Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Useless Award Postponed

Shank has a case of the sads for his compatriot in the Boston Globe sports department:
I wonder if that includes another paid mini-vacation for Shank in Cooperstown next year? You know how I'm betting...

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Hackles Raised

Thar she blows! Another twofer type column from Shank:
It’s ridiculous that Bill Parcells isn’t already in the Patriots Hall of Fame

Bill Parcells is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

He is not in the Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Parcells is good enough for football's ultimate shrine, but not good enough for a gallery in the shadows of Bar Louie and Skipjack's at Patriot Place.
You folks know exactly where this column is going, don't you?
It is ridiculous and embarrassing. It’s like somebody gaining admission to Harvard, then getting a rejection letter from the University of Kentucky. It’s like serving two terms as President of the United States, then losing an election for state rep. It’s like Jack Nicholson auditioning at your community theater and not getting the part.

Do I make my point?
Yes, you do - it's just not the one you think you're making. More on that in a moment.
It was announced last week that for the fourth time since 2011, Parcells is a finalist for the Patriots Hall. He’s on a ballot with Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel, two worthy candidates. Between now and May 8, fans can vote for their favorite candidate at The Patriots will announce the winner in mid-May. If form holds, the winner will not be Parcells. Petty and preposterous will prevail.
And there you have it. This column exists for one reason only, which will be obvious by the end of it - to further criticize and pile on Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and nothing more. The twofer is using Parcells' Patriots HOF selection to praise him, a halfway clever manner to conceal the other part (dumping on Kraft yet again).

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dan Shaughnessy, NFL Draft Guru

...or at least he thinks he is - here's Shank, criticizing one Patriots draft pick:
An intelligent person might want to wait until the draft's finished and evaluate the picks as a whole before criticizing any of them; and then there's Shank.

DHL Dan - CI

If you were under the impression that Shank would stop complaining about the punishment handed out to the Red Sox on the sign-stealing scandal, guess again:
Picked-up pieces while rooting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to go 0-16 …
Now what kind of an asshole wishes a team would go winless, simply because there are two people on that team he hates? Yes, this is a rhetorical question.
▪ The Red Sox look weak for letting J.T. Watkins, a low-level employee, and a West Point grad no less which means what, exactly? - ed), take the hit for their latest cheating scandal.

It’s a Big Nothing to the fanboys, but at least 11 Sox “witnesses” told MLB that they concluded Watkins had broken the rules by supplying them with information gained illegally. It’s certainly possible to assume most or all used the information. They all knew. And none of them were identified or punished.

The Sox baseball boss and manager also were absolved even though they’d been instructed that the team would be punished for future infractions after the Apple Watch incident in 2017. Nope. It was all J.T. Watkins. This 30-year-old guy had the power to move the video room at Fenway Park to a spot next to the dugout. All by himself.
It quickly devolves into unfunny comparisons, from there, one of them being a Bill Buckner name drop, and other odds & ends, some of which are good to read. Like many of Shank's picked up pieces columns, it's a mixed bag.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Dead And Buried

Shank takes note of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Red Sox in l'affaire sign-stealing from 2018:
As cheating scandals go, it’s nothing like the 2017 Houston Astros watching video in real time and banging on a trash can to tell their hitters what pitch was coming. It’s probably not even up there with letting a little air out of footballs, or videotaping NFL coaches’ sideline signals during games.
In other words, there's not much of a story here, unless you just want to pile on.
But despite what rose-colored Red Sox apologists might insist, it wasn’t nothing. And if you think a second-round draft pick is nothing, tell that to Fred Lynn, Jon Lester, and Dustin Pedroia, all Sox second-rounders.

After more than 100 days, 65 witness interviews, and a review of cellphones and in-house e-mails, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred released his findings into cheating allegations against the 2018 world champion Red Sox in a perfectly timed (the NFL Draft begins Thursday night) news dump Wednesday afternoon.
Actually, it's the classic Friday afternoon news dump. Must be a short work week this week!
Concluding that an MLB video replay rule was broken and “potentially benefited" the 2018 Sox, Manfred took away Boston’s 2020 second-round draft pick and suspended Sox video replay system operator J.T. Watkins without pay for a year.
OK, the draft pick's gonna hurt and aside from former Red Sox manager Alex Cora serving a one-year ban for his part in a bigger sign-stealing scam the year earlier with the Astros, one other guy gets two in the hat, metaphorically speaking.

Bonus - Nathan Jessup reference!
Manfred stated that Watkins “did not provide a persuasive explanation” for why he sometimes altered his information to Sox hitters during games.

Not much, right? Reminded me of the scene from “A Few Good Men” when Colonel Nathan Jessup tells the young attorney, "These two Marines are on trial for their lives. Please tell me their lawyer hasn’t pinned their hopes to a phone bill.''

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

There's Always Something To Complain About

There's never an offseason for Shank criticizing the New England Patriots.

Looks like Shank isn't too pleased with Rob Gronkowski's decision to unretire in order to go to Tampa Bay and play football with Tom Brady:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - VI

You know it's a bad environment for the newspaper / media industry when the capo di tutti of left-wing rags (Guardian UK) says they're all about to get buttfucked wicked hard:
US newspapers face 'extinction-level' crisis as Covid-19 hits hard

As journalists across the US scramble to cover the impact of the coronavirus, they are grappling with a bitter irony: as demand for their stories soars, the decline of the business model that funds them is speeding up catastrophically.

The devastating sweep of Covid-19 is the biggest story in a generation, and for most newspapers and news sites it has triggered record numbers of readers. Yet the virus, industry experts warn, will spell the end for “hundreds” of those organizations, laying off journalists and closing titles.

Media outlets across the US have already responded to a huge drop in advertising triggered by the economic shutdown by sacking scores of employees. Some newspapers, just as demand is at its highest, have stopped printing – reverting to a digital-only operation that is just as vulnerable to the whims of advertisers.

The decrease in advertising was swift, as businesses tightened spending due to the economic impact of Covid-19. For a journalism industry already barely scraping by, the impact was almost immediate.
It's poetic justice, if you ask me - the US media is / was over the top and gleeful of reporting on this new strain of the influenza virus, the operating phrase 'if it bleeds it leads' never being more evident in their reporting. I can't wait to watch these assholes queueing up in the unemployment line.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Marathon Man

As most of you Massholes know by now, the Boston Marathon will not take place today; it's rescheduled for Monday, September 14. Our Man Dan manages to get a story out of this, and who better to help with such a column than Mr. Boston Marathon himself, Bill Rodgers?
No Marathon Monday.

No early morning buses shuttling runners to within walking range of the starting line. No piles of sweat pants and pullovers discarded on Hopkinton common. No kids along the route with orange slices and cups of water. No undergrads from Wellesley cheering runners when they pass through the Scream Tunnel. No massive gathering at the Newton firehouse on Comm. Ave. No breakfast club Red Sox fans atop the Green Monster, turning away from the infield to watch runners come into Kenmore Square. No thousands of Mylar sheets sheltering runners as they stagger from Copley Square after finishing the race.

For the first time since 1896 there will be no Boston Marathon in mid-April. This is the spring of 2020, which we will remember as a time when every path and roadway was Heartbreak Hill. If COVID-19 allows, the 124th Boston Marathon will be run on September 14.

Bill Rodgers, who won the race four times between 1975-80, says, "The world is upside down now, but it will be righted. It’s like a marathon, you feel your way through it. Think of the days ahead and what you’ll be aiming for. But right now, we’ve got to deal with this.''
There weren't too many comments on this article, but this one was really tasteless funny:
Sea Bass

4/19/20 - 5:31PM

And now, a moment of silence for the late great Rosie Ruiz.

Boston Globe Death Watch - V

As we wait for the panic, hysteria and massive overreaction to die down from Covid-19 / The Wuhan Kung Flu, let's check out the Sunday Boston Globe (a real bargain at $6.00!).

First up, the Sports Section - A+ for effort:

Next, something I can only describe this as ghoulish; typical of our garbage scumbag media - F grade assigned:
Sure, that ought to sell lots and lots of newspapers...

Sunday, April 19, 2020

We Doin't Need No Stinkin' Handshakes

It's bad enough watching large swaths of U.S. society continue to panic and overreact to a variant of the modern flu virus (it's called Covid-19 for a reason); and now the lead epidemiologist in President Trump's coronavirus task force does his best to throw more gas on the fire:
“We may never shake hands again.”

— Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert.

While we continue to hunker and prepare for a day when games may resume (probably without fans for a while), we entertain the prospect of a world without handshakes.

Think about that. No more hands-touching-hands. No more reaching out. No more meet-and-greet events for politicians. No more lessons from dad about the importance of a firm handshake.

No handshakes would shake up sports as much as no crowd noise.

I can’t get my head around the notion of an NHL playoff series ending without the ceremonial conga line of handshakes. One of the best images in sports is watching a gap-toothed demonstration of sportsmanship and civility break out after seven games of cage-rattling, cross-checking, stick-wielding, bare-knuckle brawling.
When's the last time you recall Shank celebrating sportsmanship?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

A Walk Down Memory Lane

This is the kind of column Shank used to be known for, before he became a somewhat bitter and vindictive asshole:
More than 50 years later, these sports clippings are still hanging in there

It has hovered over my head and shoulders for more than 50 years, a kaleidoscopic collage of sports photos, clipped from the 1960s pages of Sports Illustrated and Sport magazine. It is proof of a time when I loved sports more than anything, and saw fit to wallpaper my childhood bedroom with the gods of my youth.

I was able to preserve a 17-foot section of the star-studded mosaic when my mom sold the house in 1988, and today it hangs in my cluttered home office, reminding me why I wanted to write about sports in the first place. In April of 2020, as we strain to write sports in a world without games, I close the door to my office, sit at a desk, and regularly glance up at those ballplayers from 50 and 60 years ago. I am alternately inspired and saddened when I ponder how many of those heroes I got to know, and how many are no longer with us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

DHL Dan - C

This Wuhan Tang Clan coronavirus shutdown is starting to get on people's nerves, if it hasn't already. It's also a bad time for sports columnists who now need to create fiction just to get by:
A list of the great ‘what-ifs’ in Boston sports

Not to be greedy, but what if . . .

▪ Brad Marchand didn’t leave the ice early in the final 15 seconds of the first period of Game 7 against the Blues last spring?

▪ Danny Ainge drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo instead of Kelly Olynyk with the 13th pick in 2013?

▪ Harry Frazee didn’t sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees?

▪ David Tyree didn’t make the helmet-velcro catch in Super Bowl XLII?

Boston Globe Death Watch - IV

Just in case you didn't think the Boston Globe is run by a bunch of scumbags with an axe to grind against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, this 'news' item, this ought to confirm it. Check out the fucking headline:
Medical workers share concerns about masks delivered by Patriots plane
Isn't that the most astounding placing of blame - not on the masks themselves but the courier who delivered them. Was Kraft himself supposed to inspect all the masks before leaving China?

By the way - the story does go on to say the FDA cleared these masks for use; a bitchy complaint from one Mass. General doctor says they're 'not the gold standard' for use in the ER. Good enough for the Globe to run with, though!

Safe to say that will put a bit of a dent in the circulation numbers of the already battered 1988 Hyundai Excel that is now the Boston Globe.

Monday, April 13, 2020

They Don't Call Him Trollin' Volin For Nothing

If anyone was wondering how Boston Globe sports reporter Ben Volin earned that nickname, it's because of stuff like this:
Better that nickname than calling him Shank Jr. ...

Friday, April 10, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - III

When Boston Globe sports reporters like these two clowns start banging on the digital tin cup to try and drum up support for a dying newspaper in a dying industry, it would take a heart of stone not too laugh:

It's bad enough we have multiple elected leaders at the state level that ordered large swaths of the economy shut down for at least three weeks and looks like a lot of them will do so for a few weeks more, but of all the industries most vulnerable to outright seismic collapse because of this is the newspaper industry. With the Globe recently announcing 50 layoffs and 55 buyouts sought, their position is precarious at best. That part I have no problem with, but the self-inflicted wound of economic misery that will likely follow is / was entirely predictable and preventable if only these same politicians from both sides of the aisle didn't hit the panic button like they did and force millions of people to stay at home, get fired / laid off and suffer like they are now. The voluntary social distancing and other measures were by and large happening on their own and this massive overreaction is only being done, in my opinion, to save these 'leader's' political reputations at the expense of the rest of us. As far as this cat's concerned their reputations are as worthless as tits on a bull.

We will eventually look back at this and realize what a galaxy-class fuckup it was to force large parts of the economy to shut down by executive orders. Every one of these assholes that ordered this should be tarred & feathered at a bare minimum.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

DHL Dan XCIX - Gold In Them Thar Hills

As our sports world dwindles to looking at lots of old reruns (like I'm sort of doing now with last year's Indy 500) and now that Tom Brady has left the New England Patriots, Shank's saying something nice about him:
Even during a pandemic, Tom Brady is ratings gold, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while channel surfing and deciding between the Thrilla in Manila and the 1968 World Series . . .
Don't you have them on Betamax or VHS?
▪ I am reminded today of John Lennon’s unfortunate interview in 1966 when he said the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus.'' Steering clear of that outrageousness, let’s acknowledge that one cannot overstate the local popularity of Tom Brady.

Tampa Bay’s new quarterback went on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show for a couple of hours Wednesday and managed to make himself a topic of conversation even in the middle of a global pandemic.

Metaphorically chained to a radiator at Gillette Stadium for 20 years, Brady is suddenly talking about his marriage, his relationship with Donald Trump, the size of his testicles, freezing out receivers, race relations in the locker room, and his complex relationship with Bill Belichick.

Brady even said that the story Bob Kraft has been circulating for two decades (that rookie Brady allegedly told Kraft, “I’m the best decision this organization has ever made”) is inaccurate. Asked about Kraft’s well-worn tale, Brady told Stern, "I didn’t say that.''
Would that be like a story from two decades ago about Shank not getting invited to a Patriots breakfast at the Super Bowl and Shank to this day holding a world-class grudge against the team and Robert Kraft?

From there it's the usual grab bag of stuff. Might as well read it - do you have anything better to do?

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

The Hank Finkel Column

I guess Clive Rush wasn't around, eh?
Ex-Celtic Hank Finkel could give Jarrett Stidham an idea of what he might be in for

Hey there, Jarrett Stidham. Want to know what it’s like to take over the starting job in place of the greatest winner in the history of your sport . . . in front of Boston fans accustomed to championships every year? Give Hank Finkel a call. I can get you his number if you want.

Hank is 77 years old, lives north of Boston, and is uniquely equipped to tell you what lies ahead. Nicknamed "High Henry'' by Johnny Most, the 7-foot Finkel replaced Bill Russell as the Celtics center for the 1969-70 season after Russell won his 11th championship in 13 seasons.
So far so good, right?
Russell didn’t play out his contract and leave New England for Tampa. He flat-out retired. And it was pretty obvious that things were not going to be the same once he left.
Now why do you suppose he said that, other than to just be a jagoff? It's probably that, combined with his continuing animosity of the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft, so saying anything remotely negative suits this purpose.
With no Russell, no Sam Jones (who also retired), a rookie coach in Tommy Heinsohn, and newcomer Finkel starting at center, the defending champion Celtics went 34-48 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons. Boston fans were not happy, and Finkel got far too much of the blame.

"When you win in New England, the fans love you,'' Finkel said via telephone this week. "But when you lose in New England, they want to run you out of town''
Are we sure that Shank wasn't working at the Globe in 1969?

The rest of the column is solid.

Monday, April 06, 2020

When The Boston Globe Had Real Sportswriters

I whiffed on this one a few days ago, but Shank actually cranked out a solid column:
Remembering our maestro of the sports department: Ray Fitzgerald

There are no games in these dark, scary days. Here in the toy department, we spend a lot of time looking back. We watch grainy footage of World Series played in 1967 and 1975. We watch Larry and Magic in their short-shorts battling in three NBA Finals in the 1980s. We watch "Malcolm, go!'' and 28-3.

We blow the dust off old books, once again savoring Roger Kahn’s "The Boys of Summer,'' David Halberstam’s “The Breaks of the Game,” and anything by the estimable Roger Angell.

Today I am here to celebrate Ray Fitzgerald, the best sports columnist to grace these Globe pages in my lifetime.
Allow me to point something out:
All of us in this business who were fortunate enough to have read him regularly feel the same way. I grew up reading the Globe and have been lucky to work with a deep roster of Hall of Fame talents, but Ray was the best of those best. Like the man, his columns were funny, thoughtful, sensitive, creative, self-deprecating, and never mean.
The lack of self-awareness in some people is astounding. If Shank was capable of dropping that one attribute from his columns, there's a very good chance this site doesn't exist. Some people are natural born assholes; we now know who one of them is not that.

With that said, I didn't read many actual columns about Ray Fitzgerald, but his reputation was redoubtable. Also, this part is laughable (at least for me):
On the Boston Marathon: "Our city’s contribution to the legend of sport, a day when all America pays homage to the shin splint . . . As someone who reaches the brink of physical exhaustion merely by driving from Boston to Springfield, I find the thought of running 100 miles a week simply inconceivable. You might as well tell me they ride a bicycle to the moon for a bottle of milk.''
Great sportswriter, but a complete driving wimp!

I love driving for the most part - my personal record for a one day drive was 1,013 miles from Sarasota, FL to just outside of Baltimore, MD. I left Sarasota at 11 AM (and I was one very pissed off man when I started the drive, hence the motivation) and got to Baltimore around 3 AM the next day. The one thing that kept me going on that last leg - there was live Van Halen on some FM station and it went on for four hours. Of course, this was a long time ago; I'm not sure I could pull that off now, but I'd give it a shot if I had to. The other good one was from Mt. Ascutney, VT to Quincy in approximately 2 hours, 11 minutes. I charged down I-91 in a 1996 Dodge Intrepid (that car was a fucking beast - really solid V-6 engine and an excellent wheelbase for handling) like no one's business, then took Rt. 2 to Rt. 128, then the Mass. Pike and finally the Southeast Expressway. Google suggests a different route but by my reasoning the more time you spend on interstate highways or something similar, the faster you get there even if total miles is greater than the alternative routes. It also helps a lot to hold 95-100 MPH on that stretch of I-91 about half the time. That car, maybe fortunately, had a governor preventing me from going over 105 MPH, but I-91 was a fantastic stretch of road, no question about it.

Turn On A Dime Dan, A Continuing Series

In his columns about the Astros / Red Sox cheating scandals, it's amazing to see Shank go from 'ban them all for life' to a complete 180 with this lump of horseshit:
Alex Cora back as manager of the Red Sox? Without ever missing a regular-season game?

It’s far-fetched, but it could happen.

Here’s how:
The short answer - pull something out of his ass!

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Imagination Used

If reading bullshit like this is what we're going to see from Shank during the Wuhan Virus slowdown, it's gonna be a long stretch of time, and painful to read.
Fantasy baseball: Here’s how I imagine I’d be previewing Opening Day at Fenway

(This is the column you might be reading today if not for the coronavirus pandemic.)

Stunned at being swept by the suddenly surging Baltimore Orioles, the 1-6 Red Sox will face the Chicago White Sox at 2:05 p.m. Thursday in their 109th Fenway Park opener.

"It will be good to finally get back to Boston,'' Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke might have said after Wednesday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the upstart Orioles. "I’m pretty sure we’ll turn this around quickly when we get home to Fenway.''

Roenicke did not identify the Sox starting pitcher for the home opener.

“Could be Austin Brice, could be Marcus Walden, could be Heath Hembree,'' Roenicke said. "Chaim and the analytics guys will give me a name in the morning.''
Yup - it's that bad, and only gets worse from there. Read it, if you're into limo wrecks and that sort of thing.