PORTLAND, Maine — October is Dale Arnold's time of year. It's the only month when the four major sports leagues are all playing games at once. And Dale would feel right at home with any of them.
Arnold has been a mainstay of the Boston sports scene for decades. Unlike some broadcasters who restrict themselves to a narrow area of expertise, Arnold is a sports omnivore.
Arnold credits himself as the only sportscaster to have called games for all five of Boston's professional teams: the Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox and Revolution. And even when there is no game being played, he still keeps the conversation going with his midday talk show on WEEI radio.
Arnold's most visible job is with NESN as the cable network's host of its Bruins coverage. NESN is a media partner with NEWS CENTER Maine. But Arnold's Maine ties go much deeper.
Arnold grew up in the Brunswick-Topsham area. He's an alumnus of Mt. Ararat High School and Bowdoin College. He stayed local to launch his career in 1979 as the radio voice of the Maine Mariners. He honed his skills for seven years in Portland until the big leagues of broadcasting came calling in 1986.
Arnold renewed his relationship with the Mariners on Friday, October 25, returning to the Cross Insurance Arena as the team's guest of honor. He dropped the puck to begin the game between the Mariners and Newfoundland Growlers. After signing autographs for his fans, Arnold couldn't resist slipping back into his old seat in the broadcast booth for a few minutes of play-by-play. The Mariners did their prodigal son proud by winning, 5-2.
Among his many obligations at the game, Arnold also spared time to talk to NEWS CENTER Maine about the state of Boston sports. Of course, hockey was foremost on his mind.
"The mileage on [Zdeno] Chara is more of a concern than the mileage on [Tuukka] Rask. I mean, Chara is 42 years old, obviously. They're one of the best teams in the National Hockey League. They were a Stanley Cup finalist last June, lost on June 12th to the St. Louis Blues. They're considered by Vegas oddsmakers, probably the 2nd or 3rd or 4th favorite in the NHL right now. They're pretty good. They’ve got some depth issues at the moment. They’ve got some guys out hurt. If they can stay healthy, they’re probably one of the teams to beat at least in the East. And then you’ve got to decide who you play in the West."
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
"Right now, I don’t think anybody’s equipped to beat them. They’ve got a defense that is historic. The things that they’re doing defensively, you haven’t seen happen in the National Football League in decades. You’ve got some concerns offensively, I understand that. You would think Mohamed Sanu would come in and give them a boost offensively. But defensively, they’re going to be able to overcome any other deficiencies. They're gonna be the team to beat and Vegas agrees with me, by the way. They’re the team to beat in the NFL."
"I think the concern if you’re a Celtics fan is you’ve just paid Jaylen Brown a whole bunch of money, $28 million a year, and he’s never made an all-star game. If you think about that from a Celtics perspective, he better be good and he better be good quickly. If you looked at the Sixers game, they looked like they had a huge size disadvantage. But the Sixers are huge to begin with. You think the chemistry is going to be better than last year was with Kemba Walker replacing Kyrie Irving. But you’ve still got some concerns if you’re a Celtics fan whether or not you’re ready to make that next step. I don’t think they are yet, by the way. I think they’ve got some more moves yet to make."
BOSTON RED SOX
"The Red Sox have a lot of things they have to get done here and in a very short period of time. They’ve got to decide if they can sign Mookie Betts to a contract extension. And if they can’t I think they’ve got to trade him. They've got to decide if they want to keep Jackie Bradley, Jr. in center field -- great glove, small bat. Do they need to move on from him? They’ve got a new general manager who is taking over for Dave Dombrowski. He better hit the ground running. He’s got pitching decisions to make. They didn’t have a closer. Their bullpen was lacking. They had injuries to Chris Sale and David Price. They’ve gotta kinda figure that stuff out if they want to get an opportunity to get back in a contending position in the American League."
Having missed the playoffs, the Red Sox were the only Boston team to sit out the month of October. The last two MLB teams left standing will close out the 2019 baseball season in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday, October 30. But at least Arnold and his fellow sports fans still have hockey, football, and basketball to sustain through the long New England winter.