Monday, April 15, 2013

6 comments Dan Shaughnessy Beats the Negativity Drum a Little Bit More Since It's All He Knows

Dan Shaughnessy thinks team chemistry is overrated. I'm not inclined to believe he is wrong necessarily, but it all depends on how a person rates team chemistry. There are those who believe ubuntu is the key to winning (ahem, Bill Simmons), while there are those who don't believe team chemistry means much at all (apparently Dan Shaughnessy). One thing I do believe is a team has to enjoy playing with each other and there has to be at least a common thread of trust and business-like respect among teammates. Everyone doesn't have to like everyone else, but there has to be more like than dislike. Either way, Dan has nothing obviously negative to write about so he just uses the idea team chemistry is overrated to bash the Red Sox for not spending enough money and signing the right kind of players. Sure, Dan bashes the Red Sox when they do spend money and sign the "right" players and it fails. He's like many sportswriters who are just incredibly outcome driven. Dan never writes in April that the Red Sox will fail and why, but he is one of many sportswriters who are glad to write in October that the Red Sox were doomed for failure and why. It's amazing how that works, isn't it? Writing a column based on upon information gained from hindsight is so much fun.

The Red Sox are selling character this spring. They have cleaned up their toxic clubhouse. 

I know this accomplishment is unimpressive to Dan because the Red Sox aren't winning games and nothing impresses Dan except for success. Yet, I would think a guy who wrote an entire book with Terry Francona about the Red Sox and how a poison atmosphere in the clubhouse and in management helped submarine the success of the Red Sox over the last couple of years would at least acknowledge cleaning up a toxic clubhouse is a good first step to putting a winning team together.

No more Josh Beckett snarling and looking for snitches.

The snitches were part of the way Dan Shaughnessy gathered his information for the Terry Francona book and any columns he wrote about the Red Sox poisoned clubhouse. Maybe Dan is just mad the Red Sox have tried to clear the clubhouse of as much drama as possible. It makes it so hard to do his job when there isn't misery around the Red Sox.

No more Carl Crawford complaining about how mean everybody is in Boston. No more aloof Adrian Gonzalez, arms folded, looking down on those who would question his commitment.

Dan is making a list of the Red Sox players who had issues over the last couple of years, but he also wants you to know that team chemistry is overrated and whether these ex-Red Sox players were on the team or not does not affect the team as a whole. So the attitude of these players had nothing to do with the Red Sox struggles over the last couple of years nor did it negatively affect the clubhouse Dan's opinion. It's just that Gonzalez was aloof, which Dan finds worthy enough to mention constantly, but not worthy of any consideration on how this attitude may have affected his teammates.

Kevin Youkilis isn’t here to gossip or complain. Goofy Bobby Valentine is gone and so are the coaches who wouldn’t talk to the manager.

And really, how could a player who gossips and complains or coaches who won't talk to the manager negatively affect the Red Sox team in any fashion? It's not like coaches need to communicate in order to have a functioning, winning team.

It’s all Hakuna Matata in Camp Farrell.

And of course Dan can't stand all of this happiness and immediately has to interject some misery and drama into the mix. Dan is a miserable person and he doesn't believe other people can naturally be happy, so he has to get to the bottom of all this happiness and create suspicion the Red Sox clubhouse is actually miserable. It's all a facade!

Character guys have been brought into the fold. Shane Victorinio is the Flyin’ Hawaiian, the man who lit the room with his smile when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. Jonny Gomes is quick with a joke or to light up your smoke.

Billy Joel song quotes are always cool to use in a long as it is 1977. Quick digression/psychoanalysis about this specific song quote that is probably way off the mark:

Dan Shaughnessy quotes "Piano Man" by Billy Joel. This is a song about a piano player who goes about his business of playing the piano and making tips in a bar while ruminating on the regulars (who all appear to be miserable) that come in and out of the bar. The narrator (the piano man) helps them forget about their troubles for a while, but in return these mostly miserable patrons give the piano man tips and shower with him with compliments about how he could do so much better than he is doing by playing piano in this specific bar.

So that's the background of the song and I can't help but wonder if Dan sees himself as the humble piano man who sees all of these miserable Red Sox fans and Red Sox players around him and he believes he cheers them up by writing about the issues the team has. Dan probably sees himself as being able to do better than he is doing in his professional career, but he chooses to cover the Red Sox and make Red Sox fans feel better about their team. People come and go, while Dan is still here commenting on what he sees. What Dan probably fails to realize in this scenario I have cooked up is that HE is the source of the Red Sox fan's misery. He isn't making them feel better about the team, but he is wallowing in the misery of the team. Dan isn't the piano man who makes everyone feel better, Dan is a patron of the bar who only comes off to his readers as being completely miserable and enjoying the misery he wallows in. He's the asshole who wistfully wants the Red Sox team to be what they were in the past when they shared his misery through the Curse of the Bambino.

Ryan Dempster is rumored to be a successor to Alex Trebek. Stephen Drew is as polite as his brother,

Plus, Stephen Drew is an unemotional asshole just like his brother. I don't understand the Alex Trebek reference for Dempster, possibly because I am not close enough to the Red Sox team to get it. I'll just call this reference stupid because I feel like it is a safe assumption this reference is stupid.

John Lackey is auditioning for Comeback Player of the Year and Mr. Congeniality.

We all know if John Lackey came back to the Red Sox camp after missing a year due to Tommy John surgery and acted like an asshole, then Dan would be sure to write about what an underachieving, overpaid douchebag Lackey is. Damn Lackey for daring to have a good attitude and not be as cranky as he used to be.

It’s all just swell. These Red Sox are contending for a playoff spot and the Lady Byng Trophy.

How dare the Red Sox try to find players who won't act like conceited assholes and seem to have a positive attitude about them! I have said this before, but the reason Dan is mocking the good attitude and personality of the Red Sox players is because it makes him unhappy to see them happy. If there isn't drama and the team isn't losing he has nothing to write about. He can't write columns saying what a bunch of assholes the Red Sox team has if they are nice guys and he can't write columns saying how terrible the Red Sox team are if they aren't struggling. It's the worst of all worlds for him. So Dan resorts to mocking the Red Sox players for being congenial in an effort to stir up trouble.

Or . . . Sox fans may wake up in the middle of the summer with the horrible realization famously expressed by the townie character (played by Rob Schneider) in “The Waterboy” when he learns that the football team will be without its best player:
“Oh no! We suck again!’’
That’s when it’ll be time to issue the Edvard Munch “Scream” masks on Yawkey Way.

I think reasonable Red Sox fans know the team isn't going to be very good. Also, Dan stated Picasso painted "The Scream" when he originally wrote this column. In his defense, facts aren't as important as important to him as his ability to troll his audience.

I hate to break it to everybody, but chemistry in a baseball clubhouse is way overrated. Winning requires talent, pitching, and three-run homers.

Thanks for the update on what baseball requires, Earl Weaver. So clubhouse chemistry may be overrated, but this doesn't mean issues in the clubhouse can't also affect a team on the field. It's entirely possible a player's attitude or struggles can affect the clubhouse as a whole. I'll remember this statement by Dan that clubhouse chemistry is overrated the next time he compliments (I know, he won't ever compliment anyone, but I'll be on the lookout regardless) a player for working hard and this hard work rubbing off on his teammates.

More than the other team sport, baseball is built on individual skill sets. A batter gets no help from his teammates. It’s the same for the pitcher.

I think Dan should interview some starting pitchers to see if they don't get help from their catcher while on the mound. I have a feeling the answer Dan gets will contradict the idea a pitcher gets no help from his teammates.

That’s that’s why you can have winning teams when you have a clubhouse full of guys who hate each other.

That's why you can have winning teams when you have a clubhouse full of guys who like each other a lot. It can go both ways.

The 1986 Sox won the American League pennant and came within a strike of winning the World Series in six games against the Mets. That team had miserable John McNamara as manager, lazy Calvin Schiraldi at closer, entitled Roger Clemens as MVP, and an angry Jim Rice who told Sport Magazine that “my teammates aren’t friends, they’re associates.’’

Calling his teammates "associates" instead of friends doesn't mean Jim Rice didn't get along with his teammates. It simply means they weren't good friends. Teams who don't have great chemistry can win, there's no doubt about that, but just because the 2013 Red Sox appear to like each other doesn't mean the team is on the wrong long-term path. It's not like Ben Cherington has made a decision to only sign and draft players who are really nice guys. He's obviously looking for talented players, but a clubhouse that gets along is one less thing for the Red Sox to have to worry about during the season. It's not like the Red Sox are only choosing to sign players who are nice.

McNamara hated all young players and believed reliever Sammy Stewart was one of the worst human beings who ever lived.

Coming from Dan Shaughnessy that is saying something. Dan has something negative to say about everyone and everything.

Oh, and the 2004 team — the iconic team that threw off the Curse of the Bambino? Let’s not forget all the personal stuff they had to overcome. Pedro Martinez was wildly jealous of Curt Schilling. Manny refused to speak to his manager at times and insisted on taking an off day when the Sox were strapped for outfielders.

It got so bad that the fellows decided to pour a little Jack Daniel’s into cups before Game 4.

Through a 162 game season it is going to be very rare for 25 baseball players to get along all of the time. Things will happen and angry words will be said that don't affect the long-term team chemistry. Players won't all get along all of the time. That's very important to know and chalking up a few personality conflicts or arguments as "bad team chemistry" may be overstating the case a bit.

Also, the 2004 Red Sox drank alcohol in the locker room? Haven't we learned from the beer and fried chicken stories from 2011 that drinking alcohol is how a team starts to lose games and lose focus? How can the overblown nature of the fried chicken and beer story being attributed to the Red Sox collapse square with the Red Sox drinking alcohol before a playoff game in 2004? Shouldn't the Red Sox have lost this series with the Yankees because they weren't focused enough on the game at hand?

Think of all the bad stories we’d have read about the 2004 Red Sox if Dave Roberts got thrown out stealing and they lost Game 4.

You know which idiot would have been writing these stories? Dan Shaughnessy.

Jack Daniel’s before the games? What a bunch of losers. If the Sox had lost four straight to the Yankees, news of the Jack would have made “Chicken and Beer” sound like “Remember the Titans.’’

Except the Red Sox didn't lose so no one cared about the Jack Daniel's before games. This is just like if the Red Sox didn't collapse down the stretch of the 2011 season no one would have cared about the fried chicken and beer. What this tells me is that the amount of alcohol or fried chicken a team consumes doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether a team wins games or not. It's obvious Dan understands this as well, but he passes up writing real columns for the sake of having a cheap lede where he can bash the Red Sox at any possible opportunity.

But those 2004 Sox were not losers. They won.

It’s all about winning. The winners gets straight A’s in chemistry. The losers are chemistry’s F Troop.

They were also a team who appeared to be (at least from an outsider's perspective) a fairly close-knit team that enjoyed playing with each other. I'm sure there were a few disagreements during the season, but the Red Sox were a loveable team and they won the World Series. World Series can be won with good team chemistry.

Which is why chemistry is overrated.
Some talent would be good.

Chemistry isn't overrated. The Red Sox are trying to get some talent on the team, but they are trying to rebuild their team right now. Dan criticizes the Red Sox when they make stupid free agent signings, yet it seems he wants the Red Sox to keep playing the lottery that is trying to lure in big name free agents who want big money. Dan will complain about the Red Sox no matter what they do. They have held back on spending as much money and traded away their "mistake" players and he talks about how the team has no talent. This is why sportswriters don't and should not have any pull with teams. They tend to be impatient idiots at times, just like the fans are.

Nice guys finish last.

But they don't finish last because they are nice guys. So while team chemistry may be overrated, being nice and having good team chemistry isn't the reason the Red Sox may finish in last place. I realize Dan has no patience with anyone who tries to be positive, but if John Lackey was being a moody asshole then you and I both know Dan Shaughnessy would criticize him for this. That's the good part about being a sportswriter who has no true beliefs other than a commitment to negativity. The Red Sox spend money and Dan criticizes these big free agent signings for not smiling and playing pretty with the media, while if the Red Sox don't spend money, then Dan criticizes the Red Sox for signing guys without talent and says team chemistry doesn't mean anything. Just remember the next time Dan accuses a Red Sox player of being moody that he thinks team chemistry and being a nice guy is overrated.

Further evidence of Dan's trolling ability can be seen in his MLB predictions for the 2013 season. 

Dan picks the Blue Jays to win the AL East and states the Yankees are going to win the first Wild Card spot. He's just trolling Red Sox fans by predicting the Yankees will still manage to win the Wild Card. Then Dan has the Los Angeles Dodgers, the same Los Angeles Dodgers team the Red Sox traded those bums Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford to, winning the World Series. This is significant for two reasons:

1. The Dodgers greatly increased their payroll this offseason, so Dan is saying in a way that he thinks the Dodgers will win the World Series because they spent a lot of money to acquire talent. This is, of course, something he wishes the Red Sox would do simply because they didn't do this. Go buy some players guys! If the Red Sox signed expensive free agents Dan would write a column about how these guys better perform and these are the same old free spending Red Sox with expensive, underachieving players.

2. The choice of the Dodgers to win the World Series is also significant because Dan is saying the same assholes who didn't play well in Boston are going to lead the Dodgers to the World Series. Quite a few articles were written by Dan on how Crawford/Gonzalez/Beckett weren't worth the money they were paid, but now he is essentially saying they are worth that money once they have left Boston because they will lead the Dodgers to the World Series.

There is one thing Dan does know how to do and that is troll Red Sox fans. He says Crawford/Beckett/Gonzalez suck and are overpaid when they play for the Red Sox, and then once they are traded, he predicts them to be a part of the team that wins the World Series the next season. I feel bad for Dan. His need for attention is so great. It must be lonely and sad to be a miserable, negative person who craves any type of attention even if it is negative attention.


JimA said...

Ryan Dempster is Canadian. That's all I can think of. He's a funny guy, but I don't know how smart he is.

Bengoodfella said...

Jim, I don't really get the joke either. Dempster is pretty smart it seems. He declined to be traded to the Braves last year and decided instead to be traded to the Rangers. He got to go to the World Series.

HH said...

I'm not sure if this is something that's actually new, or something that's always been there that I just now noticed, but so much mainstream sportswriting is starting to sound like Bill Simmons at his worst. Why all the crappy pop culture references? It was jarringly bad in this particular piece - so bad that it made me notice the rise of such references over the past couple of years. If this is Bill Simmons' legacy, I hope terrible things happen to him.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I have noticed that too. There are more forced pop culture references and attempts to sound like Bill. I have noticed that too. Bill is successful, so other writers try to copy him.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

from what i remember, the narrative about the 2004 red sox at the time was that those lovable bunch of "idiots" were just a bunch of wacky, fun-loving go-lucky dudes who loved playing ball with the rest of the 'fellas. I'm almost certain that this is revisionist history on dan's part

Bengoodfella said...

Arjun, of course it is. They all got along with each other all the time. Now it turns out there was some division on that team. It's funny how the perspective changes when Dan has a different type of point he wants to prove.