Saturday, May 30, 2020

Spoken Like A True Misanthrope

Shank attempts to find a positive side to the reopening of professional sporting events, sans fans:
If professional sports resume in July, August, or September, it’s going to unfold without fans in the stands.

We don’t know if promoters will try cardboard cutouts, crash-test dummies, carpool-lane mannequins, or blowup dolls to populate the seats. And we don’t know about simulated crowd noise. Teams and leagues might go the Indianapolis Colts route and pump in artificial crowd noise.

This could give Miami Sound Machine a whole new meaning (date yourself much? - ed). Maybe teams will play Kenny G and “Jock Jams.” The summer and fall of 2020 could be a good time for Queen with lots of “We Are The Champions,” “We Will Rock You,” and "Another One Bites The Dust.''
If I want to hear that shit for the four millionth time, I'll just go tune into WZLX where, like Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty and Pink Floyd, it's played once every single fucking hour. Come to think of it, I can also tune in WBOS and hear the same stuff, or WROR, and now add a fourth Boston area radio station to the 'classic rock' genre, WODS.
I know what I’m rooting for: the sounds of silence. And I don’t mean Simon and Garfunkel’s epic hit.
What's a column by Shank without a song reference from the 1960's?
Let’s have some peace and quiet. Do not disturb. Fenway Park could become like the reading room at the Boston Public Library.
I couldn't disagree more with this sentiment. I tried watching some Bundesliga soccer last week (also without fans), which lasted about ninety seconds. It's simply not the same without fan interaction; it's lifeless and sterile. I also think professional sports runs the risk of losing decent sized chunks of its fan base on a permanent basis. For myself, I refuse to watch any of this substandard 'product' when it comes back - no NBA, no NHL, no MLB. I'll probably make an exception for NASCAR and Formula One and even then, this will be in the back of my mind, and I believe it will be in most people's minds as well. Time will tell if Shank changes his mind on this one once he starts watching this crap.

Oh - and of course he takes another shot at Robert Kraft. This guy, in the words of Curt Schilling, really is one of the most bitter humans on the planet. As befits miserable people, Shank devotes the rest of the column to focus exclusively on poor / negative fan behavior, which is why it needs to return as soon as possible.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Silver Linings?

In a rare departure from normal business, Shank does his best to find some positives from the lockdown panic:
We are 11 weeks into our quarantined, gameless spring of 2020, and it got me to thinking about sports figures who have (inadvertently in most cases) somehow benefited from this scary, horrible pandemic. Truly this is a time with no winners, but we can identify a few teams and sports figures who’ve taken some positives from the daily darkness.

▪ NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Tuesday afternoon revealed his plan for the league getting into playoff mode. It turns out that eight teams that had no business being in the playoffs are going to be skating for the Stanley Cup because of COVID-19. This is no small break for teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens that could advance when they didn’t deserve to be in the postseason.

This could be particularly galling for Bruins fans. We know that hockey is a sport where playoff upsets are the norm, and how’s it going to feel around here if the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins get sent home by a Habs team that didn’t even deserve a playoff spot? Mon dieu!
And on it goes - as passive / aggressive as it gets. Robert Kraft, the Red Sox, the Patriots and David Ortiz get similar treatment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Fox News Watch

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will be on Hannity tonight. What are the odds of Shank writing or tweeting about it?

Monday, May 25, 2020

Like He Really Cares

Shank's trying to bullshit us again:
A year ago at this time, all we cared about was the Bruins’ shot at the Stanley Cup

Remember the last weekend in May of 2019? One year ago? It felt like the only thing that mattered was Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, featuring the St. Louis Blues and your Boston Bruins in a packed TD Garden on Causeway Street.

Here on the Globe sports pages, we had you covered from crease to crease and everywhere in between. We talked to Bobby Orr about his memories of playing the the Blues in the Finals way back in 1970. Orr spoke of the old days, then went out of his way to defend 42-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was getting some criticism on local sports radio.

"I've been hearing a lot of crap recently about Z,'' said Orr, who rarely says anything controversial. "Are you kidding me?''

In that same Sunday sports section, we had a lengthy profile of Chara written by Christopher L. Gasper (whatever happened to that guy?). We had a nifty account of a Red Sox loss to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. The story was accompanied by a photo of Red Sox manager Alex Cora making a mound visit to talk things over with Sox lefty David Price (whatever happened to those two guys?). The Red Sox were 27-25, still claiming that it wasn’t a mistake to shut down all of their starters throughout spring training.
Yes, indeed - lots of Bruins coverage at the Boston Globe. Shank cared so much about the Bruins / Blues Stanley Cup finals he didn't write a column about the series until the Bruins lost in Game 2, three days after Shank's purported interest in the series. For the record, Shank did columns for the remaining games, but let's not try to rewrite history here by claiming ex post facto that he gave a shit until the Bruins lost, which is classic Shaughnessy.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

DHL Dan CIV - The Tone Deaf Column

It sure seems like Shank's been pretty critical of former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after he was traded to Tampa Bay. Then again, this isn't a great look:
Picked-up pieces while fondly remembering a year ago when we were readying for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Blues on Memorial Day …

▪ Please stop it, Tom Brady. We’ve been grudgingly OK with you being amazingly tone-deaf in the middle of this COVID-19 crisis, but your latest sales pitch borders on wartime profiteering.

Brady’s high-end “we are superior to you” TB12 company released a new "immunity supplement'' this past week. The new product is a lot like the supplement bundle TB12 promoted at the end of March. Company CEO John Burns shamelessly told Yahoo! Sports, "Now more than ever, it’s important to have daily support for a healthy immune response.''

Now more than ever.

Get it? Now. In the middle of a global pandemic. You need this stuff to fight off the coronavirus. A 30-day supply goes for $45.
Well, these are challenging and difficult times and we're all in this together! Get with the program, Shank!

UPDATE, 5/24/2020, 10:29 AM - I meant to post this yesterday; whoops!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Assimilated By The Borg

I really like him as a athlete, but this is just pure bullshit:
Gerry Cheevers says forget your ego and wear your mask — and he should know
You know, there just might be different reasons for wearing each type of mask...

More than 50 years ago, he put a mask on his face in the name of safety and he has no regrets. He thinks folks who resist wearing a mask during today’s pandemic are letting their egos get in the way.

Say hello to Gerry Cheevers, the 79-year-old Stanley Cup-winning goalie of Bobby Orr’s Big Bad Bruins in the 1970s.

"People that won’t wear the mask are underestimating the seriousness of this situation,'' says Cheevers, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla. "Put it on. That’s all you can say. Don’t resist it. Don’t let your ego get the best of you.

"It’s not fun having a mask on. But if you won’t do it, I think it’s egomania.''
If you're looking for a reason / justification for healthy people to be effectively quarantined in an unprecedented fashion by the mask measure (and all the other restrictions you're being 'asked' to follow), you won't find it here. And do you think Cheevers is walking around with his a) goalie face mask and / or b) the stupid looking one you need to cover your mouth and nose with? I know it's not the former. It's a weak and unconvincing column in the extreme.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Phyllis George, RIP

Shank writes a sports obituary to one of the pioneers in sports broadcasting for ladies.
Former Miss America and CBS Sports television pioneer Phyllis George died last week at the age of 70. A lovely and talented woman, George was an underrated TV talent who joined CBS’s “The NFL Today” in 1975 and blazed a trail for female reporters who later covered the National Football League.

George also had an amazing number of connections to the Celtics. Her breakthrough at CBS came when she interviewed Dave Cowens in Weston in 1974. The foreword for her 2002 book “Never Say Never” was written by Rick Pitino. In 1979, George married John Y. Brown, owner of the Celtics and the man who triggered a trade that forever altered the future of the franchise and almost made Red Auerbach quit.

George might have had something to do with Brown’s fiasco trade. She was engaged to him in February of 1979 when he traded three of Red’s first-round draft picks to New York for scoring champ Bob McAdoo. Nobody ever said anything on the record, but it has long been speculated that Brown made the trade to impress Miss America, who was a McAdoo fan.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Mea Culpa Column, An Occasional Series

Shank needs to get some stuff off his chest:
Regrets? I’ve had a few. And not too few to mention.

There was that prediction last winter that there was “zero chance” the Patriots could lose to the Texans (Texans 28, Patriots 22). It was the same with Super Bowl LII in frosty Minneapolis in 2018 when I told you that there was no bloody way Nick Foles and Doug bleepin’ Pederson could dethrone Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (Eagles 41, Patriots 33).

Wrong and wrong. When you write approximately 5,000 sports columns over 32 years, you are going to make some wrong calls. I can, for example, affirm that on the front page of the Oct. 17, 2004, Boston Globe (hours after the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, 19-8, in Game 3 of the ALCS), I stated, "So there. For the 86th consecutive autumn, the Red Sox are not going to win the World Series.''
An enjoyable column, if for nothing else chuckling at all these great calls!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Getting Stir Crazy?

It sure sounds that way:
We need to have baseball — and not the same tired negotiating rhetoric
Surely he has someone in mind with that surly statement?
I got an e-mail from Hall of Famer Jim Palmer Tuesday night. Subject line: “Pettiness.”
Talk about a perfect subject for Shank...
Palmer’s missive read (in part): "The players union just will never get it. People dying, out of work, can’t pay their mortgage, no Senior proms, MLB abbreviated draft to disrupt lifelong dreams, and people need a diversion, and Tony Clark doesn’t want to set a precedent! Full pay for games with no fans! The players know it’s all about revenue — less $, less pay and be glad you have a job. Otherwise, stay home and drive your wife crazy!''

This came on the heels of former All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira saying on ESPN, "Players need to understand that if they turn down this deal and shut the sport down, they’re not making a cent. I would rather make pennies on the dollar and give hope to people and play baseball than not make anything and lose an entire year of their career.''
Exactly - stop fucking around and acting like the coronavirus is the next Black Plague. At least that's my attitude toward the continuing lockdowns; has been for months.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Shots Fired!

I think this one's spot on, if you're into the soap opera part of sports:
I remember the third baseball strike in 1994 - 1995 (the first two were in 1972, the next in 1981) and my main takeaway was pretty much this - 'WTF - millionaires going on strike?' However, after reading some of those links about the earlier strike, coupled with the balls it must have taken to organize and execute the first one, it doesn't irritate me as much anymore. In this environment I believe some flexibility is needed from the players and the union, if only to realize everybody's affected by the upcoming empty stadiums (i.e., no gate revenue), not to mention what's in the TV contracts that affects that revenue stream. It's a shit sandwich and they all gotta take a bite.

Monday, May 11, 2020


Shank does what he can given minimal recent sports events - here he gives us an update on the eventual restart of Major League Baseball:
Picked-up pieces while waiting for the final two hours of “The Last Dance” . . .

▪ This is a crucial week for Major League Baseball. Owners finalized a return-to-play plan Monday and will offer it to the Players Association Tuesday, but it’s going to get ugly if the parties engage in a public spat about player compensation.

The pandemic has reminded folks how much they miss sports — even baseball — and there is no public appetite for one of those well-worn, old-fashioned, players-owners scraps over compensation. Citizens are dying in large numbers and a huge chunk of America is out of work, so this would not be a time for millionaires to haggle over finances. Commissioner Rob Manfred and the Players Association need to work this out nicely without their customary sabre-rattling.

The issue is going to be proposed player pay cuts motivated by playing games without fans. The players and owners have already agreed to pro-rated salaries based on the number of games played, but owners are going to want additional cuts if they stage a product with no fans.
He keeps this fire burning:
▪ It was announced Monday that Richard Seymour won the fan vote to gain admittance to the Patriot Hall of Fame. This means Bill Parcells is still out. Embarrassing. The Krafts circumvented the fan vote/popularity contest and inducted Billy Sullivan and Gil Santos independently. Will they ever do the right thing for Parcells?
...and you know the rest from there.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Another Walk Down Memory Lane

It'll be nice to have live sporting events again, if only to rid ourselves of yet another self-indulgent / self-referential piece by the Shankster.
Fifty years ago . . .

Did I just say that? Did I actually just start a sentence with fifty years ago?

You never think it will happen to you. It’s something your dad would say. Or maybe an uncle. Or a granddad.

On May 10, 1970, a Mother’s Day Sunday just like this year, if somebody started a sentence with “50 years ago," they would have been talking about May 10, 1920, when 100 women took ill with ptomaine poisoning after a church breakfast in Melrose.

When you are 16 years old in 1970, you are never thinking about the past. You are thinking only about today and tomorrow. You have a baseball game Monday and you could use a couple of hits to boost your batting average.

You are working a nine-hour shift scooping ice cream because you’re going to need $25 for the junior prom ($10 for the ticket, $10 for the tux, and $5 for the corsage for Joanie McGovern).
And that's as far as I got - how'd you do?

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Shank Roundup

Sit back, folks - in the span of one day we have not one, not two but three columns from Shank! Fifty years ago some guy named Bobby Orr scored a goal, some perspective on this goal from the man himself (and a bad kitty!), and Shank has another chance to take shots at the New England Patriots, specifically coach Bill Belichick:
It will be awkward as Bill Belichick chases Don Shula’s records
Awkward... for who?
Bill Belichick, still coaching the Patriots at the age of 68, will go into his 70s chasing the ghost of Don Shula, who died Monday at the age of 90.

Belichick is all about football history, and that makes him all about Don Shula. Shula is the winningest coach in NFL history with 328 regular-season wins and 347 including playoffs. Belichick is at 273 and 304. There can be no doubt Belichick wants the record.
That's reasonable speculation / supposition.
The Hoodie already came close to Shula’s “other” record. Shula’s 1972 Dolphins are the only perfect team (17-0) in NFL history. Belichick’s 2007 Patriots got to 18-0 before the bubble burst in Glendale, Ariz., against David Tyree and the New York Giants.
Dan Shaughnessy, always accentuating the positive!

The rest of this column's pretty good, with maybe a bit of iffy and non-iffy speculation here and there but still worth a read. What else are you gonna do under the bullshit lockdown anyway?

Monday, May 04, 2020

And Now For Some More Boston Globe Employee Bashing

Just a reminder - for any of us folks to the right of Joe Lieberman, this is what some liberals want to happen to you:
What a surprise - the tweet in question has been deleted.

You know what is going to die soon? Many careers at the Boston Globe. Great business strategy - antagonize about half of what's left of your reader base in the face of sharply declining ad revenue. This newspaper can't shit the bed fast enough.

UPDATE AT 10:15 PM - Too good not to post (and Du Pont's a disingenuous asshole):

DHL Dan CII - The Big Loss?

Shank shares a few thoughts on current sports topics, which don't include recent live sporting events:
Thoughts on a big loss for the US women’s soccer team and other sports topics

Picked-up pieces while wondering if there’s an old Gerry Cheevers mask I can use when I go to 7-Eleven to pick up the daily newspapers …

▪ In a big story that got small attention, Federal District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner quickly and decisively dismissed the equal pay complaint of the US women’s national soccer team Friday.

The US women were the darlings of the sports media when they steamrolled all competition en route to winning the World Cup last summer, led by glory hog Megan Rapinoe (ever the charmer, she dropped an “MF-bomb” into a live microphone after the team’s parade through New York’s Canyon of Heroes).

As has been repeatedly and accurately noted, these players agreed to terms of their compensation in collective bargaining. The courts are not a tool to get you out of an agreement that you signed and later regretted.
Surprising conclusion, sort of, for a Boston Globe employee; rest at the link.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

DHL Dan CII - The Larry And Me Column

The surest sign of cabin fever yet is this column:
There were a few bumps in the road between me and Larry Bird

Larry and me.

It was complicated.

I spend a lot of hours in the Wayback Machine these days. Hard not to. I am surrounded by old photos, old journals, and yellowed newspaper clips. I turn on ESPN and there’s Larry Bird going up against the Lakers in the “Heat Game” in the 1984 NBA Finals. And there’s young me at the courtside press table wearing gigantic eyeglasses that Michael Caine made famous in the 1980s.
This column's a bit too self-indulgement for my tastes - your mileage may vary.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Old Tyme Trolling

Shank's latest column has him going back to the well on a theme. See if you can pick up on it:
Worried about the Patriots’ standing in the AFC East? Don’t be

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are gone. Bill Belichick has quarterbacks named Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. The Hoodie used his first draft pick on a player from that well-known football factory Lenoir-Rhyne. Patriots players and staffers are fleeing Foxborough. Belichick has no cap space and the toughest schedule in the NFL this year. USA Today has New England 19th in its latest power rankings.
Clearly, the Patriots are a shell of their former selves.

It’s almost as if Belichick is intentionally handicapping himself — like when Larry Bird pledged to take only lefthanded shots in a road win at Portland back in 1986.
I mean, besides the gratuitous mention of Larry Legend!
How can Belichick be so Bird-like, cocky and calm, while the Patriot dynasty seems to be crumbling?

I give you three words: Bills, Dolphins, Jets.

Meet the New Tomato Cans. Same as the Old Tomato Cans. The Jets, Dolphins, and Bills are still Moe, Larry, and Curly. They are knuckleheads, porcupines, and lamebrains.
The reemergence of the Tomato Can meme aligns completely with the other part of this theme - The Patriots suck, but still no one else can beat them. He will not, of course, be bothered with this self-contradictory statement because he'll be singing a different tune in a few weeks or so.