These Red Sox Sure Are Hateable Right Now

Just putting this here:

The Red Sox have now won six in a row, including three on the road against Cleveland and Baltimore.

That’s Hall of Fame worthy analysis by the voice of Boston sports right there.


John Dennis is gone. It certainly appears that the longtime morning co-host will not be returning to the WEEI airwaves.

This meshes with what I had been told, which was that he flat-out quit.

While Dennis definitely had his flaws, he was infinitely a better host than Gary Tanguay, who seems to be the lined-up replacement. (Please no.)


The Patriots play their second preseason game tonight, against the Chicago Bears, whom they have scrapped with in joint practices this week.

The preseason broadcasts remain a bit of a disjointed mess. I like all the people involved on the telecasts, but they’re not in great roles. I appreciate Dan Roche for his positive outlook on sports – a refreshing alternative in a sea of negative pundits, but he’s not a play-by-play guy, or whatever facilitating role he is expected to perform on these broadcasts. Christian Fauria is not a great a analyst. He’d be better as the sideline guy where he can be be Tony Siragusa Jr. Matt Chatham would be better as the booth analyst.

I’m never sure when they’re tossing to the PFW guys, or what they’re expected to contribute to the telecasts.


It’s A Shame About John Dennis.

No, no it isn’t.

Will John Dennis return to Dennis and Callahan on WEEI? (Finn)

The only shame of it is that it probably means more Gary Tanguay foisted upon us.

If John Dennis is indeed done with the morning show at WEEI, it is the end of an era, the Dennis and Callahan program was the last show from WEEI’s heyday which had its original hosts remaining intact.

At their best, Dennis and Gerry Callahan (with or without Kirk Minihane) provided a smart, snappy program which always carried an edge. At their worst, they were bickering, angry, borderline hateful men who could force a dial change faster than anyone else in town not named Tony Massarotti.

In a way, it is rather sad and pathetic that it has come down to this. John Dennis, who has spent much of his media career as a bully to to his co-workers, can’t get along with his co-hosts, publicly threatens to beat them up, and then disappears, perhaps for good.

There’s no complicated legacy at play here.


The world got another close up view of the disaster which is the NFL Ops department last night as the annual Hall of Fame game which kicks off the preseason for the league was cancelled due to unsafe field conditions.


I’ve refrained from knocking David Price thus far, knowing that he’ll be better next year than this year, but man, he’s been a tremendous disappointment this season. To his credit, he’ll admit the same, but things are not improving.


Bryan Curtis of The Ringer profiled the voice of Boston sports, Dan Shaughnessy last week: Dan Shaughnessy Roots for Himself.

It’s also confirmation that Shaughnessy has no real interest in sports.

In 1986, when Mookie Wilson’s grounder rolled through Bill Buckner’s legs, Dan Shaughnessy felt a familiar sensation: nothing. Here was a play so awful that it seemed — as Shaughnessy would lucratively suggest — cosmically directed. Yet as he perched in the Shea Stadium press box, Shaughnessy was unmoved. Without a pang, he put aside the feature he was writing about Dave Henderson and changed course.

Yes, Shaughnessy is just as narcissistic as the headline would lead you to believe. Rather than reflecting about the moment, Shaughnessy thinks about himself.

“What does this mean for my work and my travel and my book?” he continued. “What does this mean next spring, and how we’re going to have to cover these guys? It’s not about, Oh my god, the team of my youth was just denied winning the World Series. None of that. … I always say, ‘I’m rooting for myself.’”

I suppose there are points for honesty there, but he can’t resist twisting the knife, even in an interview. When asked what moments did bring him pleasure and move him, he mentioned a couple events.

It was just that his exultations were often untethered to Boston’s happiness. As he ticked off the times he’d been genuinely moved, he listed Aaron Boone’s homer in ’03 and David Tyree’s helmet catch in ’08 — two moments that made Bostonians want to jump off a bridge.

Kind of says it all.

Patriots Training Camp Topics

Well, Tom Brady got suspended, so the world is safe from skullduggery. Pay no mind to former NFL players dragging their broken bodies and brains toward early deaths. The commissioner has sussed out and faced down the real issue facing the NFL in 2016: proper ball inflation.

Now that the Commissioner, who reminds us of Owen Wilson in a perpetual state of wonder,  has made football safe, it’s time to get back to training camp.

Here are five topics we’re mulling over this week.

The Redshirt Class: The Patriots had lots of injuries last year, with the rookie class in particular getting hit hard with ailments. Tight end A. J. Derby, cornerback Darryl Roberts, and defensive end Trey Flowers all took an early path to the IR in 2015. Roberts was a starter in the one preseason game he played before injuring his wrist, while Flowers showed some pass-rushing ability in the same game, getting to Aaron Rodgers more decisively than a stupid comment. Derby got hurt in early August, making his potential intriguing after a year of settling in with his new team.

One Guy To Watch: Derby, for the reason listed above. The former QB with solid quickness would fit as a pass-catching tight end, giving some competition to Clay Harbor. Now that I’ve written this, I just hope he doesn’t get cut tomorrow.

The Backup Offensive Tackles: Rather telling that, as of Tuesday afternoon, only Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer are listed as tackles on the Patriots.com roster page. The rest carry the more vague title of offensive lineman, which an optimist would say means the remaining players have flexibility. But we ran out of optimism after Solder got hurt last year.

Seeing how last year Cameron Fleming got run around like a maypole and Marcus Cannon showed the foot speed of a dog on his hind legs, New England might have some trouble in this area, especially given the wear-and-tear on Solder (recovering from injury) and Vollmer (32 years old). LaAdrian Waddle has some experience but didn’t get to show much last year due to injury. Rookie Joe Thuney did a great job at left tackle in college but has been tagged as an interior lineman.

One Guy To Watch: Looking for another great achievement from head alchemist Coach Dante Scarnecchia here, let’s keep an eye on Keavon Milton, third-year man out of Louisiana-Monroe (Go Warhawks!). Milton measures 6-4, 320 pounds. He played tight end in college, much like Solder . He’s fast and athletic for his size, so he could surprise some people. I mean, a big, big surprise, but still. (Note: Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit had a piece on Milton Tuesday, which I of course noticed midway through writing this paragraph).

The Backup Inside Linebacker: This one’s a tough call for the best of reasons; namely, the starting inside linebackers for New England, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins, make up one of the best tandems in the NFL. Free agent Jonathan Freeny came in and did decently, but had trouble holding up against the run. Like Freeny, Ramon Humber and Kevin Snyder register as special teamers more than positional backups. Free agent Shea McClellin has experience in the middle, but he will probably stick outside. Rookie Elandon Roberts, at 6-0, 235 pounds, looks like another special teams guy, as we said in our 2016 Draft Review.

One Guy To Watch: Roberts, largely due to his productivity in college, and also because of the Patriots’ diligence in getting bigger bodies onto the defensive front. Such bulk on the line might keep OLs off of a player like Roberts. The sixth-rounder ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, the kind of speed that helped him tally 142 total tackles last fall, leading the nation with 88 unassisted stops.

The Return Man: The Patriots had some problems with punt returns last year, as Chris Harper, Keshawn Martin, and Danny Amendola all muffed kicks. Due to Amendola’s and Julian Edelman’s importance to the offense, both have seen their reps in the PR role limited.

One Guy To Watch: It has to be Cyrus Jones, right? The Pats’ premier pick averaged 12.6 yards per punt return last fall, escorting four home to meet his parents.* (You can see his work vs. Michigan State here.) As Amendola showed in the past, getting a chance to return the football can boost a part-time player’s confidence and get him into the flow of a game. Could be a boon for the rookie.

*And the search for the perfect return TD catchphrase goes on.

The Big Backup Back: New England has eight running backs in camp this week, not including fullback James Develin. It looks like LeGarrette Blount (250 pounds) projects as the top big guy, with Brandon Bolden (220) a steady backup and core special teamer. While fans appreciated the fill-in work of 245-pound Joey Iosefa (search for “Iosefa truck” and you’ll find this clip vs. the Titans), he doesn’t seem like a long-term solution. Tyler Gaffney weighs in at 220, but he’s had a hard time staying on the field.

One Guy To Watch: I’m not sure we’ve met New England’s backup bulldozer yet. Whether it’s Iosefa, Heath Evans, Mike Cloud, or Jonas Gray, the Patriots have a history of finding players to fill in as temporary Class 2 Vehicles. Rather than stick with Iosefa or hope Gaffney stays healthy, the Patriots could watch the waver wire and bring in a tough runner to round out special teams and see if he’s a fit for the fall.

Thoughts on the upcoming season? Relief that the scoundrel Brady will no longer have the opportunity to commit scientifically disproven violations on footballs? Please let us know in the comments below.

Chris Warner tweets like he’s the funniest guy in the room, a perk of doing so alone: @cwarn89

Let’s Get Something Straight: Dan Shaughnessy Is NOT a Hall of Famer.

shank

No.

Despite what you may have heard, Dan Shaughnessy was not inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. He was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and will be recognized in the media exhibit at the Hall. 

There is no induction, he has no plaque.

That doesn’t stop the lie from spreading.

Oh, but it’s just semantics, right? I hate Dan Shaughnessy so I need to discredit him and take this tremendous honor which has been bestowed upon him and minimize it. Probably because I’m jealous or something, I forget what exactly.

(For those who apparently didn’t get the above paragraph. I don’t “hate” Shaughnessy. I’m accused of it often, so I took that perception and projected it into that statement.) 

But, as Rob Neyer wrote last year –

But one of the CENTRAL TENETS of our profession is accuracy, and it’s just wildly inaccurate for a Spink Award winner to describe himself as a Hall of Famer, or to say he’s in the non-existent “writer’s wing” of the Hall of Fame.

Some do try to set the record straight:

What exactly is this J.G. Taylor Spink Award? Well, it’s pretty vague, actually. The award is voted on by the BBWAA to recognize meritorious contributions to baseball by members of the BBWAA.

That’s all. So this “Hall of Fame” award is the BBWAA voting for a BBWAA member. Only once has a non-BBWAA writer received the award, and that was Roger Angell in 2014. Now if any writer deserved to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it might be Roger Angell. But since Angell wasn’t a member of the precious BBWAA they didn’t honor him with the Spink Award until he was 94 years old.

Of course, in 2011 they honored Bill Conlin, six months before he resigned following multiple accusations of child-molestation. Nice timing.

Aside: How has Roger Kahn not been recognized yet? Oh, he’s not a member of the BBWAA.

Here’s more on the award from the actual Baseball Hall of Fame website:

The award is voted upon annually by the BBWAA, via a meeting and subsequent “show of hands” either at the preceding year’s World Series or Winter Meetings. A nominee is recommended by the BBWAA’s Screening Committee prior to the meeting. Each award recipient (not to be confused with an inductee) is presented with a certificate during Hall of Fame Weekend and is recognized in the “Scribes & Mikemen” exhibit in the Library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

(Emphasis mine)

From now on though, be prepared to hear Shaughnessy introduced as Hall of Fame writer Dan Shaughnessy. (and die a little inside each time.)

So what about these “meritorious contributions to baseball” that Shaughnessy has provided?

You mean like the Curse of the Bambino? That qualifies? Apparently so. If you were around prior to 2004, you remember how much that thing was shoved down our throats. Because of his book(s) Shaughnessy had an active interest in the Red Sox losing at the end of each season in the most painful way possible. He profited from it.

From his work as a beat writer? As a day-to-day baseball beat writer, he was actually not on the job all that long. How many people remember him for that?

young-dan

1977 World Series

Well, OK, he’s been around a long time, I guess. Is this a longevity award?

Lets look at what the BBWAA thought made Shaughnessy worthy of this honor. Check out their page on him. (That’s a really bad WordPress website guys. Maybe check out WordPress.com VIP?)

Here’s the pertinent part:

Shaughnessy, 62, came to the Globe in 1981 after four years of covering baseball for the Baltimore Evening Sun and Washington Star. The Holy Cross College graduate has covered more than 35 spring trainings and 25 World Series. Shaughnessy has written 12 books, nine of them on baseball, notably Curse of the Bambino. He also popularized the phrase, “Red Sox Nation.”

Through his columns, Dan has taken on owners, front offices, managers, coaches and players alike in pertinent issues through good times and bad with the Red Sox. He has covered three championship Red Sox teams, the heartbreaking 1986 season and wrote some of the most eloquent prose in 2004 after Boston ended its 86-year title drought.

In 2006, Shaughnessy wrote a column which forced Theo Epstein to resign as Red Sox general manager. Dan wrote a book on high school baseball; covered high school, NCAA and Cape Cod League baseball, and delivered talks on baseball at the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Shaughnessy was the last writer to interview Ted Williams, in 2002, and had exclusive access to Williams in his final years.

Wow.

We know Shaughnessy didn’t invent the Curse of the Bambino. He just pounded it into the ground. He didn’t coin the phrase Red Sox Nation, either.

Ah yes, his bravery in taking on owners (but not John Henry, he’s his boss) front offices (but not Larry Lucchino, he’s his source) managers (but not Terry Francona, he wrote a book with him) coaches (like who? Wendell “send em in” Kim?) and players (mostly Dominicans.)

He wrote eloquent prose? When? Has anyone ever read a Shaughnessy column and been awestruck by his craftsmanship with words? Just because the Globe put his columns during the 2004 postseason the front page of the paper didn’t make them eloquent.

In 2006, Shaughnessy wrote a column which forced Theo Epstein to resign as Red Sox general manager.

This is stated as if this was an accomplishment! The column was ghostwritten by Larry Lucchino. Epstein resigned because it was clear to him that Lucchino had gone to Shaughnessy, said these things, and acted like Epstein’s new contract was a done deal. It doesn’t even read like a typical Shaughnessy column. But this gets put on his “Hall of Fame” resume?

Epstein didn’t resign out of shame because of something Shaughnessy wrote exposing him. He resigned out of disgust. This is supposedly a feather in Dan’s cap?

Dan wrote a book on high school baseball – to be more accurate, the book was about his son.

Shaughnessy was the last writer to interview Ted Williams, in 2002, and had exclusive access to Williams in his final years.

Why was that? Because Shaughnessy brokered a peace with the duplicitous John Henry Williams, who had taken over his father’s life. Dan would get exclusive access to Ted in exchange for not being critical of what JHW was doing to his father and his business decisions. Brave, indeed.

All that is worthy of being honored at the Hall of Fame?

In recent years Dan Shaughnessy has had no aim other than to make the life of Boston sports fans miserable – during the greatest period of sports success this city has ever seen.

Does that qualify as a “meritorious contributions to baseball?”

It’s worth keeping in mind that the J.G. Taylor Spink Award is really just a media award given out by the media. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the Hall of Fame, other than that is where the award is given, and the recipient will remembered in the media exhibit.

If you look through the names of the writers who have received this award, many of them are all-time greats. Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Shirley Povich, Red Smith, Dick Young, Jim Murray, Sam Lacey, Jerome Holtzman, Peter Gammons, Angell.

Now Dan Shaughnessy.

Forgive me if I don’t fawn over him, or call him a “Hall of Famer.”

I Have No Use For You If…

If YOU say Tom Brady should just drop the case and move on, I have no use for you.

If YOU sigh and moan that Brady is going to take this ridiculous case (over air in a football!!) to the Supreme Court and waste all our tax dollars, I have no use for you.

If YOU espouse the theory that Brady’s suspension isn’t the worse thing in the world “because now we can see Jimmy G” I have no use for you.

Brady going to be 39 years old in August. No matter what shape he stays in, he doesn’t have many seasons left. We’re willing to just sacrifice a quarter of one?

That’s like saying I sure am glad Larry Bird missed almost all of the 1988-89 season so we could see what we had in Reggie Lewis!

If YOU say this – or any variation of this:

I have no use for you, although, to be fair, I never did to begin with, you Troy Vincent stooge.

If YOU report on the air that the court ruled yesterday that NFL acted within the parameters of the CBA, and treated Tom Brady fairly” as ESPN did yesterday, I hope you lose another 10 million subscribers very soon. 

If YOU are another NFL team and post this on your official Twitter page within minutes of the court’s decision:

I’m hoping for multiple opening-day, season-ending injuries.

If YOU are a local columnist who lost his job because of plagiarism, were guilty, and you still used your union to fight to the bitter end, and you say “It’s tap out time, Tom.”

It’s far past time you tapped out.

I have no use for a lot of people, apparently.

Now What?

Kevin Durant would’ve been fun to watch here in Boston. Kevin Durant will be very fun to watch with the Warriors.

The former Thunder star disappointed Boston fans when he announced yesterday that he was choosing to join the Golden State Warriors, a team that won a league record 73 games but lost in the NBA finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Durant is under criticism in some corners for choosing to go to a team that already has three established stars, with the knock being that should the Warriors win the NBA title, Durant will have just tagged along for the ride, rather than taking a team on his own to the championship.

I don’t really buy into that. If all Durant wants is to win, and to win right away, Golden State was the choice. This doesn’t feel the same to me as when superfriends LeBron, Wade and Bosh teamed up in Miami. Durant was also smart in signing the two year deal with the option after one, not only for the raise he’ll be able to command next offseason, but also in case this just doesn’t work out.

It’s tough to swallow as a Celtics fan, but I can’t get too upset over this.

The Celtics still have more building to do. Al Horford is a nice piece and will make them better, but he’s not the star they need to really challenge the Cavs in the East. They need more shooting, though the youngsters put on quite a show in that area in last night’s Summer League game.

The extremist factions of the Boston sports media will paint this as another failed offseason for Danny Ainge and his “assets.” They can be ignored on this topic, just as you would on many of their other precious opinions.

  • The Brady en banc decision should be coming down any day now. I was optimistic that the court would at least order the NFL to respond, but my hopes are going down in that regard. I now think it is Supreme Court or bust, and I think Brady’s team believes that as well, which why Ted Olson was brought on in the first place.

  • The calls for John Farrell’s head on certain sports radio shows has been loud and adamant. My thoughts on Farrell is that in-game decisions, which is the most visible part of his job, is also his weakest area. I don’t know this for sure, but my sense is that Farrell is strong in the other aspects of the job, the parts that aren’t seen by the media and fans. This could explain why he’s hung onto this job through multiple last-place finishes.

A Familiar Scenario

Stop me when this sounds familiar:

  • Sports league has annual draft.
  • Local team has a ton of draft picks shrewdly acquired through various trades.
  • Lots of anticipation and speculation as to what local team should do with picks.
  • Local GM with Championship experience makes draft selections based on players he and his scouts like.
  • Internet scouts and airchair GMs decry picks because they’re not in line with their own rankings and expectations.
  • Same people shout that trades should be made, ANY TRADE.
  • When trade IS made, it involves future picks, not players.
  • TV analysts left scrambling for highlights of said picks because they’re being taken out of the generally prescribed order.
  • Fanz and media are generally underwhelmed by results.

Following the NBA and NFL drafts on Twitter can be one of the most frustrating experiences ever. Instant judgment! Should’ve done THIS instead! Oh, Player X is still on the board, they’re foolish not to take him! WHAT AN AWFUL PICK!

Or the one spilling over into today: DANNY AINGE OVERRATED HIS ASSETS! HE’S TAKING THE FANS PATIENCE FOR GRANTED.

Ah well. What can you do?


I’m largely in agreement with Chad Finn today on Mike Adams:

Mikey Adams was a lock for laughs at WEEI

I was not a fan of the Mike Adams schtick in the early days, but recently as the sports radio landscape became more and more negative, panic-mongering and hot-takez-oriented, I began to appreciate the show more.

It’s odd how that works.

 

WEEI Commits Mundicide

The Planet Mikey show is no more.

Effective immediately.

WEEI removes longtime host Mike Adams from evening program – Finn.

A Phil Zachary quote in that article reads:

“As you know, WEEI has extensively–and successfully–revamped every major weekday show over the last three years. The time is right to extend that thinking to nights.”

Two of those moves have involved bringing back longtime hosts who had been removed from their shows, namely Dale Arnold and Glenn Ordway.

I can only assume that this means the return of Ted Sarandis is imminent.

 

The More Things Change…

…The more they stay the same.

Especially in the Boston sports media.

After years of trashing “Pedro the punk,” Manny Ramirez’s lack of hustle, David Ortiz’s annual requests for a new contact, the sports radio airwaves have a new Dominican target: Hanley Ramirez, who has been a steady topic on the WEEI mid-day show. For some reason, the affable, goofy Christian Fauria, really hates Hanley.

It couldn’t be an act, could it?

Dan Shaughnessy rips the Patriots. Rinse. Repeat.

Dan Shaughnessy shows he is clueless (or more likely willfully obtuse and ignorant) about Deflategate. Let’s break down his most idiotic statement from yesterday and put it on blast:

3. Love the high-powered legal frauds who had no issue with other Goodell punishments, then expressed outrage in amicus briefs (solicited by the Patriots) in the name of justice and labor fairness . . . all because it was Tom Brady.

This is awesomely stupid. The best known arbitrator in the country, Kenneth Feinberg is a “high-powered legal fraud?” So the former Solicitor General of the United States, Ted Olsen is a “high-powered legal fraud” as well because he recently joined Brady’s fight?

Even if the Patriots did solicit the amicus briefs, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, the parties who submitted them could’ve refused, but chose to do so.

They had no issue with other Goodell punishments because the NFL lost those cases and Goodell got smacked around by Judges, who made specific reference to his dishonesty.

And sure, what Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson did and their punishments are exactly like what Tom Brady is accused of doing. If Shaughnessy can’t see the difference, he’s…well, we know what he is.

Also:

Bill Simmons is wildly rich and famous. So why does he have to keep playing the diva and crying about past slights?

This from the guy who got snubbed at a breakfast 20 years ago and has used every opportunity since that day to take it out on the Krafts.

Why am I talking about Shaughnessy? He’s irrelevant, right?

Things just never change around here.

A few things to check out:

Latest retelling of O.J. saga is ESPN at its very best – Chad Finn with a look at the latest 30 for 30.

Bill Simmons doesn’t hold a grudge. No, really. – Finn also has a piece in the Globe Sunday Magazine about the abovementioned Simmons.

Sports Illustrated debuted their “Tech & Media” vertical, which looks like it will immediately become one of the best destinations for sports media.