Sunday colimn

Sunday colimn

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.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.