By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

“… the most hated sportswriter …”

The Phoenix’s Mike Miliard absolutely unloads on Dan Shaughnessy — and on Larry Lucchino, too.

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A sliver of hope


  1. Some perspective

    No doubt about it. When a sportswriter’s opinion piece can make a GM turn tail and run, he’s at the top of his game. And that’s what happened. So don’t buy the anti-Globe spin that a sportswriter whose very turn of a phrase can become a byword (“Red Sox Nation” “The Curse”) is merely retyping the Sox CEO’s comments. Shaughnessy split the uprights on this one.

  2. Anonymous

    Remember when Harry Sinden dropped a bomb shell and up and quit as coach of the Bruins shortly after they won their first Orr-era Stanley cup? They came back and won another cup two years later. Then Sinden came back and they haven’t won anything since.

  3. Anonymous

    I equated Dan Shaughnessy to Judy Miller earlier this morning, too. High-profile well-established journalists, known as the voices of reason, allowing themselves to become mouthpieces for their friends in high places, lending justification to going to war: one with Iraq, the other with Theo Epstein.Shaughnessy may have destroyed his career with this. Or at least, if the Boston Globe had any standards or ethics, it should destroy his career.

  4. copy editor

    Thanks for highlighting this.

  5. Anonymous

    How appropriate. Shaughnessy created the legend of the Curse of the Babe, and now he’s inventing the Curse of Theo. The only Curse here is the Curse of Shaughnessy. Maybe the new owners will “promote” him to the Grey Lady in the Big Apple where he can afflict the D**n Yankees.- Bill R

  6. some perspective

    How does analysis of information in the public arena make someone comparable to Judy Miller? There was precious little leaked in the Sunday piece, other than the thrice-sourced comment about a botched trade. The rest was analysis of stuff we already knew. No anonymous sources, just commentary. Don’t buy the desparate last gasp spin from The Herald and those who seek to prop it because they just don’t like The Globe. There was a dispute, of sorts, between two sides and to suggest, without evidence, that someone was in the tank for one side simply because his analysis favored that side is more intellectually dishonest than anything Shaughnessy is accused of

  7. Anonymous

    Some perspective, you do not have to be pro-Herald in the slightest to see that the Globe’s Sox coverage rots from the head down.

  8. mike_b1

    Shaughnessy and his editors allowed him to get pimped by the Red Sox, and for what? Did the Globe benefit? Doesn’t seem like it. Did the readers benefit. Hell no. Did the subjects (Theo, Larry) benefit? Of course not. Did Larry Bird benefit (duh–just threw that in because the CHB invokes Larry Legend about once every 5 columns).So why write it?

  9. Anonymous

    DS is a media “star” in a city with such an inferiority complex, that it would allow this goof to hold that status.

  10. Anonymous

    It looks to me like Shaughnessy allowed himself to be used by Lucchino to get some digs in against Theo at the end of some tough negotiations over Theo’s contract. I’m sure Larry resented that Theo has been so celebrated in this town for bringing us a championship and used that fact to get as many $$$ as he could from the Sox. But, with the deal essentially done, Larry couldn’t resist blasting Theo in the Globe to remind him who was boss. The problem was, though, the contract wasn’t yet signed and Shaughnessy’s column seems to have been the last straw for Theo.Bad for Lucchino: his mouth got him in trouble when he should have waited for the deal to be done and then said whatever he wanted to the CHB. Bad for Shaughnessy: he allowed himself to be used by Lucchino and his reporting (and the Globe’s Sox coverage in general) will now be a little suspect because of the Globe/Times’ status as part owner of the Red Sox. Theo, meanwhile, will land on his feet somewhere else and comes off smelling like a rose.

  11. SomePerspective

    How is a columnist “used” by a public figure because another public figure reportedly doesn’t like what the columnist wrote? If Shaughnessy was “used” weren’t Herald writers Silverman and Massarotti “used” by Epstein? After all, the anti Shaughnessy venom began to flow with Silverman’s Web piece the day Epstein quit which also used sources rather than direct quotes. Oh, and if Massarotti was such a genius last Thursday by writing that Epstein would reject the offer, then why did Epstein’s Number 2 take another job when a better GM post was about to open up? The answer is Massarotti was wrong factually at the time he “reported” the deal wouldn’t get done; later events, namely Epstein’s 11th hour rejection of a new deal, gave Massarotti’s piece ex post facto credibility.

  12. mike_b1

    In answer to the “How is a columnist “used” by a public figure because another public figure reportedly doesn’t like what the columnist wrote?” comment, it’s pretty easy. Reporters report: that’s the mantra that CHB, Massarotti and pretty much any journalist falls back on. And it’s a copout. Reasons: Because they should be able to recognize that 1) they owe their allegiance to the reader, not the source, and 2) their sources are inherently biased, and the good reporter/columnist (whomever that is) needs to be able sift through the spin, not just print everything they are told. None of that has been happening here.

  13. SomePerspective

    So how does Mike_b1 know what a particular columnist was told, by whom and when? Most of the famed Sunday Column was material that had been reported before. Where’s the proof that the columnist ran to the typewriter to echo the comments of a “source” rather than came to his own analysis based on facts? There is no such proof, and ‘evidence’ offered as proof is quite thin. Yes, people leak stuff for a purpose; that’s why newspapers such as The Globe require multiple sources, and why the columnist referred to by the puerile sobriquet CHB, used three for the only arguably new fact reported in his column — the tale of the Colorado trade. And I still haven’t seen anyone deny that fact. Nor have I seen anyone state exactly who said what to the columnist, which makes it flat-out wrong to contend that the columnist would “just print everything they (sic) are told”

  14. mike_b1

    Wow, the CHB is reading this site. Where does he find the time?OK, just for kicks: How do you know it’s all been reported before? For instance, show me the bit about Larry Lucchino being a good HS baseball player, and then explain to me how’s that’s relevant to anything. Did you hear the CHB on WEEI today? It’s all at Most of this has been written before. It’s old stuff.Dennis: What about the Colorado thing? That was new to me.CHB: That was new. … And I know it was absolutely true.:Comment: How does he know it to be “absolutely true?”…And then there’s this:Dennis: When you have a longstanding mole, does it change the veracity [the need to always challenge that source]? CHB: I suppose that’s true, but you have to guard against that. If you’re talking about the Colorado trade situation, I had more than one source. JD: Did it occur to you as you wrote that piece that it would get the attention of and piss off Theo?CHB: That was one of things in the column. Too much was out there. Maybe I knew too much. They would have to answer that. … I know both of these guys pretty well … and Larry’s side wasn’t getting out there….So the CHB wants it both ways. Blame Larry, blame Theo, blame Boston, just don’t blame me! blah blah blahAnd for the record, no “sic” is needed. “Columnist” could take the 3d person singular (he/she) or plural (to avoid gender bias).

  15. Some perspective

    I learn new things every day, today I have learned that the New Math is now joined by the New Grammar. Hopefully they will assist me in understanding the New History of the Boston American League baseball club.Lucchino’s baseball playing in high school has been duly reported in the past, as was his presence in the Bill Bradley Princeton team. And as for the columnist basing a piece on “larry’s side wasn’t getting out there” that would seem to be the job of a columnist — to raise unique perspectives and to challenge conventional wisdom.Now to the important question: Does the Boy G.M. leaving mean we can put aside worries about who will be the next Scott Sauerbeck or Matt Mantei or Byung-Hyun Kim or Jason Giambi and that we won’t have to be concerned about spending $40 million to replace a World Championship winning shortstop with a player who will lead the league in errors. Or maybe it just means we won’t have to hear any more nonsense about the likes of Kelly Stoppach.And of course there is the, from what I could hear, unasked question of the day: Did Theo ask for or want a piece of ownership?

  16. Some Perspective

    C O R R E C T I O NIn third graf, make readXXX or Byung-Hyun Kim or Jeremy Giambi XXX(Stead Jason)

  17. Serially Anonymous from Above

    The point here is not Theo Epstein’s performance as GM. I give him mixed reviews and often cite the same deals in criticising him. The questions here are about Shaughnessy’s performance, and the proper role of a journalist.

  18. mike_b1

    Re “larry’s side wasn’t getting out there” that would seem to be the job of a columnist — to raise unique perspectives and to challenge conventional wisdom.If it’s Larry’s perspective, then it’s not the CHB’s. And if it’s Larry’s perspective, then say as much. Dan writes the column as if it’s his own, as in “I just thought of this.” Then, in the face of brutal and deserved criticism, he backs off, and comes up with some lame-ass response. And it took him two days to think of that, even. He’s making this up as he goes along.Come to think of it, that’s also how he writes his column.

  19. mike_b1

    To Some perspective: Time doesn’t permit me to address all the ways your comment is incorrect. What Theo and his team did was head-and-shoulders above his predecessors and the most of the rest of baseball during the 3 years he was here. If you truly care to understand why that’s the case, I suggest you read, in no particular order: Moneyball, Mind Game, and the sonsofsamhorn web sites.

  20. Anonymous

    Don’t let Tony Mazz off the hook!!!I never liked Dan and never will. For sure. He is a pompous idiot who thinks he is better than anyone who reads or listens to him. It’s quite a statement that when paired with pompous Mike Barnicle, he makes him sound modest and fun. Too over-rated, over-paid and over-exposed waste of time and journlasitic space and credentials fro both of them.Dan is not after informing or adding to the story or ANYTHING BUT helping himself. He once again immerses himself in one of the major sports teams sagas and is part of the story. This idiot is going to be hawking a book for sure about ‘Theo’s Cursed Tenure On Yawkey Way’ pretty soon, you know it.But I want to implore the public not to let Tony Mazz and WEEI, with is frat boy PD Jason Wolfe and his gang of sports-trash-with-a-mic off the hook.Only in our town can the media be allowed to run amok again with Sports, Sports teams, Major Sports business, internal team dynamics and policies and bring out the show to the open and immerse the public in it, making it a whole circus and an unbearable affair mostly for the players or the execs affected.Most of the media controversies harping on ANY big story in the last few years that drove a star out of town or changed the course of events COULD have been averted had the media stayed out of it and focused on -minded- its own business, ie reporting and debating but NOT intruding.Why is this allowed to fester in the open? No other city does this. This is so embarrassing. Because of WEEI, we may see yet again another star -MANNY- head out of town and were it not for a self-serving Tony Mazz and constant harping by WEEI, Theo might have still been on Sox Payroll.ALL day long, we are only talking about what caused Theo to go, who is at fault, who leaked, Is Lucchino at fault? Should Lucchino go instead??IT ISN’T ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!!!Stick to sports. Talk about possibilities of trade in the aftermath of a Theo departure. Talk about the biggest game of the Partiots regular season in a few days. Or how about you talk at ALL about The Celts new season, or the Bruins first season in a couple of years.Yet, again, Jason Idiot Wolfe sets the tone of sports media by allowing his thugs to drag themselves right smack in the middle of other people’s laundry.Why does Tony Mazz or any other WEEI personality have to insult Theo or Lucchino about anything? It is part of business and is a business decision, as hard and unpopular as it may be, they have the right to make it and it is no business of Tony, Dale Arnold, Glen Blowhard or even Felger to profess Lucchino being fired or labeled as an evil character here.Get out of it! If you had stayed out of it, maybe there would be no media influence or PR posturing intruding on negotiating a deal that was an inch awy from being signed by Theo.Theo is a bright , nice decent guy. But he is wildly over-rated and owes the World series more to Dan Duquette’s pieces of the puzzle, including a very savvy late signing of a very instrumental Jonny Damon and so many other Duquette-signed stars and to more importantly a timely decline of the Yankees. Many powerful Yankees had either already exited or aged so that the team, however expensive it continued to be, was no longer a dominant factor that it could be insurmountable for an imporving solid Red Sox team.Timing was very very crucial in Yankee demise and the Red Sox squeaking by. Had even Pettite and Clemens not gone to Texas, maybe they would have outlasted the Sox. Who knows? But you can’t credit Theo or any other Red Sox exec for a weakening Yankee roster. They undid themselves with no farm pipeline and stupid contract structures on failed bets.Theo can’t hurt you. He made very good moves, some very bad decisions and was about to make some disastrous ones -Pavano and Contreras come to mind first- and he let some good arms go – Pedro and Cabrera most prominently. So he is no automatic genious. But in the balance, the Red Sox would have been better off with a maturing Theo on board and on a learning curve.But it is done, so let’s move on. Everyday, countless companies make decisions like this, letting good smart execs walk away for personal and other political reasons go. What if Theo made Lucchino feel insecure? So what? It s#cks but it happens and Larry has the upper hand and can let him go. It stinks but it is normal. Theo is a good success story and the mdeia machine wanted to see it unfold before it and got so mad when it was appearant it wasn’t allowed to watch it anymore. That’s when an impulsive Tony Mazz springs to action. Shut up, squeaky Tony. Let the Sox handle their business and it will take care of itself. Instead, he screws the whole thing up with his big mouth.Another business decision. No more. No less. We have lost countless good people because some exec does not want to be eclipsed by a young smart buck that HE FOSTERED and promoted. Theo wasn’t the first and won’t be the last. Theo was getting too much credit, unfairly, and the Red Sox have to make sure that no one rises above the team. The Sox will be just fine.But I do hope that in the upcoming contract negotiations, the Red Sox pull the rug from under WEEI. They are too cocky, too idiotic, too brash, too over-confident, too immersed in affairs that are outside of their scope. WEEI has had its prints over many players leaving town and THEY should NEVER be alowed to have that influence.They drove Carl Everett -kookie but very competent- and Mo Vaughn out of town. They had a considerable role in shaping public perception negatively of Pedro and Nomar and prepped the field for their departure. Shills like Glen and Sean McAdam still want to persuade us that NOTHING could have kept Pedro from walking away and he wouldn’t have stayed he no matter what. Now why wouldn’t they put a muzzle on Pete the Meat Moron and his harping on Manny that is turning people against him. And idiotic Gerry Callahan mocking Damon and his wife certainly pushes them out the door. Why not go to New York where they wouldn’t get so much negative attentiona and they’d be left alone and only get covered on sports matters and not get dragged in the mud.Yank the contract from WEEI and it will teach them a lesson. They are too cocky now to understand. A rock could have performed well given Patriots and Sox successes in the last couple of years. WEEI is just riding that success and reaping the benefits. They are no geniuses and are certainly not “America’s best rated sports channel” Talk about Lies and exagerations.They are where they are by default, in the best sports town in the country and running against a mismanaged 1510 The Zone with a depleted staff. Jason Wolf getting nomiated for ANTHING is an over-rating and injustice by excellence. A college grad would done well with the recent successes and public demand. Or even Julie Kahn getting any credit for being at tthe right time, at the right place when teams are doing well anyway and yahoo fear-mongering insecure talk radio is on the rise anyway throughout the country, driving WEEI and WRKO ratings up and back down these days back to earth.So Give the contract to someone else or buy out 1510 skeleton and put your own channel up again as an extention of your cable presence or even ESPN 890 might be a viable option now. I have not been able to listen to WEEI for the last couple of days for more than 1 minute at the time. The Arnold-Holley View is tedious and unbearable now, sounding like a funeral with all the carping and second-guessing. The Big Raucus is even worse now more than ever, especially that it has an agnda now: Demonize Lucchino. Wolfe lost the last classy guy on the sports dial. They harassed and disrespected Teddy Sarandis right out the door at a time when they needed his cool-headed perspective and reminding callers abou t what is realy at stake here and having them keep their eyes on the prize.So, for God’s sake, get over it. Everyone will be just OK.And Jason, one last advice: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!N.

  21. Anonymous

    so, WEEI caused Carl Everett to headbutt an umpire. Learn something new every day.

  22. Some perspective

    Aren’t Moneyball, Mind Game, and the sonsofsamhorn based on analysis of public information mixed with occasional reporting from ‘sources.’ But when the Globe columnist does the same thing he’s “pimped by the Red Sox” and referred to by infantile nicknames. The morning duo on WEEI — the Sports Illustrated wash-out (check the precipitous drop in by-lined articles through the course of this hack’s tenure) and the would-be flak for pro athletes (does he have any clients? why doesn’t the radio station require disclosure of clients past and present? has he ever taken a fee from or on behalf of someone he talks about on the radio?) — couldn’t lay a glove on him, despite the creative use of ellipses on various hate sites.

  23. mike_b1

    Aren’t Moneyball, Mind Game, and the sonsofsamhorn based on analysis of public information mixed with occasional reporting from ‘sources.’ Sure. But 1) you are changing the subject and 2) like anything, it’s the methodology that’s most important. Example: You see a the Prudential Building and say, “Wow, that’s [cool/ugly/whatever].” But you have no background in math/stats/engineering/architecture, etc., so you are judging it purely in an unlearned albeit personal way. Well, your description of Theo’s moves as a GM’ not only distort his broader record, but also reveal that you don’t understand his strategy and why it was a good one. (And for that matter, literally none of the local sportswriters understand either, although some appreciate it more than others.)

  24. mike_b1

    There’s one interesting nugget hidden in the bowels of N.’s diatribe: Who should write about the business side of sports?Certainly, few sportswriters have the background to properly assess the financials of sports franchises, or the economics of sports in general.Also, they are probably less prepared to recognize and rate the business abilities of the C-level executives. You wouldn’t send Bob Ryan to interview Jack Welch, so why let him cover John Henry?Perhaps individuals in the media should stick to what they are good at (insert your own joke here), and the turf lines drawn accordingly.

  25. Some perspective

    My point had nothing whatsoever to do with Theo’s moves. It had to do with according near-biblical standing accorded Moneyball, Mind Game, and the sonsofsamhorn, each of which is based on an analysis of facts in the public domain combined with individual reporting. Which is precisely what Shaugnessy did. Apparently, when some people don’t like the conclusions, they irrationally claim the columnist was spoon-fed and scurried to his typewriter to parrot one person’s views, tossing aside 30 years experience in evaluating, distilling and publicly analyzing comments made publicly and privately by the people he writes about. Such a claim, drawn from the “shoot the messenger” philosophy, is patently absurd. Meanwhile, many of the public critics of Shaugnessey have their own conflicts of interest in addition to very definite private agendas. Ordway has never, in more than an off-hand manner, taken on a colleague (Arnold) who draws a paycheck from a Bruins-owned entity (NESN). He never made a peep about conflict of interest when he was broadcasting — reporting on! — Celtics games as an employee of a Celtics-owned radio station. . The WEEI venom directed at The Globe, venon that managed to set the public agenda in the early stages of the Theo affair, clearly stems from the newspaper’s refusal to let its employees join the WEEI crowd in their gutter talk — and the somewhat-toned-down sexual innuendo on that station is absolutely inappropriate, especially on the godawful morning program, given that kids still fall asleep with RedSox games in their ear but, thanks to the games being on WEEI, wake up to masturbation jokes and commentary claiming that female teachers taking advantage of young teens for sexual intercourse is to be applauded, depending on the physical attractiveness of the teacher. Maybe some of Mike_b1’s inquiries can be directed at why at least two of WEEI’s employees, Castiglione and Trupiano, took Red Sox World Series rings (were there others?) or why Dan Roche of Channel 4 accepted a ring. Big sin for the people on the business side of The Globe, but no complaining about people on the reporting side of TV and Radio stations that WEEI either employs or cultivates. And people make an issue about a column based on matters largely in the public domain? Pardon me for remaining incredulous.

  26. mike_b1

    Incredulous? You should be asking our pardon for being boring. Stop being boring!

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