I'd like to dedicate this week's
Mutterings in honor of two great men who passed away this week, Gene
Rutledge and Jack McQuellon. Gene is the father of loyal LDN reader
Ken Rutledge (who is the father of former Railer Gabe Rutledge) and
must've been a great guy to have fathered such outstanding children
and grandchildren. McQuellon, as most of you know, had his own
appliance store for several years near Scully Park. My wife and I
rented from him during our first several years back in Lincoln, as
he also had many rental properties and he was a wonderful
landlord. I want to give both of these great men and their
families an LDN salute, as I know they will be sorely missed!
Can I just say to start off 2004 what a
pleasure it is to serve you?! So many of you stop me on the street
or at lunch or take time to write nice, encouraging e-mails. Thanks
for making this experience one of the most pleasurable in my life!
It is especially fun when you present a
valid opposing view so we can hash it out. That's one of the many
reasons that sports are so fun. I also like to remind our readers
that we have a limited staff and a very limited budget. In addition
those who write on sports have young families, and their time is at
a premium. Our dream and vision is to someday try to cover
extensively most of the area's junior high and high school activity,
as well as continuing to broaden our college exposure.
That is a mammoth undertaking, and
unfortunately we're a long way from our goals at this time. Our
editors, Jan Youngquist (with a little help from husband Jim), do a
great job for our community with the LDN. They have been especially
patient with people like Tom, Greg and me when it comes to our
sports coverage. We basically have shared with them what games and
teams we would be going to see anyway, and then we're afforded the
opportunity to post our thoughts, reflections and opinions.
Please keep in mind that we all realize
that our contributions are only that. We are by no means experts
like Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps. We're just some local guys who
use sports therapeutically to help us get through the week. We don't
mind if you don't take us all that seriously, as we try not to take
ourselves so seriously either.
We write in a totally different style
because we want to give you the feel like you were there, in the
middle of the action! So, to all of our loyal readers, thanks for
making the interactive LDN such a fun endeavor. Now, let's get to
America, I'm Brian Cook…
Did you see what Brian did last night
in the Lakers' 107-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves? All he did
in 30 minutes of action was score a career-high 16 points on 7-of-13
shooting from the field. He yanked down four rebounds, had a steal
and a block, and he committed five fouls -- good thing you get six
in the NBA!
With Karl Malone out of action and now
with Shaq being day-to-day, Cook should see plenty of action!
Nice going, Brian! Your friends and
fans are 100 percent behind you!
Illini staved off Redbird mutiny
The Illini would have been a ship
without any oars Saturday had it not been for 7-foot-2 Nick Smith.
He -- along with a gutsy performance from Deron Williams, who played
34 minutes with his jaw wired shut -- threw the Redbirds overboard
in spite of a herculean effort by Lincoln's Gregg Alexander and his
[to top of second column in this
ISU never intended to walk the plank
and never intended to be cannon fodder in the Illini's impressive
home court victims list. Alexander set the tone early by drilling
two long treys, and if his running one-hander late in the game had
fallen, ISU's mutiny would've resulted in a stunning upset.
Alexander played tremendous defense, and he also inspired Marcus
Arnold and Trey Guidry into a couple of their best performances all
season. In fact, as one who sees a lot of ISU games, I felt it was
the best I had seen them play in a couple of years! And I hope for
them that it continues in Missouri Valley action.
But where would the Illini have been
without Nick Smith? He hit some acrobatic shots, and late in the
game when he picked up Williams' botched 3-pointer he was fouled. He
stood at the line with 18.2 seconds left and his Illini trailing by
two. They tried to freeze him, not once but twice, and Smith calmly
sank both throws to even give Illinois the chance at averting the
almost sure upset! Then Deron and Dee took over the overtime, and
that was all, she wrote! Kudos to Nick Smith who is rapidly becoming
the next Andy Kaufmann, the player fans love to hate…
Kudos also to Alexander, who finished
the night with 14 points, and he could've had a lot more if he
wasn't so unselfish. He made Lincoln proud with another spectacular
continue to improve
The Lincoln Railers had impressive wins
over Lanphier and Jerseyville and have upped their record to 9-5.
This young team is amazing the critics but not themselves -- they
just go out there and work hard to produce results.
Mount Pulaski continues their march
through the schedule by moving their mark to an impressive 12-2.
The Lady Railers will take on a tough
Taylorville squad Thursday night in Roy S. Anderson gym. A huge
local crowd could make the difference in this ball game! Hint, hint!
Is it USC
Don't look for help here -- we're more
confused than you are. I must confess that I haven't seen more than
a half of one game in USC's impressive campaign. But I have seen LSU
-- and two years ago I saw them up close and personal when they
battered a good Illini team (should those two words go in the same
sentence?). I said then and I say now that they are the quickest and
strongest team that I have seen in college football, period. Those
kinds of attributes can win you a lot of games -- I think. I have
some bias here, but I'd give the LDN vote to those mangy Tigers.
Congratulations to Dennis Eckersley and
to Paul Molitor for their election into the Hall of Fame -- two of
the most worthy candidates selected in my lifetime.
Pete Rose came clean this week too. If
he isn't worthy of the Hall of Fame, based on the field
accomplishments, then there shouldn't even be a Hall. I would keep
him out of the dugouts, though, because his actions as a manager
have compromised the game.
And how not completing the Alex
Rodriques for Manny Ramirez trade is not in the best interests of
baseball -- then I don't know what is!!!
much more -- but this week has already tired me out. I'll catch you
next week here in Mutterings. Have a great week, everybody, and GO,