Tuesday, December 31, 2019

I'd Rather Look Away

Remember that awful column from a few weeks ago (which one? - ed) where Shank was trying to be funny and clever? He's at it again:
There are two ways to look at the Patriots right now

The Patriot Hater and the Defender of the Wall have been friends for many, many years. They shared an apartment in Brighton after college, relying on the 57 bus, which roared through Oak Square each morning. They went on to enjoy careers in new cities after the turn of the century, but never stopped talking on the phone, and these last two decades have been filled with lively debate about the dominant and ever-controversial New England Patriots.

The Hater grew up far from New England and never liked the Patriots, but only in the new millennium did his true hatred emerge. He’s wildly jealous. He thinks the Patriots are arrogant cheaters. He keeps a framed photo of Ted Wells in his home office. And after 20 years of watching confetti rain on the heads of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Hater finally thinks his time has come.
Sounds like an autobiography!

The rest of the 'column' goes on about a mythical Patriots hater arguing with a mythical Patriots fan. It's unfunny schtick that's now overused to boot. Steer clear of it.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Adding Insult To Injury

To paraphrase Peter in Office Space, 'I wouldn't say I missed this column...'

It looks like Shank wrote something a few days ago speculating on the New England Patriots run in the upcoming playoffs. My first thought was 'great - it'll give him a chance to rewrite some columns from previous playoff runs'. It's actually worse then that:
In all likelihood, get ready for a Patriots-Chiefs rematch in the playoffs

Things could still change, of course. Technically speaking, the Patriots could lose to the Tank-Palooza Miami Dolphins at home next weekend. Lamar Jackson could get hurt if John Harbaugh allows the MVP to play against the Steelers in Week 17. And the Chiefs could lose a wild-card weekend home game against the Steelers or the Titans.

But probably not. In all likelihood, we now know what it’s going to take for the Patriots to get where they want to go.

In all likelihood, the Patriots will get their coveted, hard-earned, first-round bye. Then they’ll have to beat the Chiefs at home, and the Ravens on the road to get to Super Bowl LIV in Miami Gardens, just 73 miles south of Orchids of Asia.
What a classless son of a bitch. For what it's worth, I read the first 50 or so comments on the article, and he was uniformly trashed for saying it, and generally being a douchebag has-been who should retire. On the bright side, this will lead to a few more cancellations of Boston Globe subscriptions.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Second Bite At The Apple

Perhaps realizing his previous column was horrible and sucked big hairy donkey balls, Shank takes another stab at the most recent Patriots sideline taping controversy:
The Patriots and their fans sell more Whoppers than Burger King.

Mini Whoppers. Meatless Whoppers. Whoppers with cheese.

It starts at the top. Remember Bob “I did nothing illegal” Kraft and his army of attorneys after the Orchids of Asia debacle in February?

Here we are again. Spygate II. And again the polygraphs are exploding as we wait for the Patriots to release “Spygate II In Context.’’

Let me see if I’ve got things straight:
It's a fairly persuasive column, primarily because it required research and effort to compile. If only he led off with this one and not that crappy lame attempt at humor from a few days ago, I'd take this column seriously.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Mothers Of Invention

News came out this week that the New England Patriots were again involved in a sideline filming controversy, this time involving the Cincinnati Bengals. Shank, clearly missing out on an opportunity to bash the team, finally jumps on the bandwagon in that fine tradition of Boston Globe fiction artists like Mike Barnicle (of 'Whitey Bulger kept the drugs out of Southie' fame), Patricia Smith and Kevin Cullen:
Where do Patriots ‘rule benders’ end up?

LOCATION UNKNOWN — Welcome to the Patriots penal colony, the place where the rule benders are stashed so they will never be heard from again.

“We call it the Jerod Mayo Zone, as in Area 51,’’ said Jimmy Hotfingers (a.k.a. “the Deflator”), as he greeted me at the door of the palatial lodge. “Don’t ask, don’t tell. Just Do Your Job and don’t say anything. Ever. That’s what we’re about. How was your trip?’’

A little disturbing, I told him. It was somewhat scary to be blindfolded and rolled into a private jet at Hanscom Field. I wasn’t in the sky that long, but I couldn’t tell if I was in upstate New York or Las Vegas. You lose your sense of time and space in the darkness. Same goes for the bumpy ride to the cabin.
Unfunny, uninteresting and complete bullshit - this is his worst column in some time, and that's saying something.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Late To The Party

I was at CPE courses this week and didn't have the time or motivation to post any of Shank's recent 'work', so here are links to his recent columns. The first one was on the recent passing of Peter Frates, the former Boston College baseball player who had succumbed from ALS and who raised millions of dollars from the Ice Bucket Challenge. Shank then shows his positive side with heapings of praise for the offseason moves by the Boston Red Sox (with trademark hyperbole thrown in for good measure):
Why this could be the worst Red Sox offseason ever

Pardon me while I heave into my official, team-sponsored 2020 Red Sox barf bag.

I have been following the Sox since 1962 and never found a Red Sox offseason more odious. Granted, it’s still early, but this has potential to be the worst Sox winter of all time. Four days of Big Nothing at the Winter Meetings only fortifies the financial teardown and impending Bridge Year that awaits.

This offseason narrative stinks. In the old days, we talked about ballplayers as trading cards. It was exciting if the Sox dealt Don Schwall for Dick Stuart, or Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi for Lee Smith. We got fired up about the Local Nine acquiring Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, and Chris Sale in offseason blockbuster signings/deals.
It wasn't that long ago when Shank loved the new Red Sox manager, was it?

By the way, Shank's still doing his weekly radio appearances on Zolak & Bertrand (which is simulcast on NBC Sports Boston); he's just given up on tweeting about them beforehand. I was watching the last part of it yesterday when he does his 'Dates of Distinction' / 'On this day in history...' schtick, which to me is pretty boring radio. It got interesting / strange as soon as Shank stopped talking and finished his appearance. I had looked down to grab a bite of lunch and then looked up about five seconds later. What I saw was amazing - it was a shot of Shank's back and he was walking away rapidly. A second or two later both Scott Zolak and Beetle were saying to each other - where the hell is Shaughnessy? He just up and bolted from the place as soon as he was done, was in the next room and had his jacket on, all within a span of about five seconds. It was and will always be the best TV studio pick & roll of all time. I think it also says something telling - Shank really dislikes doing these appearances now.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Stop Yer Complaining!

Shank's here to scold you folks that had any problems with yesterday's officiating of the Patriots / Chiefs game:
Patriots fans should not be complaining about officiating

Be better, Patriot fans. All this crying about officiating is embarrassing.

Suck it up. The officials stunk in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Chiefs, but we have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Folks around the nation are celebrating New England’s late-season woes, and we only make matters worse by blaming it on the officials.

Everybody knows that the entire Patriots dynasty was built on a football lie. Remember the Tuck Rule? Of course you do. The bad rule (which nobody knew about before Jan. 19, 2002) was correctly enforced on that snowy night in Foxborough and it turned Tom Brady’s fumble into an incomplete pass, giving birth to 18 years of Do Your Job, No Days Off, and They Hate Us ’Cause They Ain’t Us. The rule was so bad that it was eventually repealed. Brady’s fumble today would be what it should haven (sic) been that night: a fumble.
Except that it was not a fumble on the day it occurred. Rules are added, changed and repealed with some frequency, so Shank's argument can be used selectively, as he did here. When that fumble happened, I did indeed think that it was a fumble and like the occasional moron that I am, I went right to bed after that play, thinking that it was a fumble. The next morning I read all about it and I was pleasantly stunned at a) what happened and b) that the 'Tuck Rule' was in place, as I didn't recall that particular subtlety of the NFL rulebook at the time.

He goes on from there to 'remind' all of us at how lucky the Patriots have been since that game. While it's hard to argue against that notion in general, I don't agree with Shank that it tips oh so heavily in the Patriots favor.

That said, I'd recommend reading the rest of the column. It's a decent read, because you can see Shank is energized in this column, as he usually is when he gets a chance to write a column after a Patriots loss.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Shank's Next Column?

Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird turn 63 today. Does Shank walk down memory lane again with a tribute column?

Friday, December 06, 2019

DHL Dan XCIIII - Dwight Evans Revisted, Etc.

Shank bangs out another Picked-Up Pieces column which among other things touts Dwight Evans' chances of making the Hall of Fame:
Picked-up pieces while playing Mitch Miller and the gang’s Christmas hits on my hi-fi stereo system . . .

■ The Red Sox are actively boosting Dwight Evans’s campaign for the Hall of Fame. You knew it would come to this last year when Harold Baines, who was never as good as Evans, was broomed into Cooperstown in a back-room deal brokered by Jerry Reinsdorf and Tony La Russa.

Evans will need 12 of 16 votes cast when the Modern Era committee meets in San Diego Sunday. He should have two big backers in the room — Dennis Eckersley and Dave Dombrowski — but it’s a crowded field (10) of strong candidates, including Ted Simmons, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dale Murphy, and Marvin Miller. Voters can vote for no more than four candidates.
All in all, it's a decent PUP column.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The End Is Near Again?

While Shank's previous column wasn't viciously critical of the New England Patriots and their second loss of the season, he did put some effort into it. With today's column, he keeps the fire burning for another day.
STILL HOUSTON — What a field day for the hate.

Monday. Tuesday. Every day. And this is the way it’s going to be until the Patriots get a chance to prove everybody wrong at Gillette Stadium against the Chiefs Sunday.

It’s open season on Tom Brady and the Patriots across Football America. The Patriots are frauds. They are the worst 10-2 team in NFL history. They are a house of cards, upheld only by a soft schedule, the stupidity of others, and the genius of Bill Belichick.

Suddenly those Patriot wins against the Eagles and Cowboys don’t look so impressive anymore. In a cluster of 10-2 teams including the 49ers, Seahawks, and Ravens, the Patriots are the ones that don’t belong. They are the ones trending in the wrong direction as the playoffs near.

Monday, December 02, 2019


Completely ignoring what he wrote the day before, Shank writes with great fanfare about the Patriot's second loss of the season.
HOUSTON — Pigs can fly. Republicans and Democrats agree on everything. Larry Bird is buying rounds for the house. Jackie Bradley is a .350 hitter who never strikes out.

And the Houston Texans just beat the New England Patriots, 28-22.

Anything is possible.

DeShaun Watson took it to the Boogeymen Sunday night at NRG Stadium, throwing for three touchdowns and catching another as the Texans snapped an eight-game losing streak vs. New England. Former Belichick protege Bill O’Brien secured his first win against mentor Bill, breaking a humbling and at times humilating 0-5 skid. Late in the game, with the Texans leading, 28-9, Antonio Brown tweeted, “Still I Rise.’’
Funny how we always see a Patriots column from Shank when they lose, isn't it?

Sunday, December 01, 2019

He's Got His Number

Thirteen weeks into the 2019-2020 pro football season, Shank writes something complimentary about the New England Patriots:
HOUSTON — New Englanders love this place. This is where 28-3 happened in February 2017 and where the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots won their second Super Bowl in February 2004. Houston is where the 2018 Red Sox eliminated the cheatin’ Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on a night when David Price beat Justin Verlander. It’s where Larry Bird won his first NBA championship in May 1981 and where Roger Clemens learned how to throw a fastball in the 1970s. Houston was headquarters to our space program when Derry, N.H.’s Alan Shepard walked on the moon in 1971.

And it is the home of the Houston Texans, a sometimes formidable football team that is constitutionally incapable of beating the New England Patriots.

So, here we go again. We are Lucy holding the football and the Texans are Charlie Brown lining up for a kick, ever hopeful that it will be different this time. But everyone knows it will not be different.
Lots of Shank staples in this one - there's a Larry Bird reference, lots of references to other sports and the signature reuse of previous columns, so there's your triple play for the day.