Approval Ratings – Dan Shaughnessy

Dan ShaughnessyYes, the day is finally here.

The Boston Globe clearly considers Dan Shaughnessy the star of its sports department, putting the columnist front and center whenever a big sports event is catching the attention of even the most casual of sports fans. Shaughnessy gets the call for all the front page stories during the baseball postseason, and even now with football and basketball. He is used by the paper to be the voice of Boston sports.

Shaughnessy grew up in Groton, and is a graduate of Holy Cross. He started his professional career with the Baltimore Sun in the late 1970’s, serving as Orioles beat writer. He moved on to the Globe in 1981, where he covered the beat for the Red Sox and Celtics before moving to the columnist role. He is a seven time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year, and eight times he has been selected as one of Americas top-ten sports columnists by Associated Press Sports Editors.

Shaughnessy’s feud with Curt Schilling has been well documented, and as has his role in the (short lived) resignation of Red Sox GM Theo Epstein following the 2005 season. His formulaic columns, ripjobs and contrarian opinions have earned him the title of The Most Hated Man in Boston, though I have a feeling he’s not as hated by the average fan as we might think he is. His work has inspired his own watchdog blog, the entertaining Dan Shaughnessy Watch.

He is a frequent guest on national sports shows such a Jim Rome, and is a frequent guest on stations all across the country.

Shaughnessy has written at least 11 books, including The Curse of the Bambino, The Legend of the Curse of the Bambino and Reversing the Curse: Inside the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Other credits include Senior Year: A Father, A Son, and High School Baseball and Ever Green The Boston Celtics: A History in the Words of Their Players, Coaches, Fans and Foes, from 1946 to the Present.




  1. Scott says

    You forgot to call Shaughnessy ‘brave’, Objective Bruce. I’m sure you meant to.

    Yeah, that’s why people don’t like Shaughnessy – because of “criticism of their sports heroes.” Because he doesn’t engage in “hero worship”. Because of how courageous he is – he dares tell us that the King has no clothes!

    Had you not weighed in, I would have attributed the disapprovals to the push-button manipulative writing, the same tired cliches and long-held agendas, and the surly contempt with which he holds his customers.

    But now I know its just that he’s not engaging in hero worship. I have also learned that because Bruce Allen lives in New Hampshire, he really has no standing to even comment.

    Thanks for setting me straight.


  2. ObjectiveBruce says

    I never cease to be amazed at how much people take criticism of their sports heroes to heart. It is as if he is a horrid person because he doesn’t engage in hero worship.

    I do find it amusing that the Pride of New England’s Drag Racing Capital would fire off a phrase such as “formulaic columns, ripjobs and contrarian opinions” to describe the columnist.

    Formulaic indeed.


    • George says

      ObjectiveBruce, if you’re really interested in objectivity, here’s Exhibit A, Shaunessey;s most recent column from yesterday’s Globe:

      Looks like it probably took all of 10 minutes of effort. The column, about Garnett needing to take charge, brims over with cliches, commonplace references and mindless recycled analysis. Anyone who thinks he’s getting unfairly bashed, just READ THIS.
      75% of the posts here are more interesting – and I’m not exaggerating!

      If you happen to get through the whole article, note the “hop on my back fella’s” reference. You’d think, as a longstanding local, he could use Cedric Maxwell’s herioc leadership role on the 1981 Celtic team that won it all. Do you think he could break a sweat?


    • mike b says

      It’s really not about criticism of athletes, OB, and you know it. It’s about lacking a spine. He’s for something/something one day, vehemently against it the next. It’s a wonder he can walk upright.


  3. brownszombie says

    Sounds like 99% of disapprovals have never been outside of 128. Read the Carolina papers or Florida or take your pick…..I don’t like the messenger, but outside of the once – in – a – while – mail – it – ins the message is there. What in his writing is more negative than the BSMW?


    • George says

      Sounds to me like you’ve never read the Boston Globe. I’ve read plenty of bad sportswriters from all around the US. However, most of them are not widely known and passing themselves off as experts as Shaunessey likes to do (and cash in on).

      As many here have said, any talent he possesses as a writer is wasted. From a fan’s perspective, he’s a waste of media space that might otherwise be used by someone with something interesting to say.

      BSMW has been totally fair and provides a vajuable service reporting on local media, If anything, BSMW often gives many media figures the benefit of the doubt in the spirit of professionalism.


    • Fred West Lynn says

      I’ve never understood this argument. If the sports writing (or news reporting or political reporting or investigative reporting, or the comics for that matter) are crappy in Carolina or Florida or (this is for you, “Duke”) Atlanta why should that have the slightest impact on what we should expect from our own local media? Dan actually seems not as bad as he is because the sportswriting talent pool has become pretty stagnant since the days of Ray Fitzgerald, Leigh Montville, and vintage Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan, and Charles P. Pierce. But viewed on his own merits (lazy, formulaic writing; virtually no reporting to speak of; shopworn bag of 80s pop culture references attempting to add “style”), he is dreadful on every level. The next insightful — never mind original — observation in a Shaughnessy column will be the first since “Werewolves of London” howled from the FM speakers of The Rock of Boston.


  4. Chris says

    Haughty, elite, and ‘bitter’ are three adjectives that describe this unhinged, angry man. Documented elsewhere, Shaughnessy is a sports media ‘gray-hair’ who falls in line with the rest of the cabal in deriding the Internet as a mortal enemy. The Internet in all its incarnations–blogs, message boards, and comments sections–has almost single-handedly ruined Shaughnessy’s ‘reason for being.’ He never passes up an opportunity to launch IEDs at the Internet and fans of same. His ongoing rant against ’38 Pitches’ demonstrates Shaughnessy’s derangement perfectly.

    While other flailing Boston sports media hacks have found ‘safe havens’ within the same Internet that they purport to ‘hate’ (funny about that irony, huh?), Shaughnessy is limited to accepting guest appearances on Ryan’s ‘10.0’ in the same way that a pigeon waits for crumbs near a Boston Common park bench. Watch out for those dirty syringes, Dan.


  5. Beantown says

    Can we stop accusing Duke of being CHB. Didn’t anyone actually read his last post. While there was the obvious similarity to CHB in that it was a ridiculous concept, it was fairly well written and did not contain any tired references. No way CHB wrote that.


  6. says

    The sad part is that he used to be a good writer before he got full of himself and became the Joe West of Sports Writers.

    His agendas have blinded him and killed any goodwill he ever had in this town.


  7. Siggy says

    I knew I should have checked the blog yesterday, I’ve been waiting for this!

    I just hate it when I hear a national show or a sports station in another city come out of a break with.. “and now we have with us, the beloved sports columnist from the Boston Globe…” Ugh.

    As Hunter Thompson once said, Dan, you know you’re over the hill when you start stealing from yourself.

    DISAPPROVE with extreme prejudice.


  8. DUKE says

    I guess all the lightweight fans of boston want to be a yahoo sports town & just go with the flow. Well….I don’t! I want to be able to think for myself and Dan makes you do that. Its his humour, unique spin on things and take done in a superb writing style that truly makes him stand out. He will write the unpopular thing if that is what he sees & thats exactly why we read him. Others simply wont & just go with the flow.Deep down we know he is right. Of course we know he is right about Schilling, was right about McNamara & Buckner. Lets try and remember we are supposedly the most knowledegable sports town in America. Lets not turn totally into Yahoo’s like the vast majority on here. Then we will turn into a town like Atlanta alot sooner than we think!


    • ree says

      Go away Duke-I mean Dan. In case you haven’t read through the above comments, nobody here likes you. You’re irrelevant.

      Ha ha “…superb writing style…” That’s a good one, did you pen that one yourself, Duke/Dan?


      • HighWireNickEsasky says

        I gave him an aggressive disapprove, but I think the tactic of labeling every Shank supporter as Dan or Dan’s family is pretty lame. Duke’s posts are laden with poor arguments (and grammar). Go after that…


    • mike b says

      You miss the point. Shaughnessy writes “the unpopular thing,” then the next day — literally — will take the exact opposite position. He stands for nothing.


    • George says

      DUKE, I admit I did go with the flow, for a few years in fact, back in the late 80’s-early 90’s, when I read Shaunessey faithfully. Eventually I accepted the fact that there would never be any substance to Dan’s work and realized reading his stuff was a waste of time.

      Can some fans be yahoos? Sure, you only need to turn on sportstalk to figure that out. Overall Boston fans are more sophisticated (about sports) than most, and that’s precisely why a guy like Shaunessey gets called out for being shallow and repetitive – not to mention brutally negative and dark. This IS sports not politics afterall.

      If you’re satisfied with his output, that’s your business. Aside from what I’ve already written, I wouldn’t know how to argure with you about this…


  9. Classless Concepts says

    I don’t loathe this guy as much as I do Mazz…He’s simply outdated and irrelevant. The only thing that grinds my gears about this guy is when he pops in on a sport he doesn’t cover (Football) and hands out his uninformed opinion. Anything he writes about the Patriots should be dismissed with extreme prejudice.


  10. I Hate Dan says

    He’s picked on every single player that’s done anything in Boston, and no one has punched him in the face yet. The only players he’s ever liked were Bird (because he didn’t publicize his bar room fight where Bird broke his hand in the playoffs), Greg Kite, Max, and Carlisle. (The last three weren’t impact players, save for all around nice guy Max)…He’s vindictive, jealous, and he’s smarter, smarter, smarter than you….And, he makes things up: “The 3-2 Kid,” his fictional name for his non-fictional son in his non-fictional fictional crappy book….Yep, he’s a douche bag. Before he’s fired, he should be put in a room with Ortiz (reference the above “pile of you know what” quote), Schilling, Carl Everett, BB, and Pedro. If he lives and can still walk or eat solid foods, the Globe can rehire him…I don’t like the guy. Are you getting that? He has this look like “I have a joke and I’m laughing at EVERYONE all the time, only I’m too smart to tell you and you’re too dumb to understand it if I did.” F this guy!


  11. Bill says


    Ugly on the inside and outside. Dispicable piece of crap. Take the buyout you scumbag…


  12. JS says

    Shaughnessy and his hate filled writing will not be missed. I often wonder how he might explain the vile he spews to his children – for instance some of the loving columns he wrote about Bill Buckner. I found it irnoic when the punch drunk Lobel left the scene without fanfare – Shaughnessy wrote in dismay about this. You will be able to hear a pin drop when Danny boy signs off – I only wish it were tomorrow……SEE YA DANNY!


  13. Dave says

    Quite honestly, it tells you something about Jim Rome also. Boycott the both of them. Mr Negative… Shaughnessy…. and Mr Ego……… Jim Rome. You can make money and develop a bunch of drones following your every word by being a MOUTH with a microphone….. THINK FOR YOURSELF……Drones!


  14. TheToughStreetKidFromLincoln says

    Danny Shaugnessy? Great guy, great guy.

    His son goes to BC like Timmy Russert’s son. Tim’s a great guy.

    DISAPPROVE – he’s taking money out of my mouth (my wife’s big check from the bank only goes so far) by appearing on every network show anywhere as “The voice of the City of Boston.”

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to wax poetic on Sen. Kennedy. Ted Kennedy – great guy.


  15. yahtzee says

    Someone must have already voted from my company so I couldn’t vote DISAPPROVE. He’s morphed into irrelevant; there’s nothing creative, insightful or interesting about his columns or news stories. I no longer read it – is there any more damning statement about a columnist? His continued prominent presence makes me more likely to cancel my Globe subscription every day.

    And, what Mike B said.


  16. KF says

    Gonna keep it pithy – he sucks. Dan mails it in the way Mark Blount mailed it in after the Celtics gave him a big contract.



  17. stephenstarring says

    The single laziest piece of cr-p hack on the Boston medias media scene. His pop culture references weren’t funny when they were current , never mind now that they are hopelessly outdated. This guy must have some ridiculously incriminating photos of globe management, because it is the only explanation of him still having a job, never a mind a columnist job.


  18. The Gimp says


    You are not the story, Dan.

    Remember his argument about the Sox’ Curse not being over until they won the WS?…”I wrote the book on the curse! I should know”


  19. mike b says

    As founder of the Dan Shaughnessy Watch, I have pored over way more of his work than any sane man should ever have to. He is, in a word, worthless. To paraphrase Hawkeye Pierce, there’s a whole lot of nothing here. There is simply no redeeming value to his work, no legacy, no nothing. Oh, I suppose there are a few copies of his various books in the Barnes & Noble in Chestnut Hill. I know because I’ve seen them — in the hands of Shaughnessy himself, as he admires his work.

    At least someone does (although for all I know, maybe his mother does too). I can only think that the relative handful of “Approved” votes were actually submitted by Shaughnessy himself, running from PC to PC in the Globe offices. (Is Shaughnessy Gaelic for “ego”?)

    Yes, people used to read Shaughnessy. And I suppose when he worked the beats he was less offensive than he came to be. What his bosses missed along the way is that pre-Internet, there simply weren’t choices for sports news. Read SI once a week, or perhaps The Sporting News, and sit in front of the local news at 11 for that three-minute recap. So folks read whatever they could get their hands on, regardless of quality. The market was captive.

    That’s long since changed, not that anyone on Morrissey Ave. gets it. Shaughnessy regularly self-plagiarizes, alienates nearly everyone he mentions, flip-flops with the wind, and — perhaps worst of all — is completely oblivious to the mess he’s made of the Globe’s reputation. When the powers that be throw up their hands over the broken model that is mainstream media today, they need look no further than The CHB to understand why.


    • Fred West L:ynn says

      Page One of today’s Globe pimps Dan’s “Wake up Garnett” time-waster in the same size type it uses to headline a state-by-state political analysis.

      Insanity, they name is Globe.


  20. Forbin says

    Ran into Shaughnessy in the St. Louis airport the day after game 4 in ’04. Just for the hell of it I went up to him and asked his thoughts on the Sox pulling it off. Without even looking up from the floor he gave me a, “ehhhh,” and that was it.