Saturday, February 27, 2021

DHL Dan CXXVI - The Next Grab Bag

I was expecting another semi-weekly mail it in job from Shank with this one, but I see some interesting things already:
Let’s not take the bats out of the pitchers’ hands completely, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether Charlie Baker will dispatch Ed Davis to clean up this vaccination chaos …

▪ Have we seen the last of pitchers in the batter’s box? Is Major League Baseball ready to adopt the universal designated hitter?

“I think it’s time,” J.D. Martinez said in Fort Myers, Fla. “I think everybody knows it’s time. Even the owners, the players, the fans, they know it’s time. Everybody loves offense.”

MLB and the Players Association have yet to agree on a universal DH for 2021, which means the upcoming National League season may be the farewell tour for pitchers hitting. The universal DH almost certainly will be implemented as part of the next basic agreement, which will be hammered out after the 2021 season.

Put me down as one with a fondness for pitchers hitting. How else would the world have discovered Babe Ruth?
It's worth a read - give it a go.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Skid Row - II

Is the panic real, or is it Memorex? You make the call!
The skidding Celtics don’t need patience. They need action

Trade Jayson Tatum. Trade Jaylen Brown. Fire Brad Stevens. Fire Danny Ainge. Take down the banners from the rafters, splinter the sacred parquet floor for a West End bonfire, then tear down the New Garden. Sell the team back to Paul “Thanksdad” Gaston.

It’s time for the Celtics to DO SOMETHING!

No more lollygagging. No more mealy-mouth mutterings from wimps in command. We thought things were at rock bottom a couple of weeks ago, but that was before the 24-point blown lead in New Orleans, the Luka Doncic double dagger in Dallas, and Wednesday’s humiliation at the hands of the immortal Danilo Gallinari and the forever-moribund Hawks.
The entire colum is pure fucking snark and completely unserious. He doesn't offer Clue One about how to address any of these situations; a reasonable sort like Chris Gasper would give that kind of analysis to the Nth degree. It's further possible that this is an extended funk or injury bug to a key player or two (Marcus Smart, etc.) but that's nowhere to be mentioned.

Then again, you could say that a lack of seriousness describes a lot of his columns.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

DHL Dan CXXV - Position Overstated

Unable to devote full columns criticizing the Red Sox while otherwise enjoying his normal Ft. Myers winter vacation, Shank instead writes about a lot of little things :
Celtics continue to be treated as if they have won something — which they haven’t — and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while paying homage to the underrated Boston Bruins — the only local team that’s getting the job done in 2020-21 …

▪ Danny Ainge, when asked about losses to the Pistons, Wizards, and Hawks, on 98.5 FM Thursday said, “I don’t think we respect our opponents enough.” That’s it, right there. The Celtics act as if they have won something when they have not. They are not as good as they think they are and that includes Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown and Tatum are not yet All-Star starters. This means they are not yet top-10 players. Why does everyone around here treat them like they are top-10 players?
This looks like a classic strawman agument; assert that 'everyone around here' thinks the team and its top two players are the cat's ass. It's based on a rather thin reed:
Also, when did our market go totally soft in its evaluation of this team? I watched the Celtics win a Tuesday game at the Garden against a Denver team that had only four of its top nine players. Friday I watched the Celtics handle the 12-17 Hawks — a team that stunned them two nights earlier. During and after both of these pedestrian wins, folks at NBC Sports Boston reacted as if the Green just beat the Lakers in LA in the seventh game of the Finals. Seriously. How did the bar get so low for this team? It’s like NESN gushing over the last-place Red Sox. I remember when the Larry Bird Celtics went 50-1 at home and barely drew a round of applause. Tommy Heinsohn was the ultimate homer, but the Celtics’ flagship nonsense has only gotten worse since we lost Tommy. Get back, Green Teamers! That means you, Scal.
So, Brian Scalabrine (and supposedly some others at the local NBC Sports affiliate) are the new Tommy Heinson? Somehow I don't find the opinions of a few local sports jocks being the widely felt sentiment of Celtics fans, including this one. It's trademark Shank hyperbole.

From there, he goes on to... complain about pretty much everything; might be worth a read just to marvel at that.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

And Now For More Boston Globe Employee Bashing

(Another installment in a continuing series)

Is Kevin Cullen * talking about Our Man Shank or Trollin' Volin? *Parody account!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Bullshit Meter Is Redlining

For the first time in about five hundred years, Shank does not get to enjoy a Boston Globe funded vacation to Fort Meyers, FL this spring in order to tan his pasty white Irish skin and shit on the Red Sox for a few weeks. It's enough to make you weep, isn't it?
What I will miss about Red Sox spring training

NOT FORT MYERS, Fla. — I miss baseball. I miss the Red Sox being a pleasant diversion and an important topic of conversation at this time of year.

I miss spring training.

Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South this week. Player physicals are scheduled for Wednesday, with the first workout for pitchers and catchers Thursday morning. The first full-squad workout is Monday, and the Sox’ Grapefruit League opener is Feb. 28 against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium.
This guy's been shitting on the Red Sox with regularity, and we're supposed to believe absolute bullshit like this. The more likely explanation is that he doesn't get to escape the New England winter (and lord knows what else) for a few weeks.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

DHL Dan CXXIV - Head Scratcher

Shank 'treats' us to another half useless column:
The Red Sox still have us scratching our heads, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering who’ll be the next Boston athlete to leave town …
I wonder if he means 'leave' or him running someone out of town?
▪ There are times when it seems as if the Red Sox front office is trying to turn fans against the hometown team. I can’t remember anything like it. Instead of touting big-name talents and inspiring pennant fever, the Sox peddle payroll flexibility, team contract control, spin rate, and exit velocity while asking fans to be patient and wait for the future.

The Sox have admitted they are not “all in” to win this year and dumped many popular players in a quest to assemble a 25-man roster of nameless, faceless, analytic-friendly castoffs. And there’s no accountability or explanation from above.
He goes on from there to detail what the Red Sox have done (and haven't sone) for offseason moves, so in that sense, the column is useful. If you consider we've had five picked up pieces columns over the past month (from a total of ten), it reeks of laziness, and he spends the majority of the rest of the column ragging on as many people as he can.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Still Debatable

With Tom Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl on Sunday, the debate about him being the GOAT got going almost immediately. Here's Shank's contribution to the conversation:
Tom Brady, the greatest winner ever in sports? Not so fast

We have ceded almost all platitudes. Tom Brady is the best quarterback and greatest football player ever. Better than Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning, Lawrence Taylor, or Jim Brown.

He is chiseled on our New England Rushmore alongside Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, and Bill Russell. Nobody else is close. Sorry, Larry Bird. And please don’t bring David Ortiz into the conversation (”Ooh, but Papi has three rings and Williams has zero.” Curtis Leskanic has a ring. Was he better than Carl Yastrzemski?).

Events of Sunday night have brought us to a predictable place. And now we wonder if Brady has supplanted Russell as the greatest of all the greats. Is Brady the greatest winner in sports history? Better than Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and LeBron James? Better than Jim Thorpe and Serena Williams? Better than Tiger and Jack? Better than Ali? Better than Secretariat?
Or Formula One greats Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, and you could throw in Pele and Lionel Messi for good measure.
I’m saying no. Let’s not rush to judgment based on Sunday night’s sugar high.

Brady is closing the gap, but this debate still starts and ends with Russell, the man won two NCAA championships, an Olympic gold medal, and 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons. At the age of 43, Brady just won his seventh Super Bowl in his 21st season. It’s truly unbelievable, especially in an age of parity, salary caps, four rounds of playoffs, and a 32-team league. But it does not make him a greater winner than Russell.

You think it’s a big deal that Bruce Arians let Brady help coach the Buccaneers? Swell. Russell actually coached the Celtics to two championships while he was busy being their best player.

I called around to make sure this is not just me. I spoke with four people who have seen a lot.
I'm in agreement with Russell still holding the crown, but being a cyclist I can make a solid argument in favor of Eddy Merckx; just look at this guy's resume - eleven Grand Tour wins, former hour record holder (average speed / distance covered - 31 miles / MPH) and won a grand total of 525 bike races. It's estimated that he won thirty percent of the races he's ever entered.

Two things make the whole column better - Shank actually did some serious work with this column and he lets the four (Ernie Accorsi, Bob Cousy, Bob Ryan and Richard Johnson) take over the column from here. It's definitely worth a read.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

DHL Dan CXXIII - Super Bowl Recycling

What better way is there to write about tomorrow's Super Bowl than rehasing one of your old columns?
Recalling another high-stakes Brady-Mahomes matchup, and other thoughts
Recalling, recycling - it's all the same!
Picked-up pieces while picking up a Super Bowl sheet cake at Star Market …

▪ Super Bowl LV is easily framed as Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes, quite possibly the top pairing of quarterbacks in the 55-year history of this event. Those of us lucky enough to be at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan. 20, 2019, will never forget the first championship matchup of the GOAT vs. NFL Future.

It was the biggest game in the 47-year history of Arrowhead at that time, and the Patriots cut the hearts out of the frozen local fans by keeping a lid on Mahomes and bolting to a 14-0 halftime lead. New England led, 17-7, at the end of three quarters before a flurry of scoring filled the fourth. Both teams scored twice in the final 3:32 of regulation and it went to overtime tied, 31-31.
The original column can be found here. The rest of the Picked Up Pieces column is the usual stuff - shit on the Red Sox, shit on Curt Schilling, a silly quiz, etc.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021


At last - Shank comes up with a decent column!
In the sports-world pecking order, Tampa has left us in New England behind

They don’t have Duck Boats in Tampa. Or Swan Boats. Or Harvard. Or Yo-Yo Ma. Or Fenway Park.

But you know what they do have?

Better teams than we have.

That’s right. In an unthinkable inversion, Tampa is Titletown and we are Loserville. I can’t seem to get my big head around this new reality. We’ve mocked them for decades. Now they own us. The Lightning beat the Bruins in the playoffs. The Rays beat the Red Sox every year. Tom Brady is going to the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

How does that taste, Boston?
Now that I think about it, he's just trolling us again, but not without reason.

Monday, February 01, 2021

The Dustin Pedroia Retirement Column

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia finally calls it a career. Since Shank is generally incapable of anything resembling a respectful retirement-type ending when it comes to a local athlete signing off, he wisely turns it over to two guys who know him best, Theo Epstein and Curt Schilling Tito Francoa:
Two guys who know him well have the highest praise for Dustin Pedroia

Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are busy guys with important jobs, not always eager to talk about their Red Sox years, which were important but did not end well.
Just a friendly reminder - Shank was uniquely instrumental in the former's departure from the Red Sox with the infamous 'Dirty Laundry' column. How Shank got Tito Francoa to co-write his book with him after that bullshit will forever be a mystery on par with Jimmy Hoffa's true burial site.
Both responded immediately when I reached out Monday regarding the retirement of Dustin Pedroia.

“It’s a combination of sadness and real appreciation,” Epstein said of a player he drafted in the second round out of Arizona State in 2004. “It’s tough to see someone like him, whose heart would allow him to accomplish anything he wanted, not go out on his own terms.

“But at the same time, it gives everyone an opportunity to think back at everything he accomplished and everything he meant to the Red Sox and how this entire era wouldn’t have been possible without him.
Probably for the best to let them do the talking for Shank, who could not help himself over the years and took some juvenile potshots at Pedroia because of his height. To my recollection, today is the first time he ever put that into its proper context and not made it sound like the juvenile potshot it otherwise is.