Saturday, January 30, 2021

DHL Dan CXXII - Next Year's News Today!

In the latest extravaganza of the Picked Up Pieces column, I wasn't quite sure what to expect based on this tweet: A few things to point out. Gasper's correct in the sense that being someone's 'foil' can mean 'to prevent something undesireable from succeeding'. That's certainly the case with Schilling, who Shank wanted to put in jail for defaulting on a $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island. I wouldn't want someone like that as part of the jury pool. Gasper then uses another interesting word to describe part of this column - hilarious'. Unless this is some old inside joke between Globies, does anyone think Shank is funny? Funny how, you may ask? Let's check out the column:
We’re a year away from the wildest Hall of Fame election ever, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while daydreaming about how — in a normal year — my JetBlue flight would be landing in Tampa for Super Bowl Week right about now …
Shank whining about not getting a paid vacation from the Globe to go to Florida for a week? That's not funny. Reading about Shank whining about not getting the free vacation? That's fucking hilarious!
▪ Look for David Ortiz to sail into Cooperstown when the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is announced at this time next year. Big Papi comes on the ballot for the first time in December, and I believe he’ll easily vault over the 75 percent threshold.

It’s going to be the wildest Hall election ever, which is saying something given events of this past week. Ortiz and Álex Rodríguez are the top achievers among the new candidates in 2022, and they will be on the same ballot with Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling (sorry, Schill, you don’t get to withdraw your name), who’ll all be in their 10th and final year of consideration.
Shank thinks Ortiz is a lock (ditto) but Schilling is not:
▪ I’ve sent Schilling’s 1,200-word Tuesday night screed to multiple geniuses and soothsayers, and nobody seems to be able to decode the thing. Curt keeps telling us he’s not a Hall of Famer but anybody who didn’t vote for him is a coward (Schill should have blamed the BBWAA’s Dominion voting machines).

Schilling says he’ll gladly turn his candidacy over to the Veterans Committee, but a quarter of that committee will be media members, and there might also be a few Hall of Famers curious about Curt’s position papers on Black Lives Matter issues.

Let’s also remember that Schilling went out of his way to bury Clemens and Bonds, which never plays well with ex-players.

Nobody can figure out what Curt’s issue is with the Red Sox (”What Mr. Henry and Mr. Werner did to my family and I in my final year …”). In his final season (2008), the Red Sox paid Schilling $8 million for not throwing a single pitch. By this logic, Curt also must be angry at the taxpayers of Rhode Island for what they did to his family.

▪ Got an e-mail from a Hall of Famer who was not buying Schill’s response or his logic. The thrust of this missive was that Schilling is copping out, taking his ball and going home instead of letting voters who have ruled on the Hall since 1936 make a decision on his candidacy.

Schilling always wanted the ball in the big games, so where is that now? This e-mail from a Hall of Famer doesn’t bode well for Schill’s hope to gain points with the Veterans Committee.

Schilling’s request to be removed from the ballot presents as an attempt to avoid a 10th rejection. He doesn’t make the rules, and the Hall should reject his request.
So if anything was hilarious with this column, it's purely inadvertent. That said, this is a pretty good column.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


You just knew Shank would use the win by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to bash the Patriots, didn't you?
Final score: Tom Brady 1, Patriots 0
The headline says it all...
Forty-three-year old Tom Brady is going to the Super Bowl.

In the immortal words of Bob Lobel, “Why can’t we get players like that?’'

All precincts have reported and it’s official: Brady has beaten Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft in a landslide. Ten months after leaving New England because the Patriots were done with him, Brady showed the world he’s still got the goods. The Patriots, who had no real plan to replace their quarterback, finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Brady is going to his 10th Super Bowl; with the clown car Tampa Bay Buccaneers, no less.

This is like seeing the Red Sox dump Mookie Betts in the name of payroll flexibility, then watching Betts win the World Series after the Sox finish last.
Ouch! I bet he's been saving that line for months now. In any event, you and I know this new found love and appreciation for Tom Brady is world class hypocrisy, wrapped in bullshit. Let's take a look at recent history, shall we?

First up - September 30, 2014 - The Kansas City Massacre::
By the end of the night, the darts and arrows were coming from every direction. Bill Belichick was grilled about his musical-chair offensive line and the notion of starting two rookies in front of Brady in a loud enemy theater. The coach was asked if he might have to “evaluate” his quarterback position; the question from CSNNE’s Mike Giardi elicited a smirk with no comment. There were hysterical calls for out-of-work Charlie Weis to replace Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator. Darrelle Revis was compared to Carl Crawford (OK, that one was me). It was noted that no Belichick defense had ever surrendered 300 yards in a first half. There was a television graphic explaining that the Patriots offense ranks last in the NFL, averaging 4.6 yards per play. We were told that Brady has missed his target more than 25 percent of the time.
July 28, 2015 - Deal With It - Brady's A Cheater:
In a 20-page decision that was released at 2:32 p.m. Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension. In the day's most shocking revelation, the commissioner revealed that Brady ordered his assistant to destroy his cellphone on the same day (March 6) Brady was interviewed by NFL investigator Ted Wells. Brady did not disclose this development for several months and it was not confirmed until the day of his suspension appeal hearing, June 23.

What do you say now, Patriot fans? Still think the NFL is out to get the Patriots? Still think Tom Brady is clean? Still think this is a witch hunt?

Of course you do. And that is why at a time when you should be embarrassed, you are probably emboldened.

Please. Give up. It's time for local loyalists to parachute down from Planet Patriot and get in touch with reality. Stop twisting yourselves into knots to justify the petty crimes and coverups of the Patriots and their quarterback.
January 3, 2017 - The Patriots Only Win Because Everybody Else Sucks:
Am I the only one?

Is there anybody else out in Patriot Nation who’d like to see the Patriots in a competitive, thrilling playoff game? You know . . . a game where the outcome is in doubt before Hoodie defers on the coin toss?

Guess not. The Patriots are going to get to the AFC Championship game without a serious test of their considerable abilities
February 28, 2020 - Please Go Away, Tom:
I just want it to be over.

And I officially am hoping Tom Brady leaves the Patriots.


I want Tom to go because his history-making time has run its course here. I like sports drama, and it would be a much better story if Tom goes to a new team. I’d like to see what Bill Belichick can do without Brady. I’d like to see what Brady can do for the Los Angeles/Tampa Bay/Tennessee Bradys.
And, with any further Tom Brady guile, luck and / or winning ability, Shank will have one more convenient column that he'll milk into a few more so he can take shots at the Patriots until Draft Day.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

DHL Dan CXXI - The Hank Aaron Tribute

With the recent passing of baseball legend Hank Aaron, Shank's latest Picked up Pieces column details his one home run at Fenway Park:
Picked-up pieces while readying for another Sunday on the football couch …

▪ Hank Aaron, who died Friday, hit 755 home runs, but only one at Fenway Park. On Sept. 14, 1975, working as a designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers, Aaron stepped into the righthanded batter’s box and cranked a Bill Lee fastball into the left-field screen. It was the 41-year-old Aaron’s last home run of the season. He would hit only 10 more the rest of his career.

“It would have been the last of his career if he’d retired that year, but they talked him into coming back for one more season,” Lee said from his Vermont home Friday when he learned of Aaron’s death.
He then takes a shot at Curt Schilling (natch), half hoping he won't get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but we knew that already. He also jumps off the Tom Brady bandwagon (ok, he was never on it, but still!) before this next somewhat interesting part:
▪ Some readers wondered whether Sam Kennedy was contentious in our recent interview when he admitted that the Red Sox are not going “all-in” this season. The answer is no.

The Red Sox CEO/president is ever-polite and a true professional. He also is a company man who is carrying out the directives of his bosses.

When I asked him why we have heard nothing from those bosses since Mookie Betts was dumped 11 months ago, he said, “Our owners are available. They are available and accountable and, frankly, they are regarded as the best owners in Major League Baseball.”

When I pushed back on his contention that the owners are “available,” he said, “I’m not going to engage in that.” But he was not contentious.
So what the hell was Shank complaining about in the previous post? He has a problem with another reporter either a) disagreeing with his questioning of Kennedy or b) Kennedy responding to Shank in a 'spirited' manner. Since 'not contentious' strongly implies a lack of 'spirited' debate, this makes me inclined to change my own opinion about it and say Shank's being just a bit thin-skinned here. Then again, it could still be both!

There's lots of little things from that point on.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

But You Can't Question Shank

The previous post clearly demonstrates Shank always trying to have it both ways. He does so again today, as he can question people like Sam Kennedy about the Red Sox, but apparently Kennedy's not supposed to 'give it back' to Shank: It's clear enough Shank's not really bent out of shape about another writer disagreeing with him, but that the person he's interviewing has the temerity to challenge Shank at all. Because Shank's a fucking weasel he'll not make the clear connection between which specific part of the statement he has a problem with, so that leaves us to draw our own worst conclusions.

He can dish it out but he can't take it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Plan Questioned

Like clockwork, Shank bitches about the Boston Red Sox' strategy for the near future:
The president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox admits the Sox are not “all-in” trying to win the World Series this year.

“I think it would be inaccurate to say we are going for it with an all-in approach that perhaps we did prior to the 2018 title,” Sam Kennedy acknowledged in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday.

“We cherish that title, and all of them, but the way we built that team came at a price, which included importantly a depleted farm system and some depleted draft picks along the way. So we are building back up, and as we do this hopefully the right way, we’ll have a chance to be competitive in the American League East in 2021, but also for the longer term.”
This is Shaughnessy in a nutshell - advocate for more free agent spending back in the day, and when that finally runs its course in subsequent years (like last year and this year, in a completely shit sports environment) complain that a) the team sucks and b) they're not doing the big free agency spending spree all over again so the Sox can supposedly win it in 2021.

Some people are just born jagoffs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Who Loves Ya, Baby? - II

In light of Tom Brady making his 14th NFL conference championship game this coming Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, Shank recounts all of them:
Tom Brady is going to Green Bay on Sunday to play in his 14th conference championship game. This will be his first NFC title joust. Brady’s original 13 were played when he was a New England Patriot, and he won nine. Here’s a thumbnail history of Brady’s conference championship games with the Patriots:

2002 at Pittsburgh. W, 24-17. Brady’s first, and the only one he didn’t complete. The Patriots were underdogs on the road, and Brady came out of the game early with a sprained ankle after he was was taken down by Steelers defensive back Lee Flowers.

Drew Bledsoe, who had been The Franchise, threw a touchdown pass to David Patten almost immediately and managed the game the rest of the way.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

DHL Dan CXX - The Long Wait

Shank's latest Picked Up Pieces column is exactly that:
Picked-up pieces while readying to watch 43-year-old Tom Brady return to the site of his first championship when he was 24 years old in 2002 …

▪ Tampa Bay by the Charles Update: The Red Sox wear me out with their inactivity. The trick over on Jersey Street seems to be floating the notion that the Sox are “in on” every free agent and trade possibility … and then doing nothing. This perpetuates the narrative — based on hope more than reality — that they will spend to improve the team.

The Sox were a last-place team in 2012, 2014, and 2015. This feels different. This time they appear content to stay in the basement as support erodes among the loyal fan base.
Funny how Shank spent the past eight months shitting on the team no matter what they did, and now gets to criticize them for sitting on their hands. If only there were a person at the Boston Globe who also owns the red sox that Shank could talk to...

From there it's the usual mix of this and that (the parts about Alabama's bowl win and Doug Pederson's firing from Philadelphia looking like ripoffs of Felger and Mazz themes from Monday & Tuesday), and a good amount of the column's devoted to how many of Tom Brady's playoff games Shank and other people have witnessed in person. Count me out as giving a fuck about that one.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Who Loves Ya, Baby?

Is Shank trying to pull the wool over our eyes?
Go Browns. Go Cleveland.

These are strange times for New England sports fans. We are coming into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs — wall-to-wall with big games — and the Patriots are not part of the action. We are in search of a team to adopt.

It’s easy for a lot of you, I know. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are with Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers play the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome Sunday night. It’s the marquee matchup of the weekend, and lots of Patriots fans have adopted the Bucs.

Not me.

I am all about Cleveland. The Browns will be playing the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday afternoon, and they need my love a lot more than Brady does.
Imagine being anything in need of Shank's love - I'll opt for being fed to hungry Australian sharks. From there the column devolves into boring, Shank-like rote recitals of Cleveland playoff futility and hard luck. Let's not forget, however, a time when Shank wasn't all hugs and kisses for our friends from Ohio, like when he Shanked the whole city of Cleveland nearly six years ago.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Better Than '4th And 2'?

Shank's really laying the bullshit on thick with his latest column:
Bill Belichick made a great call on Medal of Freedom decision

President Trump should call Curt Schilling. I’m pretty sure Schill would have no problem showing up in Washington to collect a Presidential Medal of Freedom in the middle of impreachment proceedings, eight days after Trump incited violence against the United States of America.
I challenge anyone out there to point out precisely what President Trump said to incite violence. I've been hearing this line of 'argument' for a week - shouldn't we have plenty specific quotes of violence-inciting rhetoric about this by now?

We haven't, because Trump did not incite violence. Not once.

Given that's the premise of the column, I don't see a need to comment any further, unless you'd like to see Shank take a victory lap of some sort, none of it deserved.

Friday, January 08, 2021

DHL Dan CXIX - Au Contraire

Shank's been a critic of Curt Schilling, to put it mildly. And in another Picked-Up Pieces column, Shank leads off with criticizing Schilling for supporting the 'mostly peaceful' protestors in our nation's capital on Wednesday:
Picked-up pieces while nestling into the couch for the best pro football weekend of the year …

▪ Curt Schilling would help himself if he’d stop spewing hate and claiming he’s being punished by Baseball Hall of Fame voters because of his “politics.” Supporting a racist (really, Shank? - ed) mob that stormed the Capitol is not being “political.” Advocating for lynching journalists, calling Adam Jones a liar when he said he heard racist slurs at Fenway Park, bilking Rhode Island out of $75 million, collecting Nazi memorabilia, and posting anti-transgender material … these are not “political” stands.
Do you think Shank could articulate just what, precisely, was 'racist' about the protestors, aside from them being majority Caucasian? Does that also make Shank, a pasty white Irishman, racist as the dickens? This cheap eight grade name calling, initiated by him in this article and used far and wide by leftists across the land since time immemorial, detracts from the weight of his argument, or it should for most people. I've said before that Schilling has given his opponents plenty of ammunition and he seems to have done so again here. It's much easier to simply point out the massive rank hypocrisy of the Democrats and Shank-type media dorks (by and large the same thing) like this guy does, at least with respect to the local scene.

By the way - I have an English and a German copy of Mein Kampf. Does that mean I collect Nazi memorabilia? Shank wouldn't care unless my last name was Schilling. From there, the rest of the column's okay.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Fine Their Asses!

Shank wasn't happy about last night's game: In fact - he was so pissed off about it he cranked out a column calling for some heads:
NFL should come down on the Eagles for Sunday night’s performance
Maybe they should, but they probably won't.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a disgrace and should be punished by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The Eagles intentionally lost a “Sunday Night Football” game that had massive playoff implications for two other franchises. Philadelphia’s tank job served to improve its draft position from ninth to sixth, so the league should take away that first-round pick. Then fine the owner, suspend coach Doug Pederson, and apologize to all of us for insulting our intelligence and allowing Philly to throw a game.

Remember Deflategate? The Patriots lost their first-round pick, a fourth-rounder, got fined a million bucks, and saw Tom Brady suspended four games just for taking a little air out of the footballs. The Patriots were punished for breaching the integrity of the game. Tampering with the footballs was deemed a competition violation.
Based on that premise, his logic is sound. However, to use Shank's phraseology Deflategate was a bag job of a punishment and doing the same thing here would establish an ability to second guess a coaching decision, which is somewhat defensible were it not for the three pick improvement in draft pick. I'd be on board with that one at least being pushed back to the original slot; maybe taking it away completely would be a useful deterrent for future wannabe tank artists.

The rest of the column's worth reading and it'll be interesting to see what NFL commissioner Goddell does with this hot potato.

And Now For A Slight Change Of Tone

Since it's difficult to rag on a team when they win, Shank wraps up the last game of the New England Patriots' season, a 28 - 14 win over the New Your Jets, and uses a curious word to re-describe the season for the Patriots:
Remember when we thought watching a challenged Patriots team would be fun? Never mind

I really thought the Patriots season was going to be fun. Finally, we would have something different. At long last there was a challenge to win the division. Without Tom Brady, the Pats could not simply roll out the footballs and automatically win the AFC East. They would not be handed another first-round bye. There would be no Tomato Can Home Game in Round 1 of the playoffs. No more tedious palace intrigue involving Bill, Tom, and Bob. No more same-old, same-old.

It was going to be different. Interesting. The thrill of the unknown.

I was wrong. The 2020 Patriot football season was not fun. The Patriots were effectively out of the playoffs in early December and played out the string over the final four games of the season.
Let's just say that, on occasion, Shank likes to rewrite some things. Can you tell from this column or this column if you can detect any notion of Shank thinking the Patriots were going to be a 'fun' team? He describes the first season win (second link) as 'business as usual' for the team, about as far away from 'fun' as you can get. He did enjoy the Seahawks game but that's as close as he ever got on the 'fun' front. He's just full of shit on this point. This is what he's been writing since Week 4:
The local football season was neither interesting nor entertaining. By the time they faced the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets at the finish, the Patriots were just plain bad. They were 2020 Red Sox bad.

Any of you remember the Stupor Bowl at Memorial Stadium back in 1981? That’s when the 2-13 Patriots lost to the 1-14 Baltimore Colts, 23-21, in front of 17,073 fans. The game featured six turnovers, 12 penalties, and attempts by both teams to intentionally lose the game. The Pats finally succumbed when they ran out of timeouts after “driving” to the Colts’ 15-yard line.
Forget the fact that the current Patriots team won a game by two touchdowns; Shank tries to tie them to one of the worst losses in Patriots history and has to go back almost four decades to do it. Other than that, it's a valid comparison!

Saturday, January 02, 2021

DHL Dan CXVIII - Disingenuous Headlines

During the Bill Belichick era with the New England Patriots, Shank has never been known as an evenhanded columnist or one to give people a somewhat fair shake, especially this head coach. You can imagine my half-surprise when I saw this bullshit a little while ago:
Coming to the defense of Bill Belichick, and other thoughts

Dan Shaughnessy, our man in shining armor! Picked-up pieces while desperately seeking a better new year . . .

▪ The rush to give Tom Brady all the credit for the last two decades of Patriots success is unfair and inaccurate.
That sounds like a misleading premise, in that Shank implies an undefined but nonetheless solid majority opinion in favor of giving Tom 'all the credit'. Has this been the Boston talk radio theme earlier this week?
At this hour Brady is leading bigly in the “Tom vs. Bill” debate, but none of those six Super Bowls happen without the Hoodie. Week in and week out, year in and year out, the Patriots won because of preparation, coaching, and abject intimidation of the opposition — in addition to talent. In these dark hours along Route 1, it’s a mistake to assign New England’s two-decade dynasty solely to Brady. History will treat Bill Belichick much better than what he’s been hearing from all of us these last couple of weeks. Does anyone ever challenge Red Auerbach’s credentials as a head coach? No. And Auerbach the coach never won a championship without Bill Russell. In 20 seasons on the bench, Red won nine championships, all with Russell on the court. We still built a statue for Red.
All that's true / obvious, but I suspect this is a head fake. Come tomorrow afternoon the Patriots could very well lose badly. I've been a pessimist all year about them, and after the Bills game last week I think this last part of the season will be payback for the past two decades, thus last week's ass kicking and at least a loss tomorrow. At that point you know who's going to come out with guns blazing like the 4th and 2 column and the Kansas City Massacre columns. We're onto your old tricks!

It's a mixed bag from there, probably worth reading.

Friday, January 01, 2021


With the passig of K.C. Jones earlier in the week, Shank talks to another Boston Celtics legend about mortality.
Bob Cousy stoically deals with the toughest of losses — his old teammates

They seemed to be immortal, those Celtics of my childhood, forever running the parquet floor, earning easy baskets and hard-fought championships. Bill Russell would snatch a rebound, kick it out to Tommy Heinsohn on the wing, and Tommy would find Sam Jones at the other end for a breakaway layup.

The Celtics of 1963 were in the middle of a run of eight consecutive championships, 11 in 13 seasons.

It was a team that featured nine Hall of Fame players, plus a Hall of Fame coach (Red Auerbach) and a Hall of Fame owner (Walter Brown). John Havlicek was a rookie and Bob Cousy was retiring — like DiMaggio passing the Yankee torch to Mantle in 1951.

The reality, of course, is that our Garden Gods do not live forever, and we’ve been losing them at an alarming rate the last couple of years. Frank Ramsey (86) died in 2018, Havlicek (79) in 2019, and last week we lost K.C. Jones (88), one month after Heinsohn died at the age of 86.

“It’s depressing,” the 92-year-old Cousy said from his home in Worcester this week. “They’re starting to fall by the wayside. I’m starting to look over my shoulder the way Satchel Paige used to say — don’t look back, they might be gaining on you.
The rest of it is worth reading.