Fall is here, but don’t expect me to book any trips to check out the foliage. After the first six trees, it gets old quickly.

It’s the most beautiful time of year in Maine and it is also a special time in sports with the summer sports winding down; the fall sports in full swing and the winter sports in the on-deck circle.

For those of you who, like me, take pleasure in watching professional golfers make shots I’ll never be able to make, there is nothing that compares to the enjoyment of the Ryder Cup.

The four majors are fun but to take an individual sport and transform it into a team sport elevates it to a new level of viewing enjoyment.

The normally polite golf crowds take on the fervor and passion of other sports, within reason that is.

And the golfers, like charismatic American hillbilly Boo Weekley, are more than happy to urge them on.

The crowd became the extra man for the U.S. team in their triumph over the European stars.

It was wonderful drama and showed an intriguing side of patriotism on both sides of the Atlantic……..

It looks like our beloved Boston Red Sox are going to be the wild card and earn the trip to Anaheim for a best-of-five American League playoff series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

I still don’t understand the name.

Why wouldn’t we call our team the New England Red Sox of Boston?

The Angels would appear to be a much more formidable opponent than the Chicago White Sox/Minnesota Twins survivor, but you’d probably have to beat the Angels to get to the World Series anyway.

The pressure would be on the Angels and they haven’t been a good playoff team of late.

Pitching dominates in the playoffs and the Red Sox trio of Josh Beckett, despite Monday’s loss to Cleveland, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka is as good, if not better than any other trio in the majors.

When you consider the injuries endured by the Red Sox (i.e. Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz, Julio Lugo); the departure of selfish slugger Manny Ramirez and the bullpen woes, the Red Sox have displayed an admirable resiliency.

Justin Masterson seems to have supplied them with that reliable and crucial bridge between the starters and Jonathan Papelbon. Middle relievers Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez and Hideki Okajima have been throwing their best of late after spending most of the season sending us into expletive-laden outbursts.

The Red Sox also have one of the best fielding percentages in major league baseball.

It will all come down to their ability to hit in the clutch……

Do the New England Patriots have you worried after last Sunday’s humiliation at the hands of the Miami Dolphins? The answer is yes.

We saw signs of an aging defense and inconsistent offensive line at the end of last season including the Super Bowl loss to the Giants.

Games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. If you can’t move the ball and protect your quarterback, your defense spends way too much time on the field.

And if you can’t generate a pass rush, you are in deep trouble. New York Jets cast-off Chad Pennington went 17-for-20 and some trick plays totally confused the Pats defense.

If Tom Brady was healthy, the Pats probably would have won. But it would have been a 35-31 shoot-out.

The defensive woes need to be addressed. You won’t go far without a strong defense and pass rush.