Monday, July 31, 2017

News You Can Use

Or - since he's not Cleveland's general manager, what else do you think he'd be doing right about now?

The Parochial Shaughnessy

Shank was in Cooperstown this weekend, and he discovers a common theme:
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Everything is about Boston. Everything is about the Red Sox. Even on a weekend when the Sox didn’t have anyone getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Here are some vignettes from induction weekend, as the family of baseball gathered to enshrine Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Pudge Rodriguez, John Schuerholz, and Bud Selig:

■ Juan Marichal and Rich Gossage spent part of Saturday morning in the village of Cooperstown, sitting side-by-side signing autographs for the benefit of a local fire department. Both looked as if they could still pitch. Marichal pitched for the Red Sox at the end of his career. Gossage had many big moments against the Red Sox. He’s the guy who got Carl Yastrzemski to pop to Graig Nettles to end the 1978 one-game playoff.
Wade Boggs gives some perspective on David Price running his mouth and confronting Dennis Eckersley:
■ “David Price has no idea what I went through,’’ said Wade Boggs, who played 11 calamity-filled seasons in Boston. “ ‘Yuck?’ That’s it?’’ Boggs asked. “Try living in my shoes back then.’’ Boggs showed me a photo of himself from his last trip to Boston, standing next to a statue of Paul Revere. “Two guys famous for riding horses,’’’ Boggs chuckled.
And on and on it goes, in that vein. His writing of stories that put Boston at the center of the sports universe seems to have diminshed somewhat recently.

Bonus - a Larry Bird sighting!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Prize Claimed

A Patriots themed post whilst we wait for Shank to turn his lonely eyes to Foxborough...

On Monday I posted something on the David Price / Dennis Eckersley situation (for lack of a more accurate word or phrase), wherein it was mentioned an obvious truth - the Boston sports media are generally a bunch of negative assholes. A commenter who is fully versed in this local dynamic said in part the following:
I cannot wait until Belichick gives them the first hearty "go get your shinebox" of training camp come Thursday afternoon.

Newspapers can't die fast enough.
Mr. Anonymous, step up and claim your prize!
Covering Bill Belichick seems like it must be absolutely brutal. Belichick gives stubbornly unhelpful answers to almost all inquiries, and when he does elaborate, it typically involves berating the questioner.

But while this must be quite exhausting for the dutiful Patriots beat writers who have to confront it day-to-day, it’s kind of fun for the rest of us to watch from afar.

On Friday, Belichick was asked about the performance of Austin Carr, an undrafted rookie who made highlight reels with his impressive catch at training camp Thursday. Sounds like an innocent question, right? Well instead of offering some platitude about how Carr looked good and the team was excited to see what he could do, Belichick totally rejected the premise.

Here was his response, via the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin:
It may be the preseason, but Bill Belichick is in midseason media form. There's partial audio at the link. Since it was Ben Volin asking the question, I'm glad Belichick smacked him in the face with the verbal 2"x 4".

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Man Overboard?

Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers smacks a home run in his second game in the major leagues, and Shank devotes a column to it.
SEATTLE — It was quite a week for 20-year-old Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers. He made his first six-hour flight, got his first $60 haircut (clubhouse barber), and hit his first major league home run in a much-needed, 4-0 Red Sox victory (thank you, Chris Sale) over the Mariners Wednesday.

So what’s the reward?

No one knows. Devers went 2 for 4 in his second career game, but might be headed right back to the minors before the reeling Red Sox come home for David Price’s return party at Fenway Friday night.
Tony C. and Fred Lynn are also mentioned; I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Strange Days Indeed

The Red Sox have lost their last four games and 11 of their last 17 games. Raise your hand if you think Shank's going to devote a column to it!
SEATTLE — These are strange days for the Red Sox. They are in first place in the American League East. They are almost certain to be in first place when they return to Fenway against the Royals Friday night. Unless the Yankees, who defeated the Reds, 4-2, on Tuesday night, win their next two games while Boston continues to stumble in Seattle.

But John Henry’s team has been taking on water since just before the All-Star break. Going into Tuesday night’s game and the major league debut of Rafael Devers, the Sox had dropped 11 of 17. There’s been a power outage, a gaping hole at third base, and some well-publicized bad behavior. A team that’s been characterized as a tad “boring” (NESN ratings were down 20 percent in the first half of the season), has finally become a topic of discussion back home in New England, but it’s not exactly the kind of attention a franchise wants. Just as the wildly popular Patriots are ready to start training camp, the Sox are back in the news cycle, but it’s not their fine play that has tongues wagging.
Which means we can expect columns from Shank with greater frequency, now that he has multiple targets,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The First Rafael Devers Column

The latest member of the Boston Red Sox got the call yesterday and will be playing third base tonight. Shank does the write-up:
SEATTLE — Rafael Devers is the Next Big Thing in Red Sox Nation.

Devers is only 20. He played only 86 games above the A-ball level and now he’s in the majors. Devers did not play in the Red Sox’ 4-0 loss to the Mariners on Monday night, although he was available for pinch-hitting duties. He is expected to make his first big league appearance Tuesday against Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.

Welcome to the big leagues, kid.
No cheap baseball clichés here!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Shank On That Price / Eckersley Brouhaha

Looks like the details have finally come out, and Shank pieces it together:
Sportswriters stopped flying with ballclubs a quarter-century ago, but 10 ancillary team employees (two WEEI broadcasters and eight members of NESN) still fly with the Red Sox. NESN’s longtime color commentator Jerry Remy is recovering from cancer surgery and has not been with the team since June 21. Steve Lyons typically fills in for Remy on the road, but he has curiously disappeared from all NESN broadcasts, citing a “personal situation.’’

Eckersley does not like to travel with the team. He’s a recovering alcoholic and seeks to avoid the trappings of the road. He’s also aware that many Sox players dislike his blunt, sometimes critical style. One would think that his Hall of Fame resume and 24 major league seasons (which included two divorces, getting released, career-threatening injuries, and being a stand-up guy after epic failures) would insulate him from the anger of today’s players. That would be incorrect.
For Price, the tipping point came when he learned Eckersley said “Yuck” when Eduardo Rodriguez’s poor stats were flashed on the NESN screen after a rehab start in Pawtucket June 29.

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

When Price was asked about it the next day, he said only, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’
I'm of two minds on this - the Boston sports media are generally a bunch of negative assholes. However, I have a hard time understanding just how offensive the word 'Yuck' is in terms of professional criticism, and it wasn't even directed at Price. David Price is the asshole here, not Eckersley.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

California Dreaming

Shank thinks there's going to be a World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, complete with a few classic Shankisms.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — It’s a perfect time to be out here in the future home of LeBron James; the land of swimming pools, movie stars, and Kardashians.

The sons of John Farrell are in Anaheim for a weekend joust with the Angels and I am taking this opportunity to book a swanky hotel for the 2017 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and your Boston Red Sox.

Red Sox-Dodgers.
The Red Sox are out in California to play the Angels; it makes you wonder how Shank comes up with stuff like this.

Another David Price Column

Shank can't seem to get enough of David Price:
Is Price an overpaid, thin-skinned, prima donna ill-suited for Boston baseball? Or is he the Red Sox’ secret weapon destined to establish his value and earn fans’ love with a strong 2017 finish and (gulp) postseason glory? We’re pretty sure Price hates Boston, but could he yet emerge as a rich man’s John Lackey? Could Price wind up being a guy who delivers the goods even though he hates Boston with the power of a thousand suns?
Looks a lot like this column from last month, doesn't it?
Is David Price destined to become a Red Sox lefty hero on a par with Jon Lester, or an overpaid free agent flop like Jack Clark and Pablo Sandoval?

Price is a Fenway lightning rod in the spring of 2017. At this hour, the big questions around Price are:

■ Can he pitch in Boston?

■ Does he hate it here?

■ Will he exercise his option to leave Boston after the 2018 season?

■ Should he have taken less money to sign with the Cardinals?

■ Does he spend more time and energy on Twitter than Donald Trump?
Can't imagine why am athlete would hate playing in Boston with all this positive, supportive media coverage...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - LVI

The Boston Globe Media CEO Doug Franklin is now the former Boston Globe Media CEO after a whopping six months on the job:
Doug we hardly knew ye. Last December, Boston Globe Media named veteran newspaper executive Doug Franklin as chief executive officer to replace Mike Sheehan, who was leaving after three years in charge. Now Franklin is leaving, citing “differences” with owner John Henry over “how to strategically achieve our financial sustainability.”

At this early stage I have no idea what went wrong. I will point out that the Globe has been sending out frequent emails apologizing for late delivery of the print edition since shifting from its old Morrissey Boulevard headquarters to a new plant in Taunton — but I can’t say I know whether that has anything to do with Franklin’s departure.
We can read between the lines - Franklin's the fall guy.

Seems to be a lot of executive deck clearing this month - the new CFO is someone with impeccable leftist credentials:
Vinay Mehra, the chief financial officer of Politico and a former executive at WGBH, will become the president and chief financial officer of Boston Globe Media, according to a memo to the staff from publisher and owner John Henry.
But the media isn't biased - just remember that!

And the last thing to point out:
Henry also says that he and his wife, managing partner Linda Pizzuti Henry, plan to take a more active role.
Like telling a Boston Globe columnist to stop writing all those vicious articles about Red Sox players?

Boston Sports Media Watch - I

Well, since the official Boston Sports Media Watch is now dormant, I'll go off the Shank script occasionally, with this being one of those times.

So I went and checked out Kirk Minihane's Twitter feed earlier today, and I saw some angry tweets and re-tweets (nothing new there), but the name Samer stood out to me like a sore thumb. Samer Kalaf is one of the hangers-on at Deadspin and in my opinion is their laziest / least prolific writer on what's left of their staff. It seems that Samer wrote a post 'discussing' the local sports talk radio scene. Well, 'discussing' isn't quite the right word to use - it's pretty much a pile-on in the mold of the traditionally negative Boston sports media. Given the subject matter at hand, it's next to impossible to expect anything positive or even-handed, and Samer delivers. I'd like to say it was a good overall column, but I have a few nitpicks about it - he shortchanges a few people like devoting a single sentence to Marc Bertrand (like Samer couldn't at least mention he was Felger & Mazz's booth guy until a few years ago), and he seems to go out of his way to a) denigrate each person in at least one offhand manner and / or b) make sure you remember their worst moment on the radio, like the time Dennis & Callahan goofed (badly) on inner-city Boston Metco students from fourteen years ago and were suspended for it.

Let's note Samer's professional take on Mr. Minihane:
Kirk is the rat a ratfucker fucks. He is on the lowest rung of the ladder that is Boston sports radio, which is quite an accomplishment. He replaced John Dennis as Gerry Callahan’s partner for Kirk and Callahan on WEEI, which is like replacing the rat a ratfucker fucks with a dead rat.
Far be it for me to criticize others for using profanity in a blog post, but I am sparing in its use. Deadspin writers (aside from Kevin Draper, now at the New York Yimes) seem like they drop F-bombs in every third sentence. If you want to detract from the point your making, I suppose they should have at it.

It looks like Barstool Sports isn't too thrilled with him, either:
OMG look at this! Worst writer on the Internet Samer Kalif jumped in on the Rihanna fat blog controversy today. WHAT A SHOCK. Now before I address what he said let me just say this. Samer Kalif is the worst writer on the internet. He’s clickbait city. He’s a kid who grew up popping his zits at UNH idolizing me and then threw a tantrum when he wasn’t good enough to work here and has had an axe to grind ever since.
Jeez - UNH will admit just about anybody, won't they (like they did with me)?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mea Culpa Tweets, By Dan Shaughnessy

Nice of him to eat some crow once in a while:

Familiar Ground

Shank writes his 276th column about a Red Sox / Yankees series.
The second-place Yankees are coming to town to face the first-place Red Sox for four games over three days at Fenway this weekend. The Sox could put their cleats on the throats of the struggling New Yorkers and send them away for good . . . or . . . the Yankees could vault into first with a four-game sweep. Some thoughts:

■ These could be the final days, indeed the final hours of the Pablo Sandoval debacle in Boston. That’s right, folks, the Red Sox could release the Kung Fu Panda any minute, certainly by Monday when they have to make a decision on Sandoval’s status as his rehab assignment officially ends. Outright release feels like an option. If it happens, the Sox will have gotten exactly 161 games of virtually nothing (.239, 14 homers, 59 RBIs) in exchange for $95 million. The Sox are 69-81 when Sandoval starts. And according to one metric, his glove costs them 34 runs per season. Dumping Sandoval is an ownership call more than a Dave Dombrowski call. Panda is Ben Cherington’s signing, so Dombro has no pride of authorship here. When Panda is finally released, debate can commence on the worst Sox free agent signing ever. Carl Crawford ($142 million), Rusney Castillo ($72.5 million as an international free agent), and Panda can jostle for the top spot on the medal platform, but let’s never forget worthy contenders such as Jose Offerman, Jack Clark, Matt Young, Matt Clement, Edgar Renteria, and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Botched Tweets, By Dan Shaughnessy

I remember Dustin Pedroia taking a good shot at Shank last year (concerning Mookie Betts advancing an extra base or two on steals / hit & run plays, and doing it on multiple occasions) - "Watch the games." It's apparent that Shank still does not watch the games:

The Gene Conley Column

He sounds like he was an interesting guy:
Willie Mays. Wilt Chamberlain. Mickey Mantle. Bill Russell. Stan Musial. Elgin Baylor. Jackie Robinson. Bob Cousy. Hank Aaron. Jerry West. Warren Spahn. Oscar Robertson. Ted Williams.

Gene Conley played ball against all of the above. He struck out Mantle and posted up Chamberlain. In the same year.

He played against a chorus line of superstars, but none of those Hall of Famers ever did what Conley did.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

That Explains Everything

I don't listen to a lot of local sports talk radio, although I do like Mike Felger. I do know that Adam Jones, for whatever reason(s), isn't well liked. Then I was reminded about one of those reasons:

Monday, July 03, 2017


You can tell it's summer when Shank starts mailing in columns every other week.
Picked-up pieces while waiting for Danny Ainge fireworks and wondering if Tom Brady and Kelly Olynyk are available for Gordon Hayward recruitment . . .

■ It’s disturbing to hear that David Price got into a verbal altercation with Dennis Eckersley on the Red Sox charter to Toronto after Thursday night’s win. This is a no-win venture for Price, who already has a bull’s-eye on his back because of his contract, his playoff failures, and his new layer of thin skin since coming to Boston. No Sox player is going to win a hissing contest with Eckersley, a Hall of Fame pitcher and the most refreshing color commentator in our market. Eck was a stand-up guy when he pitched and he’s been the same as an analyst. Boston fans love Eckersley. Price, who appears to be finding himself on the mound, increasingly looks like an unhappy camper who wants out of Boston. Not good. Price’s brief explanation of his confrontation with Eckersley was a true head-scratcher. When asked about the episode, Price told the Globe’s Nick Cafardo, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’ What? Eckersley is the last guy you’d drop that on. Eckersley understands everything that can happen to a big league ballplayer. As a major leaguer, Eckersley survived career-threatening injuries, multiple trades, getting released, alcohol addiction, a brother in prison, and two failed marriages. He was part of the Red Sox’ collapse in 1978 and took every ounce of heat when he surrendered one of the most famous homers in history — the World Series walkoff by Kirk Gibson. With all that, Eck rightfully sailed into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. The Sox are going to need David Price to get where they want to go this year. Now it looks like Price is being swallowed whole by the dreaded Boston Baseball Experience. Maybe he should have talked with his former teammate Carl Crawford before taking the money to play here.
It does look like the pressure exerted by local media on David Price finally caused him to crack. My only surprise is Shank's lack of participation in the whole thing.