Dan Shaughnessy is a curly-haired punk

Good writer...questionable opinions

For those of you who don’t know, Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for the Boston Globe and a sometimes guest on Around the Horn.  I first want to give him credit: I have read him for years and respect his writing style. Even so, his content often leaves me shaking my head.

The other day, Shaughnessy wrote a column with the headline “It’s official, Sox are a done deal.”  Never mind that those who have given up on the Red Sox did so months ago, never mind that the Sox are still in mathematical contention.

I have no illusions about the Red Sox playoff chances this year (on September 1, the Sox currently stand seven games back of the wild card and eight back of the division lead), but what changed on August 31 that made it official?  Shaughnessy wrote “It’s official,” but what does that even mean?  It’s nowhere close to official.  It takes a special kind of arrogance to pronounce the time of death of a sports team.  But this is the guy who is widely credited with coining the term “Curse of the Bambino” and has recently taken heat for his remarks about Detroit, referring to it as, “boarded-up buildings and the proverbial skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets.”

Dan, if I may call you Dan, I know you’re trying to sell newspapers, but you have to acknowledge the plight of the fan.

We have been lucky in the Boston area the last few years to have playoff teams.  In other cities (Baltimore, I’m talking to you), fans can stop on day one.  Shaughnessy wrote, “We can all stop now. We can stop scoreboard watching, and doing math tricks, and harboring silly hope that there’s a big surge ahead that will thrust the Red Sox into the 2010 playoffs.”

Harboring silly hope?  What is being a sports fan but that?  Why do people continue to attend games between teams at the bottom of the division if not to harbor silly hope?

There are games between teams that actually HAVE been mathematically eliminated that have thousands of fans there–and guess what: They’re all watching the scoreboard.  I know, I’ve been to meaningless Nationals games and no scoreboard has ever looked so entertaining.

For teams that are actually in contention, fans should harbor hope as long as possible–and then some, for without hope, sports become a pointless exercise in the mundane.

Fans should never lose hope because we watch sports to see the impossible.  Think about sports movies: Rudy, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, Rocky (II at least), Cinderella Man.  We watch the movies to see those unforgettable moments on call instead of waiting thousands of innings to see your own version of the shot heard ’round the world.

In 1964, the St. Louis Cardinals trailed the Philadelphia Phillies by 6.5 games on September 20.  The Cardinals ended up winning in an epic close to the season.

I don’t expect that to happen for the Red Sox this season, but I will continue to scoreboard watch, continue to think about how many games the Sox need to win to catch the Yanks and Rays, and you can do whatever you want, Dan, but I plan to continue harboring silly hope.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave on September 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Did you really have to use the ’64 Phillies instead of the ’07 Phillies as your example to show the season isn’t over yet?

    Reply

  2. Eff that, he should have used the ’07 Rockies

    Reply

  3. Posted by Dave on September 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Phillies were a much bigger short term comeback in 07. Seven games back with a month to go. Sounds familiar

    Reply

  4. Posted by EARL on September 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    hahah he has one funny pic!!!!

    Reply

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