The Most Hated Man in Boston

By ADAM REILLY  |  July 10, 2007

Seven things they hate about you
Ask an avowed Shaughnessy hater to explain his or her feelings, and you won’t get a succinct, dispassionate response. Instead, you’ll receive a lengthy catalogue of distinct but complementary grievances, poured forth with a speed and intensity that suggest they’ve been causing acute distress for years.

In any given conversation, these tidal waves of bile can be hard to process. Talk to enough people, though, and a few central themes surface time and again. The main charges against Shaughnessy — a/k/a “Shank,” “Shaughnasty,” and the “Curly-Haired Boyfriend” or “CHB” (see “CHB vs. Jurassic Carl”) — run as follows:
 
1) HE’S A HACK If you’ve read one Shaughnessy column, critics charge, you’ve read pretty much all of them, given his reliance on clichés, stock phrases, and tired rhetorical devices. Earlier this year, Barstool Sports writer Jerry Thornton offered an eight-step guide to writing your own Shaughnessy column, including 1) “Always Begin with a Cliché”; 3) “Stereotype (‘All Midwesterners are decent, corn-fed, salt-of-the-Earth types. All Californians are laid back’)”; and 5) “Talk About Pop Culture (but not about anything that happened after 1984).” This past year, meanwhile, Dan Shaughnessy Watch catalogued its favorite phrases/references: standouts included “Young Theo” (16 times in four years) and “Grey Poupon” (13 times in 14 years). The problem isn’t Shaughnessy’s native talent, say most Shaughnessy haters; instead, it’s his reliance on a formulaic template.
 
2) HE’S A MACHIAVELLIAN MANIPULATOR According to the haters, Shaughnessy isn’t content to chronicle the local sports scene; instead, he wants to be a player in that scene, on par with the athletes and owners. The classic example here is Shaughnessy’s role in the Theo Epstein saga of 2005. On October 30, the Globe published a Shaughnessy column that analyzed tensions between Epstein, who was poised to sign a new contract, and Sox president Larry Lucchino. The next day, Epstein announced he was leaving the team, then snuck out of Fenway in a gorilla suit. Shaughnessy haters subsequently accused their nemesis of doing Lucchino’s dirty work and helping drive Epstein out the door. (“Young Theo” rejoined the team in January 2006.) See also: Shaughnessy’s ongoing spat with Schilling, which predated and postdates the aforementioned column; and Shaughnessy’s close friendship with Ted Williams and family, which led an official at Manhattan’s Cornell Medical Center to direct reporters’ calls to Shaughnessy when Williams underwent heart surgery there in 2001.

3) HE’S A VINDICTIVE BULLY When Shaughnessy sours on a player, he hammers them relentlessly and in damning the most terms. Take his allegation this past August that Sox slugger/space cadet Manny Ramirez, a favorite target, had fabricated a hamstring injury to get out of playing: “[W]hen it comes to tweaked hamstrings, only the patient truly knows how he’s feeling. It’s the athlete’s equivalent of the fourth-grade boy who won’t go to school because he has a headache. There are no grounds for a challenge even if you have suspicions.”

“He’s constantly sniping at Schilling, at people like Manny Ramirez — it’s almost pathological,” gripes Adam Gaffin, who writes the Universal Hub blog. Haters see this vindictiveness directed at readers as well as athletes: there’s a whole body of lore involving testy exchanges between Shaughnessy and his detractors — including one celebrated case in which Shaughnessy called an online critic’s boss to point out how the employee was spending his working hours. (In an online video game at BarstoolSports.com, players are invited to literally kick Shaughnessy’s ass — and send him flying through the air. When he lands with a thud, he looks up and says, “I’m gonna call your boss!!”

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |   next >
  Topics: Media -- Dont Quote Me , Internet, John Kerry, Fashion and Style,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ADAM REILLY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BULLY FOR BU!  |  March 12, 2010
    After six years at the Phoenix , I recently got my first pre-emptive libel threat. It came, most unexpectedly, from an investigative reporter. And beyond the fact that this struck me as a blatant attempt at intimidation, it demonstrated how tricky journalism's new, collaboration-driven future could be.
  •   STOP THE QUINN-SANITY!  |  March 03, 2010
    The year is still young, but when the time comes to look back at 2010's media lowlights, the embarrassing demise of Sally Quinn's Washington Post column, "The Party," will almost certainly rank near the top of the list.
  •   RIGHT CLICK  |  February 19, 2010
    Back in February 2007, a few months after a political neophyte named Deval Patrick cruised to victory in the Massachusetts governor's race with help from a political blog named Blue Mass Group (BMG) — which whipped up pro-Patrick sentiment while aggressively rebutting the governor-to-be's critics — I sized up a recent conservative entry in the local blogosphere.
  •   RANSOM NOTES  |  February 12, 2010
    While reporting from Afghanistan two years ago, David Rohde became, for the second time in his career, an unwilling participant rather than an observer. On October 29, 1995, Rohde had been arrested by Bosnian Serbs. And then in November 2008, Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were en route to an interview with a Taliban commander when they were kidnapped.
  •   POOR RECEPTION  |  February 08, 2010
    The right loves to rant against the "liberal-media elite," but there's one key media sector where the conservative id reigns supreme: talk radio.

 See all articles by: ADAM REILLY