When you’re as determined to provoke as the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, there should be no surprise when the readership reacts accordingly. The Boston Phoenix’s Adam Reilly, however, takes a more reasoned approach, wondering “What is it about Dan Shaughnessy that makes ordinary, peaceable people want to kick his ass?”

Consider this tale from “Cheryl ” a Rhode Island woman who regularly stays in a hotel near Shaughnessy’s during spring training, and asked that her last name not be used. “Every year, I see CHB jogging, ” Cheryl wrote in an e-mail. “In 2006, I’m coming off a 6- or 7-mile fitness walk, and here comes CHB jogging toward me. He had just come out of his hotel and he was so bright red and sweating so profusely that I thought, ˜Oh, God, if he needs CPR I’m not sure I’d offer. . . . . He’s got that red curly hair and that white splotchy skin and he’s all gangly.”

Ponder this for a moment: a trained CPR practitioner thinks she might actually let Shaughnessy die if he dropped to the pavement in front of her. That’ss as bad as it gets.

Too harsh? Tell that to the BarstoolSports.com reader who wrote that he “fucked Shaugnessy’s [sic] wife once when he was away.”

For the sake of the argument, suppose that every single Shaughnessy criticism, even in its most extreme form, has some validity. He’s totally predictable; he wants to be the story; he’s a jerk; he hates the Sox; he’s an old-media dinosaur; he abhors context; he’s Carrot Top’s uglier twin. Does that really make him a “piece of garbage”? Does it justify punching him in the face? Or withholding life-saving first aid as he expires on the sidewalk?

It’s hard to answer this question objectively, because I’m in the same profession as Shaughnessy. But I can say that Shaughnessy’s alleged faults are, to a large extent, the faults of print journalists everywhere. We all develop prose tics and patterns; we’re all kind of annoyed by self-important bloggers; we all like it when our stories make something happen; we all know bad news is more interesting to write about than good. Also, most of us aren’t matinee idols. Shaughnessy’s sins are ours; he is me, on a bad-hair day in 2020.

On a note only slightly related to the above, Carl Everett has hit 3 homers in the past 2 days for the Long Island Ducks (the Atlantic League club recently profiled by Page 2’s Jeff Pearlman). Jurassic Carl is hitting .275 with 8 homers and 25 RBI’s in 36 games, and could well be this season’s next Jack Cust for a big league team needing some pop. Albeit a much older, angrier Jack Cust.