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The Most Hated Man in Boston

What is it about The Globe ’s Dan Shaughnessy that makes ordinary, peaceable people want to kick his ass?
By ADAM REILLY  |  July 10, 2007



MAY 13, 2007 “The SS Red Sox keeps rolling on a (Charles) river. With any luck the Sox soon will overtake the Milwaukee Brewers juggernaut and own the best record in baseball. To use a time-tested analogy, the Sox are making the American League East look like Secretariat in the Belmont.”

APRIL 22, 2007 “Evil Empire Falls? Revenge of the Jed-I Hoyer? Sweep Surrender? Sure, it’s April, and we know that through the years the springs and summers have often belonged to Boston, only to have autumns owned by New York. But there’s smug satisfaction here in the Hub this morning.”

APRIL 6, 2007 “Dice-K was Ice K. He was also 10 K. And Special K. Maybe even a Japanese Pedro. Or a Pocket Rocket.”

APRIL 3, 2007 “Worse than Ellen DeGeneres’s first night hosting the Oscars. Worse than Arsenio Hall’s first shot at late-night television. Worse than Patriots coach Clive Rush’s first press conference, when he was nearly electrocuted. The much-anticipated Red Sox baseball season of 2007 kicked off yesterday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, and Curt Schilling and the Boston Nine were thrashed, 7-1, by the Kansas City Royals.”


To understand the tortured tango that binds Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy and his detractors, consider his March 25 item about Red Sox ace Curt Schilling’s personal blog, 38 Pitches. The conceit was simple: Shaughnessy, who’s also a Globe associate editor, fabricated an exchange between Schilling and six pathetic, ass-kissing bloggers. (“Loser38”: “I used to go to Star Trek conventions and comic-book trade shows. No more. Now this blog is my life.”) Schilling didn’t fare much better: in Shaughnessy’s rendering, the Sox ace was an egotistical, self-pitying hypocrite. Near the end — just in case the gist wasn’t clear — a Shaughnessy surrogate materialized and asked “Schilling”: “What do you say to those media morons who contend that you are a self-important blowhard with an ill-informed opinion about everything and an insatiable need to be worshiped by sheep-like fans and late-night blog boys who live in Ma’s basement?”

Since Shaughnessy’s alleged crimes include relying on clichés and hating the Red Sox, this column had a little something special for all his detractors. “It makes me wonder what might be spewed forth from his whiney [sic], bitchy little mind in the near future,” read one comment at Dan Shaughnessy Watch, a blog devoted to Shaughnessy deconstruction. A reader offered this: “Saying all bloggers live at home with Mom and Dad . . . is like saying every newspaper writer is a self-absorbed, sensitive, out-of-touch-with-the-times piece of garbage like [Shaughnessy].” And a member of Sons of Sam Horn, the invite-only Red Sox site, made the following suggestion: “If you see him, punch him in the face and keep on walking.”

Whatever you may think of Shaughnessy — as a journalist or as a human being — that’s pretty nasty stuff. But when I asked him about this particular piece, he couldn’t stifle a smirk. “I thought the column was hilarious,” he said. “I was very happy with it.”

All of which raises two questions: why, exactly, do Shaughnessy’s critics loathe him as much as they do? And why does the man in the fright wig seem to enjoy egging them on?

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