baseball was so fun, all they had to do was go out there between the
lines and get it on?! I guess as the world gets crazier, we
shouldn't be surprised to see the sports world follow suit. I'm just
sad that as my son gets older he'll read in the sports pages about
lawsuits, mega-stars in trouble with the law, cheaters, etc.,
instead of just sports. With all that being said, I'm still glad
there are a few players who realize that the game is so much more
important than they are and they continue to play it at a
professional level. Let's get after it…
Cubs limp into the break
With longtime hero
Sammy Sosa batting .347, including 12 homers and 24 RBIs in 25 games
since his little bat incident, you would think that his Chicago Cubs
would be on a roll. That is not the case. The Cubs lost three of
four to Atlanta and 13 of their last 19 and now find themselves
three games behind the Houston Astros.
predicted a showdown between those two clubs; we'll see if that
materializes (he hadn't counted on the Cards making such a run
through all their injuries). Mostly I think that the Cubs are just a
little weary right now. Other teams had their dry spells earlier in
the year, while the Cubbies have just hit theirs now.
Take heart, Cub fans.
ESPN's Rob Dibble still thinks the Cubs will win the division,
"hands down"! If you're looking for more and better solid proof, you
might glance at the schedules. St. Louis has a brutal schedule the
rest of the way. Houston and Chicago should have the edge there.
You have to love
Chicago's starting rotation, and if you can eat up innings in late
July and August, that's where pennants are won!
Cards show signs of life with sweep
of the Pads
After you felt that
the NL West had just knocked the Cards out of contention, St. Louis
goes out and sweeps the San Diego Padres.
It couldn't have come
at a better time. The bullpen woes have continued, starters are
starting to get knocked around, and now we hear that Ricky Ankiel
will not be rejoining the club. Instead, he had season-ending
surgery on his elbow. Can anything else happen to this kid? Talk
about the king of bad luck. This guy may be a train wreck waiting to
happen. It's a good thing that the Redbirds' everyday lineup
outscored a lot of opponents or the Cards might already be out of
If Albert Pujols
isn't one of the two or three best players in the game right now, we
don't know who is. He hit his first ever walk-off home run Saturday
night to help ensure the sweep. Jim Edmonds has hit safely in
something like 10 games. And what can you say about the production
of Bo Hart since his call-up? Not only has he hit the cover off the
ball, but his steady and sometimes flashy defensive play of late
have caused many to take notice.
However, if the Birds
don't get healthy fast, is it even realistic to think they will hang
around in this race for long? Especially when you consider starting
the second half with a grueling seven-game road swing out on the
West Coast. Take heart though, Redbird rooters, your Birds have a
combined 100-53 record over the last two years during the second
halves. If they can replicate those numbers once again, I'll feel a
lot better about their chances.
[to top of second column in this
I guess Lon Kruger
was right. He once told me when I asked him if summer basketball was
overkill, "What do you think the kids in Indiana and Michigan do
during the summer?" I wanted to tell him that I really don't care
what those jokers do! However, professional decorum wouldn't allow
At any rate, I got a
sneak peak at some of the nation's hottest prep stars this past
week. I was working long hours at LCC's booth at our churches'
national convention in Indianapolis. Just three or four blocks away
was the famous Nike camp for high school hoops superstars. I skipped
a lunch and moseyed on over to the camp.
My personal highlight
was watching part of the action with former Illini coach, Bill Self.
I know that some of you hate him and never want to see him or hear
about him again. I can't do that. I got too close to him and I value
his friendship. In fact, after seeing him this week, I finally feel
some closure about this whole thing.
I also met the new
brain trust of the Illini, Bruce Weber, and his assistant, Jay
Price. They wouldn't share their notes, but they seemed to be
watching a lot of the same guys that Pitino, Williams and Izzo were
watching. I'll write more about this in future editions.
--Lance Armstrong has
captured the yellow jersey three to four days sooner than he did the
last two years! Could he really win the Tour de France again
--How 'bout the play
of Kenny Perry? He is now getting so confident that he might be able
to pull off a major!
easily won the Champions Tour event because he developed the hottest
putter that he's displayed in years.
--Not lost in the
shuffle was the continued hot play of Tom Watson. I don't know if
he's playing well because his caddie is sick or what, but he seems
to be on fire every week.
--Ernie Els won the
Scottish Open and awaits Tiger at the British. Phil has been quietly
working on his game on his own.
Bill Hull, who recently visited the St. Andrews course, told me he
doesn't know how anybody can hit golf shots into that wind,
especially that north wind off the ocean!
--If you're looking
for a nice way to cool off this summer and no one will take you to
the British Open, check out one of our local swimming pools. Both
the Rec pool and the Elk's seem to be operating at full capacity and
loom as a great way to beat the heat!
That's it for me… Have a great week,