Friday, March 15, 2013

2 comments Not Shockingly, Dan Shaughnessy Hates Everything the Red Sox Do, Did or Ever Will Do

It's that time of the year. The grass is freshly cut, the pitching mound and base paths are well groomed, every MLB team thinks they have a shot to win the World Series, and Dan Shaughnessy takes a preseason crap all over the Red Sox because he is a hateful, spiteful, bad excuse for a sportswriter. Dan is a great example of how far the Boston media has fallen over the last 10 years. There used to be quite a few great sportswriters in the Boston area (and I'm not the first to point this out obviously) and it seems great writing has taken a back seat to trolling for pageviews. Dan is writing some preseason columns about the Red Sox and none of them have been particularly insightful. I have two articles by Dan today. One is about Stephen Drew, a person who is just like his brother J.D. Drew, who sucks because he didn't care and wasn't emotional enough, and the other article is about how this Boston Red Sox team is kind of boring. Much like when Bill Simmons wrote about the "boring" 2010 Red Sox team, what Dan Shaughnessy means when he says "boring" is that these Red Sox aren't expected to compete for a World Series title. What's further irritating is that Dan just spent an offseason thrashing the Red Sox for signing expensive free agents that didn't pan out over the last couple of seasons. Now he's complaining the Red Sox aren't signing exciting (i.e. expensive) enough players. I would never expect consistency from Dan, but I wish he wasn't so shameless in his inconsistency.

I'll start with the article on Stephen Drew and how he is exactly like J.D. Drew, because they are brothers, and because comparing them makes for an easy column to write. And please remember The Boston Globe has put Dan Shaughnessy behind a pay wall which seems crazy to me. Is there anyone who would pay to read Dan's columns?

Stephen Drew is the new Red Sox shortstop. And the most important thing you need to know is that he is not J.D.

Stephen Drew isn't J.D. Drew. This is the most important thing you need to know about him. This is analysis.

Vince DiMaggio had to live with, “I’m not Joe,’’ just as Billy Bulger has to live with, “I’m not Whitey.” Stephen Drew comes to Fenway Park this year with the added burden of reminding us, “I’m not J.D.’’
Not that J.D. was all bad . . . 

"Not that J.D. was all bad...," is followed by Dan Shaughnessy passive-aggressively bashing J.D. Drew over the next 200 words using the typical lazy reasoning.

J.D. came to the Red Sox in 2007 and played five seasons at Fenway. He usually made it on the field for about 135 games a year (140, 109, 137, 139, and 81), hitting around .270 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs. But fans never warmed to Drew. 

He also hit .264/.370/.455 over this stretch. He wasn't quite as bad as fans give him credit for being.

There was the appearance that he didn’t care. He seemed to sit with a lot of little injuries. He never got into an argument with umpires and never threw his helmet or kicked dirt.

Because the best way for a baseball player to show he cares is to act like a child and get thrown out of a baseball game. Really, there's no other way to show you care.

but my favorite J.D. story involved the night he got rung up on a borderline check swing in Tampa while facing David Price. The punchout killed the Sox’ World Series bid in 2008. J.D. didn’t argue.

Maybe he should have argued, but it's irrelevant for Drew to argue because it would not have changed the call. I understand the idea of saying J.D. Drew didn't seem to care, but in evaluating his performance with the Red Sox whether he argued with the umpire is irrelevant.

When we saw him the following spring, he said he never checked the replay. Truly amazing.

Not really amazing. Many athletes won't look at a replay from the season before and will try to forget about a bad play they made to end their team's season. This happens quite often.

Stephen Drew is eight years younger than J.D. He will be paid $9.5 million this season after a year in which he hit .223 with 7 homers and 28 RBIs in 79 games for Oakland and Arizona — a year in which he was slow getting on the field because of a gruesome broken ankle sustained in the middle of the 2011 season when he played for the Diamondbacks.
Yikes. Overpaid. Under­performer. Too often on the shelf. Are you sure it’s not J.D.?

How do we know Stephen Drew is overpaid and underperformed if the season hasn't begun? Maybe Drew underperformed and was overpaid last year, but that's not what Dan is referring to. He's talking about how how much Drew is paid this year, so we don't know if he is overpaid and underperforming for the 2013 season yet.

Three boys. Three first-round picks. Three big leaguers. Three Scott Boras clients. Two Red Sox starters.

Yeah, but none of the Drew brothers cared enough to show emotion so they can all three go straight to hell.

The Drews grew up in Hahira, Ga., a town of fewer than 2,500 people. There’s an annual banjo-picking festival in Hahira.

That's because everyone who lives in Hahira is a hick who probably has had sex with his/her mother/father/brother/sister at some point. It was incredibly important that Dan Shaughnessy point out the Drew's hometown has an annual banjo-picking festival in order to show just how "small town" Hahira, Georgia truly is.

Dad Drew built yachts for a boat company for 26 years. Mom Drew’s family were farmers (tobacco, peanuts, corn, soybeans), and J.D. remembers driving a tractor when he was 9 years old.

I bet J.D. Drew drove the tractor expressionless and didn't even get off the tractor to argue when one of the cows got in the way of the tractor. J.D. Drew probably just got off the tractor and slowly walked back to the house when one of the cows got in the way of the tractor.

Young Stephen remembers playing baseball.

Oh yeah, that's right. This article is supposed to be about Stephen Drew. I almost forgot.

“For me it was great, because J.D. was a really good role model to look up to,’’ said the Sox shortstop. “He had a lot of talent. 

But he had no emotion! Bill Simmons and Dan Shaughnessy know how important it is for a baseball player to throw a temper tantrum and start throwing shit after he strikes out on a close call.

“I could relate to him. I under­stood what was going on. A lot of people didn’t understand. It’s kind of tough. He’s getting criticized and you know what the actual truth is going on. 

The truth is that J.D. Drew is a robot. Don't treat him any differently, world! He's just like you and me. He's a robot farmer from a small town in Georgia who rides a tractor, knows how to play the banjo, but can't feel human emotions. Learn him, don't judge him.

“That, and go out and work hard. That’s what you see. J.D. was quiet. I’m a little more talkative. But we just go about our business kind of the same way. We both like to have fun.’’

In an effort to show off his interviewing prowess, after Stephen Drew has talked for a lengthy amount of time about how he and his brothers grew up and there are quite a few more pertinent follow up questions, Dan Shaughnessy comes back with this question,

Does J.D. ever get mad?

THAT is what Dan Shaughnessy chooses to ask when interviewing Stephen Drew? Drew has touched on his family life growing up, how he relates to his brother, how his brother's experiences in baseball have affected him, and how he is different from J.D. Then Shaughnessy stupidly asks, "Does J.D. ever get mad?" Rookie sideline reporters ask better questions at halftime of a Division II college basketball game.

“Yeah, he gets mad,’’ said Stephen. “Everybody gets mad. But he is very good at being deceptive on that.

He shouldn't be deceptive. He should throw a fit at the plate. That way if J.D. Drew threw a hissy-fit at the plate while arguing a strike call, then Dan Shaughnessy could criticize him for being immature and underachieving. Dan always has a plan. He wants baseball players to screw up so he can destroy them in his column. J.D. Drew never did something immature so Dan couldn't blast him for being immature. It was very frustrating for Dan.

None of the Drew brothers has ever been ejected from a game.
“There’s more to life than just baseball,’’ said Stephen. “That’s how we look at it.’’

Translation in Dan Shaughnessy's dictionary: They don't care enough to get ejected from a game.

This was a pretty bad column on Stephen Drew. I don't feel like I learned anything new about him and most of the column consisted of Dan Shaughnessy trying to figure out why J.D. Drew wasn't more emotional and whether Stephen Drew would seem as emotionally disconnected from playing baseball as J.D. Drew seemed. I'm sure Dan thinks he did a great job for the readers of his column. He was passive-aggressive in his questions and also managed to convey very little new knowledge to his readers.

In the next article, Dan talks about how the 2013 Red Sox are just a boring team. Dan bitched about the Red Sox last year because they weren't well put together and didn't win games, but for some reason he forgot to mention how he thought the Red Sox were interesting last year and that was a positive. If he is going to complain the 2013 Red Sox are boring shouldn't he have mentioned how exciting the 2012 team was instead of ripping them at every available opportunity?

The air is warm and fresh. Everybody is in a good mood. Players in the clubhouse are especially relaxed. No one is looking for snitches or rolling their eyes at the mention of the new manager.

There's no drama! How boring is this?

No sign of the ESPN bus. Sox workouts were not featured on live television. There was no daily presence from members of the New York newspapers.

This must be what it feels like covering the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton every spring.

Except for the fact the Pirates have Andrew McCutchen and the Red Sox don't.

Surly, entitled ballplayers have been replaced by stand-up guys. Churl has yielded to character. Larry Lucchino actually said the $170 million Red Sox are a team of “scrappy underdogs.’’

How dare he classify in his team in the way he sees fit. Only Dan Shaughnessy can correctly characterize these bunch of losers.

But here’s the reality, people: The 2013 Red Sox might be really bad. Worse, they might be really boring.

If anyone wants to know the state of the Boston media now, they can look no further than this statement. In the opinion of Dan Shaughnessy it is better for the Red Sox to be bad than it is for them to be boring. It's not about winning games or trying to put a good team on the field for the future, but it is about not being boring. Being entertaining trumps winning. I can think of some other "boring" teams. Teams like the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Texas Rangers are pretty "boring" teams. I guess all of their success over the past couple of years means absolutely very little because they weren't exciting and didn't have daily clubhouse drama to keep up with.

Just don't be boring, that's all Dan Shaughnessy asks. Who cares if the Red Sox win games? Though, of course, not winning games goes hand-in-hand with being "boring." Much like Bill Simmons does, Dan Shaughnessy views a non-competitive (for the World Series) Red Sox team as boring. There's no fun in following a team that isn't a contender every year.

Two weeks and too many hours in the Sox clubhouse left me with a couple of impressions.

Unfortunately these many hours in the Red Sox clubhouse didn't leave the clubhouse with an impression of Shaughnessy's face on any lockers from being shoved face-first into said lockers.

The Sox are a lot more likeable.

But boring. And remember, being boring is worse than being a bad team. The Red Sox have trotted out all sorts of different types of teams over the last decade and few of them have been good enough for Dan Shaughnessy.

Jacoby Ellsbury seems to understand the amusement we have with a player who is marking his final days at Fenway like some guy in Shawshank scratching lines on the wall of his cell.

Dan Shaughnessy is calling a non-competitive (for the World Series) Red Sox team "boring," he bitches when the Red Sox spend money on free agents that don't pan out but also complains when the Red Sox don't spend money on players, and he is making "Shawshank" is Bill Simmons turning into Dan Shaughnessy or has Dan Shaughnessy turned into Bill Simmons? I guess since everyone seems to hate Dan he should probably do all that he can to try to become more popular. Writing like Bill Simmons may be his key to not being hated by everyone. Good luck with that Dan, people will still hate you.

But with one (spring training) game down and seven months to go, it’s apparent that the Sox have more questions than any other team in the American League East. It is difficult to pick them anywhere but last.

If, in fact, things go perfectly, the Red Sox actually could contend for a playoff spot. This is 2013, and five out of 15 make it in each league and it’s almost impossible to play yourself out of contention before August.

So the Red Sox may finish last or they may make the playoffs. It seems like Dan Shaughnessy has every angle covered for however this Red Sox season turns out. If the Red Sox sucks, he knew it would happen, while if the Red Sox make the playoffs, then he knew they had the chance to make the playoffs. It's a tribute to Shaughnessy's lack of writing skill that he can play both sides of this issue and still come off as clueless.

I am going the other way this morning.

Unless the Red Sox make the playoffs, in which case Dan will say he knew the Red Sox could contend for a playoff spot.

Lester is supposed to be the ace, but he is coming back from a 9-14 season in which he gave up more hits than he had innings pitched. Next up is Clay Buchholz, who always looks good but gets hurt a lot; he strained a hamstring in the very first workout of 2013.

That's because Buchholz is a wimp. He's even a boring wimp, which makes his getting injured all that much worse.

Then comes veteran Ryan Dempster, who was cannon fodder when he moved to the American League last year.

Dempster was very good when he played for the Cubs. I realize the Cubs are in the inferior National League and Dempster has played his entire career in the National League, but he was very good the previous three seasons prior to last year. Maybe Dempster sucks, but maybe he makes the Red Sox a more exciting team, which is the ultimate goal of course.

If any of these guys gets hurt (very likely) or don’t work out, the Sox turn to . . . Franklin Morales? . . . the maniacal Alfredo Aceves?

What an excellent and well-thought out criticism of the Red Sox pitching depth. They don't have quality 6th or 7th starters in the organization. This puts them in the same league as nearly every other MLB team who doesn't have a reliable 6th or 7th starter anywhere in the organization. Good looking out Shaughnessy, you've just criticized the 2013 Red Sox team for not having the same luxury few other MLB teams have. What's his next criticism? The Red Sox don't have any All-Star outfielders hanging out on the bench for when (if) Jacoby Ellsbury gets injured?

The bullpen looks strong. Let’s give Ben Cherington some props on the relief corps. Joel Hanrahan looks like a real closer and the Sox were smart to cut their losses with Mark “Schiraldi Eyes” Melancon.

I have a feeling calling a pitcher "Schiraldi Eyes" isn't exactly going to catch on. Of course Dan has to compare one Boston relief pitcher to another because no other relief pitchers outside of Boston have ever looked like disasters in the closer role.

Behind the plate, the Sox have depth, but not enough prime-time quality.

I don't believe a catcher not having enough "prime-time quality" really means anything at all. The Red Sox catchers aren't shooting a television show, so prime-time quality doesn't matter.

There is a connection between the ineffectiveness of Sox starters and the insertion of Jarrod Saltalamacchia into the starting catching role in 2011. Salty has good power, but there is a big hole in his swing (.222 with 139 strikeouts last year).

What? So because Saltalamacchia strikes out a lot the Red Sox pitchers did not pitch very well last year? I'm not sure what Salty's offensive issues had to do with the Red Sox pitchers struggling.

David Ross looks like a solid backup who’ll get plenty of playing time.

Thanks Dan, you should charge at least $5 for in-depth analysis like this. 

We know the Sox are set at second base (Dustin Pedroia) and third base (Will Middlebrooks), but I worry that Middlebrooks will be asked to do too much to protect David Ortiz.

I'm not entirely sure one player "protecting" another player is a real thing. Either way, if Middlebrooks is going to end up being the type of player the Red Sox think he will be then he is going to need to hit in the middle of the order behind Ortiz (or another power hitter) at some point. It may as well be this year.

It might be too much for a kid with only a half-year of big league at-bats.

If a guy can hit major league pitching then he can hit major league pitching. I think Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and various other young players have proven this over the last few seasons.

Victorino looks like a guy whose best days are behind him. Better hope he’s not Kevin Stevens or Joseph Addai.

And of course Shaughnessy has to compare Victorino to two notable busts that were signed by teams from in and around Boston to troll Boston-area fans as well as make sure he stays negative as often as possible. I'm pretty sure Victorino isn't comparable to Kevin Stevens or Joseph Addai, but we all know Dan is secretly hoping Victorino ends up being a complete bust so he can rub it in the face of Red Sox fans.

Finally, it’s tough to feel good about Ortiz. He turns 38 this year, and is coming off an Achilles’ tendon injury — an injury he sustained running the bases in front of an Adrian Gonzalez home run last July.

Adrian Gonzalez actually hit a home run for the Red Sox last year? From what Dan has told us I thought Adrian Gonzalez never hit a home run for the Red Sox and was lucky to not strike out at every at-bat.

Ortiz doesn’t have contract incentive (he finally got his two-year deal, a lifetime achievement award from the Sox),

So does this opinion mean that Dan thought the Red Sox should not have re-signed David Ortiz? Of course not. If the Red Sox had not re-signed Ortiz then Dan would have criticized them for giving up on a Red Sox hero when he could still play at a high level. Dan just likes to bitch and complain. So no matter what the Red Sox did in regard to re-signing David Ortiz or not re-signing him, Dan Shaughnessy would bitch about it. The Red Sox re-sign Ortiz? Well, now he has no incentive and won't be motivated to play. The Red Sox don't re-sign Ortiz? The Red Sox have given up a Red Sox player who could anchor the middle of the lineup.

and he is concerned that the Sox did little to find him lineup protection.

Fortunately, there may not be such a thing. So that's good news.

Sorry. The juice glass is half-empty today.

Just today? The glass is half-empty for Dan everyday.

These guys could be really bad.

Or, as Dan said in this very column, they could make the playoffs. Dan has himself covered to be right either way.

For $170 million, a little more prime-time talent would have been nice.

Yes, but the Red Sox shed salary and are trying to rebuild the team through the farm system and with smart free agent signings. They can't shed their previous salary commitments and then immediately compete all in one year. Of course, asking Dan Shaughnessy to have perspective or take an honest look at what the Red Sox are trying to put together in the future is folly. He's a troll and that's all he knows how to do. Go negative, go negative, troll a little, then go even more negative. That's the formula for making a living from people hating you. 


Anonymous said...

Imagine having to grow up reading this jerk? It's no wonder I'm a self-loathing Boston fan! If you don't hate the local teams columnists like Dan try and make you feel like you're an idiot. They constantly remark on how Fenway is full of tourists like nobody from the city proper could possibly be a fan. This was a great place to be raised (suburb about 20 miles outside of the city) but the negativity of the writers and the pre-World Series/Super Bowl/Stanley Cup/NBA Championship era fans is brutal. They cannot enjoy the success achieved by the Celts, Sox, Patriots, and Bruins, but instead constantly question Belichick, Julien, et al. I understand this is their job but you see how Dan approaches it and he's just one of many. I hope you don't include him in your rotation but he does fit the bill for you i.e.; he's guaranteed to provide you with fodder in every column. He's a dope. Keep up the good work destroying Bill Simmons' Grantland and P. King's offensive and useless column, and sorry about the Duke loss . . .damn that team is inconsistent! @BigCityJob

Bengoodfella said...

I can only imagine. The writing seems to have gone downhill as well over the last decade. It seems less of the writing about Boston teams are about any type of analysis or discussion of the teams' issues and more of the writing is now on baiting the fan base. These writers like Dan point out a Boston team should be successful and then basks in the glory of their losses. It's very frustrating.

Maryland is a bad matchup for Duke anyway. They have a center who can match up with Plumlee and they have guards who can get past the Duke defenders when the Duke defenders are trying to deny them the ball.