Yesterday I began to tackle Dan Shaughnessy’s latest hatchet job but didn’t want to take the bait… until I found out Jacoby would be activated from the DL just a day after Shaughnessy’s fact-free takedown. And I realized, the poor guy was probably anguished by all the nasty speculation and would be tasked with answering it. So I jumped back in.
The column (no link from me) begins with the sentence, “Itâ€™s impossible and unfair to measure another manâ€™s pain,” and then proceeds to judge Jacoby Ellsbury’s pain and attack him for not coming back from injury as fast as Shaugnnessy would like. Yes, we’re all frustrated about how injuries have likely cost the Red Sox a playoff run this season. Why take it out on Jacoby? Oh, because it’s what you do!
I haven’t read Shaughnessy much since he helped run Pedro out of town, and I only clicked on this article because boston.com teased it in a way that suggested this was not just idle speculation, but actually based on inside information from the front office and clubhouse. Great job, boston.com editors!
The Red Sox arenâ€™t going to call him out publicly, but the organization and Ellsburyâ€™s teammates simply have to be fed up. (emphasis mine)
No inside information, no quotes — on or off the record — nothing more nuanced than idle speculation you might overhear in a bar or on the train. The piece repeatedly admits that it’s reckless to speculate:
The manager doesnâ€™t like us putting words in his mouth so we wonâ€™t do that here…
Itâ€™s not fair for any of us to guess how much pain heâ€™s feeling, but…
Fair or unfair…
And follows each with the very reckless speculation he tries to qualify in the first half of each sentence. He also uses this old trick while discussing Terry Francona:
Some of us think heâ€™s speaking in code when he talks about guys like Pedroia and Cameron playing in pain and doing anything to get on the field. (emphasis mine)
In other words, people agree with me, but it’s a secret who they are, you just have to take my word for it. That’s some excellent journalism, kids!
The highlight has to be this Fox-News-esque gem:
Thereâ€™s a perception that Ellsbury wonâ€™t play hurt and that heâ€™s punishing the club for moving him from center to left, and for misdiagnosing his injuries in April. (emphasis mine)
The beginning of this sentence should be edited to read: “Through columns like this one, I am trying to create a perception that Ellsbury won’t play hurt…” Or even more accurately, “I myself hold the opinion that Ellsbury won’t play hurt…” But this is the same trick as the “some us think” one — claiming to speak for the masses without talking responsibility for the sliming. It’s Dan Shaughnessy 101.
Here’s the deal: I write for Bugs & Cranks because I’m not a good enough sportswriter to write for a real publication. I love this site, but although some of us are journalists in real life, what we’re doing here isn’t properly journalism. We’re bloggers, and the rules are more lax. I’m okay with the tradeoff. The Red Sox refuse to give us press credentials, we’re allowed to swear more. We’re good enough that the Beckett Bowl will send us a press release about their event, but not good enough for the PR guy to return my emails about attending. In exchange for this lack of respect, I am accorded the liberty of telling you the PR guy for the Beckett Bowl is a loser. It’s what you get for being a blogger.
Dan Shaughnessy, for some reason, is employed by the Boston Globe. For a newspaper with 19 Pulitzers, I would expect their sports columnists to be held to a higher standard than a blog whose biggest claim to fame is getting Rob Dibble into a Twitter feud with Rob Neyer. Firing Shaughnessy would’t silence him — he’s be at the Herald in two seconds — but I view it like firing a radio commentator who’s made racist comments. The First Amendment says he’s allowed to say this stuff, but you don’t have to pay him to say it in your forum. Dan Shaughnessy’s long outlived his usefulness as a peudo-provocateur, now he’s just sliming whoever can get him the most traffic. I thought the Globe was better than that, but the longer they enable someone like Shaughnessy, the more I start to wonder. Please, let him spew his vile for someone else already.
Also, can you make the boston.com iPhone app suck less? Get the guys who put together the New York Times app — that thing’s killer.