Friday, December 30, 2022

DHL Dan CLII - Picking Up Where Others Have Left Off

Shank's had nearly a full season of watching Patriots football and sums up what most other people have been talking about for months:
Mac Jones’s reputation has been taking a hit, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wishing I saw Pelé just once …

▪ What’s up with the Patriots and Mac Jones?

As the Patriots prepare for their penultimate regular-season game vs. the Dolphins at Gillette Sunday, there’s nonstop negative narrative regarding their second-year quarterback.

Mac has regressed in his second season and is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL.

He actually has been bad since the first eight games of his rookie season. That’s a year and a half of bad.

He has been caught on national TV yelling at his coaches and teammates during games.

He couldn’t slow down Chandler Jones on the clown-show final play of the loss to the Raiders.

He presents as insubordinate and defiant of his coach. When Bill Belichick said, “We couldn’t throw it that far,” regarding a possible Hail Mary attempt at the end of the Raiders game, Jones came back a day later and said he could have reached the end zone. ”I know my number,” he said.
The rest of the column is the usual grab bag of stuff, most of it decent to good.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

DHL Dan CLI - Placing Blame

Shank's favorite pastime as applied to the offseason Boston Red Sox:
Don’t blame Chaim Bloom. It’s ownership that did this to the Red Sox, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while playing Mitch Miller Christmas carols . . .

▪ Chaim Bloom is having a horrible offseason, but he’s not the sole reason the Red Sox are bad.

It’s not Chaim. It’s not Alex Cora or Alex Verdugo. It’s not Joe Castiglione, Wally The Green Monster, or his sister, Tessie.

It’s ownership. It’s John Henry, Tom Werner, and whoever else is directing baseball ops to seek value over winning. Mookie and Xander are gone with virtually nothing in exchange, and the last Sox star — Rafael Devers — has a foot out the door. Fangraphs reports that the Red Sox — ever a top-five spending team — have dropped to 12th in cash payroll.

What is happening to the Red Sox is a direct result of ownership decisions made late in the 2019 season, after Dave Dombrowski was fired. That’s when they decided to put the bottom line above winning. And that’s why the Red Sox — while charging the highest ticket prices in baseball — have only one healthy star left on a team that will be a consensus favorite to finish last for the third time in four seasons.

Monday, December 19, 2022

DHL Dan CL - Charlie At The NCAA

Shank's quick to point out the obvious flaw in this plan:
Good luck, Charlie Baker, you’ve got your work cut out at the NCAA, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces from a week on the dusty trail in Arizona . . .

▪ Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker Thursday was named the new president of the NCAA.

Sheesh. The man who looks like Roger Goodell is now going to try to fix something far more broken than any professional sports league.
As far as them being effective or even innovative managers, I don't see it in either guy. Guys like Goddell and Baker are simply yes-men, have zero history at turning companies / organizations around and nothing of note will happen with Baker heading the NCAA.
Good luck, Charlie. Big-time college sports is a cesspool. The NCAA makes the MBTA look like a well-oiled machine.

When Baker, who could have been governor for life (wrong! - ed.), announced he was stepping down after two terms, I assumed he was preparing to run for president of the United States.
Just what the 2024 field needs - Massachusetts' answer to Jeb Bush in 2016.
No. He’s now president of the NCAA, which could be more challenging than sitting in the Oval Office.

Baker’s now got to deal with the billion-dollar, blatantly professional, borderline criminal greed of big-time college sports while at the same time trying to serve worthy, Division 3 programs with true amateurs playing for the love of the game. It’s like overseeing Brookline Booksmith and Amazon Prime simultaneously.
How unlikely is Charlie Baker to succeed here?
Good luck, Charlie. Your first day on the job is March 1. By Easter you’ll be longing for those golden days of trying to fix the Orange Line.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

She Ain't Exactly Pretty (She Ain't Exactly Small)

Here's Shank on last night's admittedly tough to watch at times Patriots / Cardinals Monday Night football game:
It wasn’t the prettiest football in a place filled with Patriots lore, but Mac Jones and Co. remain in the playoff chase

GLENDALE, Az. — It was injury-plagued, mistake-filled, and sometimes downright unwatchable. But in the end, it was a beautiful thing for New England football fans as the ragged Patriots scored 20 unanswered points in a 27-13 victory over the 4-9 Arizona Cardinals on “Monday Night Football.”

Bill Belichick and Co. are 7-6. Postseason hopes live.

“We did some things better, but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” said Belichick. “It takes everybody, and I thought we kind of had that tonight . . . It’s always good to win. That’s what we practice for.”

Mac Jones (24 for 35, 235 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT) did little to remind anyone of Tom Brady — and he’s still yelling at his own people — but his performance was good enough to keep playoff hopes alive in this tractor-pull season. The Pats have been able to beat bad teams and the Cardinals (losers of five of their last six) certainly qualify. Making things easier for New England, Arizona’s star quarterback, Kyler Murray, suffered a non-contact injury on the third play of the game and never returned.
What Shank means by Mac Jones 'yelling at his own people' are the two clusterfucks 'running' the offense - Matt Patricia and Joe Judge (AKA Beavis & Butthead):

DHL Dan CXLIX - Swing And A Miss On Bogaerts

Shank covers the recent signings (and non-signings) of the Boston Red Sox as they gear up for 2023:
Xander Bogaerts leaving is the latest blow to an enraged Red Sox Nation, and other thoughts

TUCSON — Picked-up pieces while contemplating an Opening Day lineup of Yoshida, Hernandez, Devers, Story, Verdugo, Casas, Hosmer, Arroyo, and Wong.


▪ A lot of you went to bed Wednesday night feeling better about the Red Sox. They’d picked up a legit closer in Kenley Jansen and spent some real money to acquire outfielder Masataka Yoshida from Japan. There was even word from the Winter Meetings of new contract talks with Xander Bogaerts.

Then, while you were sleeping, it was reported that Bogaerts agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres.

An abused and enraged Red Sox Nation awoke to soul-crushing news of another cornerstone player gone with little coming in return. The notion that ownership cares more about money than winning was reinforced.

The Red Sox can afford to keep their best players. They just won’t do it anymore.
Not if it's going to be a contract lasting over a decade, which ought to be understandable. Three other teams are supposed to have been ready with similar bids but a 10+ year contract for a guy who's 30 isn't very logical. Let the other teams chase and likely overspend.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Dancing On A Grave

Posted with great glee and satisfaction, no doubt about it:

Sunday, December 04, 2022

DHL Dan CXLVXIII - Last At-Bat For Curt Schilling

A man who Shank can't stand has one more shot at the Baseball Hall of Fame:
Sunday is the judgment day Curt Schilling wanted, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while remembering when the Red Sox used the Hot Stove season to announce something better than advertisements on their uniforms …

▪ Curt Schilling could be named a Hall of Famer Sunday night. Same goes for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Baseball’s 16-person Contemporary Era Committee convenes at the Winter Meetings in San Diego Sunday, and just after 8 p.m., white smoke will likely emerge from the conference room, indicating that one or more new Hall of Famers have been chosen from a list of eight candidates who failed to gain election in 10 or 15 tries on the writers’ ballot.

Sheer math ensures that we won’t have a large class from this vote. A candidate needs 12 of the 16 votes to gain admission, and each voter can select no more than three. I’m expecting to see Fred McGriff elected. Schilling is a possibility. The other six men on the ballot are Clemens, Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Albert Belle.

It’s a potentially explosive night for MLB. This is the first opportunity for Schilling, Bonds, and Clemens to be judged by their peers. Seven Hall of Fame players — Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Frank Thomas, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell — are on the committee. Others on the committee are executives Theo Epstein, Paul Beeston, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter, and Ken Williams, plus media reps Steve Hirdt, La Velle Neal, and Susan Slusser.

McGriff has considerable support, including some former teammates who are members of the committee.
We'll see how much support the others on the ballot receive, including Schilling.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Shank's Annual Boston Bruins Column

Nothing like a little bandwagon hijacking where the Bruins are concerned:
They’re responding to a new coach, have a former MVP on the third line, and plenty of locker room leadership. No wonder the Bruins can’t lose.

The Bruins were already good. Then they changed coaches and got better. Now they are playing the best hockey in the NHL.

How did this happen?

There was a lot of negativity on Causeway Street when Cam Neely and Don Sweeney fired Bruce Cassidy in June. The demanding Cassidy, a fan favorite, had coached 399 games and taken the Bruins to the playoffs in six straight seasons. He came within one game of winning the franchise’s seventh Stanley Cup in 2019.

But Jake DeBrusk didn’t like Cassidy and asked to be traded. Brandon Carlo told The Athletic he felt “beat down” by Cassidy. David Krejci went home to Czechia for the 2021-22 season.

In true millennial fashion, player empowerment trumped player accountability. So Cassidy was fired, Sweeney explaining that the coach’s style “takes its toll.”

“I had a long history with Bruce,” Sweeney said before the Bruins’ 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay Tuesday. “I respect the hell out of him. He’s a fantastic coach. But sometimes you just take the pulse of where your team is at and where you think you can get to, and you make a really tough decision. This was difficult.”
We'll see how long two things hold up - the Bruins' record and Shank's non-hostile treatment of the team.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

DHL Dan CXLVXII - Conflict

It seems Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics has been making, shall we say, very unprofessional comments in past weeks:
Jaylen Brown’s actions are in conflict with his words, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while watching NESN’s Franchy Cordero highlight reel …

▪ No thanks, Jaylen Brown.

Again Wednesday, you spoke about continuing to “do what I’ve been doing, trying to uplift my community, spreading kindness, spreading love, trying to be the best version of myself, but also help any and everybody around me. That’s what I’ve been since I came into this league and that’s what I’m gonna continue to do.”

Sorry, Jaylen, but I have no interest in reading or hearing your well-intentioned words promoting social justice and spreading love. You’ve had three chances in the last month to denounce antisemitism and in each instance you balked, or chose to support your misguided friends, Kanye West, a.k.a. “Ye,” and Kyrie Irving.

When you were first asked about dumping your affiliation with the hateful Ye’s Donda Sports Agency, you said you planned to stay with the agency because Ye was “dealing with a lot of adversity.” It was only when Adidas dumped Ye that you followed.
I haven't been following this story all that closely but I'm pretty sure about one thing - you can't profess support for one group of people while pissing on another.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Punting On A Good Column

As is usually the case with many Shank columns about a win by the New England Patriots, it's not that the Patriots won but rather it's the Jets who lost the game:
Why didn’t the Jets punt the ball out of bounds instead of to Marcus Jones? Because they are the Jets.

In the end, the Jets are going to Jet. And Belichick is going to Belichick. And just when you think you have wasted three hours of your life, the Patriots reward you with one of the most exciting plays in sports; an 84-yard, last-minute, game-winning punt return by a player who is unknown to most New England sports fans.

The Patriots beat the Jets, 10-3, Sunday and Jones won the game.

Not quarterback Mac Jones.

Not ballhawk defensive back Jonathan Jones.

Not Dalton Jones, Sam Jones, K.C. Jones, Popeye Jones, Adam Jones, Tom Jones, nor Me and Mrs. Jones.
Now that's some Pulitzer Prize level writing right there!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

DHL Dan CXLVI - A Cold Hot Stove

While three of the four local pro sports teams are doing fairly well (Patriots) or very well (Celtics & Bruins), Shank picks on the runt of the litter:
Red Sox sure seem to be taking their fans for granted, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while hoping to see Fireman Ed at Gillette Sunday …

▪ Do the Red Sox care that they’re largely irrelevant around here at this hour? Is anybody listening to the sounds of silence on Jersey Street? How long will the Sox continue to suggest they are going to do something about their roster while they do nothing? Does the team believe fans will keep filling Fenway (at the top prices in baseball) and buying NESN if it won’t pay market value to keep homegrown stars? Are we in for another long cold winter of “the Sox are in on this guy” while they merely troll the waiver wire for bargains who’ll come here for a one-year contract?

These are things I think about while the Celtics and Bruins go into the weekend with the best records in their sports, and the potentially playoff-bound, always-a-hot-topic Patriots attempt to beat the hated New York Jets for a 14th consecutive time.

Seriously. While acknowledging that the Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots are in season, and the Sox are not, how many times have we been able to safely say that the Red Sox are the least popular team in New England? By a wide margin?
He's got a point - the Red Sox have yet to sign either Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers and they don't seem serious about doing so.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Early Conversation

Shank's first real column on the 2022-2023 Boston Celtics focuses on Jayson Tatum... the league MVP?
Jayson Tatum has been undeniably brilliant for the Celtics, but it’s a little early for MVP conversations

It is the middle of November. The Celtics have the NBA’s best record (11-3), have won seven straight, and have played roughly 17 percent of their schedule.

And the Jayson-Tatum-for-MVP campaign is all the rage.

“Tatum’s The One.’’ “Why Not The Best?’’ “Yes, He Can.’’

These veteran eyes have never seen anything like it. The Celtics haven’t yet played an NBA month, but Green Teamers are going door-to-door to spread the word of Tatum’s candidacy. This would be like dubbing Rafael Devers American League MVP in the middle of May. Or pushing Tom Brady after the first three games of an NFL season.

Monday, November 14, 2022

DHL Dan CXLV - Second Bite At The Apple

Since the Patriots aren't playing this past weekend, and the Bruins & Celtics both on winning streaks (and thus can't dump on either one), Shank looks at the upcoming Baseball Hall of Fame chances for certain former players:
A fascinating Baseball Hall of Fame committee vote is upcoming, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if the Red Sox will use the millionaires tax as their new excuse to not sign free agents . . .

▪ Roger Clemens in the Hall of Fame next summer?

Barry Bonds?

Curt Schilling?

It could happen. These three failed to gain admission in 10 tries on the writers ballot, but any of them could be announced as a Hall of Famer Dec. 4 when a committee of 16 baseball folk (usually eight Hall of Fame players plus some veteran executives and media members) votes on an eight-man ballot at the annual winter meetings in San Diego.

In addition to Clemens, Bonds, and Schilling, the committee will consider Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Albert Belle — five more players who were repeatedly passed over by the writers and moved to this Contemporary Baseball Era Committee.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Unforced Error

You'd think that local sports teams would exercise greater levels of due diligence on prospective team members, especially in light of the Ume Udoka situation. It looks like the Boston Bruins didn't get the memo:
The Bruins tarnished their brand, and for no good reason

There’s honor in the brand of the Boston Bruins, perhaps more than the team’s ownership has ever understood.

The Bruins and their fans have always stood for something around here, a tad different from our other three franchises. The Bruins have been around much longer than the Celtics or Patriots and play in a house populated by rowdy, respectful, demanding folks who probably make less money but tip better than fans of our other three teams.

The Black and Gold have lived up to the love of their fans most winters since they first skated here in 1924. They are usually competitive, traditionally pugnacious, and ever-accountable. And Cam Neely — a big, tough, skilled leader first brought here by Bruins godfather Harry Sinden in 1986 — has been a worthy steward of the franchise since taking over as team president in 2010.

All of which made it so crushing to see Neely and the Bruins blunder into one of the worst decisions in team lore, bringing distraction and dishonor to the Hub Home of Hockey just when the surprising Bruins were off to their best start (10-1-0) in franchise history.
Read on as Shank gets to mount the Shetland Pony high horse once again.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

DHL Dan CXLIV - Make Them Pay

A few weeks ago everyone was up in arms about the Ime Udoka situation. Today's complaint - the Celtics aren't getting anything in return, and we know how Red Auerbach would've handled things:
Celtics are breaking their own precedent on Ime Udoka compensation, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while remembering when Patriots-Colts and Brady-Manning was appointment television …

▪ The Celtics must really want Ime Udoka out of their lives. It’s pretty clear that Udoka — even after the disgrace of bad behavior that earned him a one-season suspension in Boston — is of great value to the Brooklyn Nets.

And yet it looks like the Celtics are willing to part with Udoka without asking for compensation from a conference rival.

I know these are different times and far different circumstances, but Red Auerbach would never have done such a thing. If the Nets wanted a guy who was under contract to the Celtics, Red would have made the Nets pay. Even if Red didn’t want the guy around anymore.

Let’s go all the way back to the 1969-70 season when 41-year-old Bob Cousy was coaching the Cincinnati Royals and reluctantly agreed to come out of retirement to help the cash-strapped team sell a few tickets. Coach Cousy hadn’t played a game in seven years but agreed to lace ‘em up to help the struggling franchise.

“Not so fast,” said Red, who was rebuilding the Celtics after the retirement of Bill Russell. The Celtics still owned Cousy’s NBA rights; he was on their “retired” list. He could not play for another team without their permission. So Red demanded compensation.

“How do we know Cousy isn’t better than ever at 41?” asked Red. “Like Gordie Howe and Pancho Gonzalez?” (Tom Brady hadn’t been born yet.)

The Royals grudgingly parted with 6-foot-7-inch forward Bill Dinwiddie to grant the Cooz his “freedom.”
That's right, folks - a 'precedent' set 52 years ago and not since that time by completely different people involved (not to mention what Udoka's been accused of) is not being followed. Sorry - that 'reasoning' fails my logic test.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

You First

Isn't this an interesting take from a guy who's run enough Red Sox players out of town over his career to field an entire team:
Five years after the Astros’ trash-can transgressions, maybe it’s time to let our grudges go

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies thrashed the Astros, 7-0, in Game 3 of the World Series Tuesday. The Phils hit five homers in the first five innings. It’s almost like their hitters knew what was coming.

And America no doubt loved it. Everybody still hates the Astros.

They trail the 118th World Series, two games to one, but still have a chance to win their second World Series in franchise history.

It would be their first legit title.
I'd say their first unquestioned title, but go on...
We all remember 2017 when Alex Cora’s trash-can dream came true. The Cheatin’ Stros beat the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers in succession, only to live forever in disgrace when it was learned they enjoyed the benefit of an illegal sign-stealing system designed in part by the man who would become manager of your Red Sox. The Astros instantly became America’s most hated team since the Spygate/Deflategate, Belichick/Brady Patriots pantsed the NFL for the better part of two decades.

Houston’s transgressions were worse than anything the Patriots ever did, but New England fans haven’t had much high ground in this area, given the hiring of Cora, two celebrated football scandals, and the 2017 Red Sox Apple Watch malfeasance.

Not to go all “Trash Can Report In Context” on you, but the ‘22 Astros might be good without cheating. They won 106 regular-season games, and eight of their first nine postseason games. They swept the 99-win Yankees in the ALCS and went into Tuesday’s Game 3 with a combined record of 114-58, including playoff games.

They hope this Fall Classic will be their redemption tour.
Gotta love the warped mind that can take a World Series baseball game and make it about the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots, like that grudge will ever be let go.

Familiar With The Subject Matter

Longtime readers of Dan Shaughnessy Watch will know Shank writes about a theme that's right in his wheelhouse:
Philadelphia and Boston sports fans have a lot in common, especially when it comes to holding grudges

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia is bigger than Boston, but when it comes to sports, the two towns have much in common. Both have history, success, epic failures, and edge. It’s personal. Nobody ever forgets anything.
Neither does Shank!
Folks here still talk about ‘64 and Gene Mauch the way we talk about Denny Galehouse, Bucky Dent, and Bill Buckner. We’re still mad that Bobby Clarke and Co. beat the Bruins in the Cup Finals in ‘74, and they won’t talk about Donovan McNabb barfing in the huddle at Super Bowl XXXIX.

Here In the autumn of 2022, Philadelphia’s Phillies and Eagles are championship caliber at the same time. They have a World Series baseball team and a 7-0 football team with designs on the Super Bowl.

We did this multiple times already.

After the ‘04 Sox won the World Series, the Patriots beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl in Jacksonville. After the ‘07 Sox swept the Rockies, the Pats went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl to the Giants. Alex Cora’s 2018 Red Sox won the World Series less than four months before Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won their final Super Bowl together.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Its Appeal Has Become More Selective

Shank's at another World Series and laments the lack of fans in recent times:
The World Series is a huge deal in Houston and Philadelphia, but not so much elsewhere

HOUSTON — Picked-up pieces from the World Series and beyond . . .

This is the 32nd World Series I’ve been privileged to cover. Friday night’s Game 1 was everything a baseball fan could want. The Phillies came back from a 5-0 deficit, we saw a great defensive play extend the game to extra innings, and the Phils won in 10 when a catcher hit a solo homer. Just like Carlton Fisk in 1975.

But I write with sadness in my hardball heart. I love the World Series. And baseball. And it feels like this once-national event is shrinking by the hour.

We all know the old saw about how baseball no longer grips the nation as it once did. We know the games are too long, played too late at night, with not enough balls in play. We know that America’s true pastime is almighty football. Baseball fans are an older crowd — folks who grew up when everybody knew who was heavyweight champ, and people still read newspapers, went to the track, and maybe attended daily Mass.

Revisiting Dave Dombrowski

Never one to shy away from kicking a hornet's nest, Shank catches up with former Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski:
Dave Dombrowski clarifies his feelings about the Red Sox, declaring he wants Boston ‘in the past’

HOUSTON — Terry Francona. Theo Epstein. Grady Little. Nomar Garciaparra. Manny Ramirez. Roger Clemens. Bobby Valentine. Carl Crawford. Adrián González.
"Name the Red Sox players and personnel Shank has run out of town over the years!"
It almost always ends badly for Boston baseball figures. And we can surely thank Shank include former Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in that.

In September 2019, Dombrowski was fired less than 11 months after winning 119 games and the World Series.

It’s still amazing when you think about it. And the announcement of his dismissal came in old-timey cut-throat fashion. A midnight surprise, minutes after a Sunday night loss to the Yankees, while the Patriots were unfurling a championship banner and beating the Steelers at Gillette on “Sunday Night Football.”

For more than three years, Dombrowski has taken the high road, eschewing opportunities to gloat while the Sox finished last twice. Now that he’s brought his Phillies to the World Series, he’s admitting hard feelings about his final Boston days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Smoke And Mirrors

Never one to let a bad New England Patriots loss go to waste, Shank laments the end of a situation he cheerleaded for three weeks, complete with lame nostalgia, a Jethro Tull lyric mention (feel free to guess which one!) and baseball cross-references:
After Patriots’ defeat, it is easy to see the magic show was just smoke and mirrors

For a couple of minutes in the second quarter, it was Zappe Magic and almost felt like 21 years ago when young Tom Brady came out of nowhere and took the quarterback job from Drew Bledsoe.

In the first half of the prime-time “Monday Night Football” game against the Bears, Mac Jones was Wally Pipped by Bailey Zappe’s Lou Gehrig (Zappe even wears No. 4). Zappe was Elvis. He was Rudy — with talent. The fourth-round pick from Western Kentucky came off the bench and directed two TD drives in less than four minutes, rocking Gillette to its foundation, and taking the Patriots from a 10-0 deficit to a 14-10 lead. The golly-gee kid completed 4 of 4 passes for 97 yards. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers and a 43-yard bomb to DeVante Parker.

Despite preposterous insistence that the Pats were planning to play two quarterbacks regardless of performance (lie detector machines exploding from Portland to Newport), our local quarterback controversy was in full (not Chaim) Bloom when Jones failed and Zappe succeeded in the first half. In that moment, Zappe officially supplanted last year’s Pro Bowl/playoff rookie, Jones, who came to New England as a first-round QB savior. It looked like the Pats would move to 4-3 and take Zappe Magic into the Meadowlands against the hated Jets this weekend.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

DHL Dan CXLIII - The Tuna Speaks

Shank keeps the Mac Jones / Bailey Zappe thing going for a little bit longer:
Here is Bill Parcells’s philosophy on players losing jobs to injuries, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering how my invitation to Bob Kraft’s wedding got misplaced …

▪ As we wait to see whom Bill Belichick starts at quarterback Monday (going into the weekend, the best guess was that Mac Jones is coming back), know that Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells doesn’t subscribe to the notion that an NFL player should never lose his job while he is injured. The Tuna believes professional sports is a results business.

“I’m not speaking for Bill [Belichick],” Parcells said via phone this week. “This is just me. Players will say, ‘You don’t lose your job to injury.’ That’s right. You lose your job for two reasons: 1. You’re not playing well, or 2. Someone else is playing better.

“I would tell my team that. If you’re out of the game and someone else goes in and obviously plays better, then you lose your job. That was my approach.”

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Bill Russell Tribute

Lots of good Bill Russell stuff in this column:
Ceremony honoring late Celtics legend Bill Russell was a thank you and a tribute

He’s always been here, even when he was no longer blocking shots and firing outlet passes to ignite the fast break.

Bill Russell proudly prowled the Old Garden’s parquet floorboards for 13 seasons, first in 1956-57. In his final three seasons, he had the audacity to coach the Celtics while he was still playing. In retirement, his 11 championship banners and venerable No. 6 flapped gently above the action as the torch was passed to Havlicek, Cowens, Bird, Pierce, Garnett, and Tatum. Every time the Celtics neared the winner’s circle, Russell returned to visit Red, bask in the glory, and hopefully hand off a Finals MVP trophy named in his honor.

Russell died at the age of 88 July 31, and Tuesday night on Causeway Street the Celtics played their first-ever game in a world without William Felton Russell.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Quality Reporting, By Ben Volin

It looks like a colleague of Shank's got punked by a commenter on Barstool Sports:
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Volin's "Report" That The Whole Building Hates Mac Jones Is Based On A Stoolie's Fake DM

If you heard this on Greg Hill this morning it was a real mess. Volin, very sheepishly, said he got a DM (according to the tweet "from someone that would know" but I didn't hear that in the audio, might've been in a different part of the interview) that "everyone in the building knows it." I retweeted it because it was pretty dumb, particularly considering that as the same time this interview was happening Jason McCourty was on Good Morning Football saying he was hanging out with the team on Monday night and everyone loves everyone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Encouraging Useless Debate

Okay - I know that the headline and the subject of this blog makes for a redundancy, but to some extent so are comparisons like this one:
It’s time to revisit the Belichick vs. Brady scoreboard

Team Bill is trending up. Team Tom is trending down.

Wonder how this is all going to end for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

We’ve been keeping score of Team Bill vs. Team Tom since the final days of the 2019 Patriots season when a restless Brady threw tantrums, made faces, and said he was unhappy as the Patriots marched toward another AFC East title and a first-round playoff defeat.

Belichick said little, as usual, and had nothing at all to say on St. Patrick’s Day 2020, when Tom announced he was taking his talents to Tampa Bay.

We have been tracking their successes and failures ever since, and Team Tom has been the easy winner in just about every exit poll. Tom won another Super Bowl in his first year without Bill while Bill endured Cam Newton and didn’t even make the playoffs.

For more than two years, it’s been Team Tom in a rout. Brady’s success without Belichick advanced a narrative that New England’s dynasty was more about Tom than it was about Bill. Tom Toadies and many Patriot fans love to announce that Head Coach Bill never won a Super Bowl without Quarterback Tom. Bill’s record with and without Brady has been highlighted, and the numbers are a lowlight for the vaunted coach.
If you want to know when to stop reading this dreck, go forth a few more paragraphs until you run into this crap:
Meanwhile, Belichick has his upstart Patriots back to 3-3 and has discovered a fourth-round, third-string rookie quarterback named Elvis (Bailey) Zappe.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Zappe Fever?

Let's start off the week with some more Bailey Zappe, shall we?
Get ready for another week of debating Bailey Zappe vs. Mac Jones after Patriots rout Browns

CLEVELAND — The only question now is “How come Bailey Zappe wasn’t invited to Bob Kraft’s wedding?”

I mean, who needs Elton John, Drew Bledsoe, and Tom Brady when you’ve got the star power of Bailey Zappe working for you?

Zappe Fever is about to go viral. Bailey Zappe is ready to break the Internet. The kid quarterback is hotter than Wordle. He had a better game in Cleveland Sunday than Kraft-wedding-guest Brady had in Pittsburgh.

OK, I’m exaggerating a little. Zappe may not be the Next Big Thing. He may just be a placeholder until Mac Jones’s high ankle sprain heals. But New England’s fourth-round, third-string rookie completed 24 of 34 passes for 309 yards, threw two touchdowns, and had no interceptions in a 38-15 win over the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.

Friday, October 14, 2022

DHL Dan CXLII - Making History

Shank notes a possibility this weekend with respect to NFL history:
Bill Belichick has some historic NFL ties (and hats), and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while hoping the Joba Chamberlain midges don’t invade FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday in Cleveland …

▪ Is it time for the Hoodie to bring back the fedora?

Bill Belichick has a chance to make history in Cleveland. A victory over the Browns will tie Belichick with George Halas as the NFL’s second-winningest coach (324 victories; Don Shula is first with 347).

In 2010, when Belichick was readying to tie legendary Paul Brown on the all-time list, he wore a “Mad Men” lid to Heinz Field as an homage to Brown. In 2018, traveling to Minneapolis for his eighth Super Bowl as a head coach, Belichick wore a Brown/Halas fedora, telling reporters that the hat had belonged to his dad, coach Steve Belichick.

Brown and Halas are the two coaches Belichick honors most, and he interacted with both while growing up.

Before the start of the 2022 season, I asked Belichick about respecting coaches who came before him, particularly Brown and Halas.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

A Slight Overreaction

The New England Patriots shut out the Detroit Lions on Sunday, 29 - 0. Look who's doing cartwheels over the third-string quarterback:
Rookie Bailey Zappe is undefeated as a starter, so where does that leave the Patriots’ quarterback situation?

OK, strap yourselves in.

Here we go.

Zappe Fever Grips Hub. Zappe Days Are Here Again. Zappe Hour at Gillette. Don’t Worry, be Zappy.

Suddenly, Mac Jones is on notice. Mac Jones is Wally Pipp and Zappe is Lou Gehrig. Mac is Drew Bledsoe and Bailey Zappe is (gulp) Tom Brady.

We have what Bill Belichick hates the most: a fabricated quarterback controversy. I mean, we all know you’re not supposed to lose your job to an injury, but Zappe is undefeated as a starting quarterback in the NFL. How can Bill move him out of the position? And who cares if he looks like Ollie from “Hoosiers”? (Thanks, Rochie.)

Saturday, October 08, 2022

DHL Dan CXLI - Rooting For A Loss?

If Shank isn't openly rooting for a New England Patriots loss against the Detroit Lions tomorrow, he's certainly emphasizing the thought:
Patriots get no slack this week against the Lions, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while listening to the 2022 Red Sox insist that they really weren’t that bad …

▪ There will be no forgiveness for the Patriots if they lose at home Sunday to the Lions.

The 1-3 Patriots enjoyed a very un-Boston-like reception when they lost in overtime to the Packers at Lambeau last weekend. We gave them all kinds of slack because they were forced to use their third-string quarterback, played on the road against Aaron Rodgers, played good defense, and Bill Belichick almost willed them to victory. The day-after headlines in our sports section were unusually forgiving: “Masterful show by Belichick,” “Outlook is better despite outcome,” and “It was magic until the end.”

Wow. That’s Full Rochie stuff right there. Right out of Channel 4′s “All Access” playbook. We sounded like a bunch of fanboy Baghdad Bobs, like Alex Cora saying we had the best worst team in baseball.

Not this weekend. No more Mr. Nice Guy. If the Patriots can’t beat the 1-3 Lions at home, it’ll be raining hot takes on the head of the Hoodie, his coaches, and his players.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Famous Last Place Words

A cute twist on an old phrase leads off Shank's obituary for the 2022 edition of the Boston Red Sox:
Famous last-place words: These Red Sox quotes spoke volumes about their season

Allow me to spare you lots of tedium:
Over the course of the 2022 Red Sox season, a lot of things were said by players and the front office. Let’s revisit a few of the bon mots regarding Boston baseball’s fifth last-place finish in 11 years:

“I’m excited to be here. I think this team has a chance to win again … I would love to finish my career here.”

— J.D. Martinez, March 13

“What we should be trying to do is use all our resources and be as great as we can, whatever that means … We have opportunities to boost our outfield in some way … The important thing is to focus on what you’re doing, not to focus on what everybody else is doing and not to focus on what kind of splash you might be able to make … I actually think we were better for what we did.”

— Chaim Bloom, mid-March

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Fairy Tale Column

Given Shank's history with writing nasty columns about the New England Patriots after a loss, this one's a pleasant surprise:
Bailey Zappe’s fairy-tale debut had all the makings of a winning show for the Patriots, until the end

Aaron Rodgers vs. Bailey Zappe (which rhymes with “happy’').

A four-time NFL MVP vs. a fourth-round draft pick who’d never played a down of professional football?

A Super Bowl champion against a third-string rookie who made his last meaningful pass against Appalachian State in the vaunted Boca Raton Bowl?

A “Jeopardy!” host with 29 career game-winning drives against a 23-year-old who was playing at Houston Baptist two years ago?

It was a true Cinderella story, ‘til Zappe turned into a pumpkin ‘neath the cover of October skies. The undermanned Patriots pushed the Packers into overtime, but Rodgers finally stepped up and the Packers beat the Pats, 27-24, on a 31-yard walkoff field goal by Mason Crosby.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

DHL Dan CXL - Keep 'Em Guessing

Shank isn't too happy with the New England Patriots' recent roster situation:
Patriots’ attempt at a guessing game on starting QB was uncalled for, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting to see Brian Hoyer play quarterback for the Patriots Sunday . . .

▪ Mac Jones or Hoyer?

What’s the difference, really? Jones has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL this season. Hoyer has lost his last 11 games as a starter, with seven touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He has not won as a starting quarterback in the NFL since 2016.

Jones suffered a high ankle sprain at the end of last weekend’s home loss to the Ravens and we’ve spent the week assuming he can’t play against the Packers Sunday. But Bill Belichick dangled the carrot all week, insisting that Mac was “day to day” even though he did not practice Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, and reportedly went looking for a second opinion while considering surgery. On Friday afternoon, the Patriots finally placed him on the inactive list.

Does Bill really think this ambiguity in any way confused the Packers? Is there really a competitive advantage to this stupid guessing game?
The above is, shall we say, heavily sampled from Felger & Mazz from Thursday afternoon.

Monday, September 26, 2022

No More, No More

I went with the Aerosmith angle instead of Shank's half-nod to Bruce Springsteen when discussing the current state of affairs of the local pro sports teams:
There was a time when championships were all we knew, but those glory days appear long gone

Remember those golden days of confetti and duck boat parades? Remember when we were the envy of our friends who live outside New England? We were so flush with success, folks at Logan ran out of space for new championship banners over the security station at Terminal C.

Not so much anymore.

The Red Sox are going to finish in last place for the fifth time in 11 seasons. The Bruins fired their coach and come into the new season with lowered expectations. The Celtics — who appeared to be our one team with title hopes — start training camp this week after suspending their head coach because of an in-house scandal, and their starting center just had his second knee surgery since March.

Oh, and as if we didn’t need any more poison in this big boat of bad, Mac Jones, New England’s franchise quarterback, appeared to sustain a serious leg injury in the closing seconds of Sunday’s 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium.

DHL Dan CXXXIX - Speaking Of Terrible Positions...

Just a tad late on a few Shank takes, and one of them's on soon to be former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who apparently dipped his pen in company ink:
Ime Udoka has put the Celtics in a terrible position, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while anticipating a big bowl of awkward at Monday’s Celtics Media Day …

▪ Ime Udoka is suspended for a year, and it’s hard to imagine him returning to the Celtics bench. Rumors of the suspension first leaked Wednesday night. Twenty-four hours later, in a short statement (issued during “Thursday Night Football” and Red Sox vs. Aaron Judge), the Celtics announced that their coach was suspended for “violations” of team policy. Minutes later, Udoka issued his own brief statement, apologizing to everyone and accepting the team’s decision.

Friday morning, a full 36 hours after first reports of the scandal were leaked, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens finally met with the media, acknowledging that they’d known for a couple of months about Udoka’s inappropriate relationship with a female member of the team’s staff. The Celtics bosses said they’d commissioned a law firm to investigate the situation during the summer and just got the firm’s findings Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

What Is Your Quest?

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge has a shot to break Roger Maris' Yankee home run record. Shank helpfully points out this could happen at the expense of the Boston Red Sox:
Aaron Judge’s record quest reminds us of what the home run chase used to mean

Your Boston Red Sox always seem to be in the middle of the American League single-season home run record.

Red Sox outfielder/pitcher Babe Ruth set the first “unreachable” mark when he blasted 29 homers in a 154-game season in 1919. Before you could say “Mookie Betts,” the Sox traded the home run champ to the Yankees for cash.

Ruth hit 54, then 59 homers in his first two seasons with the Yankees. Then he hit 60 in 1927. It was a record that stood for 34 years.

In 1961, when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris dueled throughout the “new” 162-game season, aiming for Ruth’s magical 60, Maris hit his record-breaking 61st home run off Red Sox righthander Tracy Stallard in Yankee Stadium.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Let's Change The Subject

With yesterday's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Shank is deprived of his chance to shit on the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. This is a classic 'look over here - squirrel!' column:
Yes, OK, the Patriots beat the Steelers, but so far what have we learned about Mac Jones?

Mac Jones is better than Mitch Trubisky.

So there’s that.

This is the NFL and a win is a win. Your quarterback can be terrible on any given Sunday, or your quarterback can manage the game well enough to beat a Tomato Can that is begging to be crushed.
Funny how the 'tomato can' angle was conveniently omitted from the previous column, isn't it?
So we will resist the urge to be spoiled and unsatisfied with the Patriots’ 17-14 victory at Pittsburgh Sunday. We won’t say that this 60-minute rock fight set the sport back a couple of decades, or that we still have a million questions about Jones, 2022 Bill Belichick, and New England’s William F. Buckley/Pat Buchanan offensive game plan.
Conservative - get it? Shank just tried for a funny!

The rest of the column looks equally lame and unfunny, like that will shock you.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXVIII - On The Hot Seat

That would be New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, of course:
Bill Belichick is on the hot seat, and other thoughts ahead of a must-win for the Patriots

Picked-up pieces while waiting for kickoff in Pittsburgh ...

▪ In October 2016, hours before the seventh game of the World Series between the Cubs and Indians, Cleveland manager Terry Francona was forced to take questions from the media. There’s not much to say before a Game 7, so I broke the ice by asking Tito if this was a “must-win” game.

He took the bait. He laughed. Hard.

On Sunday in Pittsburgh, beleaguered Patriots coach Bill Belichick is faced with one of the more critical early-season games of his legendary career. Our estimable Chris Gasper calls it a “sneaky must-win.”

Wow. Must-win. Week 2.

Clearly, sharks smell blood in the moat waters surrounding Fort Foxborough. Can any of us ever remember Bill taking this much heat around here? Bill must feel like he’s back in Cleveland in the days after he benched local hero Bernie Kosar.
The coach is 'taking heat' because Shank's there with a blowtorch.

Monday, September 12, 2022

On With The Blame Game, Chapter One

That wasn't a very tough call, was it?
It probably could not have gone worse in the opener for the Patriots, so blame Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick opened the door last week. Asked about his curious plan to proceed with no proven offensive coordinators or quarterback coaches, the Hoodie said, “If it doesn’t go well, blame me.’’

OK. So here goes.

It’s only one game, but things could hardly have gotten off to a worse start for Belichick and his “new” old staff Sunday as the Pats were stuffed, 20-7 by the Miami Dolphins and their 39-year-old head coach who broke into the league as a ballboy for the Denver Broncos.

Seven measly points. That’s all the Pats could generate against the upstart, rugged Fish. It was almost bad enough to make you think about switching to the Red Sox-Orioles.
At least Shank's in midseason form, that's for sure.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Ready For The Blame Game

Shank does a phone interview with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and, in true Shank fashion, makes it as uncomfortable as possible right off the bat:
Belichick voices support for Patricia and Judge as Patriots get set to open their season

Red Auerbach was 48 when he coached his final game with the Celtics.

Bill Belichick is 70, readying for his 48th season in the NFL, his 28th as a head coach.

Seventy puts Belichick closer to Red from “Shawshank” than Red on Roundball.

In 2009, a 57-year-old Belichick stated, “I won’t be like Marv Levy and coaching in my 70s, I know that.”

“I wish I hadn’t said that,” Belichick said Thursday in a telephone interview from Florida. “I was probably thinking of what I would feel like. Now, there’s what I actually feel like, and those are two different things. That was not one of my better statements.”
Which is precisely why Shank brought it up.
The Patriots open Sunday at Miami, Belichick’s 23rd season as New England’s head coach. The Patriots went 10-7 last year, then got blown out by the Bills in the playoffs.

New England’s 2022 preseason was unimpressive. No longer able to lean on Tom Brady or trusty assistants Nick Caserio (general manager of the Texans), Josh McDaniels (head coach of the Raiders), Dante Scarnecchia, and Ernie Adams (both retired), Belichick has put a bull’s-eye on his back, declining to name coordinators and hiring cronies/failed head coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to take charge of second-year quarterback Mac Jones.

“I think they’re both good coaches,” said Belichick. “Ultimately, it’s my responsibility, like it always is. So if it doesn’t go well, blame me.”

Don’t worry. We will.
Of course he will!

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Enjoying Other Peoples Misery

If it weren't for the fact that there's always a losing team, Shank would have nothing to write about.

The DSW alternate masthead lives on - Shank loves it when people and teams lose games:
Keeping an eye on the stumbling Yankees and Mets is entertaining right now

I’m in a New York state of mind.

Maybe it’s because watching the Yankees lose to the Rays last weekend was more enjoyable than watching the Red Sox roll the hapless Rangers (nine straight losses!).

Maybe it’s because the Yanks saw their AL East lead go from 15½ games to just three in the loss column earlier this week. The Yankees have a million players on the injured list, and Aaron Judge is the only guy who’s still hitting. A full el foldo is not out of the question.

It’s the same with the crosstown Mets. The Amazins have been in first place in the NL East for the entire season. They had a 10½-game lead over everybody in June, but just lost three straight to the lowly Nationals and Pirates, and were caught by the Braves Tuesday night. New York and Atlanta had identical records going into Wednesday’s play.

Monday, September 05, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXVII - The Kiss Of Death

Do the Shank sharks smell blood in the water?
How did the Red Sox’ Chaim Bloom take his recent vote of confidence? And other thoughts ...

Picked-up pieces while wondering if the feds found a “Malcolm Butler/Top Secret” file at Mar-a-Lago …

▪ Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy was compelled this past week to issue a vote of confidence for Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora.

“I am very comfortable saying Chaim and Alex will be back,” Kennedy told The Athletic.

The proverbial vote of confidence. Since we never hear from ownership anymore (feels like John Henry is ghosting his baseball team), Kennedy’s backing will have to do.

How did the statement land with the Red Sox chief baseball officer — who has had a year like Eddie Mush in “A Bronx Tale” and is taking way more heat than his manager?

“I believe in what we’re doing here,” said Bloom, whose team is likely to finish last for a second time in his three Red Sox seasons. “This year has not so far gone the way any of us would have wanted. We’ll work hard to get better.

... Thanks for the time, Chaim. But watch your back. Ownership always needs a scapegoat.
Written without a hint of irony.

Thursday, September 01, 2022

You Must Be New Around Here

Did you move to Boston recently? Are you a freshman at one of the local colleges this fall? Here's Shank to give all of you newbies a taste of Boston sports:
For college students coming to town, here is a guide to the local sports scene

U-Hauls, packed vans, and SUVs with New York plates are double-parked all over Commonwealth Avenue, Harvard Square, and Bay State Road. Every day there’s another report of a too-tall Ryder rental truck stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive with its roof shredded like a Spam can.

Out-of-town Gen Z-ers are invading Boston for their college experience.

Let me be one of the first to welcome freshmen who have come to Boston in advance of Labor Day weekend. Most of you are probably sports fans, some maybe not. Doesn’t matter. You’ll quickly learn that you can’t escape the ethos of Greater Boston sports teams. In this spirit, I’ve assembled a handy-dandy, clip-and-save, Hub sports orientation memo.

Though we are nothing like Pittsburgh or Dallas, know that you have moved into a pro football town. The success of Tom Brady and the Patriots in the first two decades of this century spawned a legion of folks who talk pro football 12 months of the year. It’s not just bettors and fantasy footballers. It’s almost the entire male population and a good portion of women under 50. Our local sports talk shows are full of it, and I mean that in every possible way.
I'm sure he does!

Monday, August 29, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXVI - Amazing Grace

Shank, as he's wont to do, jumps all over David Ortiz for his, um, inconsistency:
Examining an ‘amazing’ statement by David Ortiz, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while watching the Little League World Series …

▪ After becoming the first MLB player elected to the Hall of Fame despite a positive steroid test — a test that baseball commissioner Rob Manfred suggested might have been a false positive — David Ortiz went on the offensive in the wake of Fernando Tatis Jr. testing positive for clostebol in mid-August.

“MLB needs to have some sort of regulations before they make public news like the one that happened to Tatis Jr.,” Ortiz told Dominican reporter Hector Gomez. “I think they haven’t handled this situation the right way. We can’t kill our product, we’re talking about an amazing player.”

It sounds like Ortiz is saying, “Sure, Tatis is using, but fans love him and he’s got great numbers, so let’s pretend nothing happened.
I'm of the school of though that maybe Ortiz should just avoid giving opinions about this topic, in no small part because he gives folks like Shank free gas to pour on the fire. Then again, Shank would probably find a way to drag him for saying nothing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Fixing The Red Sox

In the latter part of the 2022 baseball season, the Boston Red Sox are in last place in the American League East. Shank actually has a column devoted to constructive criticism of the team:
Some suggestions on how to fix the broken Red Sox for 2023

How do we fix the Red Sox for 2023?

Here’s a thought for starters … how about ownership opens up its wallet and spends some money?

Only let’s do it wisely this time.

The last-place Red Sox, who proudly remind you they won four World Series in this century, have become a bottom-line-based operation. True, they still have a ridiculously high payroll, but that’s from mistakes going back to 2019 when Dave Dombrowski was giving out multimillion-dollar contracts (hello, Chris Sale) like M&Ms. The Sox are still paying David Price, for gosh sakes.

Since Dombro was fired and gave way to Chaim Bloom, the Sox have been dumpster divers — ever in search of a deal, always trying to turn another team’s trash into treasure. They’ve had a few hits with Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, Christian Arroyo (when he’s healthy), and John Schreiber, but mostly it’s been misses.

Monday, August 22, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXV - The Popular Patriots

Finally - a Patriots themed column without the normal cheap shots and insults aimed towards Bill Belichick and the Krafts:
A look at Patriots popularity, then and now, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering why Red Sox fans still root against the Yankees when the Yankees are playing the Rays and Blue Jays — teams the Sox need to leapfrog to get a wild-card spot …

▪ Two unrelated correspondences this past week made me appreciate just how big the Patriots are in today’s New England sports market.

A friend forwarded an e-mail that had been sent from “Patriots Members Services” regarding how long it might take to move up on the team’s season-ticket wait list:

“Our records indicate that you joined the List in April of 2016. To give you a point of reference, waitlist Members who joined the Patriots Season Ticket Waitlist as late as December of 2003 were offered season tickets prior to the start of the 2022 season.”
Bonus - a Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis reference!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Lost Season

If ever there was bulletin board material for the 2022 Boston Red Sox, here it is:
With atmosphere at Fenway electric, it’s hard for Red Sox to admit this is a lost season

Red Sox-Yankees. Good close games, full houses, and the Red Sox competed.

Sweet. Just like the old days . . .

Except for those nasty American League East standings that show the first-place Yankees 15½ games ahead of the last-place Red Sox.

There are 46 games left in the Red Sox’ Lost Season. Thirty-two of them will be against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and Orioles and we all know the Red Sox fare poorly when playing teams in their own division. The last-place Sox are 15-30 against the AL East.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXIV - Cutting No Slack

Shank seems to be a tad upset with Tom Brady today:
This time, Tom Brady shouldn’t get any slack, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while suggesting that our leaders find a more prominent spot for the Bill Russell statue . . .

▪ Tom Brady is a great football player and put the Patriots on the map.

He is also proof that winning a lot of championships cuts you slack forever in this town.

Brady turned 45 this past week while working out in Tampa, trying to win his eighth Super Bowl. On the day before his birthday, we learned that Tom was talking to the Miami Dolphins — angling his way out of Boston — before he even started his 20th and final season with the Patriots in 2019. Throughout the ‘19 season, Brady was actively working on his next gig while he was playing for the Patriots.

Beyond weak. Phony. A betrayal. Hard to forgive.
One thing potentially missing from this diatribe - given it was Brady's final season with the Patriots, was Brady at the point where he knew he was on the outs with the team? That might be a mitigating factor in all of this, no?
When all this came out, the Dolphins were docked a first-round draft pick (and a third) and slapped with a $1.5 million fine for tampering violations. Owner Stephen Ross was suspended for six games.

Brady got nothing … just like in an NFL game in 2022. You can’t touch the golden boy quarterback, which — avocado ice cream aside — is the biggest reason Brady can keep playing at this level at 45.
So it has nothing to do with Brady's training regimen? You decide if Shank's ignorant of this fact or deliberately ignoring it to make this point.
Brady’s integrity takes a well-deserved hit. You have to be a true sycophant/fanboy to dismiss this one. We know for a fact that while he was performing and pouting with the 2019 Patriots, he was scheming to join one of their hated division rivals.

He later did the same two-faced thing in Tampa; his “retirement” was merely a ruse to get him to a player/ownership role in Miami. The scam was foiled when Brian Flores filed his discrimination lawsuit against the Dolphins and Brady had no choice but to slink back to the Bucs, but not without first getting his coach (Bruce Arians) fired. For all these years, we’ve heard about how team-guy Tom took pay cuts to help the Patriots. In the end, it was just the opposite.

How is all of this OK with you, Boston? Your guy was mentally checked out of Foxborough in his last Patriot season. A lot of Patriot fans are still angry at Bill Parcells for talking to the Jets while he was taking the Patriots to a Super Bowl. The Tuna had a much better reason for leaving (stabbed in the back on draft day by Bob Kraft) than Brady. How is Parcells a traitor but Brady is OK?
This is another non sequitur - you can believe Parcells isn't a traitor, or that Brady is regardless of your opinion on Parcells. I think Shank's forcing things here so he can keep taking shots at Brady.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Bill Russell, R.I.P.

This was, of course, from a few days ago:
Bob Cousy remembers teammate Bill Russell: ‘He fought the good fight’

They had Hall of Fame players and a Hall of Fame coach, and the Celtics were champions every year, it seemed. They won eight consecutive NBA titles in Red Auerbach’s last eight years as coach. They won 11 championships in 13 seasons between 1957–69.

And the one and only constant was Bill Russell. The man in the middle. The greatest winner in team sports history.

Russell died Sunday at the age of 88.

We’ve been losing these fabled champs with somber regularity the last four years. Frank Ramsey died in 2018. John Havlicek in 2019, Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones in 2020, then seven months ago (just before New Year’s), Sam Jones. Hall of Famers, one and all.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXIII - The Bridge That Wasn't

Shank's very pleased with himself, coming up with a new catchphrase that we'll hear about for the rest of the season:
Red Sox fans should be aware that this might not be a bridge year, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering whether the Red Sox should be relegated . . .

▪ In a small moment after Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Guardians, lowlighted by Franchy Cordero’s three errors at first base, Alex Cora said, “He’s still learning the position. He hasn’t played too much at first base.”

There it is right there. Red Sox ownership/management has given Cora a roster peppered with interchangeable guys who should be learning their craft in Triple A while at the same time claiming the organization is still committed to winning this year.

Summary: You are paying the highest ticket prices in baseball to watch minor league players learning on the job.

And a lot of you are OK with this because, well, these Red Sox bosses won four championships in this century and we don’t want to be like those stupid first-place Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets who waste all their money signing stars to long-term contracts.

It’s been bad at every level.

Three years in, can we all acknowledge that the Mookie Betts salary dump was one of the worst moves in modern Sox history? It was the warning shot that the Sox won’t keep their stars anymore and are more about the illusion of contention (boosted by the phony, inflated playoff format) than about winning.
That's the new 'tomato cans' in the Shank lexicon.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

A Small Case Of The Vapors

Shank doesn't appreciate part of David Ortiz's attire: Neither does his fellow Globe scold and über-feminist columnist: Question for Joan - are all women 'hoes'? That's how I'm reading that little column blurb.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Immortal David Ortiz

Alternate Friends title - The One Where Shank Pretends To Like David Ortiz:
David Ortiz already achieved baseball immortality in Boston, and now the Hall of Fame has made it official

COOPERSTOWN, N. Y. — David Ortiz, a man who forever changed the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox, is a Baseball Hall of Famer.

Already immortal in Boston sports lore, the beloved Big Papi was welcomed to the Hall Sunday, serving as the walkoff speaker on a sun-splashed afternoon after six other 2022 inductees were feted by the baseball world.

“I will always be Boston,” Ortiz said toward the end of a 19-minute speech during which he alternated between English and Spanish. “I will always be there for you, Boston. I love you, Boston.”

In front of an estimated crowd of 35,000 gathered on the lawn and hills in the cradle of baseball, the 46-year-old Ortiz was enshrined along with 83-year-old Jim Kaat, 84-year-old Tony Oliva, and four baseball legends who have already passed: Gil Hodges, Buck O’Neil, Minnie Miñoso, and Bud Fowler (who actually grew up in Cooperstown). Big Papi’s 21-year-old daughter, Alex Veda, performed the national anthem before the induction program.
Contrast Shank's current near reverence of Big Papi with his attitude towards the latter nine years ago:
In 2013, I came off the DL and started hot. My first 20 games I was hitting like .400. And the reporter with the red jheri curl from The Boston Globe comes into the locker room says, “You’re from the Dominican. You’re older. You fit the profile of a steroid user. Don’t you think you’re a prime suspect?”

He’s saying this with a straight face. I had taken like 70 at-bats. Anybody can get hot and hit .400 with 70 at-bats. I was stunned. I’m like, I’m Dominican? I fit the profile? Are you kidding me?

I wanted to kill this guy. But you can’t react. That’s what they want. They want you to get angry so they can bury you. So I just smiled at him and asked for his address.

“Why do you want my address?” he said.

“Because I just got tested two days ago.” I said. “I’ll mail you the f****ing results.”

This is a reporter from my own city coming to my locker and telling me I’m too good, that I must be on some shit. I’m sitting there thinking, Man, I get tested 10 times a year and I’ve helped win this town two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 and this guy who has never played a game of professional baseball in his life is telling me I’m a suspect.

My test was clean just like the other 8 or 9 tests that season. My batting average settled down to .300, because of course it did. I hit like 30 home runs and we won the World Series. Was that acceptable for the reporter? Were my numbers too high for a player from the Dominican? Should I have taken another blood test before popping the damn champagne?

He never apologized.
Red jheri curl - does Shank have some awesome nicknames, or what?

To restate the 2013 brouhaha with Shank and Ortiz with a bit more pith, let's turn it over to former DSW blogger Dave M (some emphasis mine):
In case you have not been following, last week Dan Shaughnessy quickly ripped into Ortiz after Ortiz’s name was leaked to be on “the list” of steroid users. Shaughnessy declared “David Ortiz lied to you. It seems safe to say that his entire Red Sox career is a lie.” Never mind that Shaughnessy never talked to Ortiz. Never mind that Shaughnessy did not know what Ortiz tested positive for. Never mind that Shaughnessy did not know there was a question of the validity of the test. Never mind that Ortiz did not know he even tested positive for anything. These things did not matter because Shaughnessy was in such a rush to punch out a column. There was no time for fact checking; there was no time for corroboration; there was nothing anyone would expect of a professional journalist. No, this was yellow journalism at its finest This was Shaughnessy…. ever ready to bury a hatchet in someone, any proof be damned.


Shaughnessy may eventually prove to be right about Ortiz. But that doesn’t matter. At the time he accused Ortiz of being a liar, he did not have the information to make the accusation. He did not seek the full story because he is lazy. He was ready to prematurely attack because he is vindictive. If anyone lied to us, it was Shaughnessy. If anything is tainted, it is his ethics. He is the one who should be suspended for a year. And he is not the only one – Massarotti and Ryan and many others also piled on. It was disgraceful and shameful.
I'd go with 'bearing false witness' mysef, but these are somewhat equivalent terms, or sins in the biblical lexicon. In the sense that Shank's changing his tune nowadays without any mea culpa, he's still lying / covering his ass.

Bonus - a Larry Bird reference!

Friday, July 22, 2022

DHL Dan CXXXII - Lingering Pandemic

This fucking guy simply will not let up on Covid-19:
The pandemic still lingers, but it finally feels like a normal Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, and other thoughts

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Picked-up pieces while waiting for David Ortiz to join Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice in the Hall of Fame . . .

▪ Baseball’s Hall is an institution hit particularly hard by the death and disruption of our global pandemic. Ten Hall of Famers have died since the family of baseball last gathered here for a traditional induction weekend. It’s unclear how many of the Hall of Famers (if any) succumbed because of COVID, but the pandemic canceled the 2020 event and produced a makeshift, shrunken ceremony for Derek Jeter and fellow inductees last September.
At the risk of sounding like a cold-hearted bastard, it seems like the natural course of nature and human life expectancy for older men to pass away from one cause or another. That, however, doesn't stop Shank from suggesting a possible connection between their deaths and Covid-19, AKA the Wuhan Virus.
The Jeter induction had been expected to rival the record 82,000 gathering for Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn in 2007, but only 20,000 fans made the trek and COVID still lurked as Johnny Bench — who’d been scheduled to attend — had to narrate his video tribute from home because he’d tested positive.

The pandemic still lingers, but it finally feels like a normal Hall of Fame weekend as Cooperstown welcomes Big Papi, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and deceased inductees Gil Hodges, Buck O’Neal, Minnie Miñoso, and Bud Fowler. The Parade of Legends is back on Saturday, and Sunday’s ceremony figures to generate a big-time turnout at the Clark Sports Center.

Fifty-four Hall of Famers have pledged to attend and many haven’t had a chance to see one another since the exclusive club lost members Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, Tommy Lasorda, Don Sutton, and Hank Aaron.
So we have at least one survivor of Covid-19 and Shank insinuating / speculating its involvement in an unknown number of deaths amongst living Hall of Fame members. I just think it's a tad gouhlish, and part of the reason it still 'lingers' is media types like Shank who constantly bring it up at nearly every opportunity.

Yaz on Papi - Who Was The Better Hitter?

Now that David 'Big Papi' Ortiz is heading into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Shank asks Carl Yastrzemski a rather pointed question:
With David Ortiz headed into the Hall of Fame, we asked Yaz: Who was the better hitter?

In the 1990s, when Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio made rare public appearances together, DiMaggio would insist on being introduced as “the greatest living ballplayer.”

The gracious Teddy Ballgame never objected and Willie Mays was not asked for his opinion.

I thought of that this week when Carl Yastrzemski returned a call and agreed to spend a few moments talking about David Ortiz, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Like Ted and Yaz, Big Papi was elected in his first year of eligibility.

So, Yaz, what is Ortiz’s place in Red Sox history?

“He was one hell of a hitter, you know?” says Yastrzemski, who turns 83 next month. “One of the best hitters the Red Sox ever had. Probably the only guy that was a better hitter was Ted.”

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

The Red Sox got their asses handed to them for a second day in a row on Sunday, and Shank is there to mop up:
Chris Sale has a broken finger and the Red Sox are a broken team

NEW YORK — Now what?

Chris Sale has a broken finger and the Red Sox are a broken team.

In only his second start since breaking a rib in February, Boston’s dark star lefty suffered a fractured pinkie on his throwing hand while trying to defend himself from a 106.7-mile-per-hour, first-inning laser off the bat of Aaron Hicks Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Sale knew immediately his finger was broken. As the ball ricocheted into right field and Gleyber Torres scored the third Yankee run in a 13-2 beatdown of Boston — making it 27-3 over two days — Sale got up from the ground and walked toward the third base dugout, holding his crooked digit aloft for all the world to see.

“Like cold water rushing through your body when something like that happens. As soon as I hit the ground, I looked down, and the finger was gone,” a composed but frustrated Sale said while standing at his locker. “It sucks. What are you gonna do? . . . Here we go again.

Italian Or Swedish Meatballs?

Here's Shank on the 14-1 beatdown on the Red Sox by the New York Yankees on Saturday night:
Meatballs are served in the Bronx, indigestion felt in Boston

NEW YORK — While New England slept, the roller coaster Red Sox fell into fourth place Saturday in a brutal, 14-1 Bronx beatdown. The Sox come into Sunday’s final game before the All-Star break a mere 1½ games ahead of the surging last-place Orioles.

So while they may still be playoff bound — the illusion of contention is always there when six of 15 teams make it to the postseason — the 2022 Red Sox are also a candidate to finish in last place for the fifth time in 11 seasons. The Red Sox are 15½ games behind the first-place Yankees.

Saturday’s drubbing was over in the first inning when Matt Carpenter (seven RBIs) crushed a three-run homer off Sox righty Nick Pivetta. Boston’s workhorse in the first half, Pivetta is worn down, and like the rest of his teammates, fares poorly against the American League East. Pivetta is 1-5 with a 7.57 ERA against division opponents.

No Fear

Here's Shank on the Friday night Red Sox win over the New York Yankees:
The Red Sox aren’t afraid of the Yankees. We saw it again on Friday night.

NEW YORK — Take a deep breath and allow me to go Full Rochie on the Red Sox’ chances against the 62-28, first-place New York Yankees this year.

For some reason, the Sox are not afraid of the Yanks. Remember how they beat them in the one-game playoff last October? Remember how they beat them, three games to one in the 2018 ALDS, winning Game 3, 16-1?

Remember how they came from behind to beat the Yankees twice last weekend — winning the Fenway finale, 11-6?

They did it again Friday night at Yankee Stadium, beating the Yankees, 5-4, in 11 innings and scoring the winning run when team leader Xander Bogaerts (why not keep him, Chaim?) made a great read and scored from third on a wild pitch that bounced in front of Yankee catcher Jose Trevino.

DHL Dan CXXXI - Hub Of The Baseball Universe

You go to New Hampshire for a few days, and what do you know? I missed Shank's prolific output over the past few days, where he's focusing mostly on the Red Sox / Yankees series. He first goes nostalgic and writes about the 1999 baseball All-Star game, held at Fenway Park:
At the 1999 All-Star Game, Fenway Park was the center of the baseball universe, and other thoughts

NEW YORK — Picked-up pieces while remembering things I love about our national pastime . . .

▪ The baseball All-Star Game is Tuesday at venerable Dodger Stadium, and five days later the family of baseball will gather in Cooperstown for the first “normal” Hall of Fame induction ceremony in three years. Red Sox Nation can’t wait for the enshrinement of David Ortiz.

It’ll be good to take our eyes off the 2022 Sox for a few days to celebrate the sport and gods of the game.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

DHL Dan CXXX - Digging That Red Sox Roster

It looks like Shank's not too happy with recent additions to the Red Sox lineup:
We’re a long way from the good old days of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wistfully remembering star-powered Red Sox-Yankees summer series of past seasons . . .

▪ When the Red Sox took the field to face the Rays Tuesday, Boston’s starting outfield featured Rob Refsnyder in left, rookie Jarren Duran in center, and Franchy Cordero in right.

This came one day after the Sox beat the Rays in a July 4 “bullpen” game, as Austin Davis, Kutter Crawford, and John Schreiber shut down Tampa Bay.

Welcome to Chaim Bloom World, featuring a conga line of faceless, interchangeable, low-salary ball players wearing Red Sox uniforms. The Sox’ goal appears to be “out-Raying” the Rays, which is why beating Tampa in a bullpen game on Independence Day was the ultimate achievement in the eyes of the Bloominati (thanks, Matt McCarthy). Tampa Bay, after all, invented the bullpen game.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

DHL Dan CXXIX - July 4th Happenings

Leave it to Shank to write a column about local sporting events that happened on July 4th and lead off with the year 1983, when David Righetti of the Yankees no-hit the Red Sox:
Historically, July 4 hasn’t been a big day for fireworks in local sports, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while burning the midnight oil in the research lab with Jarren Duran …

▪ Happy Fourth of July weekend. The Fourth is an American favorite and hopefully you are reading this while sprawled on the sand at Craigville Beach in Centerville.

This holiday is not filled with tons of great local sports memories. Maybe that’s no surprise when you remember that George Steinbrenner was born on the Fourth of July.

Dave Righetti no-hit the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on a brutally hot July 4 in the summer of 1983. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs struck out, swinging, for the final out of Righetti’s masterpiece. It was the first Yankee no-hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Billy Martin was at both games, playing second base behind Larsen in ‘56 and managing the Yankees for Steinbrenner in ‘83.

Bouncing Back

Since the Red Sox won their last game in Toronto a few days ago, Shank bangs out a column that manages a scant two mentions of of the word 'vaccine':
Red Sox have bounced back recently, now they just have to figure out the American League East

The Red Sox started this kooky season 11-20 before bouncing back against a conga line of baseball bums from Oakland, Seattle, and Detroit. The Sox also managed to take two of three from the estimable Cardinals, then swept the better-than-average Guardians last weekend, giving them seven straight wins and 11 of 13. They turned a horrible start into a legit wild-card candidacy.

Now if they can just figure out the American League East.

In a wild game that somehow typifies this strange season, the Red Sox outlasted the Blue Jays, 6-5, in 10 innings Wednesday night at Rogers Centre. It never felt secure and wasn’t sealed until lefthander Matt Strahm — who staggered through the bottom of the 10th — retired George Springer on a popup into short center field with the tying and winning runs on third and second.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

No Shot

It's time once again for Shank to mount his high horse Shetland pony and rag on Red Sox players who don't want to be forced to get a Covid 'vaccine' or two:
These absent anti-vaxxers give Red Sox no shot in Toronto

In this region, Kyrie Irving is routinely mocked and scorned for being a selfish team-killer.

Swell. So how are you all feeling about Kyrie Houck, Kyrie Duran and Kyrie Sale at this hour?

I wonder how Red Sox players really feel? It’s always Hakuna Matata around these Sox with their laundry cart rides, postgame strobelight locker room disco dance parties, and NESN happy talk, but how would you feel if your .327-hitting leadoff batter, your white-hot closer (six saves in six tries), and (possibly) your $30 million per year erstwhile ace chose not to help you win important games in June and (maybe) September/October?
I don't think Shank helps his cause with the juvenile derisiveness of calling all these guys Kyrie.

Monday, June 27, 2022

DHL Dan CXXVIII - The Management Column

Shank did a column a few days ago that I had no desire to read all weekend, so here you go:
This Red Sox-Guardians series has a great managerial angle to it, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while kicking off summer with a bucket of whole-belly fried clams …

▪ Red Sox vs. Guardians in Cleveland this weekend means a chance to see perhaps the two best managers in baseball — probably the two best managers in Red Sox history — going head-to-head for three days.

Hyperbole? Maybe. But name a current manager who consistently does a better job than Terry Francona and Alex Cora. And does anyone think Dick Williams, Joe Cronin, or Bill Carrigan could deal with today’s analytics geeks, stubborn/entitled (anti-vax) ballplayers, and nonstop media obligations that are part of the daily, skull-imploding Boston baseball experience?

Monday, June 20, 2022

DHL Dan CXXVII - Picking Everything Up

Shank's column production's been rather sparse the past couple of weeks, so here's a column that tries to catch up:
Catching up on all the picked-up pieces that emerged over the past few weeks

Picked-up pieces after a few weeks on the shelf …

▪ First we had Brad Marchand skating off the ice too early at the end of the first period of Stanley Cup Final Game 7 at the Garden in June of 2019. It was a night we all were sure the Bruins were going to win the chalice. The Bruins had dominated the Blues, 5-1, in Game 6 in St. Louis. But their season ended with a thud on Causeway Street.

Then we had Tom Brady going to Tampa to win a Super Bowl for the Buccaneers while Cam Newton stumbled around Gillette and the Patriots became mediocre.

Then the Red Sox qualified for a one-game wild card and suddenly got hot, eliminating the Yankees and Rays, and dominating the Astros in the first 3½ games of the 2021 ALCS. The Sox were two wins from rolling into the World Series before all their hitting just disappeared … Jayson Tatum style. Losing Game 4 at home ultimately killed the Red Sox, just as it did the 2022 Celtics.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Not Ready Yet

That's one conclusion drawn by Shank after the Celtics lost Game 6 (and the series) to the Golden State Warriors:
By blowing a massive opportunity, these Celtics showed they’re just not ready yet

The Celtics’ magical 2022 playoff run crash-landed on Causeway Street Thursday as the still-worthy Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship with a 103-90 Game 6 victory at the TD Garden.

Years from now, perhaps we’ll look back and see this as a building block for Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Co., but right now, it feels like one of the worst blown opportunities in 21st century Boston sports.

“It hurts that we fell short, but the future is bright,’’ said Celtics rookie coach Ime Udoka. " . . . This is just a start. The foundation’s been set. We can hit the ground running next year.’’

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Missed Opportunity?

Shank looks at the Celtics' prospects after losing Game 5 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors:
It’s not over for the Celtics yet, but it sure feels like it after this lost opportunity

It’s not over yet. It just kind of feels that way.

The Celtics lost Game 5 of the NBA Finals to the Warriors, 104-94, at the Chase Center Monday and trail this championship series, three games to two as they ready for Game 6 in Boston. If these Celts are to win the franchise’s 18th banner, they’ll have to beat the Dubs Thursday at home, and again Sunday in San Francisco.

Possible . . . but unlikely. This feels like one massive missed opportunity.

The Celtics need to stop complaining about officiating and regain their composure. And Jayson Tatum needs to step up and play like an All-NBA first teamer. Tatum had 27 points and 10 rebounds Monday, but this was a 1-point game going into the fourth quarter and Tatum again turtled down the stretch, making 1 of 5 shots with no rebounds and no assists in 11 soft minutes of the fourth. He was minus-13 for the night.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Missed Shots

You stop paying attention for a few days, and what do you know? Shank's been banging out the Celtics columns. A few days ago he's talking to Celtic greats Bob Cousy and Satch Sanders about the current crop of Celtics, yestrday Shank and a bunch of Globies make their series predictions (Shank says Celtics in 7 games), and last night Shank was quick out of the gate with a column on the Celtics winning Game 1 of the NBA Championship. I spotted the column about 35 minutes after the game was over, and there's almost no way to do a column that quick, so I'm going to ask him - is it voice to text he's using or is he like a 110 words a minute typer?

Monday, May 30, 2022

Finals Bound

That's Shank after the Celtics won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals:
Finally, the Celtics earn their chance to bring another championship to Boston

Remember all the parades between 2002 and 2019 . . . back in the good old days before COVID-19?

The Celtics earned a ticket to the 2022 NBA Finals with a thrilling, smashmouth, 100-96, Game 7 victory over the top-seeded Heat Sunday night at FTX Arena in Miami. Boston led the entire game and staved off a furious late-game comeback by Jimmy Butler and the Heat.

This means that after three, predominantly pandemic-plagued years, confetti could rain on Boylston Street next month for the first time since Tom Brady beat the Rams to win a Super Bowl in February 2019.

Playing in the image of franchise forefathers Bill Russell, KC Jones and Dennis Johnson, the Celtics were the best defensive team in the NBA this year and now-ready-for-primetime stars Jayson Tatum (26 points), Jaylen Brown (24), and Marcus Smart (24) are finally going to the Finals.


This new generation of Celtic stars has a chance to extend our local sports High Renaissance (12 championships in the new millennium), which started with 24-year-old Brady upsetting the St. Louis Rams in New Orleans in February 2002.
This looks like Shank's usual modus operandi - set the Celtics up with high to unreasonable expectations so he can take a monster dump on them should they fail to acheive those expectations.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Now They're Sitting Pretty

Here's Shank's take on the Boston Celtics' Game 5 win in the Eastern Conference semifinals over the horribly shooting Miami Heat:
Game 5 was ugly, but the Celtics are sitting pretty against the Heat

MIAMI — It took five smashmouth games and a lot of time in the training room, but it feels like the Celtics finally wore down the top-seeded Miami Heat.

After staggering through a brutal two quarters (both teams), the Celtics came back from a 5-point halftime deficit, tightening the screws on defense and outscoring Miami, 32-16, in the third quarter for a 93-80 Game 5 victory in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 6 is Friday night on Causeway Street and the Celts are one victory from making it to the NBA Finals for the 22nd time in franchise history.

“It’s great to be up, 3-2 and to have it at home is an advantage,’’ said Boston’s rookie coach, Ime Udoka. “ . . . Our defense, we stayed steady. Tonight we kept our composure and relied on our defense. That travels well with us.’’
Are you ready for some Shankisms and an obscure and forced pop culture reference? I know you are!
But the Celtics and their fans don’t care about style points at this hour. On the strength of their Belichickian defense, the Sons of Udoka — 39-12 since Jan. 23 — are on the threshold of the Finals. They vaporized the Heat, forcing Miami to shoot 31.9 percent (30 of 94, 7 of 45 on threes). Jimmy Butler made 4 of 18 shots. Miami’s starting guards (Kyle Lowry and Max Strus) went 0 for 15 from the floor. It was like watching Philip Seymour Hoffman shooting hoops in “Along Came Polly,” screaming “Let it rain!’’ as he clangs one shot after another.
Great way to trash an otherwise decent column, isn't it?