October has arrived. Time to enjoy some comfort food and fatten up for the impending, endless winter.

With that in mind, three square meals, inspired by weekend leftovers, for your rumination and (in)digestion:

• There is a growing fan frenzy for the Boston Red Sox to cut ties with ailing manager John Farrell and remove the interim tag from Torey Lovullo’s job title. It isn’t going to happen after Sunday’s announcements about next year’s staffing, but I can’t even believe it was an issue.

This movement was based on three circumstances: A) Farrell’s last-place finish in 2014 and another sub-.500 start this season prior to his medical leave; B) Lovullo’s role in resurrecting a young team and trying to spare the Sox from residency in the cellar for the third time in four seasons; and C) The idea that ‘B’ makes Lovullo a hot commodity for another team, maybe the Tigers or Nationals, to whisk away.

It’s unfair on multiple levels, not the least of which is that being Wally Pipped while you’re undergoing cancer treatment seems to exceed “it’s strictly business” boundaries.

Farrell simply supervised the team that upper management assigned to him, one that was overflowing with stopgap types brought on board to give the kids another year to mature at Pawtucket, in a perfect world. So you’re going to punish him for the non-performance of chronic non-performers? Please.


Stacking up Farrell and Lovullo’s records is an apples-to-oranges comparison, because they were working with distinctly different rosters. Farrell hasn’t had a fair opportunity yet to work with the full collection of studs whose promotion we’d all been coveting as the future of the franchise.

Teams tend to rally around such trauma as was dealt to Farrell, also. It is likely that his bad hand was the impetus for Lovullo shaking the Sox out of their collective funk and making them one of the best teams in the American League since late July. That, despite a lack of trades at the deadline that would be deemed beneficial.

Oh, and Farrell does have a World Series ring. We tend to forget these things in live-in-the-moment New England. The Sox announced Thursday that he will get at least one more year to make this work with all the pieces in place, and he deserves that. This weekend, along with the foolish decision to dump first base coach Arnie Beyeler, they confirmed that Lovullo will stay Farrell’s right-hand man, 

If it works, great. If it doesn’t, then dismiss Farrell, promote Lovullo and enjoy a decade or more of Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Henry Owens. Great organizations do business the right way, and that is the only right way.

• Prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Austin Theriault of Fort Kent, who was fortunate to climb out of his wrecked ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway late Saturday night.

Contact from the out-of-control truck of teammate Tyler Reddick sent Theriault head-on into the concrete retaining wall. As was the case in recent high-profile crashes involving NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, Theriault ran into a portion of the wall that is not protected by the impact-reducing SAFER barriers that are installed at most major speedways.


This is inexplicable in light of the obvious benefits of those so-called “soft walls.” They are assuredly a predominant factor in NASCAR’s zero-fatality record in its top three series since Dale Earnhardt’s last-lap demise in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Some tracks have installed the technology in locations that appear to harbor the highest risk for accidents. But Busch’s wreck at Daytona — one that resulted in multiple broken bones and sidelined him for three months — was an example of how Murphy’s Law governs these situations. Wherever you can’t imagine a car careening out of bounds at full speed is precisely where it will happen.

It is also hard to comprehend Las Vegas’ strategy regarding the SAFER barrier, since Theriault’s misadventure happened in one of the turns where contact seems most likely. Fortunately the other technology that became ubiquitous after Earnhardt’s death, specifically the mandatory head-and-neck restraints, spared the young Mainer’s life. Given the millions upon millions of dollars these competitors supply both NASCAR and its affiliate speedways, there is no excuse in 2015 for any of these walls being exposed concrete.

Theriault was airlifted to a local hospital, where a CT scan revealed a compression fracture in his lower back. He was released and will consult with an orthopedic specialist to begin his recovery. Time will heal. Thank God for giving A.T. that time.

• Congratulations to Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School basketball star Andrew Fleming, who announced Saturday that he will continue his career at the University of Maine next year.

We don’t get many chances to enjoy homegrown Division I athletes in Maine, but our tri-county region has enjoyed an admirable run over the past three decades. On the hardwood, Fleming follows in the footsteps of Rumford’s Andy Bedard, Winthrop’s T.J. Caouette, Auburn’s Troy Barnies and Dixfield’s Tom Knight. Barnies and Knight continue to shine professionally in Europe along with Nik Caner-Medley of Portland.


All those men had undeniable talent, but their intelligence and work ethic are what made them special. Fleming shares those qualities, and they will serve him well as he represents himself and his community in Black Bears blue.

This has been a prolific stretch for Oxford Hills. Fleming is the third scholarship athlete to sign on at Maine in less than a year, joining Davis Turner (football) and Mikayla Morin (women’s soccer). He will become at least the fifth Viking to play in Orono since the turn of the century.

Other parts of the state have greater wealth. Most other areas of the country have higher population, more resources and therefore a superior overall level of high school athletic competition. But we have good people, good families and good coaches here. We maximize what we have and do a lot of things well. Be proud.

Kalle Oakes is a staff writer. His email is koakes@sunjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Oaksie72 and like his fan page at www.facebook.com/kalleoakes.sj.