Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mookie Betts

Shank writes about the latest Red Sox call-up from Pawtucket and can barely contain his optimism:
NEW YORK — Let’s just go ahead and call this what it is:

The free-falling Red Sox are in full-blown panic mode. After Friday night’s Rollover Beethoven, three-hit shutout loss to the immortal Vidal Nuno, Sox general manager Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell got together and decided to call up Markus Lynn “Mookie” Betts.

This is what the fans want. This is what the fans need. (no sarcasm there! - ed.) And so the Sox summoned a 5-foot-9-inch, 156-pound, 21-year-old kid who has played exactly 77 games above Single A ball. They called up a kid who was not invited to the big league clubhouse in spring training. They called up the next Sox phenom, an innocent successor in the Sox’ conga line of mega-hyped prospects named Juan Bustabad, Chico Walker, Brady Anderson, Frankie Rodriguez, Lars Anderson, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts. Some of them worked out. Some didn’t. Now it’s Mookie’s turn.
Juust a bit over the top!

Saturday, June 28, 2014


A day or two behind one of the local sports talk radio topics, Shank wonders - what's up with Dustin Pedroia?
NEW YORK — Dustin Pedroia has a message for those who believe he is in steady, irreversible decline.

“I’ll be the same player that I am — the same player that you’ve seen — until I’m dead, OK?’’ Pedroia said while sitting in front of his locker before Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees series opener at Yankee Stadium. “That’s basically the bottom line.’’

He has spent his entire professional career being cocky and defiant. That’s the way it goes when you are 5-foot-nothing and clubhouse security guys won’t let you into the room because they don’t believe you’re a big leaguer. So now that his offensive numbers are sliding, now that he is 30, there is speculation that Dustin Pedroia might never again be the same player.
Why Shank needs to tar an otherwise halfway decent column with another cheap shot about Pedroia's height is beyond me.

Check that - it's not beyond me - Shank's just a dick...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The NBA Draft

The Celtics hold the #6 and #17 picks in tonight's NBA draft. Shank talks about the draft... by waxing nostalgic:
SPRINGFIELD — I am standing here in the uppermost Honor Ring of the planetarium-like Basketball Hall of Fame, looking at the images of all the great Celtics and thinking about how they were acquired in the days of Red Auerbach, when the draft was a little less sophisticated than it is today.

Hmmmm. There’s Bill Russell. He was pretty good. Red first heard about Russell from Bill Reinhart, who was Red’s college coach at George Washington. During the 1953-54 NCAA season, Russell’s San Francisco Dons crushed GW in a tournament in Oklahoma City. Russell was only a sophomore, but Auerbach got reports on the kid from Reinhart and his West Coast friends, Pete Newell, Freddy Scolari, and Don Barksdale.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Boston's most consistently negative, spiteful and vindictive sports columnist is now lecturing people over their reactions to LeBron James' move to free agency:
What’s up with all the LeBron hate?

LeBron James opted out of his deal with the Miami Heat Tuesday and the reaction was predictable.
As predictable as Shank taking a shot at Bob Kraft when he writes about the New England Patriots.
From coast to coast, on airwaves, the Internet, and social media, LeBron was slaughtered.

Folks who understand the mechanics of NBA free agency and salary capology warned fans not to overreact to James exercising his contractual rights under the collective bargaining agreement.

There is a large school of thought that holds that James has no intention of leaving Miami and is making this move to allow Pat Riley the flexibility to improve the Heat’s supporting cast.
So the logic of the move has been established. The emotions are another thing, right?
Dwyane Wade is in serious decline and LeBron had no significant help in the Finals against San Antonio.

LeBron-staying-in-Miami is no fun for the haters. It’s a much better story for all of us if LeBron wants out. This would validate all of us who crushed the odious “Decision’’ and the wildly offensive smoke-and-mirrors show when LeBron talked about, “Not one, not two, not three [championships] . . .”
Shank used to be a hater!
Count me as a guy who likes LeBron.
Except when he didn't...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DHL Dan XXXIII - World Cup Edition

Did you ever get the feeling that Shank isn't the most original columnist around? You would be right!
(hat tip to Tim Marchman at Deadspin)
Stop trying to make Dan Shaughnessy feel guilty about not liking soccer

June 22, 2014

I am done apologizing for not loving soccer. I am guilt-free. This is America. Land of choice. Land of freedom. I choose to ignore the World Cup on television... when the World Cup is over, soccer will be over for most of us. We will go back to football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. And we will not feel guilty about it.

June 17, 1994

Of course, we're going to be made to feel guilty in the upcoming weeks.

July 5, 1990

I just hate watching soccer and I'm getting pretty fed up with the guilt I'm supposed to feel.... We were doing fine before the big guilt trip set in.... Men in foreign lands love their soccer teams the way they love their families. This is great. But do we have to keep feeling guilty because we don't feel this way?... I am through feeling guilty. Call me ignorant. Call me an ugly American.

Soccer fans are strange cultists

June 22, 2014

If you don't like soccer the Futbol Moonies will insist that you are an aging, unhip, xenophobic, uncultured dolt. Soccer is the world's most popular game. It's the game of the future.

June 26, 1994

They are the Soccer Krishnas. They are the Futbol Moonies. They are the Scientologists of Sport... The Soccer Krishnas do not know when to stop... Soccer Krishnas have no sense of humor.... There's only one man on the field who has a clue how much time is left, and the rest of us have to guess. Maybe the Futbol Moonies could sell this to David Stern, Paul Tagliabue and Gary Bettman. It would be a perfect way to make basketball, football and hockey as primitive and mindless as soccer.

June 17, 1994

Nothing is ever enough for these Soccer Krishnas...

Soccer will never be a popular spectator sport in America

June 22, 2014

Millions of kids in our country have been playing soccer for more than 40 years. This has not translated into an adult population of folks who'll pay to watch professional soccer games. Millions of kids also play hopscotch, kickball, and lacrosse. It doesn't mean those games can become mainstream American professional spectator sports.

June 17, 1994

Let's have no more of this "soccer is the next major spectator sport in America." Just because we're indulging the world for a few weeks doesn't mean anybody here really likes watching this stuff...

July 5, 1990

Kids love to play the game. Great. Does that mean we have to pretend it'll someday be a major spectator sport in this country?

There is no sense of progression toward the goal; soccer is just 90 minutes of turnovers

June 22, 2014

Soccer doesn't have natural progression leading up to scores... It's pretty much 90 minutes of turnovers.

June 26, 1994

Soccer to me is 90 minutes of nonstop turnovers with no natural progression to the goal.

July 5, 1990

Like hockey, there is no organized progression toward the goal. It's nonstop turnovers...

Hands are what separate man from beast

June 22, 2014

Soccer takes away our hands. This makes the game incredibly skillful and exhausting, but also robs fans of much of the beauty of sport. Hands and opposable thumbs separate us from creatures of the wild.

June 17, 1994

And what's with the hands? How good can any game be when you can't use your hands? Hands are what separate us from the animal kingdom.

July 5, 1990

Finally, there is the hands problem. Hands and thumbs, that's what separates us from the beasts of the jungle.

He Gets No Kicks from Soccer

The CHB doesn't care for soccer, so he writes a 948-word piece to tell us.

OK, fine, lots of people don't like soccer (or football, as the rest of the world calls it). But let's look at Shank's rationale:

1. "Soccer doesn’t have much scoring." Watch hockey lately?

2. "How would we have even known the athletic greatness of Pedro Martinez, Larry Bird, Bobby Orr or Tom Brady if they could not have used their hands? Soccer takes our hands out of the game."  Except, of course, that soccer involves running, which requires, you know,

3.Soccer lovers tend to be an elitist, intolerant lot." Those last three words perfectly describe Shaughnessy. Projection!

4. The US hasn't adopted the metric system, therefore we will never adopt soccer.  Seriously; that's his point.)

Shank also takes yet another opportunity to bash Bob Ryan. What kind of lover's spat did these two clowns get into, anyway?

Next week, The CHB will tell us how he doesn't like cooking.

*Larry Bird watch!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just A Pinch

Two days after its publication, The Boston Globe decides to publish Shank's most recent column in his normal space.
Smokeless kills.

And yet big league ballplayers, coaches, and managers still use smokeless tobacco.

Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died of salivary gland cancer Monday at the age of 54. Gwynn blamed his mouth cancer on his habit of dipping smokeless tobacco during his 20-year career with the San Diego Padres.

It’s a baseball thing, and it’s killing players, and many don’t want to stop. Or they can’t stop.

Clay Buchholz and Dustin Pedroia, two Red Sox stars with young children, addressed their bad habit before Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.
Notable by their absence are Shank's hyperbole and self-righteousness that you'd expect to see with columns such as this one.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Greg Colbrunn

Shank piles on the Red Sox and reports on Red Sox coach Greg Colbrunn's brain hemorrhage.
BALTIMORE — It was a terrible trip.

It was a terrible trip because the Sox went 2-7 in Cleveland, Detroit, and Baltimore. It was a terrible trip because the Sox lost six straight after the return of Stephen Drew, then watched Drew strain an oblique muscle and miss the entire Oriole series. It was a terrible trip because the Sox were six games out when they left Boston, and they are nine games out as they ready themselves for Tito and the Tribe Thursday night at Fenway. It was a terrible trip because of interminable rain delays in Baltimore at the end of the junket. It was a terrible trip because the Red Sox can . . . not . . . hit (one run in 27 innings at Camden Yards). And they were dangerously close to going 0-9 on the tour through traditional American League cities.

Most of all — for the Sox ballplayers, manager, coaches, and support staff — it was a terrible trip because hitting coach Greg Colbrunn suffered a brain hemorrhage on the final day in Cleveland and was still at the Cleveland Clinic when the Sox returned to Boston in the early hours Thursday morning.

A baseball team is much more than 25 guys playing three-plus hours of hardball every night. A baseball team is a multilayered family with individuals from diverse cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds.
Best wishes to Mr. Colbrunn and his family.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Shank's down on Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks:
BALTIMORE — He’s a real Nowhere Man.

Will Middlebrooks broke his right index finger trying to catch a screaming liner off the bat of Ian Kinsler May 16. Four days later, Stephen Drew signed a $10 million contract to play the rest of this season with the Red Sox.

After signing Drew, the Sox brass sat down with Xander Bogaerts and gently broke the news to the rookie that he’d be moving from shortstop to third base for the rest of the year.

Nobody in the Sox front office said anything to Middlebrooks after the Drew signing. And no one really notices him now as he travels with the Sox and hopes to be ready to DH in the minors some time soon.

Those of us who connect dots for a living assume that Middlebrooks’s days with the organization are numbered. It’s as if his time has come and gone before the age of 26.
As Mike noted with yesterday's column with respect to Stephen Drew, Shank writes a lot of this column with a template that shifts ever so slightly from the last one - start the column with a lame song lyric, conveniently ignores what he wrote two weeks ago when he bitched about the lack of farm system help and then mentions two of them in this column, briefly recaps Middelbrooks' career, then raise some questions that are, in part, designed to create controversy.

Classic Shank, with a twist of lime!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Drawn to Drew

Today's column on Stephen Drew's return is The CHB at his formulaic best (or is that worst?).

An attempt at a pithy lede that ends up as a non sequitur. A string of insults gleaned from a day spent listening to talk radio. A recap of the subject's history. And an attempt at stirring up a controversy where none exists -- or is even necessary.

Yep, classic Shank.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Old School Shank

Are you surprised when The CHB takes a thread and pulls it until the entire "I'm Not With Stupid, I AM Stupid" t-shirt unravels?

Not us.

As such, we didn't bat an eye (get it?) when Shank used an otherwise innocuous David Ortiz comment about how David Price should have been suspended for throwing at (and hitting) Red Sox batters after being warned as an opportunity to rehash every insult -- real and imagined -- that Big Papi allegedly has inflicted on the game.

Keep in mind that The CHB, by his own admission, is about the only one bothered by Papi's comments. Shank's anger over Manny Ramirez being feted as part of the 2004 World Series winners must be carrying over.

Ted Williams routinely disrupted his team, played middling defense, defied his managers and ignored baseball etiquette. Carl Yastrzemski attempted to start his own league, publicly ripped his teammates, was fined for not hustling, and used PEDs (greenies).

Here's what Jim Bouton wrote about Yaz in Ball Four:

Yastrzemski was recently fined $500 for loafing and I've been keeping an eye on him. Sure enough, he hit a ball to second base today and loafed all the way to first. I'm afraid Yastrzemski has a bit of dog in him. Always did, and people around baseball knew it all the time. When things are going good Yastrzemski will go all out. When things aren't going so well he'll give a half-ass effort. But he's got so much ability that the only thing you can do is put up with him. 

Sound familiar?

The CHB likes to pretend he's part of the (self-appointed) old school of baseball, guarding the keys to the kingdom and making unilateral determinations as to who is -- and who isn't -- "right" when it comes to playing America's Pastime.

But then again, Papi is Hispanic, and no one in sports today does old school racism like The CHB.

Monday, June 02, 2014

What A Difference Ten Days Makes

Funny how a seven game winning streak can change your perspective on the 2014 Boston Red Sox:
By the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game, the Red Sox had No. 70, Garin Cecchini, batting third, and No. 68, Alex Hassan, batting sixth — both players making their major league debuts. The Sox also had a rookie in center, a rookie at short, Brock Holt at first, and Jonathan Herrera at second.

Fort Myers in March?

No. Fenway Park in June. And with Jon Lester dominating from the mound, the Green Sox played near perfect baseball in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ten days ago, one of Shank's complaints about the team was a lack of input from the minor league system. Now, it's a feature!

Also, from that article - plenty of reasons were thrown around as to why the Red Sox weren't good, but you'd be hard pressed to find any commensurate analysis or opinion from Shank in today's column about why this team has 'suddenly' rebounded.