It was supposed to be a feel-good introductory interview–nothing more than another early spring piece of fluff so light it would float right up off the newspage or the screen of a mobile device and vanish into thin air like a soapy bubble on a windy summer’s day.
It was supposed to be a simple wet kiss designed to warm the heart; soothe the soul; and provide elixir to the worried minds of a Red Sox Nation that is just a tad bit more skeptical and on edge than normal.
There would be all the requisite nods to all the facilitating chums within the organization, including CEO and president Larry Lucchino. If readers were lucky, maybe a couple veiled insults hurled toward those rat bastard New York Yankees, the Athens to Boston’s Sparta. If readers weren’t, a couple of ill-fitting allusions to heartbreaking losses in baseball (or basketball or football) games played 10 or 20 years before.
But something went horribly wrong for the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy on Tuesday morning, when he showed up at Fenway Park for a scheduled sit-down with Fenway Park’s latest celebrity, the 100th Anniversary Brick Wall.
The facade, constructed on the strength of fan donations and filled with engraved messages, well-wishes and heart-felt Thank Yous from Sox enthusiasts, just stared back at the veteran pundit. It uttered not a word. It provided the writer not a single platitude that could be regurgitated as filler. It sat there, stoic, looking ever forward and literally stonewalled its visitor’s advances.
The only witness to the standoff was a maintenance crew that was recently hired to replace concession stand signage with revised price points for the 2012 season.
Said one crew member: “Mr. Shaughnessy looked visibly upset. He kept screaming how ridiculous it was that he had flown all the way up here from Florida for this. The only noise his tape recorder picked up other than his flailing voice musta been the buzz of our drills.”
In response to this public affront, Shaughnessy has begun penning a scathing column denouncing the Anniversary Brick Wall as a Know-it-All Prima Donna unworthy of Boston fans’ adoration. The piece is expected to run on the front page of the Sunday Sports section this weekend.
Said one Globe insider: “This is going to be the rip job to end all rip jobs. I don’t know what this brick wall was thinking shunning the city’s most well-known columnist. Dan Shaughnessy is an institution around here. He is THE voice of Red Sox fans. I don’t see why the thing couldn’t just give him five minutes.”
The column places Shaughnessy at odds with the ballpark he once loved so much he that he penned several heart-rending “Save Fenway”-themed editorials in the mid-1990s. But it would appear the love affair is officially over. One club official expressed sadness for the situation.
“I’ve never seen such vitriol devoted to a non-load-bearing structure. I mean, this Anniversary Wall might still have that New Car Feeling to it, but Shaughnessy had this riot act written before the cement had even dried. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s just hate for the sake of hate.”
However, one high-ranking Globe editor disagreed. “This is an exceptional piece of work. We’ve already begun filling out the paperwork to enter the piece for all the relevant industry awards and accolades.”
As one media critic pointed out, “Nobody expects newspapers to be edgy these days. I think this is going to shock people. This is a sledgehammering in word form. An absolute takedown of a subject selfishly trying to rest its laurels on the hype surrounding it. Dan shot holes in that wall like he was Ben Affleck at the end of The Town. Bravo, Dan. Bravo.”