Central gets wackier…
Just when you thought you might have a
handle on the Central Division in both leagues, they both turned
wackier. Let's handicap them the rest of the way:
Houston: Still our odds-on choice to
win it. But, have pitchers who are still trying to find themselves?
Maybe enough pitching and too many big bats to be denied.
Chicago: Now there is no doubt… The
best starting pitching in the division, if not the game. Should have
enough bat strength to contend to the end. Cubs are way overdue at
Busch. Dusty could be the "X" factor!
St. Louis: Win it or lose it, Tony has
done a remarkable job with this injured and hobbled mob. Sometimes
he and Dave out-manage themselves, but maybe that's due to
patchworking these lineups (however, I STILL wouldn't have pitched
to Thome on Friday). At any rate, Pujols looks like he's out of gas,
and how many more players are near the same condition? The good
thing is they seem to control their own destiny. Help like they got
from DeJean (who recorded his first STL save and 19th on the season
yesterday) could make the difference.
AL Chicago: Many left the Sox for dead
BEFORE the season even began. Others have been doing it weekly,
since the Jerry Manual death watch has been a regular routine.
Methinks that the Sox have enough offense, but will their pitching
hold out? I'd love to see it, but those sneaky Twins are lurking…
Minnesota: Gardenhire fired up his team
by calling them out a few weeks ago, and they have responded like
gang busters! They're an exciting young team that plays good defense
and is fundamentally sound. If this race goes the distance, don't
count them out. I would pencil them in as the team to beat because,
despite their youth, they do have the experience.
Kansas City: If Tony Pena is not the
manager of the year, then I ought to be the coach of the Lakers (can
anyone in LDN-land set that gig up for me?)! Of the six teams I've
talked about, Pena's club is the loosest! The chemistry he has built
with the Royals is astonishing. They have believed all year, but
sometimes it's hard to believe in September.
Wild cards: If you think that the
Centrals are wacky, then don't even bother to look at the wild card
races. They are plain sick! Of course I'd love to see Oakland win it
in the AL if they can't surpass Seattle in the division, but don't
count out Boston. They seem to be on roll of late. Philadelphia
looked like world beaters when St. Louis was in town last week, but
they looked a lot more vulnerable this weekend. I'd like to glance
in a crystal ball somewhere and tell you what I see, but I can't
figure these wacky races out at all. My advice… Pick 'em!!!
Clarke beats Tiger again
Going into this weekend, Darren Clarke
had won one PGA tour event and he beat Tiger Woods to do it. He did
it again this week. I guess you can now officially say that Tiger is
in a slump. Notice that I said, "You can say"! (I don't want
Woods to look me up at the Elks; I have enough trouble on my own!)
Clarke also disposed of Singh, Love and Riley along the way to
collecting his cool million. Don't you think we should have some
LOCAL tourneys where the purse is a million-plus? (And of course we
would use our handicaps, etc.)
[to top of second column in this
Don't know if you noticed it or not,
but the Illinois Fighting Illini hoops squad just returned from
their march through Europe, where they amassed a sparkling
6-0 record. Not a bad start for coach Weber and the boyz! It
appeared as if ALL Illini players were playing well, especially on
the offensive end. Defense still worries me, but I'll give the
coaching staff time to work it out before November.
And speaking of November, because the
Illini took that trip, the NCAA is now saying that Illinois will not
be able to open the season in New York against Pittsburg… What's
that all about? Do you think the NCAA or the IHSA really wants to
mess with the LDN some more? They have taken a beating and they're
back for more???
Illini nearing season opener
The big Mizzou bash looms on the
horizon this Saturday, but of course I'll be skipping it in lieu of
our sesqui parade. Is that commitment or what?! I have been so
removed from the gridders that I have absolutely no feel for what
this team can accomplish. Hopefully, a little trip through last
year's game film was all the motivation the Illini would need, but
you never know. If the defense is better, especially the first four
or five games, then I think Illinois could go 7-5 or slightly
better. However, if it is like it was versus San Jose State and
Michigan, it could be another long year. I am excited about them and
always wish them the best.
eye out for local volleyball, soccer teams
The last few years, Lincoln and Logan
County have been the capital of outstanding prep and collegiate
volleyball. We see no reason whatsoever that that will change this
season. More evidence to support that theory will be arriving here
Also, keep an eye on our local soccer
teams. Many of them are operating with new coaches at the helm who
are ready to make some statements.
In the midst of 100 things going on
this weekend, I did have the opportunity to drop in and say goodbye
at the Brian Cook farewell party. Brian appears poised and primed to
go out and make his own statement in Tinsel Town. Just wanted to
thanks again, BC, for all the fun and all the memories! And
remember, as you and Melissa go west, there are literally hundreds
of people who are cheering and supporting you both!!!
lurking and looming
That's right. Whether you're ready or
not, Greg and I will be piped back into your homes, starting on
Sept. 8. At that time, Greg will update us on the Cubs, the Illini
and the Bears, and Jeff will catch us up with the Railers, the
Cards, the Rams and the Colts (and we're sure that some of our wacky
callers will update us on that cheesy team)! Same bat time, at 6
p.m., and we'll be awaiting your calls at 735-3306.
the LDN hat…
To our local chamber of commerce and to
the hundreds of volunteers who made the art and balloon fest so
great and for getting the sesquicentennial off to a super start! I
truly believe that this is one of the best events in Illinois every
year, and it wouldn't be so if not for the unselfish efforts of so
many. Thanks to all of you for putting so many smiles on so many
faces, especially the younger ones in the crowd!!!
Have a GREAT
week, everybody… and GO Railers and Illini!!! And happy 150th,