Dan Shaughnessy

Piece by piece, putting it together

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / October 21, 2009

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Picked-up pieces while packing for London and wondering how Schill got overlooked by the Nobel Committee . . .

Anybody else spooked by that center-field door opening when the Red Sox were batting in the bottom of the ninth 10 days ago? It was a moment. We’d just witnessed the apocalyptic implosion of Jonathan Papelbon and all the air was sucked out of Fenway as sad Jed Lowrie came to the plate. Suddenly, the door flew open. It was as if the Babe, or Dom DiMaggio, or any number of ghosts of Octobers past popped in for a visit. Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale told Chone Figgins that the ghosts were in play. Figgins alerted the umpire and Torii Hunter went over to close the door. “I have no idea how it opened,’’ said Hunter. What’s behind the green door? A bunch of sandbags and the bottom of the flagpole. You can see it all from the Bleacher Bar. But no one can remember the door blowing open in the middle of an inning.

We don’t need phony passer ratings to tell us that Tom Brady had a pretty good day Sunday. The quarterback rating system is worse than the BCS and golf’s FedEx Cup point system. Here’s proof: Johnny Unitas is rated 56th all time, John Elway is 47th. They trail the likes of Jeff Hostetler, Neil O’Donnell, Ken O’Brien, Trent Green, Jeff George, and Brad Johnson. Reminds me of Dan Duquette’s stat guy (the water-meter reader from New York) who somehow proved the Dwayne Hosey was better than Ken Griffey Jr.

“Pocket Money’’ might be the worst idea for a TV show - ever. It makes the lame Fenway dating show look like “60 Minutes.’’

Dustin Pedroia ripped the Red Sox ground crew after the season-ending loss. Pedroia was unable to turn two on a grounder hit by Kendry Morales in the eighth and blamed a bad hop, saying the Fenway infield is “the worst in the game. My job is to take 1,000 ground balls a day. Other guys’ job is to get the field perfect so we can play baseball.’’ Weak shot by Pedroia. Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor has thus far declined to respond.

Like everything else that happens in Foxborough, Matt Estrella left quietly. The inadvertent star of Spygate back in 2007, Estrella was still with the Patriots as a video assistant last year, but he’s disappeared from Patriot Place this year. Wonder if he signed a “no disclosure’’ deal after his five-year stint with the team. If not, I look forward to the book.

Janet Marie Smith’s departure from Fenway is a big bowl of wrong. With John Henry’s money and Larry Lucchino’s vision, Smith polished Fenway into the jewel that it is today. She found space where there was no space. There are always going to be things about the park that do not work (hello, Sections 3-9), but Smith did more for the park than anyone since Tom Yawkey rebuilt Fenway in 1934. Her departure speaks to new tension inside the walls on Yawkey Way. If you care about the future of the ball club, this is a warning shot.

Brady coming out of Sunday’s game early reminded some of the night in Utah when Larry Bird sat down even though he was one steal removed from a quadruple-double.

Today would have been the off-day at Fenway. With four games down, the Red Sox and Yankees would have worked out and prepared for tomorrow night’s Game 5.

Speaking of what might have been, a couple of local students went to Tanzania last summer and reported several sightings of “Patriots 19-0’’ shirts and hats being worn by the locals.

Phillies-Yankees World Series? The first since 1950, when the Whiz Kids were swept by the Bombers. Philly should bring back the Whiz Kid uniforms. And get ready for the Whizzinator jokes.

Mark Sanchez completed 13 passes in the game against Buffalo: eight caught by Jets, five by Bills.

Congrats to Boston College on its 5-2 record in a season many of us figured would be a complete train wreck. And we continue to be amazed by athletic director Gene DeFilippo’s ability to take the high road. He resisted all opportunity and temptation to gloat when Jeff Jagodzinski got sacked by Tampa Bay.

Random Patriot factoid: Bill Belichick’s aide-de-camp is a talented young guy named Berj Najarian. Listed as “director of football/head coach administration,’’ he is the power behind the throne in Foxborough. All Hoodie requests go through Berj. Najarian and his family live in a home once owned by Patriot founder Billy Sullivan.

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Celtic sub Shelden Williams were high school teammates in Midwest City, Okla.

The idiotic, ubiquitous beer commercials with the doofus kids asking questions of NFL coaches make me want to blast my flat-screen with a shotgun.

The New York tabloids slaughtered Joe Girardi after his strange 11th-inning pitching change (Alfredo Aceves for Dave Robertson) Monday. The Daily News asked “Why, Joe?’’ on its back cover while the Post went with a reserved, “What The Hell!’’

Not a good weekend for Chuck Kobasew or Adalius Thomas.

I’ll never understand why it’s OK for the Red Sox to go into business with companies that sell tickets at elevated prices. I realize this is tapping into the “secondary market,’’ but didn’t we used to call that “scalping’’? Who thought we’d live in an age when scalpers could buy air time on the club’s flagship stations?

Jim Zorn might just as well put a sign on his forehead that reads, “Fire me!’’ He’s reminding us of Clive Rush in the final days.

Thirty-four years ago tonight, Dick Stockton said, “A long drive . . . if it stays fair . . . home run!’’ Carlton Fisk. Game Six. Still the best.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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