April 10, 2019

One Columnist Yearns To Sit Back And Recapture A Little Of His Glory Days

Dan Shaugnessy must be in heaven, leaping out of bed every morning with a broad smile on his face, eager to greet another day, knowing the Red Sox are well out of first place. His column today asks: "At what point, precisely, are we allowed to wonder whether these Red Sox are OK?"

Dan is not actually asking permission to wonder about the 2019 Red Sox - or even asking a question, really. Because Dan spends 25 hours a day looking for reasons why the Red Sox might not be OK, or figuring out how to twist reality into complicated knots to make it seem like they are not OK. Sometimes, it can get very frustrating.

Dan is also among the top sportswriters in using outdated pop cultural references in attempts at humour. I have learned, from reading sports columns for nearly four decades, that there are certain rules governing the use of cultural references by old, white, conservative sportswriters. Principal among them is the reference must be at least 30 years beyond its sell-by date.

Dan offers only two references in today's column and they appear to tell us more about him than the Red Sox. Let's take a look:
And the annoying Sox are still clinging to 2018 like a flock of Springsteen wannabes reciting boring stories of Glory Days.
"Glory Days" was on Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA album. The album was released on June 4, 1984, and the song was the fifth single, coming out almost one year later, on May 31, 1985. ... The album will be 35 years old this summer. (Check!)

First, Dan feels the need to include Springsteen's name in case people do not pick up on the reference. However, a "big baseball player, back in high school" would not be reminiscing about his "speedball" less than six months after pitching his school to a state championship. The song is about lost youth, about middle-aged men and women fixated a little too much on memories of the past. Many still live in the same town in which they grew up and see each other at the local bar on Friday nights, "sitting back, trying to recapture" the feeling of those glory days. But while history may repeat itself, the past never returns.

This song seems more applicable to Dan, who has been stuck in a creative rut for decades, than the Red Sox, whose recent spate of bad luck began less than two weeks ago: "We went back inside, sat down, had a few drinks, but all he kept talking about was ..."

The Curse of the Fucking Bambino. And Bucky and Boone and Buckner and Bobby V, and Ninja Turtle shoelaces and Buddy LeRoux and the Buffalo Heads and Danny Galehouse. ... When Dan feels like crying, he starts laughing, thinking about those stories of decades-old Red Sox failures ... (And everyone else from his graduating class has tired of hearing this broken record and now hang out at that other bar 15 miles further down the road.)
The Sox are still in Kevin Bacon/Animal House "All is well!" mode as Sale sinks in the East.
The movie Animal House was released more than 40 years ago, on July 28, 1978. (Check!) Kevin Bacon plays Chip Diller, who yells "Remain calm! All is well!" before being trampled in a stampede. In that scene, Bacon's character is someone with a distinctly minority opinion, yelling at a group of people who pay no attention to him. ... Sounds like anyone we know?

Dan implies that manager Alex Cora was lying when he said Sale was sick during his start in Oakland. Why Cora would offer up a lie to explain away Sale's best outing (1 run in 6 innings) of the young season is not explained.

Dan also thought it was "odd" that "the ring recipients were not announced to the crowd. Fans had to figure it out." ... But then Dan immediately goes on to write that David Price "got a rousing ovation" and J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts "were cheered madly". So, apparently, a lot of fans were able to "figure it out".

The column ends with this: "Yuck." Oddly, the meaning behind the quip was not announced to the crowd. Readers will have to figure it out.


Shawn K said...

He didn't quote "meet the new boss/same as the old boss"? That was his go to line when I moved out of Boston in 90.

Man does he hate when Boston teams win and love it when they don't. Some things never change.

Jim said...

Me again. I've subscribed to the Globe since returning to Kingston in '03 (now up to about C$36 pm with the shitty exchange rate). Anyway, I think Dan is just playing to his online "base". There is a cadre of old guys, about 5 or 6, who dominate the comments section on every Red Sox story. These guys have been around since I started. They even start and commandeer a regular game thread in the comments section of the game-day "line-ups and notes" piece. And they eat up these boomer references. Even encourage them. Like their own Red Sox blog without doing all the work.