defensive. It's the same column he writes roughly once per year. The fans don't know dick: That's the one thing he never flips on.

Dan, we don't care what you think. We don't care how you feel. We just want you to go away. John Henry, give us an early Christmas present.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Miami Vice

It's not like we didn't see this coming.

In yesterday's Shanktastic writeup, The CHB forecast a Patriots win: "On Sunday, the Patriots will assume their spot as the top-seeded team in the AFC."

Today, however, he's singing a different tune: "[T]hese Patriots simply are not that good. Sure, they are good enough to win the AFC East for the 10th time in 11 seasons — winning the AFC East has become like winning a trophy for playing T-ball in Newton — but the notion that they were the AFC’s top seed is laughable."

I guess it's too much to ask for Daiquiri Dan to recall that just three weeks ago he wrote "the Patriots are flexing their muscles after last Sunday’s dramatic comeback over the Broncos. The 8-3 Patriots are favorites to run the table and return to the Super Bowl."

But to not remember what you wrote the day before? That's what AA is for, Big Guy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Heat in Today's Piece

Today's piece is a recap of basically every Patriots trip to Miami since the NFL-AFL merger. 

It's long.

It's dull.

It's needlessly predictive ("This is where, on Sunday, the Patriots will assume their spot as the top-seeded team in the AFC. As “The Waltz of the Tomato Cans” plays over the loudspeakers at Sun Life Stadium, the Patriots will win the AFC East for the 10th time in 11 seasons.").

It's Shankesque.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cry Me a Rivers

In his writeup today on Doc Rivers' return to Boston, The CHB pulls out seemingly every last player or coach to leave Boston -- any sport -- in the past 20 years.

  • Bill Parcells? Check.
  • Johnny Damon? Check.
  • Ray Allen? Check.
  • Terry Francona? Check.
 It just goes on and on like that.
  • Grady Little? Check.
  • Dave Lewis? (Seriously, does anyone remember him? Or care?) Check. 
  • M.L. Carr? Check.
  • Bill Fitch? Check.
  • John McNamara. Check.
Oddly, he omits the insta-cliche of Rick Pitino, who isn't walking through that door.

But guess who does walk through The CHB door? Larry Bird. (You knew it was coming, didn't you?)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dream On

It's been a while since Shank wrote a column this incredibly stupid:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., FEB. 2, 2014 — The magic formula worked again. And now the Patriots are Super Bowl champs.

In what probably will go down as the greatest of all Super Bowls, the New England Patriots last night overcame a 43-point halftime deficit and came back to defeat Seattle, 44-43, to win their first Super Bowl since 2005.

In a wild and controversial ending, the Patriots scored the winning points when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — trying to run out the clock while clinging to a 1-point lead — lost track of where he was on the field and was tackled in his own end zone by Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Shank, Unshaved - II

Here's the obligatory Shank column on the Ellsbury trade.

Shank, Unshaved

Just when I was a few weeks away from mailing Shank a shaving kit:
Free-agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has reached agreement on a seven-year contract with the New York Yankees pending a physical exam, a baseball source told

According to multiple reports, the deal will pay Ellsbury $153 million over seven years and includes an option for an eighth year that could increase the overall value of the contract to $169 million. Ellsbury's deal exceeds Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in December 2010.
Which was precisely what Scott Boras, Ellsbury's agent, was looking for.

For those who don't remember what Shank said about Ellsbury during spring training, it's right here:
Jacoby Ellsbury is the greatest flight risk in the history of baseball. There is no way he will be playing for the Red Sox next spring.

I’d bet my hair on it.

I tell him so in the clubhouse at JetBlue Park.

“Everybody knows you are gone,’’ I say. “If you’re still here next year, I’ll shave my head.’’

“Go for it,’’ says Ellsbury.

No problem. My hair is safe. Like everybody else around here, I know there is no chance Ellsbury will be with the Red Sox next year.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

We Came To Bury Them

Today's 'effort' pulls off the twofer, jumping on the Patriot's bandwagon:
ANYWHERE BUT HOUSTON — Last year, this was fun. The Houston Texans were 11-1 when they came to Foxborough. They were the Next Big Thing in the NFL. They were a team on the rise playing on “Monday Night Football” against a once-great franchise going stale. According to Houston wideout Andre Johnson, it was the biggest game in Texans history. Houston players wore their letterman jackets to Gillette and Football America waited for the torch to be passed to Gary Kubiak, Matt Schaub, and Arian Foster.

And then, the game started. It was an embarrassment. The Houston Texans were the Texas Frauds. The Patriots jumped to a 28-0 lead. Tom Brady was mercifully pulled when it was 42-7. The Patriots settled for a 42-14 win and sent the Texans on the road to ruin.

Less than a year later, the Patriots are flexing their muscles after last Sunday’s dramatic comeback over the Broncos. The 8-3 Patriots are favorites to run the table and return to the Super Bowl.
...and taking a huge dump on the Houston Texans at the same time:
And the Texans are a joke. Schaub (eight touchdown passes, nine interceptions) has lost his job to Casey Kasem, err, Case Keenum. Foster is recovering from back surgery. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke and has been coaching from a booth upstairs. He is expected to return to the sideline Sunday afternoon.
Mocking the Texans this year is like doing layup drills with an 8-foot rim. It’s simply too easy.

What about Houston itself? Easy to mock, no?
And easy to write about - Shank nails the triple play!

UPDATE AT 1:25 PM - When Shank says "The 8-3 Patriots are favorites to run the table and return to the Super Bowl", he means tied for third favorites to win the Super Bowl. Or something...