Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Not So Hot Stove League

Since Major League Baseball's currently under a lockout, Shank (co-author of his book) talks to former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona about other baseball stuff:
Catching up with Terry Francona, who plans to be back in the Cleveland dugout

It is the end of 2021, the middle of baseball winter, and all of our Hot Stoves are Ice Cold.

So here’s a little baseball for you. Here’s what’s going on with Terry Francona — the best manager in Red Sox history — who was fired by the Sox exactly 10 years ago.

Francona averaged 93 wins in his eight seasons at Fenway, winning two World Series, taking the Sox to the playoffs five times, and playing in front of a full house every night. After the 2011 chicken-and-beer collapse, Francona gave way to Bobby Valentine, who gave way to John Farrell, who gave way to Alex Cora.

Cora was one of Francona’s Red Sox players. So were future managers Dave Roberts (Dodgers), Kevin Cash (Rays), Gabe Kapler (Giants), Rocco Baldelli (Twins), David Ross (Cubs), and Mark Kotsay (A’s). You can say that Francona’s managing tree has borne more fruit than Bill Belichick’s coaching tree. Cora, Cash, Roberts, and Kapler all managed in the playoffs in 2021.

Monday, December 27, 2021


With the New England Patriots losing two games in a row, Shank thinks the previous success of the team was all bullshit:
Turns out, Patriots as Super Bowl contenders was just a mirage

It was fun while it lasted.

This is not to say the Patriots can’t rally in the final two weeks (they have the 2-13 Jags at Gillette next weekend), then go on one of those magical wild-card playoff runs. Theoretically, they still can get where they want to go.

But not even Zo or the Full Rochie would dare predict a Super Bowl or a deep playoff run for these 2021 Patriots. Not now. Not after what we just witnessed. Not for a team that couldn’t get Josh Allen off the field in a 33-21 home loss. Not for a team that evidently can’t play from behind. Not for a team that just got manhandled by the Colts and Bills in back-to-back games.

Friday, December 24, 2021

DHL Dan CLXIV - The 'Mea Culpa' Column

Or - The One Where Belichick Gives Shank An Out:
In the spirit of the season, there are more than enough apologies to go around, and a few other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while laying out cold cuts and chips for Sunday’s big game in Foxborough . . .
A wee bit too early for that, isn't it? And why isn't he doing a traditional Buffalo Bills recipe (as I will) for the game, Buffalo Wings?

Pro tips here - a) cook the wings on the grill, not in the oven; b) coat the wings with flour & paprika so as to help prevent the wings from drying out; and c) your blue cheese recipe can be a mix of shredded blue cheese (I use Danish blue cheese) and sour cream, with a pich of mayonnaise.
▪ As you are no doubt aware, Bill Belichick on Monday apologized to reporters for his miserable news conference after losing to the Colts. Belichick’s remarkable act of contrition filled us with the spirit of Christmas.

Taking cues from the greatest coach of all time, let me take this opportunity to apologize to those who may have been offended in this space over the course of 2021.

Sorry, Ed Davis. There was no need to poke fun of you week after week about “cracking the case” of the David Ortiz shooting in the Dominican Republic. It was never personal. You are a great guy and a much-respected cop.
Do I detect just a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm here?
Jackie Bradley Jr.? It was not necessary to highlight your .163 batting average on a weekly basis (but he did anyway - ed.). I’m pretty sure the metrics show that you were just unlucky. Welcome back to Boston, dude. We look forward to all the great catches in center field.

UMass football? Can’t say I’ve been wrong about this, but it’s certainly not the players’ fault and perhaps we don’t need to keep reminding everyone that Division 1 was a mistake. Sorry.

Mindful that space is precious, let’s bundle other personalities who perhaps misunderstood my attempts at constructive criticism.

In the spirit of Belichick, here’s a massive mea culpa to Garrett Richards, Sean McDermott, Tiger Woods, Sam Kennedy, Aaron Rodgers, Danny Ainge, the Cheatin’ Houston Astros, all soccer owners who attempted to form a Super League, J.D. Martinez, Naomi Osaka, everyone at NESN, Bob and Jonathan Kraft, Kyrie Irving, Craig Kimbrel, John Calipari, the New England Revolution, Brad Stevens, Megan Rapinoe, the anti-vax Red Sox, Geno Auriemma, Tom Werner, Rob Manfred, Ortiz, and Cam Newton.

I could go on, but there’s a big game coming up and we don’t want this apology to last longer than the Beatles’ “Get Back” documentary.
Can you imagine how long this coulum would be if Shank offered up apologies of questionable sincerity that go back decades? What if he 'apologized' for slagging the likes of Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, Theo Epstein (AKA the infamous 'Dirty Laundry' column), Bill Buckner, Carl Everett, and Jeff Stone, just off the top of my head?

Now that obligatory and insincere apologies are out of the way, let's get back to cricizing athlethes, shall we?
▪ Nice job by selfish anti-vaxxer Cole Beasley exercising his “personal freedom,” which makes him unavailable for the Bills’ biggest game of the season. Fellow unvaxxed receiver Gabe Davis will also be out for Buffalo Sunday.
First - this is disingenuous - Beasley's not on the sidelines for not getting the 'vaccination'; he's out because he's contracted the virus. Is Shank not aware that vaccinated people can contract and spread the Wuhan Flu just like the unvaccinated? There are many concerns why someone won't go for a 'vaccine' - potential blood clots, myocarditis, heart arrythmia (since your heart's inflammed after myocarditis) and what might not be currently known about these 'vaccines'. I for one will not be getting any more 'vaccines' based on these facts, having suffered multiple 'cardiac events' as my doctors euphemistically call them; I'll wait for full FDA approval before the next one. Also consider - I got an MMR booster vaccine (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) two years ago, about fifty years after receiving the first one. Now that's a vaccine, not this 'booster' flu shot stuff, which is how this virus is currently shaking out.

Here's a shocker - Shank knows about other bands besides the Beatles & the Rolling Stones:
▪ Former Dodgers All-Star center fielder Brett Butler went to the same high school (Libertyville in Illinois) as Marlon Brando and Adam Jones, the guitarist for Tool.
Here's Tool's Danny Carey behind the drumkit wearing a Larry Bird jersey.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Long Time Coming

Shank's columns mostly come after a loss by the New England Patriots, so to the surprise of no one, here's the latest:
It was a long time coming, but Colts got a measure of revenge not only beating, but outcoaching, Patriots

Remember all that fun we had mocking the Buffalo Bills and their fans after Bill Belichick cut their meaty hearts out in Orchard Park a couple of weeks ago?

Yeah, that’s pretty much how Indianapolis Colts fans are feeling today.

“It was a big [expletive] deal,’’ longtime Indianapolis media member (print and TV) Bob Kravitz said after the Colts beat the Patriots, 27-17, Saturday night. “To have the Patriots continually outplay, outsmart, and out-bully the Colts has been a blow to the local psyche. This felt cathartic in a way that the 38-34 AFC Championship game in 2006 was cathartic.’’

Here in the Hub of the Universe, ridiculing the Colts has been a parlor game since the days when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning first dueled at the beginning of this century.
This one is notable for its lack of venom and animus usually reserved for coach Bill Belichick and / or owner Robert Kraft. It's actually a solid column but he should retire some Shankisms, at least in my opinion.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Ime Udoka Column

Shank writes a pretty good column about the coach of the Boston Celtics:
Last June, a small but powerful Celtics contingent flew to New York to interview Nets assistant Ime Udoka for Boston’s head coaching vacancy.

In a conference room at co-owner Steve Pagliuca’s Bain Capital offices, they noshed on veal parmesan, meatballs, and linguine as Udoka described his winding journey and his vision for this team. Then co-owner Wyc Grousbeck asked a simple question that left Udoka stumped.

“What are your hobbies outside of basketball?”

Udoka has never considered a life outside of basketball, and he has never wanted to.

This was a man who skipped his school prom to play in late-night pickup games. Who took graveyard shifts loading trailers for FedEx just so it wouldn’t disrupt his training sessions. Who returned to practice with the Portland Trail Blazers the day after his father’s sudden death.

For Udoka, basketball is all-consuming and fulfilling and essential. So his answer to Grousbeck’s question may have sounded overdone, but it was honest.

“For me,” he said, “there’s nothing else.”

Saturday, December 18, 2021

DHL Dan CLXIII (Part Deux) - Stirring The Pot Again

By most accounts, Danny Ainge resigned from the Celtics as head of basketball operations six months ago on his own accord. This being Boston, arguably the most negative sports media town in the country, Shank questions this premise:
Danny Ainge says he wasn’t pushed out by the Celtics when he ‘retired,’ and other picked-up pieces from the sports world

Picked-up pieces while listening to Mitch Miller and the Gang singing Christmas carols (why do they sound so angry?) . . .

I had an enjoyable “exit interview” with Danny Ainge Thursday, one day after it was announced that he was taking a position in the front office of the Utah Jazz.

Why did he abruptly “retire” from the Celtics in June?

“I just felt like I needed a break, well before the playoffs started,” said Ainge. “And I also felt like the team was in great hands. When I decided to walk, I didn’t think that Brad [Stevens] would take over my spot. I thought that Brad would still be coaching. I just wanted to get away from the game for a while, and I’ve done that for seven months and I feel reenergized and I have a unique opportunity to work with a good friend [Jazz owner Ryan Smith]. This is a much different role [than in Boston]. It’s a much lesser role. It happened quickly, over a period of a couple of days when I finally showed a little interest with Ryan.”
Note the selective use of quotes, all the better to create some doubt.
When Ainge “retired” he was asked about perhaps working in Utah down the road and answered, “Nothing is going on there . . . I honestly haven’t thought about what’s next. I don’t have any urgency or anything planned.”

On Thursday he said, “I honestly didn’t know back then. I was prepared to be done for good and find something else. I’ve had other opportunities. I just really haven’t been willing to listen until just recently.”

At this point in our conversation, I felt a need to address local speculation that Ainge might have been nudged by Celtics ownership when he “retired” after the team was routed by the Nets in the playoffs.

“Just for the record, were you pushed out of Boston?” I asked.

“No,” Ainge said with a laugh. “Are you serious? Do you seriously think that, or is that just like some commentary?”
It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Shank, in spite of this conversation, continued to push the notion that the Celtics gave him the bum's rush out the door in some fashion.

Friday, December 17, 2021

DHL Dan CLXIII - Shooters

Shank gets down to some serious ball sucking on a recent basketball 'record'"
Shooting is why we love basketball, and no one has ever done it better than Stephen Curry
False premise; I used to like pro basketball for more than the shooting.
Love of basketball starts with shooting.

Line up a bunch of 6-year-olds in front of a kiddie hoop. Roll out the balls. Watch the kids aim and throw the balls toward the little hoop. It’s as instinctive as reaching for the first chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever seen.

Shooting the basketball is what we first love about the game.

In this spirit, we love the long-distance bombers; guys who can fill it up from downtown. For some of us, this goes back to Bill Sharman, Sam Jones, “Jack the Shot” Foley, Jerry Lucas, Calvin Murphy, and Pistol Pete Maravich. Some of us think Larry Bird is the best shooter we’ve ever seen. Others might choose Lou Hudson, Reggie Miller, Glen Rice, Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen or Kevin Durant.

But now there’s Stephen Curry — the greatest shooter of all time.
Stephen Curry has made more three pointers than anyone else; that in and of itself doesn't make you the 'greatest shooter'. I'm bored to death watching nearly half the shots (40.2% of all shots that happen in the 'modern' NBA game are three point shots) being jacked up from downtown and I can barely watch it anymore. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Thar She Blows - A Clive Rush Sighting!

We know Shank has certain go-to references when he's making a point, and this point is evident - the current Buffalo Bills coach sucks: Just to make it easy on those 'young people', here's a link to the former Patriots coach.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

DHL Dan CLXII - Retroactive Praise

Nearly a week after his previous column and four days after a Patriots win, Shank absorbs enough of the local takes on the Patriots / Bills game on Monday night to 'heap' some praise on Bill Belichick:
The Bills game was truly a Bill Belichick special, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if Sean McDermott sticks pins in a Bill Belichick doll before going to sleep at night . . .

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a Patriots game as much as Monday night’s throwback special in Orchard Park. Wish the Patriots had come out wearing leather helmets with no facemasks for the second half. As Matt McCarthy of 98.5 The Sports Hub tweeted, “We’re officially one dropkick away from this being Bill’s favorite game he’s ever coached.”

Watching the Patriots’ beefy offensive linemen control the game with 33 consecutive running plays, I wondered if that’s what it looked like when Belichick was a center and Ernie Adams a pulling guard for undefeated Phillips Academy (Andover) in 1970. Milt Holt was Big Blue’s star quarterback and later played at Harvard, but the football brains in the Andover huddle were the senior center and guard who studied interior line blocking and knelt at the altar of the single-wing offense.


The Hoodie has reclaimed his title as Greatest Ever. He’s on a collision course to face Tom Brady in February’s Super Bowl. He’s found his new franchise quarterback. He’s got his two sons on his staff and once again appears to be getting everything he wants from his owner. Belichick should be good for at least 10 wins a year for the foreseeable future. Shula has to be in his sights.
Apparently Belichick wasn't the 'Greatest Ever' a mere three months ago. Funny how a seven game winning streak can change perceptions.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

DHL Dan CLXI - Getting It Wrong In Advance?

Shank jumps on another hot-take type of bandwagon:
Revisiting that Patriots-Buccaneers Super Bowl prediction, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while the Bills Mafia gets lathered up for the first-place-again Patriots in Orchard Park Monday night …

▪ As one who is routinely wrong, let me mention that I’m no latecomer to the suggestion that the Bill Belichick Patriots could wind up facing the Tom Brady Buccaneers in Super Bowl LVI Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Go back to the Globe’s “NFL Season Picks” that were posted online Sept. 8 and you’ll see me predict that the Patriots would go 11-6 and make it to the Super Bowl, where they’ll beat Tampa Bay in “the greatest event in the history of sports.” Colleague Chad Finn also had the Buccaneers and Patriots in the final, but he picked Brady to win the big game.

Speculation about a Patriots-Buccaneers Super Bowl was a topic this past week after New England knocked off top-seeded Tennessee while the Brady Bucs got back on the winning track in Indianapolis. Data analytics website Football Outsiders stated that going into Week 13, Patriots-Buccaneers is the most likely Super Bowl matchup, with a 9.9 percent chance of happening.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Suicide Solution?

Shank writes about a potential upcoming work stoppage in baseball, which is always less harmful in the offseason:
The good news about Major League Baseball’s imminent lockout is that it has created an artificial free agency deadline for many teams looking to improve in hopes that therewill be a full 162-game season in 2022.

As of now, unless there’s a labor agreement between owners and the Players Association, all MLB business closes at midnight Wednesday. As a result, we’ve seen a frenzy of signings by aggressive teams intent on improving their chances for 2022.

Through Monday, there had been 16 free agent player agreements with guarantees of more than $20 million (no big splashes for the “deliberate” Red Sox, who spent the last few days buying an NHL team). In the past month, MLB owners have pledged more than $1.4 billion in guaranteed contracts, almost $1.2 billion since Friday.
I remember a few vague stories about a work stoppage / strike during the year and didn't take much stock in them, given that the game was / still is losing viewership / popularity and anything like a stoppage now would affect (read - hurt) all sides. Cooler heads have this one resolved well before spring training starts.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Not So Hot Takes, By Dan Shaughnessy

With the Patriots winning yesterday's game against the Titans, Shank focuses on Mac Jones and one key aspect of the current football season:
Mac Jones can take the hits, make the plays, manage the game — and play in the cold

Mac Jones keeps checking the boxes, passing the tests.

Managing the game. Check. Completion percentage. Check. Pocket presence. Check. Taking the hits. Check. Inspiring teammates. Check. Winning close games. Check.

Now a new one. Mac Jones Sunday showed he can play in a cold weather game, too.

This wasn’t Patriots vs. Titans at Gillette in January of 2004 (windchill, minus 10 degrees) when Tom Brady and Co. beat the Titans, 17-14, in a playoff rock fight. It wasn’t the Snow Bowl Tuck Rule Game against the Raiders. It wasn’t Orchard Park, N.Y., in December (that’ll be next week).

But it was near freezing with snow showers in Foxborough and privileged folks in the red seats stayed inside by the big fireplaces while Jones completed 23 of 32 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-13 demolition of Mike Vrabel’s top-seeded Titans. Jones was sacked twice, but didn’t have to do much after a spectacular 41-yard touchdown pass play to Kendrick Bourne made it 26-13 with five minutes left in the third.
One game's an awfully small sample size, but we'll know more next week at Buffalo.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

DHL Dan CLX - Now With More Duende!

Shank recalls a few good local sporting moments:
Recalling some great Boston ‘duende’ moments, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if Mike Vrabel has any rule-book trickeration in store for Bill Belichick …

▪ In this space last weekend, we asked for submissions of Boston sports “duende” moments, like the Kyle Schwarber mock ovation when the Schwarb made a clean play in the playoffs, and the famous “Beat LA” chant at the Old Garden in 1982.

The response was overwhelming. Dozens of you fondly recalled the Red Sox home opener in 2005, when all the Yankees were booed during introductions right up until closer Mariano Rivera received a standing ovation for his role in the 2004 playoffs (Rivera blew the save in Game 4 when Dave Roberts triggered a comeback for the ages with the Stolen Base Heard ’Round the World).

There were plenty of other great suggestions, some too dated, arcane, or difficult to prove.

Some duende nuggets that made the cut: Ray Bourque giving his No. 7 jersey to Phil Esposito and switching to No. 77 when Espo was honored at the Old Garden in 1987; a long standing ovation for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he set the NBA field goal record at the Old Garden in 1984; TD Garden fans singing the national anthem a capella before the first Bruins game after the Marathon bombings; Fenway fans chanting “steroids” at Jose Canseco in 1988, long before anybody knew it was true; Cape Cod families annually opening their homes to host college baseball players for Cape League summers; Globe Pulitzer winner Stan Grossfeld getting the photo of bullpen cop Steve Horgan making a perfect “W” by raising his arms next to an upside-down Torii Hunter when David Ortiz’s homer changed the 2013 ALCS.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

DHL Dan CLIX - Belichick Is Back

Shank does some backtracking on the Patriots coach...
Bill Belichick is right back to being, well, Bill Belichick, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting for the Bills to lose to the Colts and restore the Patriots to the top spot in the AFC East …

▪ In short order, we have seen the rightful restoration of the legacy of Bill Belichick. The waves in Nantucket sound were getting choppy around Hoodie’s “VIII Rings” boat in early October. The Patriots were 1-3, coming off the heels of 7-9 with Cam Newton last season. Meanwhile, Tom Brady was a Super Bowl champ — looking good to do it again this season — and the Belichick haters had their day.

Belichick never won anything without Brady … The whole dynasty was because Bill had Tom … Belichick the GM failed Belichick the coach … The Patriots were just another team … Hubris and arrogance will get you every time …
So - pretty much what Shank was saying two months ago!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Another Excerpt From Shank's Latest Book

The Boston Globe published a little more from Shank's book on the Larry Bird era Celtics:
Book excerpt: Remembering the first Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals of the Larry Bird era

The Celtics host the Lakers Friday night at TD Garden (wotta coincidence! - ed.) , and any renewal of one of the great NBA rivalries always conjures memories of their historic matchups.

With that in mind, this has been excerpted from “Wish It Lasted Forever — Life With the Larry Bird Celtics” by Dan Shaughnessy. Copyright ©2021 by Dan Shaughnessy. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Bird-Magic Finals of the NBA’s golden 1980s — the Celtics and Lakers met three times in a stretch of four seasons between 1984-87 — were like the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier title fights. The first of the three Bird-Magic bouts came in 1984 after the Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, while the Lakers advanced in the West against the Phoenix Suns.

CBS was ecstatic. Boston-LA meant that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would be meeting in a championship event for the first time since NBC set unbreakable ratings records with its broadcast of the Bird-Magic NCAA Final in 1979. At least one of them had been in the NBA Finals in each of their first four NBA seasons, but this was the first championship series featuring both.

The Celtics and Lakers were the Yankees and Dodgers of pro basketball. They’d played in seven NBA Finals from 1959 to 1969 with Boston winning every one. Lakers fans were haunted by the 1962 finale, when Frank Selvy’s potential series winner clanged off the rim at the Boston Garden. LA general manager Jerry West experienced what he called the low point of his life when the Lakers couldn’t beat Boston in 1969. A Celtics-Lakers Final in 1984 meant that the league’s two showcase franchises accounted for 60 percent (23 of 38) of all NBA crowns in the first four decades of the league’s existence. (In the COVID summer of 2020, the LeBron James Lakers won their seventeenth NBA crown, finally tying the Celtics for most championship banners.)

Sunday, November 14, 2021

DHL Dan CLVIII - The Tuna Speaks

Shank caught up to the former New England Patriots coach and gets his opinion on a few things:
Picked-up pieces while stacking cordwood …

▪ Bill Parcells was the last Patriots coach to turn his team over to a rookie quarterback. In his first season as New England’s head coach (1993), the Tuna put the ball in the hands of No. 1 overall pick Drew Bledsoe and watched the Patriots lose 11 of their first 12 games. The Patriots finished with a four-game win streak, made the playoffs a year later, and went to the Super Bowl in Bledsoe’s fourth season.

Fast-forward to 2021 and Parcells likes what he is seeing from Bill Belichick’s Patriots and rookie quarterback Mac Jones.

“I’ll tell you something,” Parcells said from his Florida home. “I thought last week’s Patriots game was superb. I liked their time of possession [32:29]. That’s my kind of game right there. I really like that.

“The guy [Jones] is taking care of the ball and you had control of the game from beginning to end. You can’t ask anything else of a quarterback. If you can play like that, you’re going to win a lot of games. I really think they’ve got a good chance. I really do.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

What's Old Is New Again

It seems Shank wrote a book about the 1980's era Boston Celtics recently, and now there's an excerpt or two making the rounds. Here's part of one of them:
During the 1985 Eastern Conference Finals against Philadelphia, Bird’s ever-crooked right index finger was newly mangled and swollen.

The day before Game 5, Bird practiced with his right hand taped in a web-like fashion. His ring and pinky fingers were wrapped together, as were his middle and index fingers. At the end of practice, he stopped on his way to the locker room and took questions.

“Larry, you can’t play in a playoff game with your hand taped like that, can you?” I asked.

“You never know,” he teased. “It’s a different feeling. I don’t like anything taped because then it just doesn’t feel like it usually does. It’s difficult to shoot when you have something on your hand. Although I don’t think Greg Kite has anything to worry about. He could wear a cast.”

“But seriously,” I pushed. “You’re not going to tape it like that for the game tomorrow, are you?”

“Scoop, I could tape my whole hand up and make more shots than you.”


The worse I got, the better he got. Bird made 46 of his last 50. He made 73 of 80 after figuring it out in the first two rounds. He made 86 of 100 free throws with a taped fist. I made 54.

“You owe me $160,” he said.
Seems a few details were left out of this 'excerpt', like - 'how'd Bird's hand get injured?' and 'did Shank actually cough up $160 to Larry Legend?' First question first:
Larry was MVP in ’84, ’85, and ’86, and the height of his powers was ’85. He was on the cover of Time magazine and it was a big deal. That’s when he had the 60-point game in New Orleans against the Atlanta Hawks. So, we found out later he’d gotten in a barroom fight in downtown Boston, down by Faneuil Hall. It was a bar, I think it was called Chelsea’s. Larry had come to the defense of a teammate, or some issue, and doing the old-school Indiana thing he swung at a guy and he messed up his hand. And he was taping it at practice, and it was a very odd-looking kind of a web-taping, splitting his hand into two sets of fingers.
And question #2 - Dan Shaughnessy, cheapskate!
HIMMELSBACH: So wait, you expensed the $160 that you lost in a shooting contest?

SHAUGHNESSY: Yes, and evidently the IRS frowns on the word ‘wager’ in expense accounts, (because it's a personal expense, maybe? - ed.) because it bounced back and they said ‘You cannot put ‘wager’ in an expense account.’ So I just made it eight $20 lunches with [Celtics center] Robert Parish. We just substituted.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Guess Who's Back On The Patriots Bandwagon?

With the 2021 Patriots getting a winning record at 5-4, Shank dusts off the pom-poms:
The Patriots are back, so let us be the first to suggest how great a Belichick vs. Brady Super Bowl would be
Getting way ahead of ourselves here, or what?
Here we go.

The Patriots destroyed the Carolina Panthers, 24-6, in Charlotte Sunday. That’s three straight for New England so brace yourself for a surge of “the Pats are back” stories from local and national media outlets.

Gentlemen, start your search engines. Let’s harken back to a time not so long ago when the Patriots were the dominant team in football, occasionally bending a few rules and running over just about every team in their path.

It was not so long ago. New England was a dynasty. Every other team was a Tomato Can. The Pats had Coke-bottle-glasses-Ernie Adams devising diabolical adjustments at halftime. The Pats had Dante Scarnecchia sculpting harmonic, tenacious offensive lines. The Pats had tough, Swiss-Army-knife slot guys like Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. The Patriots had the greatest tight end of all time, Rob Gronkowski. They had the greatest quarterback of all time . . . a man named Brady.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

DHL Dan CLVII - Piling On The Celtics

We saw Shank swipe themes from The Sports Hub and do a column on the Celtics earlier this week. Today he keeps going:
Getting an early take on the Celtics from Brad Stevens, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while trying to watch the Celtics without thinking about how much better the NBA was when Bird & Co. roamed the parquet …

▪ The 2021-22 Celtics have already received a full season’s worth of local scorn for hideous losses, blown leads, and the appearance of internal strife. They seemed to respond positively after veteran Marcus Smart called them out earlier in the week, but they still haven’t won a home game yet.
Never mind that the two games since Smart's callout were both road games; it's just another way to criticize the team.
Brad Stevens coached these guys for eight years and now serves as president of basketball operations (the new Danny Ainge). I caught up with Stevens Friday morning after the Celtics’ impressive blowout of the Heat in Miami Thursday.

Monday, November 01, 2021

The Jerry Remy Column

The longtime Red Sox broadcaster and former player has been battling health problems for a few years now, and finally passed away yesterday. Here's Shank on Jerry Remy:
Jerry Remy was a terrific baseball player, and that’s where the legend began

Before he was “The RemDawg,” he was Jerry Remy, Red Sox All-Star second baseman.

On a splendid Halloween Sunday morning, Red Sox Nation learned that Remy over the weekend lost his seventh and final battle with cancer. No more will we hear him explaining the fine art of bunting and what it was like to grow up worshipping Yaz in Somerset and then make it all the way to Fenway’s infield where he was Carl Yastrzemski’s teammate for six seasons.

After his big league playing days were over in 1984, Remy grew to be the face and voice of Boston’s vaunted baseball franchise as a color analyst on NESN. He opened restaurants, wrote books, sold RemDawg merchandise, and was elected president of Red Sox Nation. The RemDawg was popular with baseball diehards, casual fans, and even those who didn’t know Manny Ramirez from Hanley Ramirez.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

DHL Dan CLVI - Rehased Thoughts

Shank's concerned about the start of the 2021 Boston Celtics season:
Celtics aren’t getting an A for effort so far, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces after a return to the road for the first time in 18 months …

▪ Forget the championship banners in the rafters at the Garden; the start of this Celtics season is all about red flags.

In their home opener, the Celtics were booed off the parquet at the end of a 115-83 rout at the hands of the Raptors. The Celtics were outrebounded, 60-42, and committed 25 turnovers. Veteran Al Horford talked about poor effort and new coach Ime Udoka said, “They came out and punked us, outplayed us, played harder than us.”

Hours before the second home game this past Wednesday, Udoka looked at his lethargic crew and predicted another embarrassing loss.


The 2021 spring shakeup was supposed to fix things for Brown and Tatum. They got the coaching change they wanted. Their voices were heard before Udoka was hired. Now this.

Udoka is honest. He is calling out his players. Celtics fans should love it. Accountability has been in short supply with Boston’s AAU warriors.
You know who else said many of the same things? These guys, a day before Shank's column. Just sayin'...

Saturday, October 23, 2021

They Ran Out Of Karma Too

Shank delivers the eulogy for the 2021 Boston Red Sox:
Red Sox ran out of karma, and it all started after the wristwatch taunt

HOUSTON — The Red Sox season ended Friday night with a 5-0 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

The Sox went down passively, losing three straight games after dominating the ‘Stros and even mocking them in a Game 3, 12-3 rout at Fenway.

The record will show that the Sox flatlined after Eduardo Rodriguez ridiculed Houston shortstop Carlos Correa (pointing at an imaginary watch — a patented Correa move that means “it’s our time”) while coming off the mound with a 9-3 lead in the sixth inning of Game 3. Alex Cora yelled at his young pitcher for poking the bear. But it was too late. Karma shifted. And so did the series.
Felger & Mazz talked about the wristwatch taunt extensively on Thursday's show; little surprise we see it repeated here.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

And The Mojo Is Gone

Back to back losses by the Red Sox in the baseball playoffs? You bet there's a Shank column to go with it:
Mojo, once in deep supply, is suddenly gone as Red Sox head to Houston in a 3-2 hole in the ALCS

Where did all the good mojo go?

What happened?

Was it Eduardo Rodriguez taunting Carlos Correa after retiring Houston’s leader with the Sox romping, 9-3, in Game 3? Was it one too many showoff laundry cart rides when the living was easy with three grand slams and back-to-back, 9-0 leads in Games 2 and 3? Was it when we were all debating “Braves or Dodgers?’’ as the potential next tomato can in another inexorable Sox march to a World Series championship?

None of that really matters at this hour. What matters is all the feel-good fuzziness around the ’21 Red Sox dissolved in a stretch of 20 hours over two nights at Fenway as the still-proud, no-longer cheatin’ (as far as we know) Astros came back from two humiliations and reminded the Red Sox, “We’re still here.’’

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Series Changed

Shank's latest column on the 2021 ALCS takes on a decidely different tone:
After two blowout wins, Red Sox loss to Astros in Game 4 changes the entire feeling of the series

Are you kidding me?

The Astros stunned the scalding-hot Red Sox Tuesday, taking a 9-2 victory with a seven-run, ninth-inning rally off Sox emergency closer Nate Eovaldi. All the runs were scored with two outs.

Shocking. This was the night the magic ran out for boisterous Boston and suddenly this ALCS series is 2-2 with shaky Chris Sale (no good performances against winning teams in 2021, 11 outs in two postseason starts) on the mound Wednesday and two of the potential final three games at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The muscle-flexing Sox pantsed the Astros in Games 2 and 3 of this series, taking 9-0 leads and hitting three grand slams in back-to-back routs. Boston’s ascension to the 2021 World Series felt inevitable. Houston had a problem, manager Dusty Baker was on the firing squad, and the Hardball Hub of the Universe was ready to party like it’s 2018 on the Fenway lawn.

But then baseball happened. The Astros, a staggering team with a starting rotation of meatball artists, got off the ropes and delivered a crushing blow to Greater Boston, coming back from a game-long 2-1 deficit with one run in the eighth and a jail-break eruption off Sox ace Eovaldi, who was brought on to preserve the tie. Eovaldi (four earned runs) was hurt by Hunter Renfroe’s bad read on a leadoff double by Carlos Correa, but the big blow came when backup catcher Jason Castro laced an RBI single to break the tie. (A Laz Diaz blown call on a 1-and-2 pitch changed history in this inning.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mixed Messages

Today, Shank wants to take sides:
Red Sox seem to have been anointed by the baseball gods to punish the cheating Astros

It is as if these 2021 Red Sox, up-and-down throughout the regular season — have been selected by the baseball gods to punish the cheatin’ Astros for their 2017 crimes against hardball humanity.

The Sox bludgeoned the Houstons again Monday, blasting to a 9-0 lead in the third inning and cruising to a 12-3 Game 3 ALCS victory. It feels like we should just fast-forward to the World Series. Bring on the Braves or the Dodgers. Let’s be done with Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and the rest of the nefarious Trash Can Dreamers.

This is baseball egalitarianism. In real time. At Fenway. Sweet.
Shank, five days ago:
In Red Sox-Astros matchup, it’s impossible to ignore both teams’ scandalous recent history

It won’t be a party starter at Fox Sports, Fenway Park, or Minute Maid Park, but it’s impossible to avoid the years-old cheating narrative in this 2021 American League Championship Series.

The Jimmy Hayes Column

Shank devotes a column to a local hockey player who unfortunately is no longer with us:
Fentanyl contributed to Jimmy Hayes’s death. His family hopes telling his story can help prevent another

Former Bruins winger and Dorchester native Jimmy Hayes, who was found dead in his Milton home Aug. 23, died with fentanyl and cocaine in his system, his wife and father revealed Sunday.

It’s the news some feared when the wildly popular pillar of the community died after celebrating his son’s second birthday with his wife, Kristen, and infant son on a perfect Sunday seven weeks ago.

Hayes’s sudden death made no sense in the moment. The 6-foot-5-inch, 31-year-old ex-athlete presented as a healthy, happy young man, blossoming into a full life of parenting, podcasting, and doing good deeds for others. Jimmy Hayes had a beautiful wife and two adorable boys. His parents, sisters, brothers, and cousins were all around him. He had it all.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Another Comeback

Shank's pretty happy about last night's Red Sox / Astros game:
Alex Cora’s teams tend to come back strong after a playoff loss, and that’s exactly what happened in Game 2

HOUSTON — Alex Cora’s Red Sox don’t like it when you beat them in a postseason game.

The Sox are 16-5 in playoff games under Cora. After those losses, they are 5-0 with a run differential of plus-32, including Saturday’s 9-5 Game 2 ALCS spanking of the Houston Astros.

In 2018, the Sox beat the Yankees, 16-1, after losing Game 2 of the ALDS. Ten days ago, the Sox beat the Rays, 14-6, after losing the first game of the first round. Saturday, after an excruciating 5-4, Game 1 loss, the Sox jumped to a 9-0 lead on grand slams (J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers) in the first two innings and a solo shot from Kiké Hernández — The Greatest Player in the History of Baseball — in the fourth.
Looks like we'll be seeing that hyperbole for a while. Funny how Shank doesn't focus on starting pitching for this piece (innings aside, Sale & Eovaldi both gave up three runs) or note Houston's steady run production at five runs each game. I'm sure he'll mention them down the road.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Assigning Blame, A Continuing Series

Shank lays the Sox' ALCS Game 1 loss squarely on Alex Cora and Chris Sale:
Alex Cora took a chance by starting Chris Sale in Game 1, but the Sox manager’s luck finally ran out

HOUSTON — Alex Cora could do no wrong. Every move was the right move. Everything worked.

And then he went one step too far. He got cocky and greedy. He thought he could “steal” a game against the Houston Astros (odd phrasing given the history here, but it’s only a figure of speech). He thought he could get away with starting struggling Chris Sale instead of Nate Eovaldi in Game 1 of the ALCS. Cora knew his bullpen was rested and figured that if Sale could just get a few outs, the Sox pen could bring it on home.

It almost worked.

But it did not work. Sale staggered through 2 2/3innings (five hits, one walk, a hit batter, and a wild pitch), then handed a 3-1 lead over to Boston’s well-rested bullpen. It worked for a while, but there simply isn’t enough depth in Boston’s bullpen. Adam Ottavino, Josh Taylor, and Ryan Brasier preserved the lead through the middle innings, but then Tanner Houck and Hansel Robles gave up homers to Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa respectively and the Sox lost the lead. The dam burst in the eighth when Hirokazu Sawamura blew up and the Red Sox were 5-4 losers despite four hits (two more homers!) from Kiké Hernández — the Greatest Player in the History of Baseball.
'It didn't work' - in the sense Shank expects all starting pitchers to throw six innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

If You Ain't Cheatin', You Ain't Tryin'

Shank takes a look at the lack of compliance to league rules by both teams in this year's ALCS.
In Red Sox-Astros matchup, it’s impossible to ignore both teams’ scandalous recent history

It won’t be a party starter at Fox Sports, Fenway Park, or Minute Maid Park, but it’s impossible to avoid the years-old cheating narrative in this 2021 American League Championship Series.

Astros vs. Red Sox features those lyin’, cheatin’ Despicable Me(s) from Houston — Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman & Co. — against the upstart Bostons, who are managed by Alex Cora, one of the few culprits of the 2017 Trash Can ‘Stros who was punished for his role in the scheme.

It’s as if the Spygate Patriots faced the Deflategate Patriots in some computer-programmed, analytic-driven, virtual Super Bowl. It’s where “Bang the Drum Slowly” meets “Rounders” at the intersection of “Molly’s Game” and “Eight Men Out.”

The Houston Astros are the most famous cheat-to-win perps in sports history. They won the 2017 World Series in seven games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In January of 2020, an MLB report found that the ‘Stros cheated their way to the title with a sign-stealing system that (in part) included relaying stolen signs to batters by banging on a trash can at Minute Maid Park. Four years later, Houston’s lineup features four batters who were part of the scam.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Red Sox Are In The 2021 ALCS

...and Our Man Shank is all over it:
Red Sox’ victory over Rays had drama, excitement, inspiration, and another walkoff, all the way to the ALCS

We got two magic nights at Fenway and two walkoff wins. ‘Neath the cover of October skies.

And so the Red Sox are advancing to the American League Championship Series, which will start Friday in either Houston or Chicago.

The Sox won Game 4 of the ALDS Monday, beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-5, on Kiké Hernández’s sacrifice fly to left, scoring Danny Santana from third base in the bottom of the ninth. The wild-card Sox beat the 100-win, first-place, heavily-favored Rays three straight times after losing the series opener.

After defeating the shell-shocked Rays on a 13th-inning walkoff homer by Christian Vázquez Sunday, the Olde Towne Team found more cosmic gold on Marathon Monday. After blowing a 5-0 lead and watching Tampa tie it with two in the eighth, the Sox got two perfect innings from reliever Garrett Whitlock and pushed across the winning run in the ninth.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Playing The Long Game

Shank takes note of the number of Boston Red Sox playoff marathons:
We know a thing or two about long postseason baseball games here in Boston.

There was Game 6 of the 1975 World Series when Carlton Fisk famously turned on a Pat Darcy pitch and drove it deep to Fenway’s left-field wall in the bottom of the 12th. The ball clanged off the foul pole and into Good Will Hunting. After midnight.

Just three years ago, there was a 7-hour-20-minute special in the 2018 World Series when the Sox and Dodgers played 18 innings before Max Muncy won it with a walkoff homer. It was after 3 in the morning in Boston when that one ended.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

DHL Dan CLV - The Achy Breaky Heart

In the latest installment of the Picked Up Pieces column, Shank bemoans the lack of interest in baseball:
It still breaks my heart to see how far baseball has fallen

Picked-up pieces while waiting for someone other than Tony Massarotti or Lou Merloni to mention the Red Sox on Boston sports radio . . .

▪ I am a realist. I don’t bay at the moon wishing folks under 50 still read printed newspapers. I know that our printed product is enjoyed primarily by people who remember Dwight Eisenhower, daily Mass, Suffolk Downs, and an age when everybody knew who was heavyweight champ of the world. For the most part, this is Major League Baseball’s audience in 2021.

But it still breaks my heart sometimes.

Last Sunday, after attending a memorial service for a family member, I drove my brother back toward home, listening to Joe Castiglione (another hardball geezer like myself) delivering play-by-play on the Red Sox very important Game 162 in Washington. It was in the middle innings and the Sox were trying to dig out of a 5-1 hole.
Read on for Shank almost crying into a beer, but baseball's waning popularity is largely self-inflicted. Most of the Red Sox - Yankees games, for example, clock in from 3 to 4 hours with pitching changes out the wazoo. Until that's rectified, fans will keep tuned into other sports.

This part sticks out like a sore thumb:
The Sports Hub, Boston’s FM sports radio powerhouse, routinely mocks baseball and largely ignores the Sox, except for Massarotti’s short evening program during the season. 98.5 consistently dominates the ratings. It’s strictly business. The soul-crushing reality for us baseball guys is that a Boston sports station is not rewarded for talking baseball. So they don’t do it. It’s far better for business to talk endlessly about a 1-3 football team that hasn’t won a playoff game in three years. That’s the reality, people.
Here's what we wrote over three years ago about 'largely ignoring the Red Sox':
Shank appears for two hours on 98.5 The Sports Hub just about every week. If he feels there isn't enough baseball conversation, there's a way to address that problem - provide it when you do these appearances.
And now that he's off the Zolak & Bertrand show, he'll continue to provide the same level of baseball discussion - none at all. That's what happens when a sports columninst would rather go on the air and regurgitate the previous day's newspaper column instead of giving the fans what he believes they should get.

Expecting A Loss, Getting A Win

That's the basic summary of Shank's column on last night's game, a 14 - 6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays:
Chris Sale didn’t have it in Game 2, but the Red Sox showed they still have a lot of life left

It was the worst game of the year. A season-low. Everything we suspected about this team was coming true. They were just not that good, after all.

Then it was the best game of the year. And suddenly there is buoyancy. And life.

Red Sox. Just when you think you are out, they pull you back in.

Boston’s erstwhile ace Chris Sale was rocked for a grand slam and lasted only one inning Friday at the Tropicana Dome. On the heels of Thursday’s Game 1 skunking, the Sox trailed, 5-2, in Game 2 and looked like candidates for a three-game sweep and a Marathon Monday on the golf course.

But this is one of the more resilient Local Nines of our time, and the Sons of Alex Cora peppered the Trop’s outer limits with five homers, cracking 20 hits and riding the right arm of rookie Tanner Houck to a 14-6, series-squaring, ALDS victory over the heavily favored, 100-win Rays.
Nothing says 'big win' like Shank now straddling the fence!

Friday, October 08, 2021

Creating Doubt

With the Red Sox and Rays in the ALDS, Shank could have picked two things to write about - last night's loss or tonight's game featuring Red Sox ace Chris Sale He chose the latter:
Chris Sale, who gets the ball for ALDS Game 2, hasn’t faced a team like the Rays yet this season. Can he deliver?

There’ll be nowhere for Chris Sale to hide at the circus tent/Tropicana Dome Friday night. No more soft landings for Boston’s $30 million per year ace.

The Red Sox were spanked by the aggressive 100-win Rays, 5-0, in Game 1 of their ALDS series in St. Petersburg, Fla., Thursday. Losing the first game of a best-of-five brings extra pressure and Sale will be carrying that weight to the hill in Game 2.

Perfect. Boston has its big-moment guy for a virtual must-win game.

The Sox made things as easy as possible for Sale when he came back from Tommy John surgery in mid-August. While a COVID surge depleted the Sox clubhouse, Boston’s most famous anti-vaxxer started nine games — six of them against last-place teams, including three vs. the Orioles, who were trying to lose. Feasting on a diet of Tomato Cans, Sale compiled a 5-1 record with a 3.16 ERA.

He made only two starts against non-losers, both against the Rays. He was winless in those two games, giving up a whopping 16 hits and three walks in 9⅔ innings. That’s 19 baserunners in 9⅔ innings in his only games against a winning team.
If I didn't know any better, I'd say Shank's rooting for a loss tonight, much like he did in the runup to the wild card playoff game on Tuesday against the Yankees.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

We Are The (Wild Card) Champions

Behold - a rare Shank column following a win by the Boston Red Sox:
Red Sox had perfect execution in sending Yankees packing in AL Wild Card Game

It was Throwback Tuesday at ancient Fenway, featuring the Red Sox and Yankees jousting in a one game wild-card duel for the right to play in the 2021 American League Division Series. Winner moves on. Loser goes home. History, honor and hardball heartache were all in play. It was just like the old days of 2004, 2003, 1978 and 1949. The ghost of Babe Ruth hovered over Fenway.

“No need for rah-rah speeches,’’ said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “It’s Red Sox-Yankees with a chance to advance.’’

“I think this game is going to be very good for baseball,’’ said Sox center fielder Kiké Hernández. “We’ve dealt with adversity all year long. We’re going to find a way to win this game.’’

It was very good for baseball and even better for the oft-maligned Red Sox, who thrashed the hated Yankees, 6-2, and advanced to a best-of-five American League Division Series against the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays starting Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Sox will be underdogs, which seems to be just the way these guys like it.
Do I really need to point out a certain sports columnist whose numerous columns over the past seven months would lead to this notion of 'oft-maligned', or who spent the past two days all but openly rooting for a Red Sox loss?

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

It's Like A Few Lumps Of Coal In Your Christmas Stocking

What's a little ass kissing from one 'journalist' to another?

Keep On Trollin'

He's not even being subtle about it anymore: And as always with anything printed by the Boston Globe - trust, but verify.

Monday, October 04, 2021

The Obligatory Bucky Dent Column

With the Red Sox in the wild-card round of the 2021 playoffs, leave it to Shank to preemptively pour salt into the wounds of Red Sox Nation:
The Red Sox and Yankees will play in a winner-take-all. What does Bucky Dent think about that?

His name is Russell Earl “Bucky” Dent. He was re-named Bucky (Bleeping) Dent in these parts after his pop-fly home run vaulted the Yankees over the Red Sox in the 1978 one-game playoff at Fenway Park exactly 43 years ago this week.

So when the 2021 Red Sox and Yankees finished play Sunday evening, assuring there would be another winner-take-all, one-game joust at Fenway for the right to advance in the American League playoffs, I had to call and text.
It's a pretty good column, which happens when Shank wants to kick a team in the balls.

Brady Beats Belichick

Shank wraps up last night's awesome game between the Bucs and the Patriots:
Tom Brady’s return to Foxborough had everything, and as usual, he came out on the winning end

Bill Russell never came back to the parquet floor to play against Red Auerbach. Bobby Orr never skated on Boston Garden ice against the Bruins.

But Tom Brady returned to Gillette Stadium as quarterback of the World Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday and beat his sideline Svengali, Bill Belichick, 19-17, in a rain-soaked, wildly entertaining football game that was not decided until Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal attempt doinked off the left upright with less than a minute to play.

It was at once biblical, amazing, weird, and somewhat unnatural. Seeing Brady beat the Patriots was like seeing Paul McCartney and Wings playing the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Brady was a pedestrian 22 of 43 passing for 269 yards and no touchdown passes.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

DHL Dan CLIV - Stumbling Along

This headline makes it look like his bonus check from John Henry just cleared:
The Red Sox’ playoff race has been great, even with their late-season stumbles

Picked-up pieces while waiting for Tom to burst from the tunnel, and hoping things don’t get ugly for Bill late Sunday night if the Buccaneers rout the Patriots …

▪ No doubt Tom Brady’s return is the most celebrated event regarding a famous figure visiting Greater Boston since Pope John Paul II kissed the tarmac at Logan in October 1979. Our region is agog.

But I hope you have been paying attention to this wacky wild-card scramble in the American League. It’s brought back memories of a simpler time when the Red Sox were the only team in town and a torrid pennant race involving the Sox commanded all of our attention in the final weekend of a season.
I'm not gonna get too wrapped up with this column and its current trajectory. Shank has simply spent too much time and spleen criticizing the 2011 Boston Red Sox six weeks to Sunday, including some stemwinders as they fell out of every lead for any playoff spot they had this season. For him to pretend otherwise is typical disingenuous Shank.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Fall is when you bring your family out to apple orchards and pick some apples. In that spirit, Shank again reaches for low hanging fruit:

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

If It's Tuesday...'s time once again for Shank to pile on the Red Sox (and pitcher Chris Sale in particular): I wonder if Shank ran similar numbers on Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez? Actually, I don't - that would require too much work and likely not give Shank a cudgel with which to use to beat up on the Red Sox. You almost have to admire his selective use of statistics (i.e., Sale not pitching against the Yankees & White Sox, 1-8 record).

Friday, September 24, 2021

DHL Dan CLIII - So Good, So Good!

With a slight play on the song that annoys Shank so much, here's his latest on the weekend series between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees:
It’s not the glory days of Sox-Yankees 2003-04, but it’s still good, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting one more week for the return of Tom Brady …

▪ I find myself wondering if Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez will be back at Fenway for Red Sox-Yankees this weekend.

Eighteen years ago, with “Gigli” bombing at the box office, Ben and Jen had the best seats in the house at the height of the Sox-Yankees rivalry. It was Oct. 11, 2003, Game 3 of the ALCS, when the Sox and Yankees drew SRO crowds, delivered great TV ratings, and featured true star power (Jeter, Clemens, Mussina, Rivera, Pedro, Papi, Nomar, Manny — where do we stop?).
With Neil Diamond, perhaps?
On the day Bennifer watched from Henrytown seats next to the Sox dugout, Pedro Martinez and the Rocket had dustups with Karim Garcia and Manny Ramirez, and 72-year-old Don Zimmer was shucked to the Fenway lawn after bullrushing Pedro.

A lot has happened since those days. After losing that ‘03 series in tragic fashion (Aaron Boone’s walkoff vs. Tim Wakefield), the Sox roared back in October of 2004 and shattered the Curse of the Bambino with the greatest comeback in the history of baseball — at the expense of the Yankees.
It must've shattered certain book sales as well, which is the kind of collateral damage we can all enjoy.

If you're up for digs at the Patriots (both former and current) and Covid (AKA the Wuhan Virus), read on.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - LXXIV

As was said by Henry Kissenger about Iraq and Iran during their war in the 1980's, 'it's a pity both sides can't lose':
Members of the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents the newsroom and advertising staff at the Globe, stood outside WBUR's auditorium at Comm. Ave. and St. Paul Street this evening as Globe CEO Linda Pizzuti Henry was inside speaking on a panel titled "Trailblazers: Women news leaders from Katherine Graham to today," led by NPR's Robin Young - who asked if she wanted to say anything about the guild's lack of a contract for three years now. Henry said the panel was not the place to discuss labor issues.
In other news, Linda Pizzuti Henry, who married into the gig, is somehow considered a 'trailblazer' in 'women's news leaders'.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Disingenuous Column Premise Time

With a much anticipated football game less then two weeks away, Shank's revving up the hype early and is back on the Tom Brady bandwagon:
Tom Brady is better at 44 than he was at 24, and it’s amazing

It’s the only thing we’re going to be talking about a week from now, so let’s get ahead of it and state the obvious: Tom Brady is coming to Foxborough Oct. 3 and it’s going to be the most in-your-face moment in the storied history of New England sports.

Bill Belichick was wrong. Bob Kraft was wrong. I certainly was wrong. Brady not only has left us and thrived — winning another Super Bowl last year while the Patriots didn’t make the playoffs — but he will return to Gillette Stadium as a 44-year-old professional athlete playing the best football of his career.

I give up. Bill and Bob have to give up, too. Brady in 2021 is better than he was in 2007 when the Patriots went 18-0. He is better than he was when he was on the Deflategate revenge tour. He is better than he was in his 20s or his 30s. In this, his 22nd NFL season, he is better than he has ever been.
This here link is just a reminder of all the times Shank has said, shall we say, less then flattering things about his newly found man crush.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Disingenuous Question Time

Do you have a minute or two for Shank's latest bullshit about the Boston Red Sox?
It’s not the losing or the defense that makes it hard for me to embrace these Red Sox — it’s something else

Are you loving these Red Sox?

They are right in the thick of things for a wild-card game — a one-game bakeoff vs. the Yankees or Blue Jays on Tuesday, Oct. 5. They would pitch indominable Chris Sale in that game, which means they could advance to the first round of the American League playoffs. That’s pretty good after a last-place finish in 2020.

So why have they not captured the love and loyalty of the region? What’s missing? What it is we do not trust about this Local Nine?
Please - this guy spent the past seven months criticizing and / or outright shitting the team on many levels and now has the nerve to churn out Grade A bullshit like this?

Sunday, September 12, 2021

We're Halfway There

Dan Shaughnessy Watch, September 4, 2021:
I'm kind of bored with the column already (again, we've heard it already ad nauseum), but suffice to say Shank will be singing a different tune if the Patriots lose two in a row.
Dan Shaughnessy, an hour or so ago:
No doubt Mac Jones is the future, but this is a game the Patriots always used to win

Mac Jones, the Future of the Patriots, arrived at Gillette Stadium Sunday and played like a guy who someday may bring grid glory back to New England.

Making his NFL debut against the Miami Dolphins, Jones was just about everything Pats fans were hoping he would be. He demonstrated accuracy (29 for 39, 281 yards, no interceptions), pocket presence, and good decision-making. He took hits, and moved the football downfield. He put the Patriots in position to win.

But the Patriots lost, 17-16. In excruciating fashion.

Late in the game, Kid Jones looked like he was going to lead the Pats to one of those old-timey Brady comeback wins. The Patriots were storming toward the Miami goal line with just over three minutes left. They had a first and 10 from the Miami 11. And then running back Damien Harris fumbled.
He forgets (conveniently or otherwise) an earlier Patriots fumble which did much the same thing. Or could it have been blamed on the high number of penalties on the Patriots during the game? Not Shank - he'll just go for the low hanging fruit.

To be somewhat fair, he does mention them a few grafs later, but his intention is clear - blame it all on Tom Brady's departure and question Bill Belichick's coacing acumen.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

DHL Dan CLII - The Rookie Column

Seems Shank can't get enough of new Patriots quarterback Mac Jones:
Wondering where Mac Jones will fit among notable Boston rookies, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting for the start of the Mac Jones era …

▪ Here in Boston sports, the list of our best rookies includes Ted Williams, Walt Dropo, Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, Bobby Orr, Dave Cowens, Larry Bird, Ray Bourque, Fred Lynn, and Nomar Garciaparra. The best Patriots rookies probably were John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Curtis Martin, and Jerod Mayo.

But how many of them were asked to lead? How many of them were asked to get their first professional team to the playoffs? The 18-year-old Orr couldn’t get the Bruins into the playoffs in his rookie season, but of course, we never held it against him. There was so much ahead for the greatest hockey player of all time.

In the pantheon of Boston rookies to lead teams to the playoffs, my freshman four would be Russell, Heinsohn, Bird, and Lynn. Heavy on Celtics, I know, but basketball simply lends itself to team turnarounds triggered by a great new player.
The rest of the column - meh.

The Dwight Evans Seal Of Approval

I was watching the Red Sox / White Sox game tonight when it was mentioned / repeated that current Red Sox right fielder Hunter Renfroe has sixteen assists for the year, drawing praise from another cannon-armed Red Sox right fielder, Dwight Evans.
Hunter Renfroe.

Just like … Dwight Evans.

He throws like Evans. He hits long homers over the Green Monster like Evans. He contributes big moments in September/October games.

Just like … Dwight Evans.

Evans, the homer-hitting, laser-throwing, fan-favorite Red Sox right fielder from the 1970s and 1980s, turns 70 in November and still has a good shot at Cooperstown. He works for the team as a big league instructor almost every spring in Fort Myers, Fla.

Dewey wasn’t able to tutor Renfroe last March because of COVID restrictions (Luis Tiant, Pedro, Yaz, and the rest of the Sox legends were asked to take a year off until things get safe), but was impressed Wednesday with Renfroe’s late-night tour de force against the first-place Rays.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Defense Wins Championships

...but not potentially upcoming one game playoffs:
Red Sox are likely headed to a one-game playoff, but with that defense, how do you like their chances?

They look great waving to teammates in the dugout after reaching base. They take care of each other with the laundry cart ride after every home run.

Now if they could only back up one another when the baseball rattles away from their center fielder. If they could only hit the cutoff man when showing off their cannon from right field. If they could only move the runners over with a routine sac bunt. If they could only handle the baseball like big leaguers. If they could only maintain a full roster of healthy players.

The iron-mitted, COVID-ravaged Red Sox are most likely bound for the one-game playoff, probably with the Yankees on Tuesday, Oct. 5. I haven’t been this sure about anything since announcing that Cam Newton was starting quarterback of the Patriots. The Sox are 79-61 with 22 to play and went into Monday evening with a 2½-game lead for the final wild-card spot.
He sure worked in the requisite amount of digs & cheap shots on those paragraphs, didn't he?
But how do you like their chances in October? These Sox are the worst defensive team among contenders and there are days when Chaim Bloom pays for shopping on Freecycle despite working for one of the wealthiest teams in baseball.

Monday was one of those days. The Sox had a 7-1 lead with Chris Sale on the mound, but managed to lose a 10-inning, clown car contest, 11-10. The Local Nine committed four errors in a four-hour-54-minute Labor Day matinee (appropriate holiday for this slog) that featured 33 hits and 24 runners left on base.
With that, and the Sox doing fairly well (but not wicked awesome) in certain offensive categories, he's right to ring the alram bell a bit, which would be his first good call since the Cam Newon call. Doh!

Saturday, September 04, 2021

DHL Dan CLI - Mr. Excitement

Now that everyone and their brother has weighed in on the New England Patriots new quarterback, Shank gives us a take that's probably been said a hundred times by now.
The Patriots just got a lot more interesting with Mac Jones, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while counting the hours until the Patriots kick off against the Dolphins next weekend …

▪ Sign me up for the Mac Jones Era. The Patriots officially became the Dos Equis Most Interesting Team In the World when Bill Belichick fired Cam Newton and anointed Jones as New England’s starting quarterback.

Jones is a rookie, a first-round pick, and was a national champion for Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide. Now he’s the future of the Patriot franchise. Situations like this don’t come around too often in Foxborough.
I'm kind of bored with the column already (again, we've heard it already ad nauseum), but suffice to say Shank will be singing a different tune if the Patriots lose two in a row.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

The Savior?

I suppose we should enjoy a rare positive Red Sox column from the Globe's eternal critic:
In a time of desperation, Red Sox turn their lonely eyes to Chris Sale, and he delivers
What's a lame song lyrical reference doing here?
It felt like the Red Sox were on the verge of mathematical elimination . . . even though they were still perched in a playoff spot.

It felt like a must win . . . even with 27 more to play and a one-game lead for the second wild-card spot.

All night long the Sox teetered on the edge of defeat. And more dismay. More scorn and discouragement.

But Chris Sale came to the emotional rescue and the reeling Red Sox finally beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2, in the Trop Dome on Wednesday night.

So, the season is not over. There is more baseball to be played.
But are there more lame song lyrics ahead?

There isn't, but I was half hoping for some justification for the Red Sox bringing Sale back slowly from his surgery two years ago. Shank doesn't mention it but he does mention the 2011 Sox (AKA 'Chicken-and-Beer').

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Another Swing And A Miss

Well, not just the fact I missed this one from a few days ago (not on his Twitter feed), but check out this great call:
We shouldn’t have wasted our time wondering. It’s clear who the Patriots will start at quarterback

Cam and Mac. Mac and Cam. It’s been a sports radio talk-a-thon, a gridiron soap opera, getting us through a hot/rainy August while waiting for games that finally count in September.
I don't know about you, but I find that verbiage extremely irritating, lazy and unoriginal.
Why did we waste our time wondering?

The Patriots final preseason game was Sunday night in the Meadowlands against the Giants (a 22-20 Patriot win) and it’s clear there was never any real competition for the job of Patriots’ starting quarterback.

Cam Newton got the start for the Patriots Sunday. Again. Even after a “misunderstanding” that took him away from the team for five days and would have landed any other Patriot a week in the Cooler. Not Cam.
Let's circle back to the beginning of the column:
Update: The Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday morning and named Mac Jones the starting quarterback.
Shank was saying something about coolers?

Saturday, August 28, 2021

DHL Dan CL - Conflating Dates

I'm not sure what muddled message is being delivered here:
Oct. 3 could be notable not just for Tom Brady’s return, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering why needy “Mr. Kraft” needs to commute to Patriots practice via helicopter …
Maybe because he can? Sounds like someone's still butthurt about a certain snub from decades ago.
▪ Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, was one of the great days in New England sports history. As fans filled Fenway Park for a critical evening playoff game with Dave Dombrowski’s Tigers, folks watching TVs at the ballpark saw the Patriots rally from a 27-23 deficit in the final minute against Drew Brees and the undefeated Saints at Gillette Stadium. With no timeouts left, Tom Brady marched the Patriots 70 yards, winning the game with five seconds remaining on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kenbrell Thompkins.

A few hours later at the Fens, with the Sox trailing, 5-1, in the eighth, David Ortiz crushed a tying grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen as Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter went ass-over-teakettle in a futile quest for the catch. The Sox went on to square the AL Championship Series with a 6-5 win and ultimately won the World Series.

Fast-forward eight years and circle Sunday, Oct. 3, on your calendars.
I'm pretty sure one of these dates is not like the other. I see crap like that and it makes me not want to read further; your mileage may vary.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Change Of The Guard?

That's what Shank's thinking, after Cam Newton seems to have fucked things up over the weekend:
Doesn’t Cam Newton’s latest episode give the Patriots enough reason to start Mac Jones?

Call me a dreamer. We all know Mac Jones is the future of the Patriots at quarterback. And now I am hoping he gets moved into the starting job sooner than expected, because the Patriots can’t rely on Cam Newton … because Newton won’t get the vaccine.

The last time Bill Belichick wanted to change quarterbacks, he had Mo Lewis around to get the job done for him. A Lewis hit put veteran Drew Bledsoe in a hospital and Belichick was able to switch to a guy named Tom Brady.

Fast-forward 20 years and allow for the possibility that Belichick again might make a sudden change at quarterback. Is it possible that Newton’s hiatus will give Belichick the reason he needs to switch to Jones?
I recommend this column - Shank presses coach Bill Belichick for answers, which is like getting blood out of a rock, and the column's solid. I think the notion that Mac Jones will eventually become the Patriots starting quarterback at some point this year is pretty much a foregone conclusion around the Boston area; the only question is when.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Joker's Wild

Shank's latest column lurches into Captain Obvious territory:
Forget the Rays and Yankees, it’s all about the wild card now for the Red Sox
This has been obvious for nearly three weeks now; glad he's come around on this one.
Ugh. This is excruciating. Beating the worst teams in baseball has become climbing Kilimanjaro for these 2021 Boston Red Sox. With 127 games down and 35 to play, the Red Sox are still a playoff contender, but there is nothing about them that inspires confidence. And now they have no closer.

It is time to stop worrying about the Yankees (11 straight wins) and the Rays (6½ ahead of the Sox). It’s all about the wild card now. That means checking West Coast scores to see how the A’s and Mariners are doing. Boston, Oakland and Seattle are in a three-team dogfight for the second wild-card spot. In the wake of Tuesday’s 11-9 win over the last-place Twins, the Sox have a two-game lead over the A’s for the final wild-card spot. Boston’s lead over Seattle is three.
I'm amazed he didn't work in a Three Dog Night reference. He whiffed - Shank's slipping!
These guys have given winning ugly a whole new meaning. We were told they “turned it around” after they swept the tanking Orioles (Baltimore lost its 19th straight Tuesday) 10 days ago. That turned out to be a myth. After beating the Zer-O’s, the Sox went to New York and got swept. Then they almost lost a three-game series to the 43-81 Rangers before being rescued by Travis (”The Franchise) Shaw’s walkoff grand slam in the 11th. Press box colleague John Tomase correctly termed it, “the most demoralizing walkoff win of the year.’’
No doubt about the ugliness angle, so we'll see if the Sox make the playoffs or if Shank goes DEFCON 1 with a possible losing streak.

Monday, August 23, 2021

DHL Dan CXLIX - The Next Boston Championship

Nothing like useless, half-assed and inconclusive speculation for some column inches with your latest mail-in job:
Which team will win Boston’s next championship, and other observations

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether we’ll ever again hear from Red Sox ownership on anything . . .

It’s been a full 30 months since our last duck boat parade (Patriots, February 2019). So which team wins our next championship?


Red Sox?



Not easy, is it?

We know we are spoiled. There have been 12 titles in this century. Starting with Super Bowl XXXVI, when 24-year-old Tom Brady and Co. shocked the world in New Orleans, we’ve never been far from the winner’s circle. All four teams won a championship in a stretch of six years and four months. No city will ever do that. The longest drought of this century was three years (2008 Celtics-2011 Bruins).
Remeber when Shank was criticizing the Red Sox for holding back pitcher Chris Sale from starts against the Yankees and Tampa Bay? Looks like he forgot all about it:
▪ Alex Cora was insistent that Chris Sale have a soft landing in his return to the big leagues after missing two years and undergoing Tommy John surgery. So, instead of starting Sale against the Rays on his normal fifth day — which would have subsequently put him in Yankee Stadium last Tuesday or Wednesday — the Sox held back Sale so that he could pitch at home against the Orioles (38-83) and Rangers (42-80) in his first two games. Sale beat the Orioles, 16-2, and the Rangers, 6-0, pitching five innings in each game. On the day Sale could have returned, the Sox were beaten by the Rays, 8-1. The Sox then lost all three games in the Bronx, when Sale also could have pitched. Obviously, Sox were taking the long view here.
That's an angle Shank either refused to consider a few weeks ago or (more likely) left it aside so he could continue to shit on the Red Sox.

The rest of the column is the usual grab bag of stuff.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Starter

Shank rips off Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal, who appeared on the Felger & Mazzarotti show yesterday and said Cam Newton will be the Week One starter for the New England Patriots, and now so does Shank:
It was only preseason. By any definition, meaningless.

But Cam Newton on Thursday night in Philadelphia played like a man who’d heard enough about rookie hot shot Mac Jones. Newton helped his cause. And there seems to be little doubt he is going to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback at the start of the season.

We know by now that Bill Belichick loves Newton the way he loves Lawrence Taylor, special teams play, and the Army-Navy football game. Newton returned the love in Philly, completing 8 of 9 passes for 103 yards and putting two touchdowns on the board in the first quarter of New England’s second preseason game against the Eagles.
You can read the rest of it if you missed the game; if you watched the game, you already know that the rest of the column's a standard game recap (read - BORING!).

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Right On Cue

We didn't even have to wait for tonight's game:

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Reverse Tomato Cans

Longtime readers of Dan Shaughnessy Watch are familiar with Shank's use of the phrase 'tomato can', which is the notion that one of our teams (usually the Patriots) are so good they should just roll their opponents. This notion is now being turned on its ear:
Yes, the Yankees have looked pretty bad at times this year. But still ...

Red Sox fans have enjoyed the pain and pratfalls of the Yankees this season.

The upstart Bostons pantsed the Yankees twice in June, sweeping a three-game set in the Bronx and another at Fenway June 25-27. When the Red Sox took the field in Oakland on the night of July 3, they led the Yankees by a whopping 10 games.

The Sox improved to 7-0 against New York with a shutout win at Yankee Stadium July 16. The Yanks finally snapped the string the next day, but as recently as July 25, the then-first place Red Sox had a nine-game lead over New York. The Sox own a 10-3 season advantage and have outscored their rivals, 61-43.

When the Yankees went out and got Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo at the trade deadline while the Sox did little, Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy laughed and said, “They had to be active because I think they are 3-10 against us.” The American League East looks very different now as the Red Sox prepare for three games in two days at Yankee Stadium beginning Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.
Thus the table is set - the Yankees suck, and if they win two games or the whole three game series, Shank gets another chance to take a monster dump on the Red Sox. Just in case you're not convinced of that:
Personally, I can’t wait. I can’t wait for these three games in two days, and the delicious, very real possibility of a one-game playoff at Fenway between the Red Sox and Yankees in the first game of October.

Just like in 1978.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

DHL Dan CXLVIII - Stating The Obvious

Yup - Shank's definitely on the Patriots bandwagon:
Picked-up pieces while dreaming about a one-game wild-card playoff between the Red Sox and Yankees in the first week of October …

▪ The Red Sox were putting the finishing touches on their 8-1 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park just after the dinner hour Thursday while the Patriots were welcoming fans to humid Gillette Stadium for the first time in 586 days.

The Sox were losing for the 11th time in 14 games, turning a five-game lead into a five-game deficit after giving us nothing more than a little eyewash at the trade deadline. Alex Cora’s men managed only two hits the day after scoring 20 runs, and Cora was discovering the ineptitude of the meatball-artist relievers Chaim Bloom gave him at the deadline.
The telltale sign is further in the column; the use of the royal 'we' to describe Patriots fans, as though he's one of them.

New Kid On The Block

Is Shank hopping on the bandwagon early this year?
I have seen the Patriots’ future, and its name is Mac Jones.

OK, that’s a little overstated.

It was only an NFL exhibition game, the most blatant example of consumer fraud in sports today. It was only five series of downs. Jones did not throw for a touchdown. He did not run for a touchdown. He completed 13 of 19 passes (11 straight at one point) for 87 yards against the Washington Football Team in New England’s 22-13 win on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

This was not Tom Brady taking over for Drew Bledsoe and leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl. It was not Lou Gehrig taking over for Wally Pipp and becoming the greatest first baseman in baseball history.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Connecting On A Pass

THat would be Patrick Pass, former New England Patriot, reminding us of this gem:

A Market Correction

Well, that's one way to describe the recent Red Sox nosedive:
This Red Sox slump is simply a market correction by a team that had been overachieving

On Saturday, July 3, the Red Sox had a five-game first-place lead over Tampa Bay when they took the field for a night game in Oakland. They led the Blue Jays by eight games and the Yankees by a whopping 10 games.

Fast-forward five weeks.

In the wake of Sunday’s hideous loss to Toronto, in which they blew a five-run lead and lost for the ninth time in 11 games, the Sox fell to four games behind the Rays in the American League East. Toronto and New York have pulled within one game of Boston in the loss column.

This is what you call a collapse. An implosion. A Manila folder. Blowing a midsummer division lead makes these Sox a bit of a throwback edition. But the recent slump is nothing like the ghoulish stuff these eyes have seen over six-plus decades of Sox watching.
The rest of it is worth reading, complete with a 'chicken and beer' reference, which is obligatory for a 'Red Sox collapse' column .

Friday, August 06, 2021

Beaten To The Punch

The Red Sox just took a beating in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays and currently trail them by a score of 9 to 2. Imagine my surprise at this retweet by the Shankster:

DHL Dan CXLVII - Skid Row

Our Man Shank predictably points out the most recent losing streak by the Red Sox:
This Red Sox skid seemed inevitable, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if maybe Garrett Richards has a case of the “twisties” …

▪ It was only a matter of time before the wheels starting coming off the Red Sox wagon. The reeling Townies went into Toronto this weekend having lost six of seven, seven of nine, and 14 of 25 since July 4 — which was about the time the Sox Twitter account taunted fans and media who did not believe in the team early in the season (”Remember your tweets from the first week of the season? We do.”).

It was only a matter of time because the Fool’s Gold Sox were built on the shaky foundation of a starting rotation with more meatball artists than Mother Anna’s on Hanover Street in the North End.
A line so 'clever', he used it twice! He goes on from there to make good points about the structure / personnel of the team, and how the Red Sox brass basically sat on the sidelines leading up to the trading deadline, so aside from the weak jokes it merits a read.