Friday, April 3, 2009

Felger, Bob & Shaughny Archives Part 6

This was the first entry on the Felger, Bob and Shaughny Blog, which was committed to understanding what great sports writing has that a lackluster story doesn't.

Dan Shaughnessy: Is the Devil at Work in Boston Sports?

For round one of my analysis, I figured I'd start with the man whom some believe is the most controversial of all the Boston sports media members, Dan Shaughnessy. He wrote an article in Sunday's Globe that I just read.

Props to Dan for including one of the Rolling Stones' best songs, "Sympathy for the Devil." He was able to tailor the lyrics of the song to be an explanation for all the success the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics have had over the years: they sold their souls to the devil.

The first few paragraphs do a great job of pulling the reader in, but towards the end, there gets to be a bit of overkill. He mentions too many different times of glory in Boston sports lore, whether they were ending moments of championship games, key trades, or other important times that luck could be involved. Only a few need to be noticed. He also mentioned a few Bruins players, which he did not explain at all in the column. Although it is a good idea to give them a shout out, I think he should have cut them out if he wasn't going to describe their situations.

His link between the Devil and Babe Ruth is clever, and it fits well with the explanation of the "Curse of the Bambino," which Mr. Shaughnessy coined in the 1980s, after his book titled with the phrase.

I find it interesting that Shaughnessy brought Red Auerbach into the picture and compared him to Bill Belicheck, saying he was just as bad in his cheating. I don't agree with that. However, if any of the things he said about Red are true, then he is right to a certain extent.

Shaughnessy really sretches his argument to make it support the Patriots' previous championships by mentioning "poison," when what the Patriots success could easily be explained by what they did. That is the biggest weakness of the article.

Overall, the Devil dealing is a solid idea with a lot of potential. The triumphs of the piece came in the Stones lyrics and the Ruth/Devil comparison. However, the column could have been better if Shaughnessy had not taken the idea too far. B-

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