Spikes must keep emotions in check on Sunday

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Spikes must keep emotions in check on Sunday

INDIANAPOLIS Brandon Spikes plays at the edge of appropriateness.

Its been a habit of his since Florida where he once served a suspension for eye-gouging a University of Georgia running back.

In the AFC Championship against the Ravens, the second-year linebacker got into it a couple of times with Ravens lineman Marshal Yanda. The second dustup started when Spikes pushed Yanda from behind after the whistle. When Yanda retaliated, Spikes faked a heart attack (another longtime ploy the linebackers cultivated).

On Thursday, after Spikes finished replying to a question with the words Release the beast I asked him if he recalled the issues with Yanda.

Who? he asked. After a few more clues, Spikes said, Oh, the lineman. I dont know names, just numbers.

Asked if he will be able to keep his temper under wraps on Sunday, Spikes said, Absolutely. But Im gonna do business as business is being done. Im pretty sure tempersll be flaring out there. Guys are gonna be riled up, its a big stage. Its gonna be fun, man. Im just bringing everything I got and playing every play like its my last.

Given the way hes courted personal foul penalties this season with after-the-whistle stupidity, Spikes doesnt seem to have an appreciation for the damage a 15-yarder in a game of this magnitude can cause.

And, to hear him tell it, the Patriots coaches didn't bring up the Yanda foolishness either.

"Not that I remember, no," Spikes said when asked if he'd been spoken with. "Did(the officials)throw a flag? No? Well then thats just how the games played."

Perhaps. But it isn't normally played that way after you get tagged a time of two. And Spikes would be smart to think twice before getting involved in any message-sending on Sunday.

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.