Tuesday, March 31, 2020


In these difficult times of zero live sports entertainment, Shank knows what ought to happen now:
This would be a good time to release the findings on the Red Sox and Patriots investigations
I think he's right on there - clear the deck of past events and concentrate on what kind of baseball season we're going to have this year. The months of April and probably May are scratches, so alternatives can be drawn up.

But you know Shank's got his own angle on things, right?
▪ Now is a perfect time for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to drop the hammer on the 2018 Red Sox. The commish says that the investigation has been completed, and nobody is really paying attention, so let’s get it over with and get on with our lives.

The Sox’ transgressions are unlikely to be anywhere near Houston’s trash-can cheating of 2017, but they likely weren’t “nothing” as the Sox have claimed. Best to learn of their punishment now. It will allow them to strike “interim” from manager Ron Roenicke’s nameplate, and we’ll finally learn how long MLB plans to bench Alex Cora.
I bolded the massively contradictory parts - Shank wants to have MLB punish the Red Sox, whose owner pays his salary. That's a big bowl of awkward right there, to borrow one of Shank's favorite phrases. He's arguing for the Red Sox to get punished worse than the Houston Astros were punished by MLB (i.e., a slap on the wrist) even though he readily admits the Sox did far less in the transgressions department.

That's enough bullshit for this cat right there. Further punishment, dear reader, can be borne by clicking on that link.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - II

If this is any indication (and I believe it is), ad revenues are drying up:
This tweet is courtesy of Boston Radio Watch. He's a sharp, insightful sort who pays serious attention to this sort of thing, and he watches that particular metric (ad revenue) pretty closely, as it's a prime factor into a company's revenue in the newspaper industry. The Globe just shitcanned 50 employees, want to get rid of 55 more through buyouts and now a primary source of revenue is under serious threat. One wonders how long John Henry continues to prop up this money-losing company.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Demanding Dan, A Continuing Series

Every now and then Shank writes the occasional and annoying type of column where he pounds his fists on the table and he wants answers, dammit!
The Red Sox owe us some answers on Chris Sale’s surgery

The Red Sox’ refusal to disclose anything about Chris Sale’s elective elbow surgery in the middle of a national medical-supply shortage is unacceptable.

New York Mets righthander Noah Syndergaard was scheduled for Tommy John surgery Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Mets said that team doctor David Altchek would perform the surgery, even though the Florida governor has barred nonessential elective medical procedures in the state.

Doctors in Florida are empowered to determine what is essential, and a Mets official told the Wall Street Journal, "This condition fits within the essential surgery guidelines.''
I'm not disagreeing on wanting the answer, just the semi-imperious manner in which Shank is, um, asking for it.

A little further on:
It’s an unfortunate response while we are in the middle of a global pandemic, with surgical supplies limited and citizens sensitive to the notion of rich and powerful folks receiving preferential medical treatment.
This will work for Shank - he'll complain now, not knowing whether specialized doctors like renowned Tommy John surgeon Dr. James Andrews (who's in private practice) or whoever performed Sale's surgery are required by professional codes to abandon their practices, cancel what may or may not have been previously scheduled procedures in order to assist hospital staff elsewhere. Same goes for Dr. Altcheck, being an employee of the Mets. Maybe they volunteered to help other medical facilities, but I think these are important points to consider. Shank does not because that allows him to piously jump down the throat of the Red Sox. In the case Sale did not have surgery, he will use that to criticize the team and Sale for delaying the surgery and thus Sale's recovery. Either way, he'll also get to bitch more the longer the Sox string this out.

Diabolical trolling genius - Shank's at the top of his game, folks!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

There's No Guessing Like Second Guessing

It's just Shank engaging in one of his favorite past times:
The Red Sox’ handling of the Chris Sale elbow situation could hardly have turned out worse.

Boston’s ace lefty needs Tommy John surgery. It appeared to some of us that he needed surgery last summer when he was shut down with elbow pain. But the Red Sox and Dr. James Andrews waited — a decision that appeared to be based on hope more than reality after the Sox signed Sale to a whopping contract extension before the 2019 season.

When Sale again felt pain at the beginning of this month, the Sox waited again after Andrews and at least two other experts viewed Sale’s MRI.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - It Begins

I've long ragged on the Boston Globe on this site for many reasons, business model being chief among them in changing times. Industries rise and fall all the time and print media is no exception.

I'm gonna now make the Boston Globe Death Watch official in light of recent events - a tweet from Peter Abraham (below) which I take to be a certain / solid exquisite indication of desperation and loss of business, and now we get this beauty:
Since financial, employment and other metrics are no longer publicly available, I cannot figure out accurate / ballpark numbers for the Globe. Nor would I care to, because I consider it a waste of time to spend any more thought on a dying company I've hated since the second month I started reading it. Best I care to guess - 15% overall drop, bare minimum. It is clear, however, that they are on a southward trajectory, bleeding slowly from a thousand cuts, or a thousand knives if that's how you roll.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Picture With Many Possible Meanings

Is this a rallying call? A self-congratulatory pat on the back in this, our most trying of times? The beginning of the latter stage of the Boston Globe Death Watch? Throwing shade at Shank for being a lazy asshole while Pete and the rest of the gang soldier on, bending and never breaking? Is Shank retweeting this because he thinks he's flipping off Pete for ragging on him? A clever way to conserve on wood pulp newsprint by selling newspapers with less paper in it? It sure is a mystery!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Turn On A Dime Dan, A Continuing Series

Thanks to Walter R. for pointing out Shank's latest attempt to whitewash what he said a mere four days ago.

First, the column from Monday (link is below, just go down a few stories) about Tom Brady's departure from the New England Patriots:
I doubt it. The longer this goes, the more it feels like Tom isn’t going anywhere. Because nobody wants to pay him $30 million per year for another two or three years.
After Tom Brady signed a contract that's pretty damn close to $30 million per year, Shank's singing a different tune now, in an oh-so-predictable way. Care to guess how, anyone?
Tom Brady is gone, and Robert Kraft should own that

The spin started immediately.
Yes it did, and it only took four words. Congratulations!
As news of Tom Brady’s departure from New England was breaking Tuesday morning, Patriots owner Bob Kraft called ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith during a commercial break to tell Smith that the Patriots would have made a deal work if Tom really wanted to stay. It was part of a campaign by the needy owner, who will always position himself to court favor with Patriots fans.

In reality, of course, none of what Kraft was saying was true. In my opinion, the Patriots did not make a sincere effort to keep Brady. They did everything short of buying him a plane ticket to Tampa.
It could also be that Brady wanted a new challenge. That angle is not considered at all, or even hinted at, in this column. It's all Robert Kraft's fault - Shank has an axe to grind, and grind it he does.

I'll give the last words to Boston Radio Watch, who sums up the situation nicely:

Close Enough

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

He's Gone !

Allow Shank to shed some crocodile tears:
Red Sox pitcher/outfielder Babe Ruth, a three-time World Series champion with Boston, was sold to the New York Yankees in January of 1920.

One hundred years later, New England woke up on a Tuesday morning in the middle of a national public health crisis and learned that Tom Brady has decided to leave the New England Patriots after 20 seasons that yielded six Super Bowl championships. Brady delivered the news in a goodbye message on his Twitter account at 8:45 a.m.

There will be plenty of days to dissect and analyze why Brady is leaving and where he might be going. We may never know whether the Patriots made a serious bid to keep him or whether they effectively pushed him away with a lowball offer. Or no offer.
I'm 100% certain Shank will follow up with this angle. By Stephen A. Smith's account of things, Kraft's saying 'nope, wasn't me', even though he would have been the person responsible for 'working it out' and he didn't work anything out. This will be sports gossip for a while, and Shank will be fanning the flames.
As suspicions rise and conflicting stories surface, we’ll have slices of blame pie for Bill Belichick, Bob Kraft, Alex Guerrero, Gisele Bundchen, TB12, and all the other influencers in Brady’s life.
Two things - with that sentence, the odds of Shank throwing more gas on the fire went from 'sure thing' to 'it's a lock', and like his fellow Boston sports asshole (Michael Felger), they are overly concerned / obsessed over needing to blame someone for this situation. Some things simply run their course and this is one of them. I'm pretty sure that's all part of their schtick - to spice things up and, in Shank's case, cheap and easy shots against Kraft.

The rest of the column reads eerily like the NFL Network special they had on Tom Brady last night.

Monday, March 16, 2020

He's Gone (?)

A decade after first predicting Tom Brady was on the decline, Shank thinks he may finally be right:
Tom Brady finds out that (almost) no one wants a 43-year-old quarterback

The big Tom Brady sweepstakes is now down to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots? That’s the buzz today.

Seriously? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers? The team with the worst winning percentage in NFL history? Tom Brady is going to finish his career with the Bucs?

I doubt it. The longer this goes, the more it feels like Tom isn’t going anywhere. Because nobody wants to pay him $30 million per year for another two or three years.

Because he’ll be 43 bloody years old!

For the last year, it has amazed me that so little is made of Brady’s age. Truly. This is professional sports. Sure, Brady is different and the rules have allowed QBs to extend careers in a simulated bubble, but no athlete is at the top of their game at the age of 43.
This is not a post disagreeing with the notion of a 42 / 43 year old NFL quarterback being eminently marketable; it is my disdain with Shank for reveling so many times on the demise of Tom Brady's professional career.

If I had time right now, I'd go back and do the math on how many times Shank has predicted Brady's end to his career over finally getting it right. We both know that number would be a small one.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Read A Fucking Book, Mate

With all of the coronavirus panic / extreme measures being taken (take your pick there; I'm split 50/50 at this point), Shank asks the evergreen question during these dark, lonely times:
Without sports, what do we do now?

Through the decades the games have been there to distract us from real world problems. Now the games are gone.

What do we do now?

We hunker down in our homes. We make sure we have enough toilet paper and Cheerios. We think about how to open and close doors without touching doorknobs. We avoid checking our 401(k). We pray at home because church is canceled. We dust off old board games (when was the last time you played Scrabble?). We ask friends for recommendations for good TV shows to binge.

We do not watch sports on television. There are no more games on TV. And there are not going to be games for quite a while.
OK, maybe I jumped on him a little quick there! This turns out to be a pretty good start to the column, and the rest of it is promising as well.

This whole exercise with the panic / extreme measures should prove a bit interesting, because as a tax preparer I'm more or less naturally sequestered for the next month regardless of other circumstances. I'll probably pick up more on it because now a lot of other people are doing the same thing. In any event, this stuff will be over sooner than we think (early spring, right around the corner!).

Friday, March 13, 2020

Wipeout, Coronavirus Edition

There's been a ton of recent events related to the coronavirus that makes Shank's previous two whinefests shrink to the insignificance they deserve. Shank ably documents nearly if not all of these recent events & cancellations, and it's a pretty good column which you may want to read more of.
Suddenly, coronavirus wipes almost all of our sports off the landscape

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It is a deadly global threat that has nothing to do with sports. And yet in two days, it has become one of the biggest sports stories of all time.

It is breathless and ever-changing. It moves at warp speed toward . . . the unknown.

And it feels fruitless to say or write anything about it because by the time you read these words, so much will have changed. There is simply no way to keep up with the impact of the coronavirus on our North American sports leagues, teams, and tours.

Our nation’s capital is basically shut down. Kids are staying home from school. College students have been ordered to evacuate. Hospitals are preparing for what could be a dangerous and unmanageable surge. Broadway is dark. Disneyland is shutting down Saturday. Whole Foods has been rendered less than whole.
My biggest takeaway so far from this particular impact of the coronavirus cancellations (which I personally have no problem with whatsoever) is this, which needs to be repeated every now and then - there is more to life than sports.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Classic Media Overreaction, Part Deux

Shank continues to peddle the notion that health related clubhouse restrictions are impeding his ability to do his job, among other notions:
Trying to keep you informed — while keeping our distance — at Red Sox camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nomar Garciaparra was ahead of his time. Come to think of it, maybe David Price can come back to the Red Sox now.

Monday morning was Day One of having no reporters in the clubhouse at spring training. It was the same at every NBA, NHL, and MLS locker room in North America. The coronavirus has temporarily (perhaps) created an atmosphere that players crave. Can’t say that I blame them. Who would want all those prying eyes when you are at your workplace?

Let the record show that I was one of the last reporters to darken the doorstep of the Red Sox clubhouse at JetBlue Park before the ban was announced Monday night.
I bolded that word above for a few reasons. One of them is my omission from yesterday's post that this thought of a permanent clubhouse ban is bollocks. He started out his last column in the same way before he more or less backtracked and by the end said he hoped it wouldn't be for long. It's part of his routine, basically...
It was an uneventful experience, but I’ll tell you about it anyway since I may be the last Globie ever to work the Red Sox room at JetBlue.
It all starts to fall apart when the next chunk of the column talks about Shank's interactions with Red Sox players and personnel, some of whom had to split to catch a bus for last night's game against the Braves, and there were four of them. Maybe this number should be at six to eight because now all the Red Sox players can use this excuse to avoid Shaughnessy. Excellent!

Further - what the new rule(s) actually are:
A few hours after my last loop in the locker room, the Red Sox PR staff sent out a media advisory regarding Tuesday access, stating, “The media relations staff will bring players and coaches out to the media bench between 9:15-10:15 a.m.” The memo advised reporters to request players in advance, and stated, “A minimum distance of 6 feet needs to be kept between the player/coach speaking to reporters.” (I think the Shaughnessy Rule is 10 feet.)
My 'Shaughnessy Rule' is 10 miles - what's yours?

Reporters who requested interviews dutifully gathered by the outdoor interview bench at 9:15 Tuesday morning. They waited for just under two hours. In that time, the only players produced were Barnes and Brandon Workman, at the request of the Associated Press.
Even though this particular one was short on player availability, this would be called at worst 'limited access', correct? Shaughnessy, contrary to the last column's conclusion, clearly thinks otherwise:
Welcome to Nomar Nirvana. More fists. More elbows. No handshakes. No high-fives. No spitting.

And no reporters in the clubhouse.
Except for the ones six feet from the podium! His 'concerns' are exaggerated and overblown, like that of the rest of his media brethren on this subject.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Classic Media Overreaction

The most charitable thing I'll say about the media with respect to the recent coronavirus cases in the U.S. and elsewhere is that they're grossly irresponsible. It is beyond obvious. The first thing I figured about print media after reading newspapers for two months is they love to scare the shit out of people and this is no exception.

Leave it to Shank to preemptively bellyache about losing precious access to locker rooms for a while. Let's cut to the chase:
In this spirit, I resisted the urge to hug Alex Verdugo when I first approached him in the Red Sox clubhouse Monday morning. Similarly, J.D. Martinez and I eschewed our traditional fist bump. But let’s not create a clear path to eliminate locker room access in perpetuity. Sadly, potential media-restriction policies were greeted with applause over the weekend by a couple of well-heeled sportswriters who insulted a century of hard work by beat reporters while simultaneously promoting erosion of media availability in professional sports locker rooms.
All of two people:
“I honestly don’t think we ever need to be in a locker room,” tweeted the estimable Grant Wahl, a 25-year veteran of Sports Illustrated who covers the US women’s soccer team. “Doing mixed-zone postgame interviews with the USWNT outside their locker room has never been a problem.”

Sopan Deb, who identifies as “NBA culture scribe” and has been with the New York Times for at least a half-hour, quickly chimed in with, "THIS IS 100 PERCENT CORRECT. It is so weird that for decades it became accepted practice for reporters to just hang out in locker room watching/waiting for athletes to get dressed.''

Both writers quickly backtracked. Wahl confessed that his tweet was “dumb,” while Deb deleted his message. But that won’t stop a legion of team-loving, media-hating fanboys from rushing to their keyboards to vilify journalists who fuel the 24/7 programming for our sports talk industrial complex.
Incorrect - some of us 'villfy journalists' because a lot of you are assholes, and Shank in particular is an irresponsible asshole in this case.

You'd suppose that would be the end of end of it and it is, for the most part. He also mentions all the reasons locker room access is a good thing and why, then starts retelling stories he's told six hundred times already. By the end of the column Shank dials back the hyperbole and just 'hopes' clubhouse / locker room access isn't banned permanently. He's talking out of both sides of his mouth with this column.

Kirk Minihane thinks he knows why Shank's all bent out of shape about it:

Saturday, March 07, 2020

DHL Dan XCVII - Reusable Columns!

Shank rehashes his Tom Brady column from last week and is milking it for all it's worth:
Still waiting on the Tom Brady situation, and other picked-up pieces

If Brady leaves, it will be the biggest non-game-related story in Boston since Babe Ruth was traded

Picked-up pieces while waiting for the interminable (more than 50 days so far) Tom Brady situation be resolved . . .

■ If Brady leaves the Patriots, it will go down as the biggest non-game-related Boston sports story since Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees more than 100 years ago. Brady leaving is bigger than Spygate, Deflategate, and the LeRoux Coup at Fenway. It’s bigger than the sudden deaths of Reggie Lewis, Len Bias, and Harry Agganis. Bigger than the Braves leaving Boston. Bigger than the trading of Nomar and Mookie Betts. Bigger than Haywood Sullivan forgetting to mail Carlton Fisk a contract. Bigger than Bobby Orr going to the Black Hawks. Bigger than Bill Parcells to the Jets and Ted Williams going off to war twice. Bigger than the trade that brought Bill Russell to Boston. There can be no doubt. Tom leaving will be our biggest (non-game) sports story since the selling of the Bambino.
Gearing up to write another crappy book, Shank?

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Shank's Mailbag - No Wait For The Hate

In an occasional series, Shank dedicates a column to him being an asshole:
For a columnist in the digital age, there’s no wait for the hate
Is Shank finally accepting the fact he's in 'the digital age'? That's a start.
We write about sports. You (hopefully) read what we write. Increasingly, you tell us what you think about what we write. In today’s free-for-all, everybody-is-a-columnist age of opinions, there are simply so many ways to respond.

I first noticed this on football Sundays on the road with the Patriots. In the old days, a column offered from the press box in Pittsburgh might trigger a small sack of angry mail back at the old home office on Morrissey Boulevard. It would take a couple of days, but by Wednesday it was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that I suck.
Again, Shank is slow on the take or playing dumb oh-so-conveniently. When did you first figure out that Shank sucked, like after the fourth column?

Let Shank explain what we've known for years - he writes his columns ahead of time:
Now I suck on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh before even leaving the press box.

Let me explain: I am a speedy scribe and sometimes finish ahead of my harder-working colleagues at Patriot games. In some cases, I am done first.

This gives Globe editors back in Boston time to edit and post the column. It gives the readers a crack at being first to call me a knucklehead. By the time all my colleagues are done with their work and ready to carpool back to the hotel, I already have an early exit poll from agitated Globe readers who care deeply about their Patriots.
Might be worth a read, even if it's just to bask in the Shank self-flagellation.