Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shank On The World Series

After writing a few columns during the past fortnight about the American and National League championship series', Shank sits down, analyzes the strengths & weaknesses of both the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, offers a few opinions, and puts all of that into a thoughtful, concise and timely column.

Almost had you there for a second!

Seriously, if Shank can be bothered to churn out a few columns during the championship series of both leagues, why not do a column before the series starts? If he can do the trite 'compare & contrast' type of columns like this one, why not do a similar / some sort of column on those two teams before the World Series starts? Is he on vacation? Is that too much work? Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Once In A Blue Moon

Today, Shank tries his hand at comedy:
Man, it’s getting angry out there in the unsocial media world. A fellow tries to write a few opinions about sports and next thing you know you’re a good-for-nothing, over-the-hill troll who’s trying to agitate faithful fans. Lately I’ve had to don a hazmat suit before booting up my laptop.
Surely you jest! For starters, I stopped buying the Boston Globe in 1995 because of this guy. This site was established nearly a decade ago. Go read any of the comments section on his columns. For Shank to pretend that this a recent phenomenon is complete bullshit.

Speaking of bullshit...
Not today, gentle readers. On this leisurely October weekend I am going to give you nothing but positivity. No sarcasm. No cynicism. No cheap shots mixed in with the bon mots. Promise. It’ll be fun. Let’s see if we can get through 1,000 words in which everything really is awesome.

The Patriots are in first place. Folks need to stop complaining and telling us what is wrong with our local football team.
Except for when it's time to pile on!

How many teeth did Shank grind to dust writing this mini-paragraph?
We should all grow up to be as powerful, stylish, and charitable as Robert Kraft. And we all secretly wish we had the brains of Jonathan Kraft.
All you need to know about how amusing this column is can be found in the next paragraph:
The Red Sox have an excellent chance to get right back into the race in the American League East next season. The East is weak and the Sox have a lot of money off the books, and we’re pretty sure general manager Ben Cherington will go get a couple of established starters this offseason. While Cherington is at work, he should take a long look at robust Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. The Kung Fu Panda is a free agent and would look good at the hot corner at Fenway next year.
He'll be bitching about the 2015 Red Sox as soon as they hit their first three game losing streak, if not sooner.
The Celtics have that lean and hungry look and a terrific coach in Brad Stevens. They’re going to surprise a lot of folks this season.
Shank will be surprised in about a month - 'Boy, this Celtics team really sucks this year! I didn't think they were going to be this bad!'

How long until Shank reverts to form? Yes, that's a rhetorical question...

Bust(er) A Move

Shank wrote a column on Friday on San Francisco's best player, catcher Buster Posney. Two things interfered with a timely response, primarily work and, perhaps more importantly, these recent baseball columns are so damn boring and tedious. Let's hope the anticipated World Series columns breaks away from that trend.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Defense of Small Ball

It's baseball Armageddon!

Let us count the ways:

1. Barry Bonds threw out the first pitch at an NLCS game.
2. At least one small market team will be in the World Series.
3. Neither the Red Sox nor Yankees will be in the World Series.
4. The World Series won't be watched by people who like home runs or big market teams.
5. Pitching and defense are in vogue.
6. Major league baseball players can actually, you know, catch the ball!

Today's utterly meandering column, which begins in San Francisco with Barry Bonds and ends with somewhere outside Cleveland with Indians manager Terry Francona pondering the Kansas City Royals, begs the question as to whether The CHB realizes that several years ago, Mr. Moneyball Billy Beane started investing in defense, seeing that as the undervalued asset, and that since 2012 no team has converted a ball in play into an out more often than Oakland, and the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox were built on -- you guessed it -- pitching and defense.

No, he doesn't realize it, because he spends half the piece quoting Terry Francona on how great Kansas City's defense is, while never pointing out that KC finished just 12th overall in defense efficiency.

Guess Shank won't be watching, either.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh, That Shank

Our Man Shank is in San Francisco to cover the National League Championship Series and has fallen for another team.
SAN FRANCISCO — Oh, those Giants.

I mean, they are really not that good, right? They don’t have a lot of star players, they go long stretches without any kind of offense, and every other year they out-and-out stink.

But this is one of their “on” years, and the Giants did it again Tuesday, beating the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, in the bottom of the 10th on a walkoff sacrifice bunt/throwing error. The crushing “blow” came after a walk and a hard-fought single by the Giants’ eighth and ninth hitters.

San Francisco leads the National League Championship Series, two games to one, heading into Wednesday night’s game at AT&T Park, the best ballpark in America.
How could you desert us Red Sox Nation fans after all these years?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

World Series Remembrance Falls Apart at Seams

Only The CHB could take an event as dramatic as an earthquake which interrupts the World Series just before the start of a crucial game and leaves more than 60 people dead in the San Francisco Bay area and turn it into something completely trite.

Which he does today.

Writing on the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, Shank manages to reduce both the elegance of the World Series and the solemnity of a wide-scale tragedy into a pronounced heap of metaphorical slop, thanks to such phrases as "unforgiving riptide," "angry earth," and "the upper deck was ...  frozen in time." (Not to mention his self-characterization of trying to get his work done before being escorted from Candlestick Park: he "typed feverishly." Ugh.) He simultaneously manages to depersonalize the significant while inflating his own role in the proceedings, describing how he sneaked back to the press room to grab his jacket.

Let's hope The CHB spends the next 25 years learning to compose better prose. And growing a heart.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


A day after telling Red Sox Nation they should be rooting for the Baltimore Orioles, Shank notices what's actually happening on the field.
BALTIMORE — They are the hardball heroes of the Heartland, anonymous to sports fans everywhere else in America. They are Nielsen-killers, lacking both star power and home run power. And at this moment they are a star-kissed juggernaut, threatening to literally run away with the American League pennant and maybe even the World Series.

Meet the Kansas City Royals, the mystery guests and (thus far) dominators of the 2014 Major League Baseball tournament.
This column feels like a mailed-in one - cheap alliteration, a Springsteen reference, and a Cheers reference. That's original...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Overused Formula

Now that the baseball playoffs have entered the league championship stage, Shank takes a break from pretending he likes the Boston Bruins to tell you why you, the Boston Red Sox fan, should be rooting for the Baltimore Orioles.

Say what?
BALTIMORE — You are a citizen of Red Sox Nation, still basking in the glow of last year’s unexpected October magic, but you are having a little trouble getting into an ALCS with no Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, or Tigers.

This year it’s the Orioles and the Royals — pennant-starved franchises that have lost more games in this century than any other American League teams. The emerging stars of this ALCS are guys named Eric Hosmer and Zach Britton, and the key players could be the long relievers. Not very sexy. You might even have trouble finding the games on your cable system.

Take heart, Sox fans. The Orioles are your hardball cousins, and I am here to tell you why it matters that Baltimore is back in baseball’s Final Four Showcase. You’d do well to adopt the Orioles for the next three weeks. The “modern day” Orioles joined the American League 60 years ago and have played an enormous role in Red Sox history over the last seven decades.
As Mike noted from the Sunday column, Shank has a formula that's lazy and trite - throw out a bunch of names and take it from there. In this case, mention how they're connected to one another and cite the relevant history between the teams (and one of them graduated from Holy Cross!)

There's just one problem with this column - in the discussion of the 'interaction' of these two franchises, Shank takes great pains to avoid the singular reason it doesn't mean a damn thing - they're rival teams!

If Shank's now 'rooting for' the Orioles, you know who we're rooting for!