Sixteen for 2016…people/teams/storylines to keep an eye on for the next year.
— #1 Red Sox DH David Ortiz: What will the Big Papi Farewell Tour be like? How serious will he take his last season? Go all out to ensure hall of fame status or a constant parade of smiles and selfie-taking? The Red Sox need a strong year from him.
— #2 Mr. Basketball: I went into the season thinking Nick Gilpin is the frontrunner and I still think he is…but what about Brewer’s Matt Pushard, Oxford Hills’ Andrew Flemming, Deering’s Ben Williams, Falmouth’s Tom Coyne…it’s going to be interesting.
— #3 Celtics Prez/GM Danny Ainge: Write down this date/time…February 18/3pm. That is the NBA trade deadline and Danny Ainge needs to decide if it’s time to pull the trigger on a trade or make this season yet another season on the road to rebuilding. Celtic nation is growing impatient.
— #4 The 50th GBO: They will tee it up at Bangor Muni for the 50th time July 20-23. The entire golf community needs to make sure this one is special. Put out a call for former GBOers like Keegan Bradley, Sean O’Hair or Lanny Wadkins to make appearance leading up to the event. 50 years is big!
— #5 Bangor Pitcher Trevor DeLaite: Just thinking out loud of this…If he dominates this spring like a year ago, does some MLB draft him in June?
— #6 UMaine coach Joe Harasymiak: I think Maine football fans are looking for something different and I think that was part of why he got the gig. A brand new QB? A new style offense? Recruiting a different kind of player? Stay tuned.
— #7 Pats QB Tom Brady: The year ’16 begins with a banged up offensive line. The playoffs lurk ahead. The 50th NFL Super Bowl awaits. And then what? More court rulings? Suspension? Exoneration? Retirement after a Super Bowl win?
— #8 The UMaine Hockey Team: What if…this team can’t improve in the second semester? It can be a long time to October.
— #9 Husson Guard Kenzie Worcester: Can a four-time state high school champion from a tiny town in Northern Maine win both rookie of the year and player of the year in the NAC? Don’t bet against it. Opposition coaches see the impact she has had on the Husson team.
— #10 Broadcaster Dave O’Brien: Don’t underestimate how hard it will be to replace Don Orsillo in the NESN TV Sox booth. Don’t underestimate how good Dave O’Brien is. He is a pro’s pro.
— #11 Broadcaster Tim Neverett: Don’t underestimate how hard it is to sit in the Sox radio booth and fill New England’s summer air waves. Don’t know much about him but I’m guessing he’s a pro’s pro too.
— #12 Golfer Jesse Speirs: Can a young golfer from far north Maine play well enough on the Web.com Tour to earn an invite to a PGA Tour event or two this summer?
— #13 Pitcher Roger Clemens: How many votes will he get for the Baseball Hall of Fame? We will find out this week. One report has 136 of 530 ballots made public has Clemens listed on 49 percent. I know he’s not getting in this year but is the trend?
— #14 The first Class AA Winner: We get the first ever AA hoops champion next month. Will it be a team from the South region like Thornton Academy or Gorham…Or will it be a team from the North region like Portland or Deering?
— #15 The Summer Olympic Games of Rio: Wonder who will emerge as the darlings of these games?
— #16 Pats TE Rob Gronkowski: Who knows what the year will be like for Gronk. You know it will include fun and you know you will want to know about it.