Other baseball writers don't have my excuses. I went on a Twitter rant against Tim Kurkjian today because of his tweet claiming that "No one writes better than Shaughnessy", in regards to Curly Haired Boyfriend's Francona book.
First off, as far as writing goes, Shaughnessy's book was junk. It was barely passable at a fifth grade reading level. Francona told some great stories, and all Shaughnessy did was quote him. That's it. Some might argue that Shaughnessy is a talented interviewer, who knows how to trap his subjects into situations where they give up information that they normally wouldn't mention -- but Shaughnessy isn't a fifth grade level journalist, either. As far as journalism goes, there are plenty of points in his book where Francona actually does mention more than he should, and Shaughnessy just leaves those answers hanging; suspended like they're lighter than helium, ready to float away at the slightest hint of a breath.
It's also worth mentioning that prose like "suspended like they're lighter than helium, ready to float away at the slightest hint of a breath", which I just pulled out of my ass like it's nothing, isn't anything you'll find in Shaughnessy's book. Instead, to describe that the Red Sox were gaining a great amount of popularity, Shaughnessy was "The Sox were hot." Does it get to the point in four words? Yes. But this isn't a daily sports column where Shaughnessy needs to conserve space, this is a 300+ page book. Between commute time on the T and a couple of hours over the weekends, it took a decent amount of time just to read through the mass of verbiage in his book -- and it was So. Fucking. Boring. Shaughnessy's "writing" and "journalistic" notions are shit. I liked reading Francona tell stories about his years in Major League baseball, but as I read Shaughnessy's book, I couldn't help but think that I could have written a better book if I had the time and access to figures in the Red Sox organization. For my part, I may not have time to write, but at least I feel the need to try and entertain you with either decent prose, or good insight, should your eyeballs be gracious enough to glance upon my blog for a second.
The problem with writers like Shaughnessy is that they were elevated to their positions for no good reason, because they never wrote anything good in their lives; then they stay in those positions without danger of getting fired. And then people like Shaughnessy are buffered by their colleagues in the sports "writing" business, like Tim Kurkjian. Tim "Anything I Write About Baseball Is Wrong" Kurkjian. Here's an example of TIMMMMAAAHH's breadth of baseball knowledge, written before the 2012 season:
Bobby Valentine's one of a kind
...For three years, I sat next to him on the set of "Baseball Tonight," and in meeting rooms with 15 games on TV, and I can tell you that no one knows the game better than Bobby V.
He can be smug and he can be arrogant, but he has a right to be. Bobby Valentine has thrived at most things he has done in his life.Wait, the crème de la crème of unnecessary hagiography gets worse.
Humanitarian? Ballroom dancer? Science fair guy? Gourmet chef? Restaurateur? Director of Public Health? Valentine is all of these things. How? Where does he find the time? He told me 25 years ago, "Sleep is overrated,'' and it must be, because I don't know when he sleeps. Yet he fell asleep at the wheel late one night, nearly got killed, and, if possible, doesn't drive alone late anymore; sometimes he'll have someone drive him.So, to recap, TIMMMMAAAAHHHH says "My favorite person in the world discounts sleep, except for that time he endangered others ad almost killed himself because he slept while driving." The cognitive dissonance train just went CHOO CHOOOOOOOO! right through TIIIMMMMMMMAAAAHHHHH's brain, and he didn't even have the presence of mind to notice. This man must have taken the extra short bus to school when he was a kid.
TIIMMMMMMMMMAAAAAHHHHH -- and that's how his name should be pronounced; perhaps with extra drool -- ends his column is the most horrible way possible:
Red Sox Nation, you have one of a kind in Bobby Valentine. I have never met anyone quite like him in baseball. He will make your team better right away. And he'll never be boring.Wrrrroooonnnggggg! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, absolutely 100% motherfucking WRROONNGGGG! TIMMMAAAHHH is just a piece a shit.
In the real world, workers would get fired for being this atrociously wrong. But in the chummy world of baseball writers, Kurkjian not only gets to keep his cushy job -- and I don't fathom that he ever deserved to get his job in the first place -- but then he praises shitheads like Dan Shaughnessy. This is like a gigantic circle jerk of doughy white men who never deserved to do anything with their lives beyond sell car insurance, but just happened to luck out and write about baseball for a living. Then, while having access to games, MLB clubhouses and all the sources that they want, people like Shaughnessy and Kurkjian aren't even intelligent enough to understand baseball or tell us something new or insightful about the game. They just write stale old crap.
It's a disgraceful display of entitled privilege to intelligent baseball fans who see these assholes for the stupid fucking jerkoffs that they truly are. I'll believe there's justice in the world with I get Dan Shaughnessy or Tim Kurkjian's job; but until then, I'll just have to try harder to avoid them.