4) HE’S NOT A FAN With devotion to New England sports teams reaching unprecedented levels of intensity, this charge verges on blasphemy. There are two variations here: while some haters say Shaughnessy is simply indifferent to the fate of the Red Sox (and, less notably, the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins), others accuse him of outright antipathy — especially toward the Sox. The latter group points to Shaughnessy’s 1990 book The Curse of the Bambino, which cemented both Shaughnessy’s national reputation and the notion that the Sox are a doomed franchise. “I think he’s enjoying the fact that the Red Sox currently have a lot of payroll to work with, because he’s able to go out and get big names, and there’s a lot more things he can lash out at them about,” says Sons of Sam Horn founder Eric Christensen. Barstool Sports publisher Dave Portnoy goes further: “I think he honestly roots against the Sox. I think he profits when they do bad.”
5) HE EMBODIES OLD-MEDIA ARROGANCE The haters’ explanation for why Shaughnessy mocks bloggers? He’s worried that his status as an intermediary between pro athletes and the public is in jeopardy. “He’s an obnoxious, arrogant SOB,” says Gaffin, “who doesn’t realize that it’s not 1989 anymore and the world doesn’t revolve around the sports pages of the Boston Globe.”
6) HE BLOWS IN THE WIND According to the haters, Shaughnessy is far too easily swayed by both positive and negative developments. Case in point: his June 2005 statement that the Sox were a lock to win the AL East. (“Come late September, this is going to look like Secretariat at the Belmont in 1973,” Shaughnessy wrote.) The Yankees won the division; the Sox got the Wild Card and were swept by the White Sox, who went on to win the World Series.
7) HE’S FUNNY LOOKING This is a tricky one, because Shaughnessy’s physical appearance — specifically, his red Afro and plump cheeks — is both a focus of scorn and a catalyst for hostility in other areas.
Consider this tale from “Cheryl” — a Rhode Island woman who regularly stays in a hotel near Shaughnessy’s during spring training, and asked that her last name not be used. “Every year, I see CHB jogging,” Cheryl wrote in an e-mail. “In 2006, I’m coming off a 6- or 7-mile fitness walk, and here comes CHB jogging toward me. He had just come out of his hotel and he was so bright red and sweating so profusely that I thought, ‘Oh, God, if he needs CPR I’m not sure I’d offer. . . . . He’s got that red curly hair and that white splotchy skin and he’s all gangly.’ ”
Ponder this for a moment: a trained CPR practitioner thinks she might actually let Shaughnessy die if he dropped to the pavement in front of her. That’s as bad as it gets.