Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The One Where Shank Saves Me The Work

Shank finally gets around to interviewing Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom, whose team Shank has been savaging since spring training. I was going to do the usual linkfest to point all this stuff out, but today's my lucky day:
At the halfway point, Chaim Bloom is pleased with Red Sox but says: ‘We haven’t accomplished anything yet’

Red Sox baseball boss Chaim Bloom returned a phone call Tuesday, which was pretty nice of him considering that I’ve been driving a pipe through his ball club since he got the job 20 months ago.

You might remember: Tampa Bay by the Charles. The Boston Devil Rays. The worst Sox deal (Mookie Betts to the Dodgers) since Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The joke of “payroll flexibility.” The worst outfield in Red Sox history. Fangraphs’s idiotic projection of 89 wins. “Sneaky good” mockery. Sox bound for irrelevance. Sox are Fool’s Gold.

So here we are at the midpoint of the 2021 baseball season, and the Sox are in first place, own the second-best record in baseball, and are on pace to win 98-100 games.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Raising Questions

Red Sox starting pitcher Garrett Richards got his ass kicked last night, and Shank is here to start the burial:
Garrett Richards’s problematic start against the lowly Royals raised more questions than it answered

What are the Red Sox going to do about Garrett Richards?

Does he get another start? Is he banished to the bullpen? Would he be willing to pitch at Polar Park for a while? Or are the Sox fine watching him learn how to pitch in games that count?

In the last two weeks it has been established that Richards can’t pitch effectively without applying foreign substance to the baseball. As a result, we are watching a 33-year-old professional athlete making $10 million per year try to re-learn his craft during the major league season.

All the good feeling from the Sox weekend dismantling of the Yankees dissolved early Monday when Richards gave up three homers before getting five outs in the series opener with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway.
Hearing this guy whine all season hasn't exactly added to his case, either.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Sale Not Made

Shank's not at all psyched about this weekend's local baseball festivities:
Still not sold on this iteration of Red Sox-Yankees

Red Sox-Yankees. Still special? Are you not entertained?

Folks in these parts were laughing at the Yanks when the Sox swept three from the Bronx Bombers New York in the first weekend in June. The big payroll, preseason-favorite Yankees were on their way to falling nine games out of first place and there was smug satisfaction seeing them eat the dust of Alex Cora’s upstart nine.

A lot of that momentum had shifted by the time the Yankees got to Fenway on Friday. New York was a mere 3½ games behind the Red Sox, three in the loss column. The Yankees came to Boston winners of seven of nine, victorious in each of their previous three series.
So by all accounts it just might be an interesting series, right? Read on for the reasons behind Shank's pessimism.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Gettin' Paid

The Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA and in favor of student athletes when it comes to compensation / renumeration:
Paying college athletes is incredibly complicated, and the Supreme Court did not untangle it

There were big headlines Monday when the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA violates US antitrust law when it limits compensating college athletes.

The 9-0 vote led to a flurry of knee-jerk reaction and flamboyant hot takes. And why not? Everybody hates the sanctimonious, greedy governing body of college athletics. Dumping on the NCAA is like trashing the IRS and the Fake News Media. It’s easy and it feels good.

But there was something misleading about this dance on the heads of the lords of college sports.

The Globe’s Page 1 headline was, “Justices back payments to NCAA athletes,” while the vaunted New York Times went with “College Athletes Cannot Be Denied Pay, Justices Rule.”

Friday, June 18, 2021

Boston Globe Death Watch - XIV

Seems the Globies issue whiny, petulant demands on a semi-weekly basis:

DHL Dan CXLI - Keep Hope Alive

When Shank has a proverbial bone to gnaw on, he simply won't give it up easily:
Red Sox can’t unstick themselves from this issue, and other thoughts
Doesn't help when you keep bringing the subject up, but go on...
Picked-up pieces while combing the Internet for the last stashes of Spider Tack …

▪ Can Red Sox fans, uniformed personnel, and local media please stop pushing the narrative that your team has not benefited from violating MLB Rule 6:02 (c) by using using foreign substances to get a better grip? Every team had guys doing it, and the Red Sox pretty clearly benefited more than most. Just look at the cast of Boston starters who curiously overachieved, then fell back to earth as soon as warnings were issued.

Spider Tack and other substances don’t help only spin rate. They help a pitcher locate. Martín Pérez got lit up on high changeups against the Jays last Sunday. In the words of super-agent Scott Boras, foreign substances are “control enhancing, so it’s performance enhancing.”
It's pretty much a repeat of everything he's said on the subject for the past week, interspersed with recent quotes. Let's see how many more columns he's gonna milk from this cow.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Tom Lamb Column

Shank occasionally does a column of a local athlete, coach or team so you get the false impression he's not just all about shitting on the Patriots, the Red Sox, etc. all the time.
Tom Lamb, scholastic sports legend, is still in the game at 73, coaching Natick girls’ softball

Tom Lamb has been coaching high school athletes since Richard Nixon was president.

That’s a lot of cold afternoon practices, bus rides, orange slices, rainouts, battles with the MIAA, and one-on-one conversations with fragile teens straddling that elusive line between adolescence and adulthood.

Lamb is a Massachusetts scholastic sports legend. As a varsity football coach, he won 248 games and four Super Bowls for Natick and Norwood. He has coached a future Heisman Trophy winner, been honored by four Halls of Fame, and put in time at Hoosac Valley, Northeastern, Framingham State, Boston English, and assorted Babe Ruth, Legion, and Little Leagues at multiple exits off the Mass. Pike.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

If Only There Was A Profession Where They Asked Athletes Questions

Does anyone think Shank understands the irony of this tweet when he wrote it? How about any time thereafter?

Monday, June 14, 2021

This Was Not A Difficult Call

Dan Shaughnessy Watch, April 12, 2021:
My final point - you and I know that at some point down the road, say when Calipari steps in some dog crap again, he'll go right back to 'disrespecting' the school. It's tough to teach an old dog new tricks.
Dan Shaughnessy, a few hours ago:
Honoring John Calipari and Marcus Camby with statues is not a good look for UMass

There have been some bad ideas in our New England sports universe in recent years. There was the push for the 2024 Olympic Games, the Red Sox signing of Pablo Sandoval, and the Patriots’ estimation that it was not worth keeping Tom Brady around for another few years.

And now we have folks at the University of Massachusetts — our State U — breathlessly announcing Monday that they are going to “immortalize four basketball legends” with a dedication of statues to Julius Erving, Jack Leaman, Marcus Camby, and John Calipari outside the Mullins Center Sept. 11.

That’s right, ladies and gents. Our State U plans to dedicate statues to Camby and Calipari, two hoop talents who won big, then brought disgrace to UMass when the Minutemen’s 1996 Final Four appearance was vacated because of NCAA violations. UMass was officially erased from Final Four history and ordered to return $151,000 in tournament money.
I'm wondering if John Calipari killed any of Shank's pets, or did the old Kraft Super Bowl Snub on him, but I think the best explanation for the animosity is it's cheap grandstanding at Cal's expense, and that's notable to me because I don't see a lot of evidence of Shank doing the same to Marcus Camby with any regularity.

I'm, more amused by a) the utter predictability of this column and b) some of the Twitter crowd going to town on him:

DHL Dan CXL - Pointed Questions For Alex Cora

Shank (finally or otherwise) notices cheating in baseball, and makes the Red Sox manager squirm and evade:
Picked-up pieces while wishing anyone loved me as much as Bill Belichick loves Cam Newton …

▪ Alex Cora is one fine big league manager. It’s great for the Red Sox that he’s back, and New England is excited with the team’s fast start.

We know all about Cora’s baggage. Major League Baseball suspended him for a year for his role in the world champion Houston Astros’ cheating scandal of 2017. Cora’s 2018 world champion Red Sox also were caught and punished by MLB for illegal sign stealing (video room shenanigans).

Now that MLB is cracking down on pitchers for using illegal sticky substances to make the baseball spin, I would think Cora has put his hurlers on notice. More than anyone in the game, Cora can ill afford to be associated with another cheating scandal.

When Cora was asked about this issue at a group Zoom session Wednesday, he said, “I don’t think it’s in the manager’s hands. It think it’s more the players.”
Preemptive throwing of players under the bus, or just deciding not to take that bullet? Here we have the Sox' general manager getting the 'ol Goodyear treatment:
I spoke with Cora one-on-one Friday morning to ask about recommendations he may have made to his pitchers.

“We had a meeting in spring training and Chaim [Bloom] addressed that part,” Cora answered.

Given his personal history, does Cora feel any need to be particularly vigilant on the issue?

“Um … like I said, Chaim talked about it in spring training,” said Cora. “He was very open about it, so now we have to wait for the memo or whatever they are going to do and then we’ll address it again.”
Let me also note - Felger referenced this column in the 2:00 hour of today's Felger & Mazz show. One hand washes the other...

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Burial By Proxy

The Boston Bruins lost their 2nd round playoff series to the New York Islanders last night, 6 - 2. Instead of the usual Shank burial of the local team after the playoffs ('they're just not that good', et. al), he'll let former Bruins general manager Harry Sinden do it for him:
Harry Sinden was just like the rest of us Wednesday night. He watched the Bruins from the comfort of his home and found himself yelling at the TV as their season ended with a 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

“I was into it pretty good,” Sinden said with a chuckle Thursday morning. “I told my wife, ‘If you don’t like me yelling, you can go upstairs.’ ”

Now 88, Sinden is listed fourth on the Bruins administrative masthead as “Senior Advisor to the Owner and Alternate Governor.” He was Bobby Orr’s first head coach with the Bruins in 1966 and acquired both Cam Neely (trade) and Don Sweeney (draft), the two men who run the Bruins for Jeremy Jacobs in 2021.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Boston Globe Death Watch - XIII

It's been a while since there's been anything new on this front, but the union representing most of the Globies is still whining: If you clowns don't like the pay / conditions there, then quit. Learn to code, bitchez!

DHL Dan CXXXIX - No Longer On The Ortiz Case

Shank updates us on the David ortiz case, which seems like it's going nowhere:
It turns out Ed Davis is no longer on the David Ortiz case, and other picked-up pieces from the sports world

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether Celtics players have chartered a jet so they can fly to Milwaukee to cheer for Kyrie in the next round …

▪ Boston super cop Ed Davis is no longer cracking the case on the two-year-old shooting of David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz hired Davis to get to the bottom of things, but the search proved futile, and according to Davis, the investigation is ongoing in the DR with more than a dozen suspects still in custody.

“I’m just a security guy here, so I don’t want to go off on a tangent,” Davis said Thursday. “The bottom line on it is this: This is a very complicated and still-dangerous situation that we’re looking at. We provided the government down there with important information and there’s still no resolution.
Here's something amusing - Danny Ainge lied to Shank last month:
▪ I had this exchange with Danny Ainge on May 14:

Me: Are you coming back?

Ainge: Of course.

Me: Is [Brad] Stevens coming back?

Ainge: Of course.

After resigning this past Wednesday, Ainge told the Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that in late March he approached Celtics ownership and told them he did not think he had the energy to continue on the job.

So which is it? Did Ainge know he was leaving back in March, or was this a sudden departure after things fell apart in the first round of the playoffs?

I checked in with Ainge to ask about the timeline discrepancy.
Rest at the link.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Shank On The Celtics' Front Office Changes

I'm kind of impressed that Shank banged this one out in under two hours:
A weird, abrupt ending for Danny Ainge, a daunting new challenge for Brad Stevens with Celtics

It happened overnight.


The soft and annoying Boston Celtics of 2020-21 were eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday evening in Brooklyn, a 123-109 noncompetitive whimper at the end of one of the most disappointing local sports seasons of all time.

And then, after a meeting back in Boston Wednesday morning, the team issued a press release at 11:01 a.m. announcing that Danny Ainge was retiring and coach Brad Stevens would be leaving the bench and moving into Ainge’s position as president of basketball operations.
Love the picture - Ainge looks like he's in a hostage video.

He Came To Bury Them

With a Game 5 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics are out of the playoffs and Shank is here to shovel dirt on their grave:
Mercifully it’s over, but Celtics need big changes after a season of failure and disappointment

It’s over. The bull gang can put the parquet panels in storage for the summer. Let’s thank the hoop god for that.

Now it’s time for a change. Fire basketball boss Danny Ainge. Fire coach Brad Stevens. Fire the roster. Something has to give. The Boston Celtics simply cannot stand pat after the season we just witnessed.

Kyrie Irving (25 points) and the Brooklyn Nets put the Celtics out of their misery Tuesday in Brooklyn, beating the soft C’s, 123-109, in Game 5 at the quiet Barclays Center to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs.