Monday, June 29, 2020

The Obligatory Cam Newton Column

On occasion, I'm not sure what to make of certain columns by Dan Shaughnessy. Today is one of those times.

For instance - how often do you see two lead paragraphs in a column be about something else besides the main column theme / subject? If you're Shank and you can use them to take cheap shots at the Patriots, that's what you do:
If Cam Newton is healthy, this is a Patriots signing to get excited about

There was Patriots news everywhere Sunday night. For the third time since 2007, the Patriots were spanked by the NFL in a cheating scandal, this time losing $1.1 million and a third-round pick for videotaping an upcoming opponent’s sideline.

While this story was breaking, The New York Times resurfaced a Globe report that a three-judge panel in Florida this week will review a ruling that tossed video evidence from Bob Kraft’s solicitation charges at the Orchids of Asia spa in early 2019.

Oh, and in the same evening, we learned that Cam Newton, a former Super Bowl quarterback who was MVP of the NFL in 2015, is signing a one-year, make-good contract with the Patriots.
The rest of the column is cliche-filled evenhandedness in discussing Newton's potential contribution to the team. And we get hit with this kind of laughable bullshit:
The Patriots just replaced a Super Bowl, NFL MVP quarterback with a Super Bowl, NFL MVP quarterback.

This is a big story in our news-starved sports summer of 2020.
He probably wrote that just to troll people, right?

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Old School Baseball, By Terry Francona

Shank hasn't rang up his book buddy in a while; let's see how the Cleveland Indians manager is taking the shortened 2020 baseball season:
For old-school Terry Francona, this won’t be routine, but it’s still baseball, and it still counts

Baseball is scheduled to be back July 23 or 24. Teams have to submit 60-player rosters by Sunday afternoon. Players are to report to their home parks for “spring training” by July 1, which is this coming Wednesday. There will be a 60-game season. With no fans in the stands.

Everything is different now, and veteran Indians manager Terry Francona knows what that means.

“If you don’t run a ball out, there’s not going to be a crowd there to let you know that that’s not good enough,” Francona said in a telephone interview. “There’s no checks and balances. We have to live by what we believe in more than ever now.

“We have to furnish our own enthusiasm. Me and the coaches have talked about that a bunch. The players will take their cues from us. The one thing I’ve told players — once we start playing, what happens goes on the back of your baseball card. So it may look and sound different, but it counts.
The best part of this column is Shank's lack of input, as he lets Tito do most of the talking.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

A Question For Astronomy Buffs

If you have a rising star at a dying newspaper, that's called a red dwarf, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dan Shaughnessy, Wrong Again

Shank jumps on Curt Schilling for being 100% right:
Two things - anyone faintly familiar with recent history can recall many / dozens of these fake noose hoax crimes, and that's precisely what l'affaire Bubba Wallace has turned out to be. It should be standard practice to require proof of a 'crime', unless you're a leftist trying to score points against racist redneck NASCAR fans.

Secondly, I mentioned months ago that for Curt Schilling to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, all he has to do is lay low and not give his critics any ammunition to use against him. Aside from the fact he was right in making the Smollett 2.0 call, this is not how you lay low. It's another unforced error for Curt in my book and it's all but guaranteed Shank won't vote for him next time around, which I believe is Schilling's last chance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

DHL Dan CVI - He Came, He Saw, He Groused

Shank's latest version of the Picked Up Pieces column somehow manages to be one sour note:
Picked-up pieces while wondering if we are all kidding ourselves . . .

Far be it from me to be negative, but I’m seriously contemplating the notion that no big league baseball, basketball, hockey, and football games will be played this year. This has nothing to do with MLB’s preposterous labor crisis. It’s everything else

The daily drumbeat of athletes testing positive across the country, coupled with safety protocols that appear impossible to follow, make me think maybe the book is closing on sports in 2020. Hope I’m wrong.

▪ How is it possible that MLB players and owners came away from their March agreement with two separate understandings regarding player compensation? The players believed the agreement was ironclad and assured them pro-rated pay regardless of the potential for empty stadiums. The owners believed the agreement was ironclad and assured them that player compensation would be open for further reduction if games were played without fans.

Who was the lawyer who drew this up? You and I can’t buy a house with that kind of contract ambiguity.

▪ Who ever thought baseball fans would be longing for the good old days of Bud Selig? Rob Manfred is making Uncle Bud look like Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Obligatory name dropping aside, note that every subsequent paragraph / paragraphette either complains about something and / or casts some sort of negative light on it. There may be not be many sports being played now, but Shank is in midseason form once again.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Keeping Hope Alive

Shank talks to former Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, currently serving a one year suspension from Major League Baseball for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros sign stealing kerfuffle.
Alex Cora speaks on his suspension, the Red Sox, and if he’ll return to baseball

Alex Cora is serving his one-year suspension from baseball at home in Puerto Rico, hunkering down with his family during the global pandemic, but he has not stopped thinking about baseball.

I spoke with Cora for 15 minutes Thursday afternoon, Cora’s first interview with a Greater Boston media outlet since mid-January when he was canned by the Red Sox after Major League Baseball released the findings of its investigation into the Houston Astros 2017 cheating scandal (Cora was Houston’s bench coach).

Does he want to manage again when he’s first eligible in 2021?

“If this was a regular time and they were playing games, I would say yes,” said Cora. “I would love to be back in 2021 in some capacity. I love managing at the big league level.

“But right now, I’m still kind of like putting my game plan together. It’s not where I want it to be. But obviously with everything that’s going on, with my daughter going into her senior year of high school, we as a family have to see what we want to do.
Shank has mentioned Cora coming back to coach the Red Sox in previous months (color me skeptical), so he keeps that flame lit:
He knows there will be plenty of buzz about him returning to the Red Sox in 2021. Cora’s former bench coach, Ron Roenicke, is Boston’s manager for 2020, but he is working on a one-year deal and may never have a chance to manage if baseball’s owners and players can’t agree on a return plan after the game was halted in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Does Cora think another team would hire him to manage?

“I know it’s not going to be easy, as far as people giving me a chance,” he said. “They are going to look back and then they are going to have to make up their minds. But at the end, I’m paying the price.

“I’m embarrassed. I’m sorry for what happened. And we have to move on.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - IX

WBUR (political sisters-in-arms with the Boston Globe) performs the ancient ritual of bloodletting:
WBUR lays off 29, freezes salaries and says goodbye to four senior leaders

This is heartbreaking.
Show of hands? That's what I thought.
WBUR Radio (90.9 FM) is laying off 29 people “because of the economic fallout of the past several months,” according to a memo sent to the staff by the station’s chief executive officer, Margaret Low. A salary freeze has been imposed. In addition, senior executives Tom Melville, John Davidow and Peter Lydotes are leaving, and Sam Fleming will retire later this year.

Overall, Low says, the current budget of $46 million will be reduced to $40 million in the next fiscal year.

The memo also contains some ideas and observations about increasing the diversity of the staff and about the station’s ongoing commitment to local news.
Learn to code, assholes.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Questions Nobody Is Asking - II

Or - Shank officially joins the Boston Globe editorial board:
It's clear from the tweet that Shank's main problem is with President Trump, and he uses Kraft as a cudgel of sorts. Which is rich, considering the source - do you consider Shank the type to promote healing? He's been picking at scabs for decades.

Monday, June 08, 2020

DHL Dan CV - Questions Nobody Is Asking

Another day, another attack on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft:
Are Patriots players uncomfortable at all with their management’s White House friendships?

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether the Red Sox will promote Truck Day 2.0 if they have a second spring training in Fort Myers . . .

▪ Drew Brees has apologized for stating that he believed those who take a knee during the national anthem are "disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.''

Brees cited two grandfathers who served in World War II when relaying his opinion, and his words were met with outrage from scores of professional athletes. Patriots defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty were among the loudest objectors, tweeting, "This is a disgrace,'' and "Don’t avoid the issue and make it about a flag or the military. Fight like your grandfathers for what’s right.'' Well put.

But it makes me wonder how Patriots players feel working for owner Bob Kraft, who pals around with a president who said this when NFL players took a knee during the anthem in 2017: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! He’s fired!' ”

As always, Kraft likes to have it both ways. Two days after those remarks, he issued a statement citing his disappointment with the president’s comments. But in that same year, he donated $1 million to the president’s inauguration celebration, flew with Trump in Air Force One, and told the New York Times, “He [Trump] has been a wonderful friend.”

Meanwhile, I also wonder how Patriots players who raged vs. Brees feel about Bill Belichick, who wrote a glowing letter to Trump that the then-candidate used as a virtual campaign ad on the eve of the 2016 election?
All of two people in the Patriots organization are friendly with President Trump and Shank feels like most Patriots players ought to have a problem with it. To me, kneeling is subservience regardless of the circumstances. My first thought at seeing cops kneeling during these protests (many of which inevitably devolved into rioting, assault and massive looting) - "Guys - you're not kneeling in solidarity with these people; you're kneeling to them." To hell with that.

The rest of the column is the usual collection of complaints about lots of things.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Got Some Time For A Lecture On Race?

Well good, because that's what Shank, via Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (a Muslim name, by the way) is delivering after fifty-plus cities across the United States got trashed and looted.
I've been thinking about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lately.

Abdul-Jabbar is 73 years old and has been part of American sports fans’ consciousness for more than a half-century. Here in Boston, we remember him as Dave Cowens’s nemesis in the 1970s and a big part of the Celtics-Lakers, Larry-Magic wonder years in the 1980s.

There’s a lot more regarding Abdul-Jabbar and New England. Did you know he played a high school game against Catholic Memorial in Providence in 1964? Did you know he came to Holy Cross for a sham of a recruiting visit in 1965 when he was a senior at Power Memorial High School in New York City? Did you know he dominated kids from Boston College and Holy Cross when he was a national champ at UCLA?

Abdul-Jabbar has been in the news a lot these last few days. A lifelong activist, and a gifted speaker/writer, he has been a smart voice in the tumultuous days since George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Abdul-Jabbar penned a thoughtful essay for the Los Angeles Times (“Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge”) and has appeared on major TV networks discussing American issues of race, rage, and protest.
Let's have a sample of this 'discussion' (it's the only part):

"Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage,'' Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "Just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts. I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.''
Does that sound like a 'discussion' to you, or is Kareem telling you you're a racist? That's rich, coming from an adherent to Islam, whose holy book 'The Quran' declares adherents to the Muslim faith are by default superior to all others. I read that piece of shit book for about twenty pages (Sura 2 / Surah 2) and you know what? I got real tired real fast about being called kufr at least a dozen times, then parked it right next to a copy of Mein Kampf, which is fitting. Kufr does not mean 'non-believer', it means (Surah 2, footnote on the bottom of page 11) 'denial of the truth', and you might well be aware by now how they tend to regard nonbelievers and what they do to them. So forgive me, dear reader, for dismissing every word of this guy's commentary. Plus, he was on the Lakers, so fuck him twice.

You're All Out Of Order!

That's the general theme of this column:
Baseball owners are odious. Players are repugnant. Watching this baseball labor fiasco slowly unfold is the ultimate lose-lose exercise.

It is the most tone-deaf, callous, self-centered, stupid, and clueless behavior these eyes have seen in 45 years of covering professional
sports. Do I make myself clear?

A global pandemic has killed more than 100,000 Americans and put nearly 40 million people out of work. A video of a Minneapolis police officer killing a handcuffed Black man has triggered the worst civil unrest in decades. Our nation weeps, pleading for justice and fairness, while we watch American cities looted and burned.

And in the middle of all this death, outrage, and economic collapse . . . baseball players and team owners are arguing about player compensation in a hostile and selfish negotiation that threatens to cancel the 2020 major league season.
It's not just this season; it will be long-term, serious and permanent damage.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Boston Globe Death Watch - VIII

Stuff like this is why Boston Red Sox owner (and for now owner of what's left of the Boston Globe 'newspaper') John Henry is so well liked around these parts:
Well, it's because they have to. That'll change once some of these shitheads get axed and are thus then free to dish on the guy, which will be amusing as all get out.

Question Of The Day

Do you think Bruce Allen had anyone particular in mind when he responded to this tweet? I bet he does!

Boston Globe Death Watch - VII

Well, this is interesting...