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[Click here for a picture page,
"Coaches and players gear up for LCHS football 2001," posted Aug. 15.]

‘Mommy Said No’ racing update

[AUG. 14, 2001]

Whitney Siltman took a fourth-place finish in junior dragster racing on Saturday in Mason City, maintaining the lead in the points race by about 20, according to her father, Mike Siltman. The Siltmans also came home with a win in the "shoot out" contest, determined by which of all the cars gets closest to their dial-in and shows the best reaction time.

[Whitney Siltman wins trophies with "Mommy Said No."]

Cook, USA take the gold

[AUG. 13, 2001]  The USA completed an 8-0 sweep of the best basketball teams in the world by dusting off Croatia 89-80 in Japan to claim the world basketball championship. 

The gold-medal performance was just the second time in the illustrious history of the tournament that Team USA captured the top spot. The Americans also brought home the gold in 1993, when the tourney was in Spain.

Lincoln’s Brian Cook turned in a spectacular performance in the quarterfinal 110-83 drubbing of 2000 European champion Slovenia. Cook’s line was 10 points, a team-leading nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. His statistics from the semis and the finals were not available at posting time.

[Jeff Mayfield]

Area Cub fans enjoy view from the top

By Jeff Mayfield

[AUG. 2, 2001]  As I talk with area baseball fans, I find that many are disappointed with the White Sox and the Cardinals, while others are thrilled with the success of the Cubs. Of course we here at the LDN have been telling anyone who would listen that we felt that this could be the Cubs’ year. That prediction is looking better every minute, especially after they went down to Houston and came away with the split. That was HUGE!

Why did we feel so good about Chicago’s chances this year? It started with their off-season front office moves. Everything they did seemed to make sense to us, and — without being too offensive — that has rarely happened. Shoring up their pitching staff first and plugging their lineup deficiencies next is the type of thing that will not only help them to stay in the race this year, but it will also enable them to compete for the immediate future as well. Isn’t this what all good teams do consistently? They don’t mortgage the future for a chance to finish .500.

As a baseball fan, I applaud the moves they made. I know it wasn’t easy. They had to be crying in their cold frosty ones when they let Mark Grace slip away to Arizona. But isn’t it interesting that they’re having one of their best years ever without him. That may not be just a coincidence. In an upcoming story, the LDN hopes to prove how the addition of even one player here or the subtraction of another player there can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

We knew the Cubs meant business when they acquired Bill Mueller from the Giants and Matt Stairs from the As. These guys were not just good players, they came from "winning" organizations. Mueller carried the Cubs for almost two months, and when he went down he was hitting .317 and playing terrific defense. Stairs has contributed 10 home runs, and his 41 RBIs are second in the ball club. And although he won’t make you forget Gracie down at first, he’s certainly been solid.

Rondell White and Ricky Gutierrez haven’t been chopped liver either. Ricky is tied for second in RBIs with Stairs at 41, and White has banged out 13 dingers (second behind Sosa) to go along with his .302 average and 36 RBIs. Ron Coomer, Eric Young and Gary Matthews have all had their moments too. In fact this Cub conglomerate is a true epitome team. One guy does the damage today and another guy comes through tomorrow.

And what can you say about Sammy? Can you say "one of the most underrated superstars in professional sports"? All we know here at the LDN is that the guy bats over .300, hits a million homers and drives in a few million runs. For you purists, Sammy’s numbers are actually .302 with 34 taters and 98 RBIs. Not to mention a few great plays in the outfield on a pretty regular basis.

As a matter of fact, I’ve only been watching baseball for 41 or 42 years, and the kind of defense that the Cubs have displayed so far this year has been as good as I’ve seen. If I’m wrong, would you agree that it has helped get them this far, so far?

And the pitching staff has been downright amazing. Their miniscule 3.72 ERA is second only to the "best pitching staff money can buy" — that of none other than the Atlanta Braves. Cub pitchers are first in wins, third in saves, and first in runs allowed and in strikeouts. I’m not too smart about sports, but aren’t these the most important categories out there? Tom "Flash" Gordon has 19 saves. Area product Jeff Fassero has 11, and most of those were big, while the Cubbies were waiting for the Flashman to return. Kerry Wood, Jason Bere and Kevin Tapani have made major contributions and at times have probably deserved a better fate. Kyle Farnsworth and Todd Van Poppel have been better than anyone hoped for, except for maybe Greg Taylor. And Jon Leiber has simply been unhittable most of the time.


[to top of second column in this article]

Some fans were waiting for the Cubs to collapse in June while others were expecting a July swoon. Now I hear some talking about the wheels coming off in August. The LDN doesn’t think so. We still see the Cubs in the playoffs. How far they go may be the real story.

Some concerns still do remain. Their hitting woes at times have reached the anemic stage. They’re in the bottom half of most team hitting stats. If they could really pull off the trade for Fred McGriff or some other slugger, that would really improve their chances of going deeper into the playoffs. Don’t hold your breath for Jason Giambi. While many of us would like to see him hitting some bombs for our favorite team, his Oakland As have snuck back into the wild-card race. I don’t see the Cubs landing him this season.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to add maybe one more pitcher to the mix either. Maybe someone who could eat up a lot of innings in long relief and maybe deliver a respectable spot start here and there the rest of the way.

But anyway you slice it, if you’re a Cubs fan, you gotta be loving this season. The LDN encourages you to stop with the gloom and doom. Part of the enjoyment of any achievement is the journey. The Illini hoopsters had a great year even though they lost in the Elite Eight, but it was a great ride. A few years ago when our Railer hoopster teams went to state, we didn’t win the championship, but they were the adventure of a lifetime.

On behalf of the LDN: Cub fans, enjoy the ride!

[Jeff Mayfield]



While yesterday’s one-run loss, 4-3, due to late-game errors against the San Diego Padres, left the Cubbies stinging, it was only their fourth loss in 11 games. It still leaves northern Illinois’ favorite National League ball team in first place in the Central region.

National League, Central Division standings

L Pct. GB
Chicago 62 44 .585  0
Houston 58 49 .542  4.5
St. Louis 54 51 .514 7.5
Milwaukee 45 60 .429 16.5
Cincinnati 43 63 .406 19
Pittsburgh 41 65 .387 21




3-on-3 basketball at Delavan Fall Festival

[JULY 17, 2001]  A 3-on-3 basketball tournament will be part of the Delavan Fall Festival on Saturday, Sept. 1.

There will be numerous divisions for males and females age 8 and up. This is a double-elimination tournament with awards to first-, second- and third-place teams in each division. Each player will also receive a T-shirt.

The tournament will include 3-point contests and free-throw contests throughout the day, with prizes awarded.

For more information or to obtain an entry form, call Jack Wheeler at (309) 244-9881 or Dennis Moehring at (309) 244-9241. Entries must be received by Friday, Aug. 17.

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