My tag line at the end of this column encourages you to stay in touch with me on Twitter, and there’s a reason for it.

Because at this point in my life, I like it better than writing columns.

Kalle Oakes, Sports Columnist

It’s punchy, it’s reactive, and it’s interactive, yet after the increase from 120 to 240 characters a couple years ago, it can be borderline thoughtful.

And I’m not going to lie to you, folks: For all October’s reputation as a golden time of year, with every major professional sport in season and the scholastic sports year well underway, I can’t think of any one topic that inspires me to fire off a thousand words at the moment.

For five glorious minutes or so, however, you can keep reading and enjoy a little taste of what it would be like to sit next to me at a sports bar.

Here’s my social media feed at this very moment, all within the boundaries of the dreaded character limit. “Don’t @ me,” as the youngsters say. Enjoy the nods of agreement and fits of rage you experience as a result.

• Sick of hearing “The Sox can’t keep both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez.” Boston and New York are playing with Monopoly money. Luxury tax clearly hasn’t been an impediment to this point. It costs $5,000 for Joe Q. Public to attend a game. Somebody’s making the necessary coin.

• Without the Sox in the mix, I admit to having watched precious little of the MLB playoffs. Whenever I see “on this day in history” statuses, ALCS and World Series highlights from the first week in October are plentiful. The current format is simply way too darned long.

• But I have watched highlights and read accounts, so let me add that If you’re upset with Yankees fans for heckling a Twins pitcher over his former job as an Uber driver, you’re the problem with America. Stop trying to be offended by everything, and please grow a sense of humor.

• Hope the Patriots’ signing of Mike Nugent stops the fair-weather fools who want Stephen Gostkowski tarred and feathered every time he misses a kick. When healthy, he’s among the best in a business in which there aren’t even 32 qualified practitioners on the planet at any given time.

• New England looks a little discombobulated offensively, but that isn’t alarming or unusual, if you look at their history of eventually exceeding the sum of their parts. The past two weeks are probably the price they paid for the Antonio Brown signing. And getting home won’t hurt.

• The number of people who panicked after a sub-par Patriots’ offensive performance against the Bills is mind-boggling. Has anybody paid attention for, oh, I dunno, the past 20 years? Any division win, especially on the road, is a great win, no matter the opponent or the history.

• Pro football is hard. Too many people look at an opponent such as Miami or Washington and assume it’s going to be 56-3. Pride and the law of averages say otherwise. It isn’t going to be Alabama vs. New Mexico State every time the Pats are a double-digit favorite.

• When was the last time University of Maine football had relevant back-to-back seasons? Not 2018-19. Hard to stay consistent, even in FCS, when you’re 500 miles from that talent base and relying on overachievers. It’s why Joe Harasymiak struck while the professional iron was hot.

• Anyone who thinks they’re going to beat the Houston Astros in a five, seven or 162-game series is out of their mind. You can study analytics until you have a doctorate in it. The basics of October baseball haven’t changed. Verlander, Cole and Greinke are simply too tough.

• Wouldn’t have known otherwise, but social media told me that the NHL christened its season this past week. It was 98 degrees in Kentucky. Always amused that a sport whose regular schedule is dwarfed by playoffs that drag into mid-June insists on dropping the puck Oct. 2.

• Hoping for the sake of hoop fans that last month’s chatter about a possible Red Claws move to Worcester was smoke without fire. Nothing would surprise me, though. Other than the Sea Dogs, who benefit from baseball nostalgia, minor-league sports don’t age well in Maine.

• I feel for the MPA in the no-win situation of prohibiting Leavitt’s Jonathan Schomaker from competing with a wheelchair at championship cross country meets. Blame litigious society, if anything, for it having to legislate safety. I do wonder if a compromise has been overlooked.

• Maine field hockey and other professional hand-wringers need to quit swinging at low-hanging fruit and drop the Kent State episode. It was hideous site management, nothing more. Men’s soccer, lacrosse or rugby would have been treated the same way. Football drives the bus.

• Seeing the Oxford Hills-Edward Little story reminded me that I love the Vikings’ tradition of playing homecoming on Saturday afternoon. High school football in the south is awesome, but they all play on Friday night, and it removes a certain amount of fall Americana from the mix.

• Leave my old buddy Randy Whitehouse alone, Telstar peeps, and spend some time reviewing the finer points of satire and sarcasm while you’re at it. His column was a brilliantly written defense of your resurgent football program. I’m proud of you for saving it by going eight-man.

• Speaking of which, I hope Dirigo’s recent forfeiture of its final seven games cures other football programs in a similar situation of their sinful pride. It’s simple math, folks. Eight is greater than zero. Being able to play this great game in some format should be the goal.

Kalle Oakes spent 27 years in the Sun Journal sports department. He is now sports editor of the Georgetown (Kentucky) News-Graphic. Keep in touch with him on Twitter @oaksie72 or by email at [email protected]


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