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No one does self loathing like Boston does self loathing

Sep 23, 2011, 12:02 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz reacts after flying out against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston

Every city has a unique vibe when it comes to bad baseball news.  A lot of cities do the panic thing with some local  flavor or another. Many others simply tune out and look to another sport like football or hockey to take their minds off things. If the Yankees are doing poorly there’s usually some reference to an off-the-field distraction or clubhouse dispute as a means of explaining it all.  Chicago tends to go historical and take its bad news as if it had been ordained by Fate.

But Boston? Oh man, Boston does bitter better than ANYONE:

The math says the Sox are probably going to qualify for the tournament, but they should be barred on sheer principle and merit. Let the worthy teams participate in the playoffs. The Sox are not worthy. Really, how do you root for these guys anymore?

Sure, this is Dan Shaughnessy, but he’s been stirring the pot in Boston for a long time so he knows this will resonate with a lot of people.  Only question is whether, in the event the Sox make the playoffs and win it all, he turns on a dime and writes some book about it being all magical and crap.  I sort of hope he does, actually, because that kind of chutzpah can be a thing of beauty. I’d probably buy three copies.

Oh well. My only regret is that we have less than a week for the fan bases in Boston, Atlanta, St. Louis and Tampa Bay to tear themselves apart in their own unique way.  It’s great fun.

  1. CliffC - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Wait, there is a fan base in Tampa?

  2. Charles Gates - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Craig, how did you pass on this:
    General manager Theo Epstein gets his share of the blame pie…

    The marriage of #blameTheo and PIE!

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM

      No cake for Theo or the Red Sox and their fans.

      If you are a Red Sox hater, I suggest that you look at the comments following the Red Sox stories on The natives are not happy to say the very least.

      • skipjutze - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        By natives do you mean trolls ?

      • Kevin S. - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:18 PM

        That rough New England climate is perfect for breeding trolls.

      • bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:35 PM

        I tend to shy away from the groupspeak that discussions devolve into.

  3. Joe - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Shaughnessey is a tool, but I can see the central point here. The Red Sox have been painful to watch all month, and why would we want more of that?

    (Said with full knowledge that they have the personnel to turn things around quickly and cause problems in the playoffs. Which I would love to see, too.)

    • Joe - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      I get your point, too. Boston fans are insufferable.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    because that kind of chutzpah

    Umm Craig, don’t you mean chootspah?

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM

      That NEVER gets old.

      • bigharold - Sep 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

        No it does not!

  5. somekat - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    I just dont’ think the Sox have the pitching to last in the tournament. But then again, the Yanks staff isn’t exactly as stack of aces either

    • ssazz - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      Aces or not, they pitched Yanks to the best record in the AL (and second best in majors), that works for me. I’ll gladly take my chances with this team in the postseason.

  6. bobwsc - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    I’d rather watch the Sox implode and turn into gremlins after midnight, than watch/listen/look at Dan Shaughnessey. yea the Sox are tanking, and this dude pretty much sums up how a lot of fans view this team:

    • Charles Gates - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      A NSFW tag would be helpful for that video…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        It’s T&R, 99% of their show is NSFW

      • Kevin S. - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        Something I never would have known, since I’m unfamiliar with the show.

      • bobwsc - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:45 PM

        sorry; when I heard it on the air it was heavily edited. I just found it on youtube and pasted the link in, thinking it was the on-air, edited version. my bad.

    • bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      I’m all for uncensored radio – but I have no tolerance for the ahole heard in that clip. Perfect example why I can no longer tolerate listening to the Boston area shows – the intelligence level of the callers actually dumb the hosts down.

      It’s the same entitled claptrap that a large segment of Yankees fans have spewed for generations, except this guy whines like a 4-year old who just lost his red mylar balloon to the sky.

      It’s embarrassing. Really it is. And he should be ashamed of himself. While the goal should always be to shoot for the World Series – there are 30 teams and only 2 who make it there and only one that can win it.

      And you just know that a month ago – he was giving the same speech to someone except the theme was how “no one can f’n beat the Sawx.” “Theo’s the f’n man” “Yankees are a bunch overpaid c***s***in losahs”.

      Dude’s weak. And sadly there still exists a large segment that talk the exact same way. And you know inside of 30 seconds where the conversation is going when one of these guys pick you out of the crowd in public because you’re wearing a Sox cap.

      I need to go meditate now.

      Serenity now, serenity now!

      • bobwsc - Sep 23, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        part of the issue is that the boston media stokes the flames which pushes people over the edge. Shaughnessey is a master of this. while I don’t condone much of what this guy says, his insanity fits well with the theme of this article.

  7. The Common Man - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Dan Shaughnessy isn’t worthy of a huge audience and having his words printed, and yet he still does it on a regular basis. Why should the Red Sox be any different?

    • spindervish - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM


    • bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:00 PM

      Dan Shaughnessy’s relevancy sunk when Will McDonough passed away and Shaughnessy was knighted as the Globe’s resident sports crank. He gets paid to write this way – so blogs like this one take note and drive traffic to Not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I just refuse to waste my time reading what has become a very stale and predictable schtick for Shaughnessy.

  8. Kevin S. - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Dan Shaughnessy is hoping they complete the collapse so he can go back to selling misery. 2004 was the worst thing that happened to him.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he invent The Curse of The Bambino?

      I so wanted the Red Sox to win in 2004, just so the Nation would shut up. Now, a plague on both the Red Sox and Yankees.

      • bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Yep, it was old curly himself who coined that term way back in the early 80’s. And a whole generation of Red Sox and Yankees fans grew up thinking that Babe Ruth himself held a voodoo ritual to level some mysterious hex.

        Admittedly though, there was a time I really looked forward to reading Shaughnessy’s columns – back when paper was the only medium it was available on. The shadow of his relevancy is waning though. I’d bet that half of the sports fans in Boston under 40 have never heard of him or read anything he has written.

  9. aceshigh11 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Okay, it IS true that Shaughnessy (CHB) is nothing short of schizophrenic when it comes to the moods he channels in his columns.

    One good or bad game can make him do a complete 180 degree spin on the tone of his previous column…

    …but in THIS case, what exactly did he say that was wrong, hyperbolic request to Bud Selig aside?

    I’m kinda on his wavelength right now…I DON’T WANT this team to make the playoffs. They’ll only embarrass themselves worse than they did in ’09 against the Angels.(Papelbomb, anyone?)

    And as he said, they don’t really deserve to make the playoffs with the way they’re playing. They padded their win total and offensive stats by beating up on bad pitching. They can’t hit good pitching for shit, C.C. Sabathia aside.

    I mean, “embarrassing” doesn’t even begin to describe how putrid this team has been this month.

    Is that enough self-loathing for you, Craig? Ha!

    • bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      Boy-o-boy – it never ceases to amaze me how fans so easily follow media cues. And the way this month has unfolded has even ardent loyalist Red Sox fans ready to walk the plank – and we still lead the Wild Card lead.

      I think many of us have forgotten how bad it once was. It used to be good enough just to say we made the post-season. Now we’re “hoping” our team doesn’t make the play-offs because they don’t deserve it? Give me a f’n break already!

      For one thing, if you make the play-offs you deserve it. If you didn’t – some other team would have qualified instead of you.

      And the very definition of “fan” dictates that you support your team – particularly when the going gets tough as it has been this month. If you jump ship now – don’t expect a life raft when and if things turn around. You’ve made your choice, now live with it.

      And another thing, the timing of losing streaks is very powerful to fan perception. And I fear too many fans are falling back on their pre-2004 loserish coping mechanisms and acting as if we’re not worthy of competing for the ultimate prize.

      If, instead this kind of bad month occurred in May, and the Sox bounced back in June, July and August to build a 2-game Wild Card lead entering September – and entered this last week of games maintaining that Wild Card lead – the whole region would be in jubilation over how the team just gelled and is marching down the homestretch with destiny in their back pocket.

      Instead its Armageddon and it’s not even close to December 2012 yet, and if the world does end next year (I’m beginning to believe the Universe may actually be doing us a favor) we lived to see not ONE but T-W-O World Series Championships in 4 seasons! Ask the Indians fans how they feel about that. Phillies Phans are hoping to accomplish a similar feat – and they’ll be grateful for having done it.

      But we’re being greedy now. Yeah, yeah greed is good and a dynasty would be nice – but lets not sell the foundation before we complete the palace, huh?!

      Injuries happen. Unfortunately the Red Sox have had an epidemic. And if they miss the play-offs because we were unable to field our best team, then there is no losing any pride or self-esteem over that. Part of what we are witnessing is how valuable Youkilis has been to that lineup – especially because his RH bat is so crucial to balancing that lineup out.

      And yet another part is the impact of missing 2 of your regular SP’s. No, Dice-K hasn’t panned out to be the gyro-ball folk hero we had all hoped – but he’s been as good a 5th Starter as exists on any team. And the Buchholz injury has been the big one because Bucky was pitching very well and it just isn’t easy to replace a 27 year old of his ability. Add those two in with Lacking’s inexplicably horrific performance and its not hard to conclude that the bullpen has had added pressure on it in the second half.

      So the season hasn’t gone as it was assumed it would those many months ago. But if you jump ship now, before the season is over and without knowing who will win the Wild Card, then you never really belonged on the bandwagon in the first place.

      And then again, maybe The Nation needs a big fat dose of humble pie to remind all of us of how full of fruitless despair of parents and grandparents once were; and how fortunate we are today, win or lose, to be a Red Sox fan.

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 23, 2011 at 6:28 PM

        I hear ya. Good perspective, my friend.

        I enjoy your posts immensely…I have a very pessimistic nature, so being a Red Sox fan fits me like a glove. 😉

      • bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 8:09 PM


        We need to stick together! there are many of us in the material world. but in this corner of the digisphere we are sparse and beleaguered.

        I enjoy your posts as well!

  10. hep3 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Have Doris Kearns Goodwin and Denis Leary been consulted? Only these two can validate Shaughnessy’s opinions.

    I think I liked Boston better when their fan base and “writers” weren’t feeling so entitled.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Here’s the crazy thing…Shaughnessy and Schilling hate each other. And yet, everyone hates both of them too. How can there be 3 sides to this? Usually, the enemy of my enemy is my friend…but this dynamic causes a split in the space/time continuum and makes my head explode…

  12. dapperdan50 - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Let’s get a couple of things straight here:

    • Shaughnessy’s a total jerk. Why anyone reads him is a mystery, but I will explain it below. In fairness, don’t most teams, particularly in the more ‘passionate’ baseball towns (Bos, NYC, Philly, Chi) have a jerk like that? I don’t keep track of them, but I think it’s Lupica in NY.

    • I’m a fan through and through: I go to 16-17 games a year (paying more than I have right to), take some road trips when I can afford to, watch or listen to most of the games and ride the highs and lows of fandom. But I don’t kick my dog (or my wife) when the team does poorly, don’t think the Sox are ‘entitled’ to win every year (I haven’t forgotten the pre-2004 era), don’t fantasize assassinating John Lackey or Dice-K, and never, ever call sports talk radio or read Shaughnessy. And I know lots of fans who are pretty much with me. Sure there are jerks here, but I don’t see where people get off acting like Sox fans are all assholes.

    • A little armchair sociology: for various reasons—the rise of the Third World, rapid economic changes, the greed of the rich, and the changing culture of the US—the US has turned into Angry Nation. Just look at our politics. An awful lot of people are looking for places to direct their anger—certainly more than the number of folks who are looking for real solutions to our problems. Is it any wonder that this spills over into sports? Flip back and forth between talk radio and sports talk radio and just listen to the tone—it’s almost identical. This is how Rush Limbaugh and Dan Shaugnessy make their living.

    The idea of the nobility of baseball, the rich blend of past and present, the mix of tragedy and triumph, success and failure—these things seem to be getting lost. Win or lose (and I sure hope it’s win), I will cherish the memory of this season.

    • marshmallowsnake - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

      I am on Dog number 5 this month alone…do you have any ideas on how I could avoid having to buy number 6?

  13. - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Boston has who many Super Bowls, NBA Titles, a Stanley Cup, and 2 World Series in the last decade?

    Self Loathing? Really?

    • bigleagues - Sep 24, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      Yeah but its gonna take several more years and a few more titles to unravel the decades of futility that was suffered through.

  14. marshmallowsnake - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Please do not listen to a word that Dan says. He is just a miserable human.

  15. watermelon1 - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    The Orioles and their fans do bitter pretty well, too…

  16. icanspeel - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    It’s pretty simple, if your team qualifies for post season it means they deserve to be there because there are 20+ other teams that couldn’t pass them. Plus once the post season starts anything can happen

  17. jimeejohnson - Sep 24, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    The locals even gave Tim Thomas a hard time until he won them the Stanley Cup. It’s always been easier to be negative than positive, and there will always be more stupid than smart people. The intense rivalry with the NY Yankees also plays a part in the self-loathing. I do not understand it, because Boston is by far the better city unless you’re a greedy stock broker!

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