By Tom E. Curran1. How's your Sunday? I would be remiss if I didn't share with you the staggeringly honest obituary of Robert Hunley right here. 2. I flew out to Seattle Saturday night on JetBlue - a direct flight that landed at around 2 a.m. EST. Fortunately for me, I got an empty row near the back and was able to hog all three TVs on the seatbacks in front of me. It was like Vegas. Without the gambling. And the lights. And a lot of other things. But what happens in Row 24 stays in Row 24. One more note from the sojourn - the snacks and waters were kept in the overhead compartment of Row 24. That meant, during a six-hour flight, the compartment opened several times. And it was closed several times. Hard. Hard enough to get me to pop at least three inches off the seat every time the thing slammed like a rifle shot 30 inches over my head. I can't be sure, but I believe there wasmalicious intent on the part of the flight attendants. 3. Oh yeah, football. Rob Gronkowski had one of the greatest statistical years in NFL history for a tight end in 2011. So I've been looking at his 2012 statisticalperformance thinking it's been really good, but not quite as good as 2011in relative terms. Actually, there's very little difference statistically through five games. Through five in 2012, Gronk's been targeted 34 times, has 23 catches for 295 yards and three touchdowns. In 2011, the numbers were 31, 22, 327 andfive. 4. Wes Welker? If you remember, he was absurdly productive early in 2011. At this point he had 65 (!!) targets for 45 catches, for 740 yards (!!!) and five touchdowns. Currently, he's 52, 38, 484 and 1. If there's ever been a more statistically impressive five-game stretch for a wideout in NFL history, INEED to see it. 5. Two Seahawks defenders to keep an eye onSunday: Kam Chancellor and Red Bryant. Chancellor fascinates the hell out of me because he's so damn big - 6-3, 232 - and can really be a physical presence in the middle of the field whether at strong safety or as an extra coverage linebacker. Bryant was a target of the Patriots this offseason. Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com came to Seattle early and caught up with Bryanton Friday. According to Bryant, it came down to family but he told Reiss, "the likelihood of me going there was high." Bryant signed a five year deal that could check in around 35 million when all is said and done. The 28-year-old defensive lineman is 6-3, 323 and models his game after Ty Warren. 6. Players need to cut the crap with the Adderall excuse. The first time I heard it, it came from Brandon Spikes two years ago. And it seemed a plausible oversight. Rookie player, didn't want anyone to know he had ADD medication, didn't know it was viewed as a performance enhancer because it's a stimulant. Now, every time a player gets pinched for a four-game performance enhancer suspension, he blames Adderall. And nobody knows if that's the truth or not because the NFL doesn't say what a guy gets bounced for. Nor should they. But any player who truly does getsuspended forusing Adderall should fire his agent immediately. What are the guys there for if not to shepherd young players through the do's and don'ts of being in the league, the need to disclose ALL medicines and a word to the wise about Adderall. 7. Not having Donta Hightower to aid and abet in bringing down Marshawn Lynchon Sunday is a bad deal. You need all the meat you can bring against him. It will be interesting to see if Steve Gregory is the starting free safety. Tavon Wilson played adequately last week and Gregory was not as impactful as I thought he was going to be when he was on the field. 8. Ryan Wendell and Nate Solder. Pretty much just fine so far. 9. Which reminds me, with the Patriots running for almost 500 yards the past two weeks and leading the NFL in almost every offensive category, the royal screwing they supposedly gave to The Reluctant Guard Brian Waters hasn't been a cause celebre lately. Seems just yesterdaywe heardscreams demanding Bill Belichick crawl to Denton, Texas, make things right and drop rose petals in front of Waters' every step for the rest of the season.A mean andvengeful Belichick, not giving a raise to a guy who didn't want to play football here. Well, I guess that's passed.
Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.
All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.
I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.
What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.
All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?
"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''
Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.
Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.
“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”
On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.
Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.
In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.
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