Dan Shaughnessy loves to revel in the failures of Boston area sports teams. There is plenty of evidence this is true. Here. Here. Here. And here. So when the Red Sox are struggling he just can't help himself but to rub it in just a little bit and bash the team for even considering they could be a contending team. He's looked stupid in the past when he's bashed the Red Sox and then the team turned out to win the World Series that same year. I'm not sure if that will be the case for the 2015 season, but his trolling and asshole-ish glee at watching the Red Sox fail, all while holding the team to a ridiculous standard by acting like their recent success isn't impressive, is very much annoying to read. His disdain for common sense and hiding behind his telling "the truth" is just one of the many journalistic crimes he commits. Jay Mariotti likes Dan Shaughnessy, so that tells me all I need to know even if I didn't ever read Dan's writing.
So here he is reveling at the myth that the Red Sox are a contending team. You can feel his joy at being able to bash them dripping off the computer screen. He bashed them here on June 2, then the Red Sox starting winning games so he jumped back on the bandwagon, then they started losing games and he bashed them again.
The Red Sox are a myth,
The entire franchise. It doesn't exist. The Red Sox are the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus of professional sports, just created to give fans in the Boston area something to cheer for during the summer.
The myth of the Sox is that they are some kind of perennial playoff contender.
This isn't a myth. Over the last 20 years the Red Sox have made the playoffs 10 times. 50% of the time over the last 20 years the Red Sox have made the playoffs. That's a pretty impressive run of making the playoffs. It could be better, but it could also be worse. The bottom line is going into each season, the Red Sox are contenders to make the playoffs. Dan can argue this is ridiculous based on the eventual outcome of a season, but his protests don't make the fact the Red Sox are consistently playoff contenders false.
You know . . . three championships in 10 years.
The only team that can say they have three championships in the last 10 years is the Giants. Before that, it would be the Yankees. Before that, it would be Oakland Athletics in the early 1970's. So the snide, "swell" is misinformed and needless. Three championships in 10 years is impressive, no matter how much Dan wants to downplay it.
But despite the hype, the highest prices in baseball, and the
$200 million payroll, the Sox are no longer legitimate contenders. They
are not a good team and they have not been a good team for quite some
"For quite some time." They won the 2013 World Series. The Red Sox have won 90+ games 11 times in the past 20 years. They have had 3 seasons with a losing record in the last 20 years. All this while playing in a division (the AL East) which had a team from that division make the World Series 13 times since 1990. But yeah, the Red Sox haven't been good for "for quite some time."
Simply because Dan recites a lie doesn't mean this lie becomes the truth.
“When you look at this team — and I tell you we’ve analyzed this team —
this is a strong team,” said Henry. “They’ve just played not up to their
What else would the owner say? Would he say he doesn't think they put a good team together? Perhaps after the season is over the owner may say this, but of course he will think the team is strong prior to the season starting and during the season. This quote isn't the result of a delusion, but the result of Henry really believing the Red Sox put a good team together.
The Red Sox bottled some lightning in 2013, but clearly that was an
outlier season, one that contributes to the ongoing phony narrative that
the cutting-edge Sox are ahead of the curve and loaded with talent
throughout the organization.
Ah yes, go ahead and crap on the World Series title in order to make it seem more significant than it was. Dan would really have freaked out if he covered the Red Sox from 1919-1945 when they didn't make the World Series once. The playoff set up was much different then, but the Red Sox were mostly terrible during that time. I imagine how bad Dan would flipped out believing the Red Sox wasted the golden years of Ted Williams' career. He would have gotten off so much bashing them in his column.
Wake up, people. Your baseball team is not smarter than all the other teams. Your farm system is not the best in the majors.
I'm not sure "people" think the Red Sox are smarter than other teams. They just try to use different methods of player evaluation from other teams. It's not them thinking they are smarter. Taking a different road to reach a destination doesn't necessarily mean the road you have chosen is the faster path (you can find that on a fortune cookie somewhere). The Red Sox having faith in the players in their farm system, and not wanting to trade players from that system, is a reflection that they like their own players. It doesn't mean the organization or fans think the Red Sox have the best farm system in the majors.
Your Red Sox are an aggregate 31 games under .500 (267-298) since Sept. 1, 2011. According to the Providence Journal,
the 2015 Red Sox entered Tuesday as Boston’s worst baseball team since
1960 in the area of run differential — minus-48 after 51 games.
It's so weird how Dan Shaughnessy uses September 1, 2011 as the cut-off date. I really do believe many of these sportswriters needed to take more statistics courses in college. September 1 is a sort of random cut-off date that intentionally tries to mislead the reader on the Red Sox record during the 2011 season prior to September 1. The 2015 Red Sox aren't a very good team. It doesn't mean the entire organization is fatally flawed.
Despite these inconvenient truths, folks at the top continue to say that
all is well. And rest assured the Sox soon will be OK because . . . you
know . . . they are loaded with prospects.
Yet another contention by Dan that the Red Sox believe themselves to be "loaded" with prospects, but amazingly he can't seem to include a quote from the Red Sox that supports this belief. It's almost like Dan is exaggerating (or at best, misinterpreting) the Red Sox expectations for their prospects in order to make his point seem stronger.
Asked to characterize the state of his franchise, Henry answered, “From
my perspective, it’s never been better. I think we’re as strong
throughout the organization as we’ve ever been.’’
Henry says they are "strong throughout the organization," he didn't say they are "loaded with prospects."
“We have a strong commitment to winning,’’ added chairman Tom Werner.
“We play for championships . . . It is our intention to play baseball in
October every year.’’
Yep, nothing about prospects in that quote. Nothing about having a "loaded" system. The idea the Red Sox organization constantly talks about their loaded system is a fantasy that Dan tells himself in order to make his lies and deceptions seem more real.
Increasingly invisible Sox CEO Larry Lucchino (now “busy” with Rhode
Island’s Triple A team and Boston’s 2024 Olympics bid) chimed in with,
“We’re in it to win it, to win championships. If that means this kind of
manic-depressive kind of course, maybe that’s not so terrible . . .
We’re well prepared to be a successful franchise in the next several
Again, there is nothing said here about being "loaded" with prospects. It's just talk about where Lucchino wants the franchise to go and where he thinks the franchise currently is.
National media folks gushed about the new Red Sox lineup and predicted
another worst-to-first season for Boston. Sports Illustrated and USA
Today picked the Sox to finish first in the AL East — which, of course,
is still possible in the toxic landfill that the division has become.
And when have national experts ever been wrong about anything? Just check out the ESPN experts' predictions for the 2014 season to see how wrong these "experts" were about the World Series participants. Expecting experts to be correct all the time, when that's not close to being the case, and then basing criticism of the Red Sox on not meeting the expectations of "experts" is ridiculous.
Sox starting pitchers mocked the naysayers, wearing T-shirts that
said, “He’s the ace,’’ and after Clay Buchholz outpitched Philadelphia’s
Cole Hamels on Opening Day, Henry noted to a reporter that the Sox did
indeed have an ace starter.
Outpitching Cole Hamels is now turned into a bad thing, because it wasn't a sign of things to come for the entire season.
And now here we are again. Worst-to-first has become worst-to-worst.
Yes, here the Red Sox are "again." The last time they finished in last place of the AL East in consecutive seasons was 1993-1994 and the Detroit Tigers were in the AL East at that point. But yeah, "again" the Red Sox are going to be in last place of the AL East in consecutive seasons. It happens all the time, just as long the fact it hasn't happened in over 20 years gets ignored.
But many of the Red Sox’ current problems are still rooted in arrogance,
NESN ratings (Messrs. Sandoval and Ramirez are looking like Crawford
and Gonzalez from 2011), an insistence that an ace pitcher is not a good
value, and a system philosophy that relies heavily on new metrics.
Except Sandoval and Ramirez are signed to smaller contracts than Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez were signed to, so Ramirez and Sandoval are not quite the burden Crawford and Gonzalez were on the Red Sox payroll. The new metrics have paid off for the Red Sox in the past ten years.
Turning their backs on arcane thinking (and 130 years of baseball
history), the Sox are out to prove that a team does not need a true No. 1
starter. Instead, the organization chooses to live on the cutting edge
of WAR, VORP, BABIP, DIPS, EqAS, and UZR.
So what? Other teams use these metrics and have success. At no point has any front office that uses advanced metrics stated these metrics are the end-all be-all to determine whether a player is successful or not. This is a constant misinterpretation baseball writers like Dan Shaughnessy (and Steve Dilbeck, Murray Chass, Jerry Green, Terence Moore) have, which is front offices that heavily use advanced metrics still factor in they need good players to be successful. They are simply using different metrics to evaluate players, along with the traditional player evaluation metrics.
Alex Speier’s feature on Mookie Betts in the Globe in
February informed us that the Red Sox partnered with a technology
company to measure how fast a baseball brain works. They developed a
proprietary SAT-like testing system to tell them who the good hitters
might be. One of the Sox draftees who crushed the neuroscouting tests
was Jackie Bradley Jr., who has batted .192 over parts of three big
This is compared to human baseball scouts who haven't missed on a prospect over the past 130 years, right? Human scouts are allowed to miss all of the time, but when new technology is used to scout or gather information about a prospect then it has to be correct 100% of the time or else it's considered absolutely useless. So the neuroscouting test didn't accurately show Jackie Bradley's skill level. Real human scouts use metrics that don't correctly evaluate a player's skill all the time.
A lot of big contracts have been given to the wrong people, and it might
be time for the Sox-loving world to stop perpetuating the fallacy of
Boston’s amazing scouting and player development.
They screw up sometimes. Yes, the Red Sox have missed on players who received big contracts.
There’s a nationwide insistence that no Sox minor leaguers can be dealt
to the Phillies for Hamels because the Sox are just too gosh-darned
loaded with great prospects.
Well, plus Hamels is a 30+ year old pitcher who is making a lot of money per year. He could end up being one of those big contracts the Red Sox have taken on which continue to perpetuate the fallacy of Boston's amazing scouting. Of course Dan complains the Red Sox have too many underachieving, expensive players and then bemoans they won't trade their prospects for a 30+ year old pitcher who has a large contract. I wouldn't expect him to be consistent in his criticism though.
the sad fact is that the Red Sox have not drafted and developed a big
league starting pitcher or an All-Star position player since Buchholz
and Jacoby Ellsbury were drafted by Theo Epstein 10 years ago.
What about Anthony Rizzo? (ducks as Red Sox fans throw things at me)
Another question. Shouldn't Hanley Ramirez and Justin Masterson count? They were both considered (and proved to be) ready for the majors when the Red Sox traded them and now they are back on the Red Sox team. I would probably count them both as players the Red Sox developed. Justin Masterson is a big league pitcher while Hanley Ramirez has made an All-Star team.
It’s fitting that the Minnesota Twins are in town this week. The
Twins share Fort Myers with the Red Sox, and we feel sorry for them all
spring. The Red Sox get all the attention and have all the fans and are
nationally acclaimed as the brilliant, big-money franchise, always ahead
of everybody else. The poor Twins have no payroll, no star power, and
no national following.
They also have a first-place team with the third-best record in the American League.
This is absolutely laughable. With no sense of irony, in a column where Dan Shaughnessy bemoans that the Red Sox are "again" in last place in the AL East, he starts talking about the Twins coming to town. This is the same Twins team that has been last in the AL Central 6 times in the last 20 years. They have been next-to-last in the AL Central 4 times in the last 20 years. They have made zero World Series and one ALCS in that time, along with having a losing record in 11 of those seasons. THIS is the team he talks about as the antithesis of the Red Sox. Why? Because the Twins are currently in first place in the AL Central. Dan pays studious attention to the Red Sox recent history in an attempt to paint them as a failed franchise, while dismissing their successes, yet he pays attention to the Twins record this season and dismisses their recent history by simply not acknowledging it. He's the worst. This is what to expect from Dan Shaughnessy though. He's incapable of being a good writer when it comes to making a point outside of his trolling opinion.
We have the Red Sox.
We have the myth.
The biggest myth overall is that the Red Sox are a failing organization. They may not be succeeding right now, but they have the resources to improve quickly. Of course, when that improvement comes, and it will, Dan is going to forget entirely that he wrote this column. Just like he forgets the variety of other columns he's written bashing the Red Sox. Dan's only purpose as a writer is to serve as a troll and be negative. It gets him attention, which is mostly what he craves. He's horrible.
To add to the hilarity, Dan wrote this column on June 2 and then on June 8 he changed his tune about these Red Sox team. All of a sudden, after a few wins the myth of the Red Sox being contenders may not be a myth. I will have Dan's contradictory column about the Red Sox in my next post. He's the worst. Just the worst. He can't even troll consistently.