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

Dr. Shaughnessy is in

Why does he do this? In his Globe column today, Dan Shaughnessy insinuates that the Red Sox were lying — or at least blowing smoke — about what was really wrong with Josh Beckett between May 13, when he hurt his finger, and last night, when he made a successful return. Writes Shank:

He appeared to be bound for a start in the All-Star Game in San Francisco before suffering an “avulsion” on his right middle finger while throwing a pitch against the Orioles in what turned out to be the most memorable game of this young season (a.k.a. the “Mother’s Day Miracle”). Remember, boys and girls, this was not a blister — it was an avulsion.

Shaughnessy, of course, presents no evidence. But reports have been pretty consistent that Beckett did not get a blister, a problem that plagued him pretty consistently when he was younger. For instance, here is what the Globe’s Amalie Benjamin reported on May 17:

Beckett suffered an avulsion — a torn piece of skin below the pad on his right middle finger — in the fourth inning Sunday against the Orioles. He has experienced similar skin problems in the past, though the Sox are careful not to characterize the injury as akin to the blisters he developed with the Marlins.

Medline Plus defines “avulsion” as “a tearing away of a body part accidentally or surgically.” That doesn’t sound like a blister, either.

A small matter, obviously. You just wonder what’s rattling around Shaughnessy’s brain when he types this stuff.

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  1. mike_b1

    Anyone else watch last night’s interview with Shaughnessy, when the NESN cameras caught spiders actually climbing out of The CHB’s ears?When people said he had cobwebs on his brain, I thought they were speaking in metaphor. Guess I was wrong.

  2. Mike from Norwell

    I’m not a doctor either, but I will say in CHB’s defense that after raking leaves in the fall, a blister tends to form every year at the base of my thumb that ends up ripping away, leaving a boring job even more painful (of course, I’m not getting paid millions of dollars to clear my lawn). An avulsion, or a torn blister? Don’t know, but it seems that we’re talking about basically the same thing.Actually the best part right now is that CHB is having to really stretch to find something to mince at – kind of like McDonough and Borges after the Pats started rattling off Super Bowl wins.Forget Shaughnessy; just remember the best part of the Internet is daily access to the NY Post and Daily News to catch the reaction to the Bronx trainwreck. Now there’s some negativity to warm the heart of RS fans…

  3. John Galt

    Let’s face it, Shaughnessy has picked the pocket of The Boston Globe for decades. He is unemployable in any other city.

  4. metallicaMobes

    Dan Shaugnssey is the most annoying sports writer in history, and he’s frequently screwing things up too. Check out barstool sports article on how to write your own Shaughnssey article

  5. Jim Caralis

    Just in case you haven’t got your fill (and who has?) check this item I saw at Universal Hub the other day.

  6. Peter Porcupine

    And here I thought he would inherit the mantle of Ron Borges!

  7. bostonph

    I still prefer DS to Remy. Dan at least pretends to be more interested in the game than in hawking merchandise.What other city has to put up a newscaster who misses plays because he’s scanning the crowd for signs with his name?

  8. Anonymous

    Dan, What are you talking about? Shaughnessy wrote that he suffered an avulsion. Avulsion is a funny, unfamiliar word, so he put it in quotes. And the Sox fell all over themselves to say it’s not a blister — Beckett has a history of blisters — so he wrote, “Remember, boys and girls, this was not a blister — it was an avulsion.” You see? He’s making fun of the Sox for being so defensive.But you write, “Shaughnessy, of course, presents no evidence.”Evidence of what? I take it that you misread Shaughnessy. You think he’s making an allegation that it really is a blister?I didn’t read it that way in the paper this morning, and still don’t read it that way after reading your item.Dan S. probably writes enough stupid stuff that you don’t need to make up examples.

  9. Matt W.

    Maybe Shaughnessy was being ironical or making a mockery of the folks on the Big Show (except Rob Bradford who tried to correct Ordway and Sheppard on this at least 100 times) who continue to insist that it was a blister?This attack on Shaughnessy is a stretch at best, he was not suggesting the Sox were lying at all.

  10. mike_b1

    Those taking issue with DK’s comments should read his final graf: “A small matter, obviously.” The point is, why did Shaughnessy even bother to write this? What light did he shed on, well, anything? Judging from this small sample, he did little besides confuse people (which, I suppose, is par for his mini-golf course, given his pathological flip-flopping and front-running).

  11. Anonymous

    oh, please. he’s mocking the unusual, 10-cent, medical euphemism, obfuscating word, not the explanation for Beckett’s’s HUMAH!!! geddit??? thought not …

  12. Anonymous

    Interesting parallel between this thread on Shaughnessy, and the one directly below on John Edwards. I’m not a big fan of either guy – CHB in particular. But both of these arguments seem really superficial to me. The story about Edwards isn’t “revolting,” it’s just an odd and unsubstantiated anecdote from a political operative with an axe to grind and books to sell. And I could probably point out five or ten Shaughnessy columns since spring training began that bothered me more than this one.

  13. Dan Kennedy

    Avulsion is neither a synonym nor a euphemism for blister. Get it?

  14. Anonymous

    Oh no, Dan, we don’t get it. You’re the only one who gets this stuff. Could you please explain it again, at length, and be sure to use small words when condescending to us, so we know for sure when we’re being talked down to.

  15. Anonymous

    geddit? no, I have an avulsion to, oh never mind. shurely the affliction was a torn blister, as noted above?the point is, he was making fun of the use of the word. not insinuating anything

  16. Dan Kennedy

    From the Globe, May 14: “My skin broke and it just ripped more and more each pitch,” Beckett said. “It is not a blister. My skin just tore. What the timetable is, I’m not sure what we are looking at. Hopefully I can make my next start, but that is a big hopefully.”—From the Herald, May 14: According to both Beckett and the team, the injury is not a blister, which was a problem for the pitcher in the seasons before joining the Red Sox. But in May of last season Red Sox assistant trainer Mike Reinhold helped discover that a large part of the problem was related to Beckett’s bouts with the skin irritation eczema. Yesterday’s problem was not a blister related to the eczema, they said.Unlike a blister, there is no depth to the skin abnormality, which should limit any kind of long-term effects.—From the Herald, May 15: The avulsion, as it was termed by the team’s medical staff, knocked the right-hander out of Sunday’s start against Baltimore after only four innings. But all parties insist it is unrelated to the chronic blister problems Beckett experienced with the Florida Marlins, which led to eight of his nine career stays on the disabled list.—Again — not a big deal. But clearly Shaughnessy was trying to insinuate, with no evidence, that the Red Sox were covering up the true nature of Beckett’s injury.

  17. Anonymous

    Actually, Dan, go out to the field and warm up with a little long toss, throwing hard on a line out to a distance of anywhere from 120 to 200 feet or so. How’s that whatever it is on your middle finger as you let those 4-seamers fly? Now step into the bullpen and use that tender middle finger pad to drive some 90-plus mph fastballs and to snap off some hard breaking pitches.Not a big deal, right? Nothing for a pitcher who has been disabled with blisters in the past to worry about, right? It’s an avulsion and that’s that.

  18. Anonymous

    Just because CHB is so often so whacked, doens’t mean he’s always off target. If a more likable columnist delivered the point, we’d all probably laugh along: Beckett gets out to a great start this seaons, then goes on the DL with something that sounds frighteningly similar to the blister problem that has plagued him in the past. The Red Sox pull out all the stops: “This is NOT a blister! It’s an avulsion! We repeat: NO BLISTER! It’s an AVULSION – go look it up!”As if it’s a crime if he starts developing a blister and they rest him to keep it from getting out of control. It’s kind of funny, isn’t it?

  19. mike_b1

    Looks like Shaughnessy does read this site.Although he’s more gunshy about revealing himself here than he is about tracking down letterwriters and calling them at home.

  20. O-FISH-L

    Just a note on the immaturity and general mediocrity of the Boston sports reporters (especially TV sportscasters) with regard to the noun avulsion.To anyone who has taken a Red Cross basic first-aid course or a health course sophomore year in HS, avulsion is just another basic medical term. So many of our local sportscasters treated the term with jocular bewilderment, ala Beavis and Butthead, “You said avulison, hehehe!”Back in the 1980’s, I believe it was then Patriot Ledger TV critic Terry Ann Knopf who penned a piece critical of the on-air antics of local meteoroligists. It was titled “Weatherclowns”. Two decades later the “Sportsclowns” have taken center stage.

  21. Anonymous

    Mike, I take it you’re referring to the 12:31 p.m. poster, who happens to be me. I assure you, I am not Dan Shaughnessy, nor am I a fan of his work by any means. I’m just pointing out that he may sort of have a point – this thing on Beckett’s finger could be very limiting and could develop into a big deal. And for some reason, the team doesn’t want anyone uttering the word “blister.”

  22. mike_b1

    Either he’s being sarcastic, or he’s not. That no one seems sure (probably because so few of us bother to read him) lends credence to the argument that Shaughnessy simply isn’t capable of 1) using nuance and 2) being funny (looks notwithstanding).But all evidence to the contrary, it seems Globe management are the only ones who appreciate the guy. I myself think he must have incriminating photos of Marty Baron or some other Globe bigwig wearing women’s underwear, and it will take a Borges-like event to dislodge him. Fortunately, Shaughnessy is his own worst enemy, and one of these days he’ll go too far — even for him — in his phone rants at readers. (Or, alternately, someone will “A-Rod” him.)

  23. Anonymous

    Mike, I don’t think we’re going to see Shaughnessy pull a Borges. Borges almost seemed to be going out of his way to get fired. That would require effort, something Shaughnessy avoids at all costs.

  24. Anonymous

    Okay, for instance – did you read CHB today? Far more objectionable than the column cited here – asserting Red would have approved of A-Rod. Yeah, right.

  25. mike_b1

    Anon 9:04: Good point.

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