Boston is nothing if not a verbose town. We’ve got a raft of writers, a posse of intellectuals, and Ted Kennedy. And our ballclub’s seven-game ALCS victory has only made this affliction worse.


Our baseball men are getting metaphorical (and even Classical):


“He was like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs out there,” Timlin said of Beckett [in the bullpen]. “He didn’t know what to do or when to throw. But he found a way to keep himself occupied.”

“He doesn’t back down to anyone or any situation,” Epstein said [of Dustin Pedroia]. “That’s what makes him good. He walks around like he’s an Adonis instead of 5-foot-6.”

The gauntlet had then been down for our sportswriters, who rose to the challenge admirably.

Kevin Paul DuPont: “Had it not been for that huge Coke bottle strapped to the light stanchion above the Green Monster, the ball Kevin Youkilis hit in the eight inning last night might have imperiled Mass. Pike motorists, skipped across the Charles River, and slowly come to a roll on this side of the Canadian border.”


Dan Shaughnessy: “The game was played on the 32d anniversary of Carlton Fisk’s World Series walkoff homer and though the score indicated little drama, the final play was no less spectacular.


At 11:56 last night, Casey Blake hit a towering shot toward the 420 (foot) sign in the deepest part of center field at Fenway Park. The ball descended from the October sky and settled into the outstretched mitt of a galloping Coco Crisp, who crashed into the bullpen fence and dropped to the ground holding the American League pennant in his hand.”

Unfortunately, then Bob Ryan got into the act. Maybe Ryan’s been putting too much effort into his new blog or his new show. Because this is the best he could do:

Forget the score.


Omigawd was that tense!

At least until the little guy unloaded.

But then it got tense again.

Until the Wild Thing Closer got out of the eighth.

And then things got real comfy when the little guy unloaded again in the six-run eighth.

Omigawd, what a ballgame, what a glorious night at Fenway, what a way to enter the World Series.

The Red Sox did it. They beat the Cleveland Indians, 11-2, last night.

Yikes. Can blogging be dangerous to your writing voice? (I hope not.) Is Bob Ryan trying to sound like a contestant on My Super Sweet Sixteen? (Yes.) Why?? (No idea.)


So I think it’s time for a new kind of contest. Yeah, we have trivia and write-your-own-caption. How about write-your-own lead paragraph? I’ll go first (in the comments). Extra points for wild metaphors!

21 Responses to “Never too much hot air in Beantown”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    BobH, I see where you’re coming from. But try to understand that my writing career is very much still in the ramen-noodles-and-roommates-and-crap-there’s-no-hot-water-again?! phase, and that Bob Ryan’s job security is something I can’t even imagine right now.

    And you’re right—I haven’t done what Ryan has done. Now, neither Bob Ryan nor I could hit even the junkiest fastball even if we knew it was coming, nevermind a breaking ball. But that doesn’t stop either Ryan or myself from writing about guys who make their livings doing just that. I’m sure there are days that Curt Schilling wakes up and wants to say to Dan Shaughnessy, “Fine, Dan, *you* throw a splitter in the dirt!” And basically, what you’re telling me is, “Fine, Sarah, *you* make your deadline after these ridiculous, late, Fox playoff games and see how great your writing is!” But that’s the job description. And I’m not saying I could do better: I’m saying that *Bob Ryan* could do better. When Bob Ryan writes something, I want it to justify his job security and his column inches. I want him to write like he’s still trying to make the team. I know it’s not always easy, but that’s why he gets the byline and the medium-sized bucks. And if he’s at the point where he’s writing just because he has to say something, instead of writing because he has something to say, then he should reconsider his options. Now, I can understand taking a calculated, creative risk because that is something I try to do myself. You’re right, sometimes the magic just doesn’t work. But unfortunately, it’s not just this one column that’s been sub-par. Think of a veteran pitcher who’s had a great career but loses some velocity. He can still be effective as long as he throws strikes. But when he can’t find the plate anymore, it’s time to hang up his spikes. He becomes a pitching coach, or a manager, or just plays golf and counts his money and plans his Hall of Fame induction speech. There is absolutely no shame in that. But you don’t want to go out like Roger Clemens, lifted before the 5th inning of a playoff game, not knowing whether you’re ever going to be back, not knowing whether you should tip your cap or just head straight to the showers.

    Now, I assume you ended up here because of Deadspin. In the fine tradition of headline-writers everywhere, Deadspin sort of misrepresented the point of this post. The main point was not to hate on Bob Ryan, which I don’t. The main point was: Boston is a talkative town; here are some different (and variously effective) lead paragraphs; let’s have fun making up our own. Nonetheless, it turned into something different, and that’s fine—c’est la internet! And with that in mind, of course we had to do a follow-up post, which I recommend for anyone interested in the State of (Sports) Journalism Today.

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