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.