Sunday, January 30, 2022

DHL Dan CLXVIII - Super Bowl Matchups, Etc.

Shank's latest Picked Up Pieces column looks at the AFC & NFC championship games:
Let’s take a closer look at each potential Super Bowl matchup, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while buying a gridiron field sheet cake to share with the grandkids during Sunday’s conference championship games . . .

▪ The Chiefs are favored over the Bengals in the afternoon game and wise guys like the Rams over the Niners in the nightcap. By late Sunday night, we’ll have the Super Bowl matchup.

Some potential themes:

Chiefs-Niners — A rematch of KC’s 31-20 victory in Hard Rock Stadium two years ago. The Chiefs would be the first team to make it to three straight Super Bowls since . . . the 2016-18 Patriots. It would be a national unveiling for San Francisco superstar Deebo Samuel and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’s third Super Bowl after four consecutive AFC Championship games appearances (Brady-esque). In New England, this game would be all about Jimmy G.

Bengals-Rams — A chance to see if Joe Burrow can do his Red Auerbach cigar thing at SoFi Stadium Feb. 13. Marvin Lewis could make the ceremonial coin flip before the game. Matthew Stafford can show the world what he can do after 12 years in Lions jail.

The Roger Clemens No Hall Of Fame Column

Shank sort of laments Roger Clemens' non-passage into the Baseball Hall of Fame:
Numerically, Clemens is one of the top 10 pitchers of all time. He won seven Cy Young Awards, seven ERA titles, and 354 games. He was MVP of the American League when he went 24-4 with the ‘86 Red Sox. He led his teams to six pennants and two World Series wins. He won 192 games for the Red Sox, tied for most in club history with Cy Young.

Clemens didn’t look suspicious until after he left Boston for Toronto. After going 40-39 over the last four years of his Sox career, he went to the Blue Jays and won back-to-back Cy Young Awards. He pitched ridiculously well into his 40s. Too well, maybe. Clemens went 18-4 with Houston at the age of 41, then compiled a 1.87 ERA when he was 42.

Everything went south for Clemens when his onetime trainer Brian McNamee cooperated with Senator George Mitchell’s investigation into baseball. Clemens’s name appeared 82 times in the infamous Mitchell Report. Former teammate Andy Pettitte also flipped on Clemens.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

What's Old Is New Again - II

Longtime fans of the DSW site will remember the raw nastiness that Shank helped to generate (and the equally nasty rejoinders from here and elsewhere). It's the Internet's corrolay to Newton's First Law, which Shank may or may not be familiar with. Roughly stated - for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. It's been pointed out numerous times on this site the order of precedence, which I'll dub Shank's First Law; if purposely inflammatory columns are published, there will be purposefully inflammatory reactions to the column.

This is why websites like Bob Ryan Watch, Chris Gasper Watch, Chad Finn Watch, Alex Speier Watch, etc. do not exist.

So imagine my surprise when a friend pointed out that even after all of these years of DSW being in existence, there are still pockets of vitriol for the CHB (that's Carl Everett's nickname for Shank, or Curly Haired Boyfriend) out there?

Facebook Group - Dan Shaughnessy, Insufferable Douchebag

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The David Ortiz Hall Of Fame Column

Or - The One Where Shank Belatedly Recasts His Doubts About Some Players In The Steroid Era:
David Ortiz’s election seems to be another sign of a shift in Hall of Fame voting philosophy
I'll spoil part of the fun - unlike previous years, Shank does not disclose his own 'voting philosophy' this time around. This helps to not explain his own potential 'shift' in voting philosophy.
History was made Tuesday night, as Barry Bonds — one of the top five sluggers who ever lived — and Roger Clemens — one of the top five pitchers who ever lived — were rejected by Baseball Hall of Fame voters for a 10th and final time and will be removed from the baseball writers’ ballot forever. Bonds and Clemens, neither of whom ever failed a drug test, presumably were bounced because both were suspected of PED use in the second half of their careers.

Meanwhile, David Ortiz, one of the great clutch hitters of all time and a certified Boston icon — and a player whose name was on a list of those who did test positive for PEDs (commissioner Rob Manfred later cast doubt about the test, which also fingered Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez) — was elected in his first year of eligibility. Ortiz will be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., July 24.

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Everybody loves Big Papi (except for the author of this column! - ed), including a commissioner desperately in need of the good publicity that certainly will accompany the induction of baseball’s Santa Claus. Ortiz is the only PED suspect who ever got a presidential pardon from the commissioner of baseball. But even hard-core Red Sox fans must see that Ortiz’s career curve is curious.

These are the facts: Ortiz’s name and age changed while he was in the minors. In 1996, when Ortiz was traded by the Mariners to the Twins, a Minnesota newspaper reported his weight as 190 pounds.

He was released by the Twins at the age of 27, then blossomed into an elite slugger in Boston in 2003, when the Sox listed him at 230 pounds. The 2003 season was also the year in which Ortiz tested positive for PEDs, according to the New York Times, along with Manny, Sosa, and A-Rod.
If you look at the picture in the Globe article (and others), you'd likely chalk up a lot of the weight gain to the area around his stomach.

Second - it's been pointed out many, many years ago by my co-bloggers Mike B. and David M. that most baseball writers (including Shank) looked the other way during the whole PED / steriod era, not to mention Shank's amply demonstrated hostility towards Ortiz, and it's my contention this retroactive denial of entry to all suspected PED users by these sportswriters is just ass covering. Let the worthy ones in and slap asterisks next to their names, if that's how we move on from this stuff.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

DHL Dan CLXVII - Ten Years After

One of Shank's favorite subjects is the 2011 Boston Red Sox, AKA the 'Chicken & Beer' group. He's probably done a half dozen columns about them and had dropped numerous references to the group in his other columns since that time. Now we can add some jet fuel to that fire, courtesy of forner Red Sox consultant Bill James:
Is there anything to the cryptic criticism from Bill James on the 2011 Red Sox, and other thoughts
We know Shank'll do his best to make that case.
Picked-up pieces while pondering the truly unbelievable career of David Ortiz . . .

▪ Here’s a post-holiday gift for Red Sox fans — a parlor game in which you sit around drinking with friends and try to identify the racists, potheads, criminals, drunks, and all-around crazies on the 2011 Red Sox. That team, you may remember, delivered the greatest collapse in baseball history with a 7-20 September that eliminated them from what appeared a certain playoff spot.

You have Bill James to thank for this gift.

Stat Man James retired from the Sox with four championship rings in October 2019 after serving as a team consultant for 17 seasons. He was listed on the team masthead above “instructors” Jim Rice and Luis Tiant.

James still has a pay-subscription website and he recently made some strong comments about the role of team chemistry regarding the ‘11 Sox.

James wrote (in part) " . . . The [2011] team was split 15 ways, split between pitchers and position players, split between the super-serious guys and the fun-loving guys, split between the drinkers and the pot smokers. A couple of players were suspected of being . . . um insufficiently committed to good relations between the races. One guy who had a great year for us was really kind of a criminal; another guy was just nuts. One guy was just all in for himself. Too many people ran their mouths to the press and to one another. Most everybody on the team had a list of 10 teammates that he couldn’t stand . . . If anybody ever tried to tell you that team chemistry doesn’t matter, man, they should have been there.”
Read on for more mudslinging, their team manager Terry Francoa basically saying it's bullshit, and much more!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Tale Of Two Snow Games

Today is the 20th anniversary of the New England Patriots / Oakland Raiders playoff game, which has a few nicknames. Here's Shank (who was at that game): And now for my sad story. I had two buddies going to the game with a third ticket and I turned them down. I was then watching the game alone at my house, saw Brady fumble lose the ball, and promptly went to bed when it happened, thinking it was a fumble. Imagine my surprise the next morning!

The other two 'no, thanks' I wish I had a chance to do over again - not going to the Channel for Roy Orbison's last show and the same for the Foo Fighters first tour, playing on Lansdowne Street.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Another Big Bowl Of Awkward

The recriminations continue in the aftermath of the New England Patriots' blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night:
This loss has to be extra awkward for Bill Belichick with his sons on staff as defensive coaches

This is super awkward.

Bill Belichick will be 70 next time he coaches an NFL game. He has a Nantucket compound, a boat called “VIII Rings,” and probably makes more money than any coach in America. He’s on pace to become the winningest coach in NFL history and has absolute power with the direction of the Patriot franchise.

And yet these are not great days for Belichick. He just saw his upstart team suffer a humiliating playoff defeat in Buffalo, then watched 44-year-old Tom Brady advance in the tournament with yet another quarterbacking masterpiece Sunday afternoon.

Oh, and one more thing …

Fair or unfair, there’s the nepotism thing.

Belichick has two sons on the Patriots coaching staff, both on defense. One of them, Steve, who has been with the team for 10 seasons, may be the de facto defensive coordinator. Matt Patricia was the last Patriot assistant coach officially listed as “defensive coordinator.” Brian Flores did the same job but never had the title. Today, Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo are believed to be acting as co-defensive coordinators.
Shank goes on to list many examples of 'nepotism' in the NFL and other professional sports. It's not always a bad thing, since these kids are exposed to / steeped in sports from an early age, which makes it a bit more natural for them. The problem arises when the team they're with loses, and loses in bad fashion.

While not exactly an example of nepotism, it should be noted the time when Shank got his daughter an internship with Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner's Hollywood production company. But that doesn't quite rise to the level of de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, does it?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

One More For The Road

A bit out of sequence, but this one was the Patriots - Bills pregame column:
The Buffalo-Boston sports history is glittered with, well, not much

Buffalo-Boston. Sports History for $200.

What have we got?

How about the beloved C. Montgomery Burns/Jeremy Jacobs owning the Bruins and running Boston’s vaunted hockey franchise from Buffalo since 1975?

How about scoring-machine Bob McAdoo and NBA rookie of the year Ernie DiGregorio leading the Buffalo Braves against the John Havlicek-Dave Cowens-Jo Jo White Celtics in the first round of the 1974 playoffs? It took the Celtics six games to beat the Braves. Tommy Heinsohn’s championship-bound Celts had to go through Buffalo again in 1976. Two years later, there was a complicated NBA ownership/franchise swap where the Celtics stayed put and the Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego.

How about when the Buffalo Sabres and the French Connection line played vs. Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bruins in the early 1970s? Anybody remember the Terry O’Reilly-coached Bruins beating Buffalo in a six-game set en route to the Stanley Cup Finals in the spring of 1988?

The 2011-2012 New England Patriots - The Burial

I'll bet Shank was working on this column well before halftime:
In an embarrassing performance, Bill Belichick and the Patriots get it rubbed in their faces by the Bills

The weather was supposed to play to New England’s advantage.

It did not.

The coaching matchup was supposed to play to New England’s advantage.

It did not.

What a beating!

A season in which the Patriots returned to the playoffs expired on the frozen tundra of Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday night as Bill Belichick’s unprepared team was demolished by the Buffalo Bills, 47-17, in the sub-zero freezer that is Highmark Stadium.


A surprise season that peaked when the same Patriots beat the same Bills in a crossfire hurricane Dec. 6 collapsed in spectacular fashion over the final five weeks. In a stunning stretch of 42 days, the Patriots went from top seeds in the AFC (with visions of a Tom Brady showdown in Super Bowl 53) to a line of frozen Tomato Cans in a discount freezer.
You can tell he liked writing this one.

DHL Dan CLXVI - The Turning Away

Shank takes a look at what the work stoppage in Major League Baseball's going to look like:
Baseball is giving fans another reason to turn away, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting for Tom Brady & Co to launch a Sunday playoff tripleheader …

▪ Baseball owners and players don’t seem to care about you, the fans. This will be painfully obvious if they fail to craft a new basic agreement in the coming weeks.

Demonstrating zero urgency, the sides have talked twice in the last six weeks — a seven-minute session in early December and an hourlong Zoom session Thursday. The sides do not trust one another, which means a likely delay for the start of spring training and possibly the regular season.

It’s clear that owners care most about postseason TV revenue and would be happy to lose some of the 162 if they can get a favorable new deal. Meanwhile, ballplayers have made their disregard for fans clear with their insistence on maintaining a still-life pace of play that has turned off millions of baseball watchers.
Including this one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Patriots Loss Is Shank's Win

One of the more predictable Shank columns comes after a New England Patriots loss:
As they ready for Bills again, Patriots look like an average, undisciplined team that can’t play from behind

The Patriots are returning to the playoffs for the first time since Tom Brady left town. Saturday night — playing in Buffalo — the Patriots hope to win their first playoff game since Brady won Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta three years ago.

The bad news is that the Pats are stumbling into the postseason with three losses in four games, including Sunday’s 33-24 beatdown in Miami Gardens, Fla., against the no-playoff Dolphins.

“We didn’t do anything well,’’ mumbled Patriots coach Bill Belichick in his postgame news conference. “Just too many mistakes . . . Wasn’t good enough today. Just leave it at that . . . Lot of poor execution, poor coaching, poor playing.’’

Friday, January 07, 2022

DHL Dan CLXV - The Worst, Etc.

Now that the Boston Celtics have lost a few games, Shank sets his sights on the team:
The Celtics are the worst finishers in the NBA, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while assembling a shrine to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison …
More on this in a minute.
▪ So many topics, so little space.

One could rant about the ongoing Antonio Brown circus. One could ask for compassion for the much-traveled wideout, or simply conclude that AB is a manipulative liar and we should save our compassion for his multiple (alleged) victims and all those he has mistreated.

The Tampa Bay Bucs and Tom Brady get no compassion. They enabled Brown, did headstands to work around his baggage, lowered all standards in the quest for a championship, and ultimately deserve the predictable mess AB left behind.
Totally agree - AB's an asshole who burns nearly everyone he comes in contact with.

Then we have the 2021-22 Celtics, who have become the region’s most annoying and infuriating team since … last year’s Celtics.

What is it with these guys? Wednesday’s and Thursday’s losses to San Antonio and New York were as bad as it gets. No team blows leads like these guys. Six times in 16 days your Green Team lost games in which they had a lead or a tie in the fourth quarter. They are the worst finishers in the NBA. Thursday they blew a 25-point lead in New York and after the game their poor new coach said that they lack mental toughness.

If it makes you feel better, Bob Cousy sees the same things you see.
Read on for more of that, but I think his column leadoff was grating, and now for some outstanding commentary:
▪ The Novak Djokovic episode features the latest and thus far best handling of anti-vax athletes. Chris Sale, Aaron Rodgers, and even Irving all got their way when they put their personal freedom ahead of the health of their teammates and the good of their sport. Not so for Djokovic, who landed at the Melbourne airport with his vax exemption and was told “no.”

“Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements,” said Morrison. “We await his presentation and what evidence he provides to support that. If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home. There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”
Suffice to say, Shank barely knows any of the details here. Djokovic had some level of assurance from Tennis Austalia that things were a go and was in fact granted permission to enter the Australian province of Victoria via a medical exemption when the Australian Feds suddenly stepped in and decided without explanation or elaboration his papers were not in order. These and many other factors can be seen here and paint a decidely diffeerent picture of the situation than Mr. Branch Covidian here does. In his view, anti-vax athletes should be dealt with in this manner; ambush swift, harshly and with one level of appeal available to you, the aggrieved party. Completely ignored by both the Feds in Australia and by Shank - Novak has already had Covid-19 and thus far better immunity against future infection (also known as natural immunity) than from these so-called 'vaccines'. Is it a real 'vaccine' if the're recommending boosters every couple of months? People like Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and Shank are without doubt proponents of compulsory vaccination regardless of the facts.

Thursday, January 06, 2022


Shank does his first ever column devoted to Red Sox and Boston Globe owner John Henry:
John Henry is no Rob Manfred, and I appreciate that

I am here today to celebrate and applaud John Henry.

Words you never thought you would read.

Here’s the deal. The Major League Baseball Network terminated an outstanding reporter, Ken Rosenthal, evidently because MLB commissioner Rob Manfred thought Kenny was being too mean to the commish and his ideas. By any measure, it goes down as one of the most idiotic management moves in MLB Network history.

Rosenthal is fair and smart, universally respected in big league baseball — by fans, owners, players, team officials, and reporters. Rosenthal is the goods. It is incredibly petty and short-sighted for Manfred to eliminate Rosenthal’s podium just because he can.

You can’t fool fans. Or viewers. Or readers. They always get it.

Henry is no Manfred. There no doubt have been plenty of times when the owner of the Red Sox — who is also owner of the Globe — would have preferred that my thoughts not run in his newspaper. Yet I am still here. Unfortunately for MLB Network viewers, Rosenthal didn’t have a boss who understood the role of the media, was willing to take some hits, and let the viewers make up their own minds.
Definitely worth reading in full.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Let's You And Him Fight!

Remember when I was mentioning a few years that Shank wouldn't be doing his weekly broadcasting gig at 98.5 The Sports Hub for much longer (and by implication he wasn't getting along with Marc 'The Beetle' Bertrand and Scott Zolak)?

Shots fired!

Turn On A Dime Dan, A Continuing Series

After the New England Patriots placed a beatdown on the Jacksonville Jaguars 50-10 yesterday, Shank sees a resurrection of sorts:
Mac Jones is breaking down walls every step of the way. It’s as if he was invented by Bill Belichick

Rookie Wall?

Don’t be ridiculous. Mac Jones played a 13-game championship season at Alabama in 2020, where he was subjected to the same rigors and scrutiny he’s experienced during his terrific NFL rookie season.

When the Patriots lost a couple of games before Christmas, there was predictable noise that Jones had run out of gas at the tail end of the NFL’s 17-game regular season. He wasn’t allowed to throw the football on a windy night in Orchard Park, N.Y., and followed that with a couple of losing efforts, throwing four interceptions combined against the Colts and Bills.

For a full week after the loss to Buffalo, we heard about another brick in the Rookie Wall, the first-year Wailing Wall, and Foxborough’s Wall of no sound. Sports radio yakkers urged Jones to “take down this Wall.’’
It was one week ago when Shank was all but burying the Patriots and now expects us to believe otherwise.

Sam Jones, R.I.P

Another Boston Celtic great has passed away:
With Sam Jones’s death, Bob Cousy loses another beloved Celtics teammate

Bob Cousy got the call early Friday. New Year’s Eve. Another teammate was gone.

Sam Jones.

“I just got off the phone with Satch,” Cousy said from his Worcester home Friday morning. “I told him not to look over his shoulder.

“Now we’re down to just three. Satch [Tom Sanders], Russ [Bill Russell], and I are holding up the float, I guess. The last thing I said to Satch was that I’m going to have my lonely New Year’s Eve drink tonight at 6 o’clock and I’m going to hoist it to Sam. I told Satch he should do the same and he said, ‘I won’t have mine till 10,’ and I said, ‘By 10, I will have been asleep for an hour.’ ”