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Dan Shaughnessy plays the Bobby V card in describing the 2014 Red Sox

May 23, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

Image (1) shaughnessy1.jpg for post 3299

Look, I know Dan Shaughnessy sucks. I know not reading him is a life hack with absolutely zero downside and oodles of benefits. I know that taking a single thing he says with even a modicum of seriousness is about as smart as exfoliating your T-zone with a belt sander. It’s painful and there’s utterly no point.

But dudes, on some level you have to appreciate artistry, even if you don’t like the art. Would I buy the product of a performance artist who hurls her own feces at cork board while singing GG Allin songs? Never. But I am capable of acknowledging the commitment, no matter what it leads to. The phrase “go hard or go home” means something to me, man.

For Shaughnessy it’s “troll hard or go home,” and for all of his years of work and all of what I presume to be gobs of money he has, Danny Boy has never rested on his trolling laurels. Sure, he’ll phone in 80% of his work, but when it comes to the serious business of explaining why and how much Boston teams suck, even when they really don’t — heck, especially when they don’t — the man still has the instincts and drive of a master in his prime.

Take today’s column which, at the outset, notes that the Red Sox aren’t doing too well. Hey, they’re not, so that’s fair, and that’s where most Boston columnists have decided to stop these past couple of days. Not Shaughnessy. He’s content to take a mediocre season start — they’re five games behind the surprising Blue Jays — and use it as a springboard for claiming that it’s not just a poor start, it’s a poor era that is not as good as everyone likes to say it is:

In the early part of the 21st century, the Sox truly were a powerhouse, annually winning 95 games and making it to the World Series or the seventh game of the ALCS four times in six years. Those days are over.

The Sox won a World Series last year, but 2013 looks more and more like an outlier season. If the Sox fail to make the playoffs this year, it will mark the fourth time in five seasons they have failed to make the postseason. It would mark the fifth time in six years that they have failed to win a postseason game.

That’s the reigning World Series champs he’s talking about. Which, yes, had a crappy season in 2012 and a couple of bad weeks at the end of 2011, but which still have had one losing record, three-sub 90-win seasons and three World Series titles in the past 12 years. And just when you think he’s made the most manipulative sounding point of analysis possible, he whips this out:

This is bad. The 20-26 Sox are looking like worst-to-first-to-worst candidates. Only two American League teams have more losses than Boston. The Bobby Valentine Sox were 23-23 after 46 games in 2012.


I don’t know how the Sox will do this year. I still think it’s a really talented team that has had a rough early go of it and which has as good if not a better chance than winning the AL East than any of the other guys. But sure, they could never get back on track and finish third or whatever. It’s baseball and stuff like that happens all the time.

But no matter what happens, I’m pretty sure that only someone as uniquely gifted as Dan Shaughnessy can characterize the Sox’ start in such a way as to cast doubt and negativity on the franchise and its recent history as a whole. And to do it, as most masters do, in such a way as to make the work appear effortless.

Bravo, Dan. Bravo.

  1. chill1184 - May 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    The guy has a very punchable face and “troll hard or go home” would pretty much describe the raw sewage that is the NYC media as well.

  2. Liam - May 23, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    My Bobby Valentine.

    • racksie - May 23, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      Bravo on the great noise band reference. Top 5 best shows I have ever seen.

  3. donniev77 - May 23, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Personal appearance should not be a basis for critiquing ones work….. That being said he does have a punchable face

  4. doctornature - May 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Gollum’s kid? My preciousssss….

    • Old Gator - May 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      He looks a lot like Shakes the Clown in that photo, methinks.

      • groupofsevenrules - May 23, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        I’ve been working my duff off for the past ten days and I get a free day, sleep late, then log on to find Gator referencing one of my all time underrated film classic favorites. Yes, Wrigleyville has indeed been the urban body double of Palookaville for the last hundred years. That is EXACTLY the smile on Shakes’ face when he emerges from the bathroom after his quick-change from a hangover to go entertain the little brats at a birthday party and bully an extra few bucks out of daddy. Way to free associate, El Gator.

  5. clydeserra - May 23, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Well, since MLB changed the rules to add another wild card to ensure the Yankees AND red sox made the playoff’s every year, I think he has point. The Red Socks are so bad they may miss the playoffs under the new “let’s get the yankees and red sox in the playoffs” rules.

    He should be complaining because the rules didn’t change enough to maybe grandfather the red sox into the playoffs every year because reasons.

    • plummer2512 - May 23, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Are you serious? The new Wild Card round has been around for 2 years and neither the Red Sox or Yankees have played in it. (Baltimore / Texas in 2012 and Tampa Bay and Cleveland in 2013). The Sox made is last year and The Yanks in 2012 but as division winners wheras they would have made it under the old rules anyway.
      Seems to me, the new Wild Card round was to let the other teams have a shot BECAUSE the Red Sox and Yankees are getting to the playoffs every year and to get some new teams in there.

      • clydeserra - May 23, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        I am serious.

        I also know that the yankees and red sox have not played in it.

        but baseball couldn’t sit back and have 2008, 2010, and 2011 happen year after year, where one of those two teams were the last team to not make the playoffs. There is too much money to be made on post season merchandise and tv revenue to have the yankees and red sox out.

        That neither of them has played in the WC game is kinda funny, really.

      • Paul Zummo - May 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        I am serious.

        That is why you fail.

    • racksie - May 23, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      The new wild card round was created to manufacture the excitement of the great game 163’s we have seen in recent years. And when we have actual game 163’s and then the fake game 163’s happen, we will see depleted pitching staffs get kicked around for fun.

    • rje49 - May 23, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      After yesterday’s pitiful loss, I did in fact look up the 2012’s record after 46 games. Yes, 23-23 is better than 2014’s 20-26. But does anybody think there will be no improvement coming?

  6. dan1111 - May 23, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Isn’t there some kind of internet folk wisdom about feeding trolls?

    The first three paragraphs could be summarized as “This post should not be written, but here I go anyway”.

  7. xpensivewinos - May 23, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    The Red Sox are brutal this year. Everything that could go right last year went right. It happens. This year, Nava quickly played himself back to the minors, Napoli is lost, Pedroia is a shell of himself, Middlebrooks was garbage the five minutes he was healthy, Pierzynski and Ross have been terrible, the entire outfield is a joke and the pitching is a crap shoot.

    Having said all that, if someone asked any Red Sox fan in 2004 if they would be happy with three World Series championships over the next ten years, I’m pretty sure everyone would have signed up for that, no questions asked.

    This already looks like a lost season, but it happens. Hopefully, Cherington finds the right tonic and fixes what ails them…..

    • paperlions - May 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Your second sentence is perfect and often over looked when forecasting this years RS team. Some years, everything goes right, but you can never assume that will happen again. The same is happening to Pittsburgh, last year, just about everything that could go right did….this year, not so much….none of which means that those teams are doomed this year or in the future…it only means that things haven’t gone well for the first 7 weeks of the season.

    • 4cornersfan - May 23, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      It’s the Curse of Jenny Dell. Since Jenny Dell was forced to resign from her position as sideline reporter for the Red Sox because of her relationship with Will Middlebrooks, fortune has not smiled upon the team. Middlebrooks himself has played poorly and been injured. The Sox should know by now that these kind of curses can last for generations. Will we see Jenny look-alikes throwing out the first pitch in a futile attempt to end the Curse? Will a superannuated Jenny be invited as guest of honor in some game 50 years from now after decades of team failure? The Sox should know better than this.

    • apkyletexas - May 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      46 games in and it’s a “lost season”.

      Only in New York or Boston. I’m shocked that it took this long for Sox fans to try to out-panic each other like this.

  8. peymax1693 - May 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    I know this is a cliche, but the 2013 Sox were a team whose “sum was greater then their parts.” In addition to stars such as Pedroia, Ortiz and Lester, the team seemed to get positive contributions from exactly the right people at exactly the right time throughout the season and into the playoffs. It’s hard to replicate those types of performances from all 25+ guys in successive seasons.

    Regardless, it’s way, way to early to predict this team’s demise.
    Maybe Danny Boy is paving the way for a “the character of this team refused to let it surrender” narrative if/when the Rox rebound and win the World Series again.

    • dan1111 - May 23, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      You’re right, though I think the parts were better than this.

  9. norvturnersneck - May 23, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Looks like Sideshow Bob

  10. steelerfanforlife - May 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Craig you just described yourself with your opinion pieces you write! You’re just an “I think I know more than everyone else troll” . You wait for others to write the stories and then you criticize their work. You’re the worst kind of troll!

    • yahmule - May 23, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      The worst kind of trolls are the ones who think a plodding slob like Jerome Bettis belongs in the Hall of Fame.

      • apkyletexas - May 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Waaaaahh!!! There are too many Steelers in the Hall of Fame!!

        Would you like Dan Rooney to send you a personal letter of apology for not sucking for the past 42 years?

    • dan1111 - May 23, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      I’m not the biggest fan of how much time Craig spends criticizing other sports columnists. However, when he does so, he uses logic and has good points. It’s definitely not trolling.

    • Gamera the Brave - May 23, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Can you give me an example of the “best” kind of troll?
      Besides me?

  11. thebadguyswon - May 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    I don’t care what it is. But their losing season has been gloriously refreshing for fans of all the other teams.

    • mazblast - May 26, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      We’d still rather see the Yankees lose.

  12. plummer2512 - May 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    I live in Connecticut and have been a Sox fan my entire life but I’m only 33 years old. Alot of the older fans in the area have the same mentality as Danny boy here. It seems all those years of either losing or coming so close then having something horrible happen (1975, 1986, 2003, etc.) has stained these folks that they are always negative.
    I have a bet every year with this guy at work who’s a life long Sox fan but is in his 50’s. We bet either win/loss total and playoffs. Usually just a case of beer or pitchers at the local bar. EVERY year he takes the under or that they will miss the playoffs. When the team is doing poorly he gloats and tells me how right he was. It’s almost like he’s rooting for them to fail but I find this to be the norm with older Red Sox fans.
    I think Dan’s an idiot but at the same time, he’s just that generation of Red Sox mentality. Where I see a struggling but talented team, they see a bunch of bums that will finish in last place and can’t wait for them to fail.
    It’s crazy.

    • raynman49 - May 23, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      You’re on to something, youngster. I’m a 65 year old lifetime Sox fan(from upstate NY). So many disappointments through the years, I was always waiting for failure. I’d like to think things are different now, but I wonder….

  13. ripwarrior - May 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Is it weird that I am starting to like Craig and agree with him?

  14. mundial8 - May 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Anyone else think of Rocky Dennis when you first saw this pic? Maybe it’s because it was on TV the other day…

  15. proudlycanadian - May 23, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Prior to the current streak, the Red Sox had a winning record. Where was Danny Boy at that time?

    • nbjays - May 23, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Under his rock, hiding from the sun.

  16. psousa1 - May 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    It is Boston tradition – the columnists (not beat writers) hate when the Sox prosper and love when they do not. It’s as old as time itself. The Dan Shaughnessy’s, et al and now with sports talk radio hosts they believe they are the sports celebrities in Boston – not the players, GM’s or owners. They believe the masses are there to see, read and listen to them.

  17. deathmonkey41 - May 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I dunno- I’m kinda hoping he’s right.

  18. 461deep - May 23, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Lets see. Russo, Francesa, Ryan, Shaugnessy, Daily News writers and others not appreciated here. But younger stat heads and PED apologist are. Don’t agree with any young or older writer’s every word but not a cyber coward saying someone is punchable. Red Sox cheapo winter strategy, playing no hit youngsters too long, & failing pitchers killing their season.

  19. chip56 - May 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Craig basically does the same thing to Philly fans that Shaugnessy does to Boston fans. It’s the fact that he can’t see how similar he is to the people he hates that makes reading him so fun.

    • dcarroll73 - May 23, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      Except that the Phillies really do deserve it so it is NOT the same thing. I will point out that I am a Yankees fan, and I do not think it is the time to conclude that the Sox are toast this year.

  20. go4two - May 23, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    A Yankee ball washer writing about a Moron Boston sports writer !

  21. jjoyce1111 - May 23, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I have been reading Dan for forty years and I still hate his writing. He is so negative.

    • dan1111 - May 24, 2014 at 2:32 AM

      Why continue the practice, then. Are you expecting him to turn the corner in year 41?

  22. hushbrother - May 23, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    As GG Allin would say, Dan’s got a needle up his c**k.

  23. Jack Marshall - May 24, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    When Valentine’s Sox lost 8 in a row, it had been stripped of two regulars and an (cough) ace in the Dodgers trade, and he was playing with a line-up of reserves and AAA players. It was always unfair and absurd how last year, when the Sox had everyone healthy and performing well, was attributed to the change from Bobby V to Farrell. Valentine had no closer, Lester, Beckett and Buchholtz pitching badly, an injured Crawford, an injured Ellsbury, Pedey playing hurt, an aging Youk, and it got worse–but still this was all HIS fault, as the writers were determined from spring training to run him out of town.

    Now Farrell is finding that it isn’t so easy winning when the players don’t perform—the difference is that the writers aren’t on his back. I hate seeing the Sox go through this, but vindication for Valentine was in order.

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