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Oh joy! It’s Dan Shaughnessy’s Hall of Fame column

Dec 22, 2010, 7:20 AM EDT

dan shaughnessy

Dan Shaughnessy has a Hall of Fame vote. Every year he uses his Hall of Fame column to trot out his latest pejorative terms for bloggers or even just younger baseball writers.  Last year he called us “stat geeks, those get-a-lifers who are sucking all the joy out of our national pastime.”  He’s not as creative this year, but he’s still great fun. Here’s the latest:

Morris is a tougher vote. He’s not going to make it. His 3.90 ERA is high. The silly stat shut-ins don’t like him. Morris is more of a “you had to be there’’ candidate. I was at the 1991 World Series when he won Game 7, 1-0, in 10 innings.

Know what’s fun about this?  I mean, apart from the “you had to be there” line and the fact that he premises Jack Morris’ case on a single game?  It’s the fact that his own Boston Globe colleague, Pete Abraham, doesn’t like Morris’ case and didn’t vote for him.

Query, Mr. Shaughnessy: is Pete Abraham a “silly stat shut-in?”  Better ask him now, Dan! Because you won’t be able to find him come February when he begins eight solid months of covering baseball from press boxes all over the country while you write from whatever bitter cloister you call home.

  1. iftheshoefits2 - Dec 22, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    Do people in Boston feel the same way about Shaughnessy as people in New York do about Lupica?

    These guys are fire in a crowded theatre writers- shouting from their pulpit/ soapbox is more important than making sense. Somone needs to make sure Big Red & Al Sharpton weren’t separated at birth. or at least photoshp their heads on each other’s bodies……

    Just more white noise from people totally out of touch with their fanbases. And great call on @peteabe- his work at the Lohud blog was great, before he crossed over & became dead to me.

    • paulie102704 - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:31 AM

      CHB is much worse than Lupica. MUCH worse. He has an agenda with everythign he writes, and has never related to the Boston sports fanbase. I refuse to click on his stories as that is what keeps him employed, and I would implore that Craig do the same if he ever takes a snippet of CHB’s awful work….

    • JBerardi - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:53 AM

      How do people in Boston feel about Shaughnessy? Well, for starters, they call him “The CHB”… which means they don’t just hate the guy, they hate him enough that efficiency is concerned.

    • hep3 - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:29 PM

      “Do people in Boston feel the same way about Shaughnessy as people in New York do about Lupica?”

      Los Angeles has two of those types with Bill Plaschke and T.J. Simers. They are like flies; just here to irritate people. I quit reading them awhile ago and instantly turn the radio when they are invited on some alleged sports talk show.

    • baseballisboring - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:33 PM

      Yes, count me as a Red Sox fan that hates Shaughnessey. Arrogance+Stupidity is not a good combo for a sports writer.

  2. Jonny 5 - Dec 22, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    I’d say he drank a bottle of 10 year old Bushmills before writing that quote above. So basically, any pitcher who’s got a 3.90 era or better, that also have a ring, should all be in the HOF? gtf out. aye, aye, aye… And he votes.

    • BC - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:13 AM

      Agree. Look how many mediocre or even poor seasons Morris had. He went beserk one year in Toronto, and in 1984 he won a boatload of games for a team that a fire hydrant could have won 15 games for. He had that one sick game in the World Series that makes him stand out.
      Then again, Bill Mazeroski, while a very good player, got in the HOF (albeit via the brandy-swilling good ol boys club known as the Veterans Committee) largely based on one swing of the bat.
      I’d vote no, but I wouldn’t go dgfoszufdgesfdhdrfhoidsh if Morris got in, I guess.

  3. krisk79 - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    “I was at the 1991 World Series when he won Game 7, 1-0, in 10 innings.”

    So was I, Dan.

    I love Jack Morris. I’m probably the biggest Twins homer you’ll find reading this site, besides Gleeman, and I wouldn’t vote for him.

    • billtpa - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:34 AM

      Wait, did I write a comment under a different name somehow?

      Actually, I wouldn’t say I “love” Jack Morris. I love my memories of 1991, but Morris has always seemed like kind of a jerk, and he’s the worst color commentator in all of professional sports. But +1 to everything else.

      It amazes me how people keep saying “you had to be there” right into the face of a massive population of people who WERE THERE and completely disagree.

    • fquaye149 - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:58 AM

      I think nearly everyone over the age of 25 saw that game on TV. Doesn’t the “you had to be there” argument only work when you’re talking about something that EVERYONE didn’t see?

  4. jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    As your own articles illustrate, Craig, before you can be a good sportswriter, you first have to be a good writer. In my view, Dan Shaughnessy is among this country’s most thoughtful and literate writers … his commentary is must-read, and it’s most often about the humanity of sports, emotional and caring. Funny, too. And far from posting from some “bitter cloister”, he’s been in far more ballparks, stadiums, rinks, gyms and locker rooms, actually talking to athletes and getting to know them, than you have.

    As someone entering, let’s say, late middle age, I know exactly what he means when he writes “you had to be there”. I agree … the joyless stats geeks, who deliberately remove themselves from any human aspect of sports, do take a lot of the soul out of sports.

    • wonkypenguin - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:35 AM

      Dan? Dan is that you?

    • billtpa - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:37 AM

      But many of us WERE THERE and see things completely differently. What he means when he says “you had to be there” is “I have no way to support my opinions.” Be honest: you ARE Dan Shaughnessy, right?

      Too irritated by this nonsense to even get into the “joyless stat geeks” silliness.

    • paperlions - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:03 AM

      Just because someone is a good writer doesn’t mean they understand anything about their subject. DS is a perfect example of someone that has spent a lot of time around sports but has not bothered to actually try to understand the sports he covers. He cover’s the people and the stories surrounding the sport, which is great, but he doesn’t understand, hasn’t tried to understand, or appear to want to understand what contributes to winning or losing baseball games.

      Stat geeks don’t endeavor to detract from the soul of sports, they are not interested in such things, their goal is understanding. Enhanced understanding has no bearing on the “soul” of sports. If your love of sports is tied to your ability to over-estimate the importance of scrappiness or heart, then you must not love the game that much.

      • baseballisboring - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:43 PM

        And let me reiterate for you, he has made absolutely NO effort to understand the game he covers, at least as far as more advanced stats go. I watched an interview with him where he didn’t know whether it was good to have a positive or negative UZR, and just laughed it off dismissively.

      • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:53 PM

        And anyone who takes UZR all that seriously or think it defines how good a fielder a player is should read Chris Gaspar’s blog post from last February.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 22, 2010 at 4:14 PM

        Um, what did that say? That the Sox have their own proprietary defensive stats (most forward-thinking teams do) and that the blogger is reduced to mocking something for having a funny acronym? There was absolutely no analysis of the functionality of UZR at all.

      • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 5:06 PM

        … the blogger is reduced to mocking something for having a funny acronym? There was absolutely no analysis of the functionality of UZR at all.

        C’mon. Analysing UZR’s functionality wasn’t Gasper’s intent nor is it his job to provide a tutorial on statistical methodology. There are plenty of other sources for that. What he did correctly point out is that the players themselves have only a vague idea about it, and that neither they nor their ball club care a thing about it. There are far better ways of judging players’ defensive aptitude.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 22, 2010 at 7:13 PM

        Actually, the players awareness of it isn’t all that material to it’s usefulness – it’s their job to perfect the skills that make them productive baseball players, not understand the metrics that evaluate them. As for the RS front office, the fact that they have their own proprietary metrics to evaluate defense (that probably operate in a similar manner to UZR) hardly invalidates UZR’s usefulness. It not being perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best publicly-available evaluation tools for defense.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:51 PM

        What he did correctly point out is that the players themselves have only a vague idea about it, and that neither they nor their ball club care a thing about it. There are far better ways of judging players’ defensive aptitude.</blockquote

        Except your second point isn't a conclusion based on the first. Jeff Francouer thinks OBP isn't important because it wasn't on the Turner Field scoreboard (it was). Donovan McNabb didn't know there were tie games in regular season football even though he was involved in the previous one.

        Also, that column was about as useful to baseball knowledge as a blank piece of paper. Hackey sportswriting, tired stats jokes, complete misunderstanding of the subject matter. It's almost as if CHB wrote it himself.

    • bradwins - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM

      OK, Shank.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM

      My spreadsheet matrix data output shows that the probability of someone in the late middle ages wouldn’t know Jack White! GLEVEN!!!! Now where’s my sparkly 12-sided die. GNERF!

  5. BC - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    I agree with him, for once. I mean, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series. Think he’s getting into the HOF any time? I assume his glove or the game ball or something is there, though.
    PS. Is Dan Shaughnessy actually Timothy Busfield’s evil twin?

  6. bobwsc - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    couldn’t disagree with you more jackwhite. Dan thinks his opinion is “the story” and has gotten away from what his job actually entails. his columns are bitter and he’s been quoted as saying “I used to carpool to Logan with Greg Kite to take the team plane on the road. now I can’t get a quote from KG because there is too much nuisance media out there.” freedom of the press only applies to him apparently. I saw him at the souvenir shop across from Fenway and he was there to sign copies of his book; he might has well have been a plague victim on display because people wouldn’t go near him. he’s made himself the black hat villain of the press in Boston. he didn’t have to – Bob Ryan is still highly respected and Will McDonough was revered by everyone: readers and columnists alike. Dan is like a bitter old man in a deli sending soup back time and time again – making noise, being judgemental and creating conflict because it makes him seem relevant.

    • BC - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:43 AM

      Greg Kite is God.
      No… wait…. Clapton is God. Kite is an apostle.
      Aw heck… we had this Clapton discussion before didn’t we?
      My bad. ;-)

    • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

      “Freedom of the press” isn’t the issue, bobwsc. Understand what the term “nuisance media” means, as Shaughnessy uses it. Once upon a time … before the internet and dotcom sports sites, before blogs with an agenda, and before the proliferation of cable channels … the sports media was a much smaller group of professional writers and broadcasters. Access was more relaxed and relationships between media and athletes was more personal. Not so much today, since the core group of sports beat professionals is outnumbered by wanna-bes, poseurs and anyone else with internet access and a WordPress installation. In my opinion.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM

        Would you like us to get off your lawn, sir?

      • billtpa - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:11 AM

        this is so totally Shaughnessy.

      • bobwsc - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:18 AM

        bottom line, he’s a smug elitist. I can see why you carry water for him. in my opinion.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:21 AM

        I would argue that that relaxed, personal relationship between the media and athletes is exactly the sort of thing that causes one to lose their objectivity. You don’t criticize someone if you fear that you’ll lose access or if you’ve become personally friendly with them. You overlook things like steroid use, alcoholism, misogyny and a host of other vices. In doing so, you perpetuate a system in which athletes are held up as role models despite being woefully ill-equipped for the job (not that they should be role models).

        I fully admit that there are aspects of the game that I do not get or appreciate as much as Shaughnessy does due to my lack of access. I would submit, however, that the things I don’t get or appreciate are relatively unimportant to the mass of fans who follow professional sports. I would further submit that such access is wholly unnecessary and even counterproductive when it comes to judging one’s suitability for the Hall of Fame.

      • BC - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

        Craig, I couldn’t agree more. In the 50’s when Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Hank Bauer were out boozing it up, getting thrown out of bars and causing all sorts of bleep…. nothing was said, or it was protrayed as funny – strictly because the guys were buddy buddy with the reporters covering them.

      • bradwins - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM

        Almost everyone with internet access and the motivation to write about sports for free has forgot more about sports in the last week than Shank will ever know. He is a talented writer, but he does not know anything about sports. Therefore, his opinions are worthless.

        The rise of the internet means that there are more sources of information for those that choose to be informed. That means that people do not accept that Shank is a knowledgeable source solely because the Globe prints his rubbish in the paper. He does not like that. That is his problem with the internet.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM

        STOP USING JACK WHITE’S NAME IN SUCH A HORRIBLE MANNER, OLD MAN! I’LL GET THE SEVEN NATION ARMY ON YOUR ASS!

      • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:25 AM

        I would argue that that relaxed, personal relationship between the media and athletes is exactly the sort of thing that causes one to lose their objectivity. You don’t criticize someone if you fear that you’ll lose access or if you’ve become personally friendly with them.

        Well, yes and no. It’s true that personal relationships between writers and the athletes they covered happened from time to time … some of them were close friendships that lasted all their lives. Today, of course, for better or worse, “the media” considers every aspect of a player’s personal and professional life appropriate material for a column or article. Naturally the athletes are more circumspect in allowing a writer to get close, or to be open and honest in an interview, especially since scheduled media access is normally mandated by the leagues.

        The rise of the internet means that there are more sources of information for those that choose to be informed.

        Yes, no question the internet is a great and vast source of information for those who seek it and, importantly, who are selective in picking their sources. I’m one of the many at the point where more information comes to me from the internet than from traditional media. But it’s also true that there’s a lot of dreck out there online and a whole lot of morons writing it. Yet, it seems, there are still many of you who believe that if it’s on the internet, it must be true and valuable.

      • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:36 AM

        In the 50′s when Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Hank Bauer were out boozing it up, getting thrown out of bars and causing all sorts of bleep…. nothing was said, or it was protrayed as funny – strictly because the guys were buddy buddy with the reporters covering them.

        No different from the days when the new media considered the personal lives of presidents and politicians “off the record” and, for the most part no one’s business. It wasn’t news and it wasn’t anyone’s business. Likewise, the sports media were interested only in what happened during the game and reported only the players’ athletic performances. Whether they were fighting a battle with alcoholism or had a girlfriend in every town had nothing to do with that.

        Is it your view, having learned a lot about the personal lives of Mickey Mantle or Whitey Ford, for instance, their greatness as ballplayers is diminished? Or that they’re unworthy of the Hall of Fame?

      • billtpa - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM

        Yet, it seems, there are still many of you who believe that if it’s on the internet, it must be true and valuable.

        There are none of us who believe anything like this. This is a really silly straw man argument for people who don’t want to be bothered to try to understand things.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:39 AM

        Interesting points you make….especially on a web-log (we call them blogs for short) located only on the internet (that series of tubes thingy) written by someone who writes exclusively on the internet for readers who seek content on the internet. So you are calling the author a moron or you are calling yourself or hypocrite. I’m going to have to go with the latter.

      • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM

        Interesting points you make….especially on a web-log (we call them blogs for short) located only on the internet (that series of tubes thingy) written by someone who writes exclusively on the internet for readers who seek content on the internet. So you are calling the author a moron or you are calling yourself or hypocrite. I’m going to have to go with the latter.

        Apparently, I was a lot more careful in writing my post than you were in reading it. I clearly made the point that the internet was indeed a vast and valuable resource for information, and has become the source of more of my news than traditional media. You just have to be selective in choosing sources. I stand by my observation that there’s also a lot of garbage online and untalented people who happen to have an FTP client writing it. Yet some of those people manage to get credentialed and thereby make everyone’s job more difficult.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

        You just have to be selective in choosing sources. I stand by my observation that there’s also a lot of garbage online

        You can say this about any medium of information. Books, newspapers, TV news shows…

        and untalented people who happen to have an FTP client writing it. Yet some of those people manage to get credentialed and thereby make everyone’s job more difficult

        Not sure what you are referring to with the FTP comment. Adding in “writing” makes me think the word does not mean what you think it means. And who’s become credentialed via their online writing? Craig was invited to a few Indian’s games, but he sat in a designated area for bloggers. Many aren’t in the press box unless they were reporters who now solely publish online. Regardless, yes, many are terrible and make other’s jobs difficult. CHB is a prime culprit.

      • mcsnide - Dec 22, 2010 at 1:42 PM

        Hey, I write lots of stuff in my FTP client. Long, complex things like “put” and “get.”

      • jackwhite11 - Dec 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

        Not sure what you are referring to with the FTP comment.

        I worded the phrase awkwardly. I should have written “I stand by my observation that there’s also a lot of garbage online being written by untalented people who happen to have an FTP client.”

  7. Jack Marshall - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Shaughnessy, as it took me literally decades to figure out, isn’t an analyst, isn’t even really a commentator. He’s a passionate fan who writes well. He likes who he likes, he hates who he hates, and he bleeds Sox, which has to hurt. Most Red Sox fans find him infuriating, but its a tradition to read him religiously anyway.

  8. wonkypenguin - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    But he once wrote a book about a Curse… so there is that.

    Does he get a point for alliteration? Silly stat shut-in had to take some time.

  9. Chipmaker - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    In his last few seasons, Morris used to show up only for his starts, and then it was back to his ranch for his off days. Where’s mention of that in Hall assessments? Does that make Morris a better teammate, getting his cranky self away from the rest of the guys?

    I don’t care that Morris did this, but were select other players (and it’d have to be a starting pitcher) to have done this, they’d be treated like nuclear waste.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 22, 2010 at 9:58 AM

      Roger Clemens had that sort of arrangement, and he teammates (both in Houston and New York) kissed the ground he walked. Even Roy “Anybody who used steroids should have their accomplishments erased” Oswalt supported the colossal prick.

    • BC - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:19 AM

      There’s a long list of really good pitchers that were ***holes. Clemens, Drysdale, Carlton…. but for every one of them, you have a Sabathia or Maddux or Halliday, generally good guys. It’s a mixed bag. I don’t really care if the guy was a jerk or not. What did he do on the field? Ted Williams was the biggest p—k in the world but you can’t deny his accomplishments.
      (My dad told me stories of Williams going out on the field before games and shooting pigeons off the top of the Green Monster – that’s a good story, have to look for it online when I’m not on company time)

      • ta192 - Dec 22, 2010 at 4:03 PM

        2 things:

        First, I always considered Joe D a bigger prick…

        Second, in that era, shooting pigeons off the scoreboard would have been considered a public service by all, save a few pigeons. Times have changed, the boozing and carousing by the Mantle/Ford/Martin gang cited earlier would not have raised many male eyebrows then, and, indeed, baseball fans were aware of the activity, they just had to wait a while for updates. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if Michael Vick had been discovered dog-fighting, the color of skin might have gotten him in trouble in places, but not his activity, per se. Many things just weren’t as newsworthy then as in today’s PC world…

  10. ss - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Best part of the column? He doesn’t even mention Tim Raines.

    Le sigh.

  11. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    During that 1991 World Series game, did he mention that Morris got to pitch with the “wind” blowing in for him and out for the opposition?

  12. thinman61 - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Shaughnessy is a tool. And I’m pretty sure Chad Finn is a silly stat shut-in in CHB’s eyes, so Pete Abe escapes the label by comparison.

  13. thinman61 - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    When Shaughnessy grows up he wants to be Will McDonough. And he’s never, ever going to be.

  14. Matt - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    I’m far too lazy to look, but I can’t help but be curious about what Jack Morris’ current disciples wrote about him while he was playing? Are there Shaughnessy columns from 1987 discussing Jack Morris as a fearsome opponent for his Red Sox? Did Jon Heyman write a 1992 article about how Morris was an all time great?

    • Kevin S. - Dec 22, 2010 at 10:51 AM

      It’s the same thing with Jim Rice. If “teh f34r” was so evident all along, why did he get such middling HOF vote totals shortly after he died. CHB’s shovelling the same bull for Blackjack that he was for Jim Ed.

  15. marshmallowsnake - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    I grew up in the Boston area and Dan just likes to stir the pot and go against everything and anything logical. I have heard more intelligent things coming from my 1.5 year old daughter.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 22, 2010 at 11:42 AM

      Only a stat nerd would use “1.5” instead of “18 months” like they done did back in my day.

      • mcsnide - Dec 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

        Yeah, this dude is clearly raising his daughter in his mom’s basement.

    • dwaynehosey - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:31 PM

      I’m a big fan of the use of new and innovative metrics to better understand the game. So I was very dissapointed to read Dan’s comments in this morning’s Globe. However, in contrast to what others have written, I’ve seen Dan around at most of the Sox games and at least some Celtics games I’ve been to in recent years. On the couple of occassions I’ve said hello and exchanged a few words, he’s been polite and respectful. His Saturday morning radio show is generally thoughtful and several steps above the usual yelling and mindless banter of sports talk. So I’m sorry he chooses take the low road in his writing now and again, but don’t think he’s quite the demon some make him out to be.

      • Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 22, 2010 at 6:03 PM

        I think (or I’d like to, at least) most of these guys are genuinely good guys who love the game the way we do and view their job as the best in the world, something better than simply “a job”. I am sure Dan is that way in person, as you mention. I can’t imagine Lupica would do that, however.

        However his disdain, as with Murray Chass’, for anyone born after 1960 or for those who have a desire to dig deeper into the numbers sickens me.

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