Monday, March 02, 2015

The Obligatory Justin Masterson Column

Shank continues his spring training vacation in Fort Myers with a column on Red Sox starting pitcher Justin Masterson.

By the way, did you know that the Red Sox spent a lot of money on players this year? Here's Shank, for the third consecutive column, making it a sub-theme of this column as well:
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox threw bags of money at “professional” hitters over the last six months. They have assembled a lineup that should be one of the best in baseball.
Nope, he's not setting up any angles for future columns, is he?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Making The Rounds

Shank follows his usual spring training pattern and profiles various Red Sox players, starting with Christian Vasquez this year.

Also noted is Shank's focus on Red Sox payroll:
The $200 million Red Sox have a lot of thunder in their new lineup.
The affable 24-year-old backstop doesn’t make a lot of noise in the millionaire’s club that is the Sox clubhouse.
Much like Shank with the Patriots (referring to nearly all opponents as 'tomato cans' so he has the chance to crap on them if they lose), he will constantly be referring to this payroll number in future columns in order to inflate their level of expectations so he can criticize them if they fail to meet those expectations.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The One Where The CHB Tries to Keep Pushing the Idea that Larry Lucchino is Being Pushed Out

The CHB is like a dog with a bone now that Larry Lucchino is no longer his best bud/tipster. For the umpteenth time, he pushes the notion that Lucchino has been unseated by Red Sox co-owner Mike Gordon in the pecking order.

That issue, if it even is one, has been repeatedly dispelled by chairman John Henry, not that The CHB is buying it. But keep in mind Shank always thinks management is lying, which is why he looks so foolish now that Ballgate has turned up exactly nothing untoward by the Patriots (not that it stops Shank from beating that dead horse here, too).

Speaking of dead horses, The CHB then tries to tie the Sox with the Yankees via -- who else? -- Lucchino's long-ago spoken words that the former would never try to be like the latter. But he does so off a complete fallacy of an argument, which is that because Boston has spent a lot on free agents, it makes them similar to the Yankees. Hey, here's a thought: How about actually looking at the players signed? Boston is investing its millions in youth, not aged superstars with known drug problems (A-Rod) at easily replaceable positions (Mark Teixiera) who are primed to break down (C.C. Sabathia).

And who blew hardest just a couple dozen months ago when the Sox went cheap on player investments? Oh yeah....

One other thing: Have you noticed how the Red Sox management appears to be denying The CHB any one-on-one time? All these conversations are taken from full media sessions.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Washing The Balls, Washing The Balls

It's amusing to read the beginning of certain Shank columns just for gems like this one:
FORT MYERS, Fla. — When the Red Sox traded Jon Lester to Oakland last summer — they didn’t want to pay Lester’s steep free agency price — I suggested that Boston baseball was becoming “Kansas City on the Charles.’’

That was wrong. And I’m not saying that just because John Henry, who owns the Globe and the Sox, is an all-around swell guy.
Then the column takes a more serious tone:
Asked if there would be any tweaks in the ownership, regarding upper management, Henry answered, “Last year Mike Gordon was named president of FSG but not the Red Sox. I read that ridiculous story (that would be yours, Shank! - ed). . . ridiculous in this sense . . . that there’s some sort of power struggle between Mike and Larry. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s never been, that I know of, a word spoken in that regard within ownership.

“Mike is much more involved with Liverpool. He gets involved with the Red Sox with regard to financial decisions because of his tremendous financial mind. But there’s no power struggle.’’
Shank bravely sticks to his guns:
Sorry, boss, no retraction on this one.

Henry certainly knows how his organization is run and his is ultimately the only vote that matters, but when posed with the power shift question last week, the owner elected not to respond.

In the Red Sox’ official club directory of 2014, Gordon is not listed as anything other than “limited partner.” If the Sox made him president of FSG last year, they didn’t tell anyone. There’s been a change in the official hierarchy since last spring. And it is not subtle. For the first time, the official Red Sox website shows Gordon as the third-ranking Red Sox team official. In order, it’s Henry, Werner, Gordon, then Lucchino.

Coincidentally, we now have Gordon’s name included when club officials speak of the longstanding troika of “John, Tom, and Larry.’’ And some of us find it interesting that Lucchino just bought part of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Larry and Tom will be on campus to deny the power shift on Wednesday.
So, did someone feed Shank with some bogus information in an effort to embarrass him, prompting this column from last week to the applause of former Boston Globe buttboys? Or did Shank put this together on his own? Stay tuned for the next episode of 'As The Shank Turns'!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Let's Get Large - The Weighty Issues

Most of the time, the best way not to call attention to something is not to write about it. Then there's this guy:
FORT MYERS, Fla. — He ain’t heavy, he’s your third baseman.

Enough with Panda fat jokes. Pablo Sandoval is what he is. He is a 28-year-old switch-hitter who can rake. He can turn on the high fastball, something nobody does anymore. He can hit the ball that’s pitched away. He can hit tape-measure shots when batting from the left side. He can hit when it matters most. He’s also a cat-like defender, surprisingly nimble at the hot corner. Think Wilfork with a Wilson mitt on his left hand.

There’s been a lot of fat talk around Camp Red Sox since intrepid Steve Silva of snapped a photo of Panda standing around the infield, looking a little like Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now.’’

Sandoval was caught in a classic Dunlap pose. You know the joke. His belly done lapped his belt. Somehow, the publication of this photo triggered a Fat Tuesday festivus of ridicule and repudiation. It was talk show fodder back home in Boston for a few days and even David Letterman weighed in with a Top 10 list of things you don’t want to hear from your $95 million baseball player. Publicly, Sandoval put on a happy face. He posed for a gut-protruding photo with teammates Hanley Ramirez and Joe Kelly. They called it the Panda Pose and sent it out on Twitter.

But Sox insiders claimed Sandoval was hurt. Changed. Burned.
Which brings us back to the Kung Fu Panda, the corpulent captain of Team Tundra (vast waist land). In Red Sox lore, Sandoval is a worthy successor to Babe Ruth, Mo Vaughn, and Rich Garces.
Safe to say that Shank broke his pledge not to goof on Sandoval's weight with this column.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Let's Get Small

In his annual column about Dustin Pedroia, The CHB tries -- and fails -- to get the former AL MVP to discuss his health, Jon Lester, the Red Sox' chances in 2015, and playing with abandon.

Shank calls the interview a snore session. The same could be said for his column.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Warning Issued

Red Sox Spring Training - 2015

Let's see how this uninspiring first missive from Ft. Myers can be summed up - it's cold and snowy in New England, Pete Abraham & Nick Cafardo write forty times more columns than Shank does, the Sox are favorites to win the AL East, and Shank half-cracked his first Pablo Sandoval fat joke.