The voice and face of Boston sports – at least according to the Boston Globe – is Dan Shaughnessy.

Shaughnessy is the Globe’s front-page go-to guy for all major sports stories, the latest example being all the front page runs he received during the Bruins Stanley Cup chase.

Shaughnessy grew up in Groton, MA, 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. In the last couple of years, he has also been writing the occasional column for He is a nine-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year, and at least eight times he has been selected as one of Americas top-ten sports columnists by Associated Press Sports Editors.

His formulaic columns, ripjobs, unabashed agendas and contrarian opinions have earned him the title of The Most Hated Man in Boston. His work has inspired his own watchdog blog, the entertaining Dan Shaughnessy Watch.

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.


42 thoughts on “2011 Approval Ratings – Dan Shaughnessy

  1. Exhibit A on what is wrong with the Boston sports media scene. Is so firmly entrenched that he'll never lose his job, but I can't think of one person who enjoys his work. I wouldn't know, since I haven't read one of his columns in years.

  2. Send lawyers guns, and money because only Boston has the CHB… advantage, any other place on earth.

    DISAPPROVE! And not for all the contrarian bs that hacks lick Dan hang their hat on, but because he is a BORE. Bruce hit the nail on the head in his summary, Shank is the epitome of a tired old writer who just plugs in some words into his mad lib-esque column and suddenly it's above the fold on the front page of the Globe as the voice of the region. It's embarrassing. I'll admit to enjoying Shaughnessy's beat work back in the 80's, but once he became a columnist he started shoving his formulatic shat down the readers throat. Must be a Holy Cross thing.

  3. I could handle Shank Shaughnessy's smug contrarian negativism when the Boston sports franchises never won anything…(pretty much the years leading up to 2001 except the Celtics). In some ways he was right…Sox management prior to the current owners was not willing to do what it took to win. The Patriots prior to the Kraft family were just a mess. It is well documented that Harry SInden/Jeromy Jacobs were more interested in the business end of the Bruins than they were in winning a Cup. But somewhere along the line he became vindictive. His vendetta against the Patriots that stems from a perceived snubbing of a beat writer breakfast thrown by the Patriots organization in 1996 because he was a columnist and therefore not invited has made him look stupid, petty and irrelevant. His feud with Curt Shilling is another example of him becoming the story rather than writing about it or commenting on it. He was Michael Felger way before Felger hit the air waves. I was about to say he was the first of the "look at me" Boston sports media personalities but I would be wrong that title belonged with his Globe mentor Will McDonough.

    Shank has no credibility left. I know of no serious sports fan who thinks his work is must read any more. He has become a parody of himself. From a purely technical point he is a fine writer. He tells stories well, uses grammar correctly (most of the time) and his work is easy to read. However the formulaic nature of the content coupled with the agenda, biases and out right mean spirited work make him virtually impossible to read or appreciate.

    1. Yet another jock-sniffing boyfan ripping on Shaughnessy for not showing properly adoration for the local millionaire athletes.

      As usual it focuses on his failure to canonize Call-Me-Mr. Kraft, the guy who was heading to Connecticut with the Patriots lock, stock and barrel with a signed agreement worth $380 million in hand.

      It continues to be appalling that people insist that sports writers in this market fawn all over athletes and coaches up to the point where the disinformation campaign begins or the club leaves a player out to dry. But up until that point, we luv, luv, luv our heroes and worship at the altar of professional sports teams. Then a sportswriter is excoriated for pointing out the foibles of the revered athletes who, but for the ability to hit a ball, catch a pass or make a shot would be some lout doing some heavy lifting job in some backwater town, usually, but not always somewhere in this hemisphere.

      Oh, and how is that Curt Schilling "bypass the media" blog doing these days? The Globe is still in business and Schilling is boring the multitudes trying to publicize new forms of mathematically illogical statistics as part of his Hall of Fame election campaign.

      1. You're so damn courageous, objectivebruce. Always there to point out what louts the athletes and coaches are, and how we need Dan on that wall. Pass the grey poupon, objectivebruce!

      2. And you call me the jock-sniffing fan boy when all you are doing is sucking up to the least creative writer in Boston. A guy who prides himself on mean, malicious spiteful attacks. A guy who writes formulaic articles. Seriously the guy does not bother to do research. Bruce has documented them over and over. A guy who for 15 years never misses a chance to take an unwarranted shot at Bob Kraft….all because he was snubbed for a breakfast he should not have been invited to because he did not cover the team as a beat reporter.

        Before you go calling me names…do your research. If you are still angry because Kraft almost took the team to CT for a better deal…fine. That has absolutely nothing to do with Shaughnessey's style and lack of substance. Ditto with Schilling….what he does has no reflection on whether Shank's on-going vendetta is warranted or professional.

      3. Alas, you forget to mention that the EVIL Bob Kraft, the CHB's arch-enemy, ultimately turned down more than $400 million FREE money from the taxpayers of CT to spend $400 million-plus of his own (borrowed) money in order to keep the Pats in MA. He was leaving MA because the felon known as Speaker Tom Finneran had a personal axe to grind against Kraft and refused to deal with even members of his own party in the Senate when it came to putting up state funds for infrastructure improvements around the new stadium site. It was only when members of Finneran's own party in the cities and towns near Foxboro pressured him that he finally relented and made the infrastructure deal (money that the Pats had to pay back, by the way). It seems as though you and Shaughnessy definitely have a lot in common, not the least of which is your complete lack of factual basis for your snide comments.

  4. What a waste of time, come on Bruce this guy isn't worthy of a poll. There will be no surprises here unless he reveals how he voted for himself so many times.

  5. I wonder if his daughter will send out solicitations for positive votes and reviews like she did on Amazon for reviews of the CHB's book.

  6. People like him and will actually vote Approve for him in this poll. That someone so lazy, boorish, and snark filled could actually have some X percentage (20% maybe?) of the population enjoy his work is a grand statement about our republic.

  7. The reality is that this dim witted opportunist has parlayed his tired contrarian act into a personae. He'll see that his poll numbers here are bad, crack open a $5 chardonnay and celebrate. Shaughnessy long ago stopped caring about producing thoughtful or insightful work. All he cares about is getting clicks on the website or having his name mentioned. It's that "columnist you love to hate" crap. Negative attention only fuels him because even negative attention is attention. The best solution is to stop reading him altogether. You certainly won't miss anything, as you could bullet-point his column in your head with little effort if you gave it some thought. Drop your blood pressure. Relieve your stress. Stop reading this nattering nabob of negativity.

    1. Hey, Lefty — a Spiro Agnew quote! Is than an homage to Dan's bag of references that no one born after1970 would either understand or think was illuminating?

  8. Ironically, this is the type of reaction Shank wants, even if it's completely negative. He's like a wrestling heel: as long as he gets some sort of reaction, he wins. I haven't read anything by him in years (unless it's directly quoted here or on another website).

    His nadir is a regular spot as an "expert" on Jim Rome.

  9. To be fair here, Dan's not all that bad. As a beat writer he did a good job, even though, even back then, he still seemed more concerned with "stirring the pot" than with reporting the stories. Since he became a columnist, however, he's gone way off the deep end. His personal biases and agendas are timeless and he never gets over them. Witness what turned out to be an (incorrect) hatchet job on how the Patriots had "the 3rd-lowest payroll in the NFL in 2010," which Dan wrote a couple of days after the upset playoff loss to the Jets. Translation: the Pats lost; they haven't won a Super Bowl in 7 years(!), and it's all my enemy Bob Kraft's fault, so you fans should hate him as much as I do (sadly, too many fans bought into the story and have repeated the false claim ad nauseum since it ran in the paper).

    That was very, very bad. The Globe didn't even have the decency to name the CHB as the author of the mistake when they printed their retraction a couple of days later. They just called it a nameless "reporting error."

    DISAPPROVE, with extreme prejudice.

    1. That was a black eye for that paper. So was willfully ignoring Dan's conflict of interests when (a.) Werner got his daughter a spot in is Hollywood production company while DS was covering the Sox and (b.) DS covering BC sports while his kid was on the baseball team. Where are the ethical standards?

  10. I used to use his columns as an example of "how not to write" when I taught at Emerson. I used Bob Ryan as the counter-example. Not just content, but actual form.

  11. I don't hate the guy because with him I feel almost extreme apathy. He's not even controversial anymore, he's just a tired old mare. The formulaic stuff from the 60's doesn't do much in the 21st century where good writers need to be more than whiners. He actually isn't bad on Saturday morning radio but that's the only positive stuff he does.

    It's too bad some old farts around the country believe he's some sort of mouthpiece for Boston sports. No one will notice he's gone five minutes after he retires.

    1. Is this the future that Bill Simmons has to look forwrd to? ..

      "The formulaic stuff from the 60's doesn't do much in the 21st century where good writers need to be more than whiners."

    2. My extreme apathy remains tinged with hate. I no longer read him and my life is better for it. Seeing him leading the Bruins coverage sent me to the Herald.

  12. I still want to know why he gets the high profile front page placement when a championship is won. Ryan is twice the columnist that Shank is…

  13. Fills 90% of columns with game summary information already contained in the real game summary story

  14. Regular readers of my screeds know that I no longer get upset by what Shank writes — I scan quickly if I read him at all; I RARELY make the jump. He is, as some have suggested, worn out and hugely irrelevant. I cannot believe that anyone gives his opinions any influence and certainly no one would crawl through his junkyard of old pop culture references as a way to enjoy reading.

    What roils me is that there seems to be a near-conspiracy to shove him down our throats. The Sox win, the Patriots win (or lose), the Celts are in the Finals, the Bruins win the Cup and the region's largest and arguably leading newspaper responds to these historic feats by putting Dan Shaughnessy on the front page, above the fold. Not only that, but with extra-large type and a special font for his name AND adorning the entire presentation with his little facial caricature. The message is clear: "This is important enough for us to deliver DAN SHAUGHNESSY's take on it!"

    From the New Hampshire Penny Saver, it might be expected. From the Salem or Lawrence dalies, it might be forgiven, but for a newspaper that likes to see itself as the pride of New England, winner of Pulitzers and defiers of Catholoc hierarchy, its an outright embarrassment.

    And a self-inflicted one. Not once, but many times over.

    I could happily let Dan go through the lint drawer of the sports mind or recount the same Larry Bird stories endlessly if the Globe would simply relegate him to Joe Fitzgerald-land. "Yep, we publish him. He's in the paper somewhere." That would be fine by me. But instead they lionize, celebrate, and rub our noses in him. Eva Peron has more discreet promotion.

    I assume that Chauncy Gardener treatment– as well as the deference his mumblings are given on the Sunday night sports wrapup shows — is responsible for the one in three-point-five Approve votes. As for me, I'll return to my flinty New Englander ways, like ol' Uncle Eph, and give a hearty thumbs-down.

    1. 'I could happily let Dan go through the lint drawer of the sports mind or recount the same Larry Bird stories endlessly if the Globe would simply relegate him to Joe Fitzgerald-land. "Yep, we publish him. He's in the paper somewhere."'

      That is great. Hear hear on all points

    2. @Fred West Lynn: Kudos- well said. I agree with you 100% – word for word – a great descriptive response (or should I say 'screed'). I, as well, never understood why the Globe promotes Shank as the final and most important opinion for every major sport story. The Globe sports editor needs to read Bruce's column today.

  15. My main issue with the CHB is not that he is a bad writer- it is that he chose the wrong subject matter for him to make a career writing about. He likes to write, but doesn’t enjoy sports. Why would he choose a career writing about something that he doesn’t even like? Why, as a sports fan, would I ever want to read anything written about sports by a guy who doesn’t like sports?

    The Globe should have moved him to a more appropriate general columnist role long ago. Not only has his presence on the sports page produced many unenjoyable sports columns, it has long denied another columnist a chance at what is in many ways a dream job for someone who actually likes sports.

  16. If Channel 4's Steve Burton had a newspaper equivalent, it would be Dan Shaughnessy. I'll let other readers conclude why.

  17. Good guy. Loves baseball.

    Dan was on the sportshub tonight filling in for Mazz on The Baseball Reporters Show.

    Amazingly, Dan managed to make that show even worse.

    Doesn’t understand why no one wants to defend Roger Clemens.

    Maybe, if Roger gets convicted and goes to the federal pen him and my old pal Zip Connolly can play on the same prison softball team.

    They can stroll the yard together like Andy and Red and remember the good old days in the late 80’s when Jimmy Bulger kept the drugs out of Southie.

    Allegedly, Dan’s car broke down the night of the Patriots playoff win versus the Titans and no one would give him a jump.

    Thank you Patriots fans.

  18. Extreme disapprove. I would buy a UK IP address just to vote again, but Bruce wouldn't like that.

    CHB is a hatchet man. I try to avoid reading him, but when I do, it makes me want to drive my car to the Globe and crash it into the front lobby. Maybe one day, I'll lace my car with explosives in hopes that Dan is there.

    1. "Maybe one day, I'll lace my car with explosives in hopes that Dan is there."
      Fanboy fangsbites – you need some help.

  19. Every now and then (a couple or three times a year), Shank will actually bang out a fairly decent or even — dare I say it? — good column that makes you think, "damn, why can't he do that most of the time?" Alas, for a person of his supposed "stature" he just falls back on his petty vendettas and lazy, formulatic writing (e.g., "we have A; they have "B") with the trademark Animal House and Warren Zevon references tossed in for good measure, which would be OK . . . if it were 1978.

    Oh, and a giant DISAPPROVE — for both him AND his brain-dead bosses who SHOULD know better.

  20. What is bizarre about Shaughnessy is that he was pretty good on the radio. His weekend show was not bad at all. In fact you could make the argument that Adam Jones was by far the weak link. Shaughnessy was not smarmy or rude. He was respectful and would disagree without being disagreeable. Tonight, he was in for Massarotti on the Baseball Reporters Show. If you put a gun to my head and had me choose between the two. No question I would pick Shaughnessy.

    Writing is a whole different ballgame. Dan writes with the most poison pen in the business. You always know who is friends with Dan (Larry Lucchino) and who is his enemies (Bob Kraft). It makes his writing jaded and his columns throwaways. You can never take him seriously. He has taken to look-at-me journalism which is lazy. He realizes that he cannot come up with original ideas for a column so he will repeat himself with the same old tired nonsense like Nomar was so bad with the media or Bob Kraft is cheap. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

    A few months ago Dan wrote in one of his columns that he gives information for us the reader. I can only imagine he was snickering the whole time.


  21. i remember 10 years ago when the guy was relevant he encapsulated the worst qualities of sports journalism – incredibly agenda driven, and incredibly lazy. has he had an original thought in 20 years?

  22. OK, I put approve for him. I will get my flame-resistant cloak on now!

    I too am tired of some of his negative stuff, but not quite to the extent as most. He made fun of himself on all the “curse of the bambino” overkill like he knew it was too much but couldn’t resist doing it.

    He has occasionally written for the LifeStyle section and has written very thoughtful columns there. One I recall was on a Boston kid who went to school in his suburb with Dan’s son and Dan’s family housed him frequently. He also wrote another on Dana Farbar when his daughter was sick there.

    I think he does have the talent, but gets lazy with the same attacks instead of revisiting things.

  23. Huge disapprove, he had the gall the morning after the biggest win in Red Sox history and one of the greatest comebacks in sports to pee all over it by having his front page column be about how his made-up curse hadn't been lifted yet. The sad thing is he loves being the turd in the punchbowl. After the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, he wrote in his wrap-up column that he knew he had arrived when he heard someone shout "Shaughnessy, you suck!" in the Sydney airport, and that he could never make a living writing for an Australian newspaper because in his words "no one rips anything here".

    I've never been a fan of Joe Fitzgerald but can respect that fact that he could admit that he got sick of writing about sports and switched to a general column instead. It's become too easy at this point for Shank to just mail it in with his oclumn and get the free travel and meals, which is why he'll never leave.

  24. Boring. He’s just /boring/, as a writer. Which is really way more of an indictment than if I hated him.

    (I’ve only ever heard him on the radio once, and he was more entertaining than some folks, but I’d need more exposure to be able to tell if he’s long-term good.)

    Anyway, I’m mostly commenting to ask who first coined Shank for him? CHB, I know about. (I think.)

    1. I thought it was Ordway and the pre Globe embargo Big Show crew, but could be wrong. That's the first place I recall hearing it.

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