I Didn't Want To Do This . . .

I have a beautiful daughter who is four. She's a great kid, really well behaved in general. But a fact of life all parents - and some innocent airplane passengers - learn, is that toddlers occasionally totally and completely FREAK OUT. If I read a book about it, or watched Nanny 911, I'm sure I'd learn that these are power struggles.

As a parent, when I ask my kid to do something, what I want more than anything else is comprehensive obedience. Of course, it rarely works out that way, which is fine. But sometimes the result is out and out defiance. Being as I am, my response to this was to push and push and push to try to get my way. Partially because she's 4 and partially because she has at least 1/2 my genes, she appears to be just as stubborn - or worse - than I am.

One of the hardest lessons I learned was to let her freak. Just let it happen. Refuse to communicate on that plane. If you ignore the behavior then the child isn't getting the desired result from it and they'll change, right? It is always hard listening to screaming and crying - especially when it's over turning off The Wiggles (how can something that makes me so happy make her so sad?) - but lo and behold, the ignoring the undesirable behavior worked.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I did NOT want to post about Dan Shaughnessy. See, if I write and complain about Shaughnessy's latest annoying, stupid, boneheaded column, then I'm just reinforcing his behavior. Everyone up in arms is exactly what he wants. He's made a living off it. There is a freakin' blog about NOTHING ELSE! Of course, to be fair, there is at least one blog about pretty much anything.

But I'm failing. Right now. He sucked me in. DAMN YOU, CHB! (A special thanks to Carl Everett, patron saint of Shaughnessy hatred)

When I started thinking about this post, it was going to be about this Shaughnessy - Schilling spat. But even since he wrote that on Sunday, he's already got another stinker in his assessment of Daisuke Matsuzaka's pitching performance yesterday.

Let's start with Dice-K and work backwards . . . In this morning's column, Shaughnessy had this to say:

The story is that Dice-K walked five batters and demonstrated poor command of his fastball. Then he did some stretching of his back and legs, which was caught by ESPN cameras. Then he iced down in the locker room. Then he changed his mind about his postgame routine and decided for the first time not to speak with the media -- American or Japanese.

The result of all this will be a five-day frenzy of Dice-K speculation on two continents. Is he hurt? Is he frustrated? Is he a diva? Is he physically and mentally prepared for his first big league start next Friday in Kansas City?

Only in Boston. Only here could there be a crisis after a guy throws a five-inning no-hitter.

There's a crisis? I live and work in Boston. I'm not panicking. In fact, I'm encouraged. I rode the T in from Quincy today. No one looked overly depressed. There was no crying and wailing. A crisis? In March? Who really worries about spring training numbers in the first place? Dan Shaughnessy, that's who.

That bring us back to Shaughnessy's Sunday column. He rips Schilling - way to chase the easy target, Dan - and takes a pretty good shot as his own readership because I'm pretty sure the same Red Sox fans reading Schilling's blog also get their Red Sox news from The Boston Globe and Boston.com. Along the way he demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the new media.

Here's the thing though . . . when Schilling is out on the mound, I'm a huge fan. I love his style, love his toughness. He's a guy you want in your corner - cue the 14 billionth bloody sock reference - in tough situations. But when he opens his yap to proclaim he's still the ace, or he wants a new contract, or tell us how much he loves Everquest, eh, not so much then.

Put it this way: Having to pick a side in a Shaughnessy-Schilling feud is like being forced to pick your favorite contestant in a wet t-shirt contest between Charlie Weiss and Bill Parcells. You've gotta "support" Weiss - wins hands down, of course - and the same is true for Schilling here. But it's not something you feel good about.

Aside from his usual jack-assed-ness, what Shaughnessy is really missing here - like many other print dinosaurs (see: Smith, Sam and Vecsey, Peter) - is that in the last 3 years, it just got WAY easier to get your opinion out there. It wasn't that long ago that if you wanted someone to know what you thought, you had to tell your buddy in the bar (or whoever would listen) or be one of maybe 5 columnists in this city. But those days are gone. Long gone. Now anyone who has a computer, an opinion, and some free time can publish. God bless you, Al Gore.

One of the things that especially pissed me off besides, well, everything, was Shaughnessy's characterization of bloggers and blog readers as middle-aged guys living in their mothers basement. This misconception is laughable for a couple reasons. First, CHB and many other sportswriters of his era were likely not talented enough to play the games they now cover. They were the ones getting the figurative sand kicked in their face. But now, 20-30 years, a couple books, and generations of Red Sox players and fans as enemies later, he's the one making fun of the dorks. Second, this whole Internet thing is WAY BIGGER than you think, Dan. It's not just the dorks using computers. I hear it's like a series of tubes. Anyway, it's not just the geeks and the dorks consuming this content. And last, as a person who is now, technically, a blogger (albeit not professionally) and a person who used to work in sport communications (as a newspaper writer and sports publicity contact), let me tell you, those press boxes are not filled with athletic, confident, socially comfortable people. Dan, you need to look in the mirror before you point fingers.

Of all the stuff I've read about this today, I like TheBigLead.com take the best:

What’s the over/under on the day athletes stop speaking to print media, and instead head home and post their thoughts on a blog? Barry Bonds, Gilbert Arenas, Curt Schilling, Curtis Granderson and Paul Shirley, among others, are already there.

Beware, CHB. Be. Ware.

More Poor Performances Like This Please

Forgive me reader(s), it has been over a month since my last post . . .

Since the Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka - their $100 million dollar man - this past off season, I've been trying hard to temper my enthusiasm. I keep telling myself, experience in the Japanese League or not, he's still a rookie. He will be facing consistently better hitters day in an day out than he ever has before. And, of course, given all the hype, he could be an All-Star and still not live up to his billing.

I paid attention when he dominated a college team, experimented against the Orioles, and then seemed to find his groove. All good things. But I think last night was the best indication of future success yet.

Watching/listening to SportsCenter last night, you heard phrases like "struggled with his control" and "Matsuzaka's dissatisfaction with his performance." I heard Stuart Scott say that Matsuzaka only threw 59 strikes on 103 pitches against the Reds.

So what happened? A disaster right? He got shelled? Gave up a bushel of runs? Got chased from the game?

Nope. He threw 5 no-hit innings. He walked 5 but struck out 6. To see a guy "struggle with his control" on the way to 5 no-hit innings . . . well, it's safe to say that it's quite a bit tougher to contain that enthusiasm this morning. Could the next 7 seem any further away? Let's play ball!