Cubs in first?
When you examine how in the
heck the Cubs made it to first place, you can start by watching how
they disposed of the all-of-sudden-struggling Astros. The Cubs have
owned them the last few weeks. By gaining all the ground they lost
before the break, they climbed to the top quicker than you can say,
"Quit crying, you stinkin' 'Stros!" Does anyone cry more than the 'Stros
or the Padres? (Not trying to be critical… just an observation.)
Starting pitching continues to mow down Cub opponents, especially
Zambrano (he pitched great this weekend and deserved a better fate)
and Prior. And how the Cubbies got Lofton, I'll never know… What a
great deal! The only way it could've been better was if he landed
with the team that has birds on a bat!
Not good wood?
Not only did Tiger Woods
struggle at Oak Hill, but seemingly anything with Wood in its name
did this past weekend. St. Louis' Woody Williams struggled to give
the Cards a much-needed win in the city of brotherly love, and
Chicago's Kerry Wood got his lamp lit by the suddenly explosive
Dodger bats. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I STILL believe
that what ESPN's Rob Dibble said about the Cubs' starting pitching
just being too strong not to win the Central Division was right on
the mark. I hope I don't agree with him on too many other things!
Sox going south?
When I left the Sox were
knocking on the door of first place… When I came back they were
falling all over themselves. Did they lose their kryptonite? I was
looking forward to writing a big story on them. I guess that story
will have to wait!
Cards' management LDN subscribers?
It does make you wonder if St.
Louis's front office does read the LDN, after we gave an impassioned
plea begging the Birds NOT to trade J.D. Drew. Word on the street
was that Oakland pushed a deal for Drew 101 different ways. Now, if
we could've gotten a Zito or a Mulder or someone like that, I might
have said, pull the trigger; but somehow I have the feeling those
weren't the guys they were offering. It probably didn't matter what
player we could've gotten this year anyway. The Cards have had so
many injuries to contend with that I am totally shocked that they're
still even in this pennant race. I've been waiting for the collapse
Bears looking tough?
…On defense, just like usual;
but the offense still has miles to go. At least that's according to
veteran LDN reporter Greg Taylor, who took in the Broncos' tussle
the other night in Champaign. That was the last Bears' game ever in
central Illinois, and it doesn't look like very many people cared.
I noticed the last couple of
years that the Bears' fandom is much more fickle than other NFL
fandoms that I am aware of. That needs to change IF the Bears are to
improve. As Cub fans have warmed up to Dusty Baker, Jim Hendry and
company, look what it has done for them. An awesome fan support
group can take a team a long way!
Had a chance to check in on the
Packers' camp the other day but chose to take my son to a real
amusement park instead! I'll take him to an NFL Raiders or 49ers
camp when he's a little older!
Where are the BIG PGA names?
If you thought I was just using
professional literary teasing techniques to get you to read the
column, take a look at this. The PGA winner this weekend was
first-timer Shaun Micheel at 4-under-par 276. He was followed by
Chad Campbell at 278 and Alex Cejka and Tim Clark at 279.
Now be honest… How many of you
loyal readers have ever heard of any of these guys? That's what I
thought. IF you have ever heard of any of theses guys, call the LDN
at 732-7443 and let us know who you are and who you had heard of
before! Micheel made sure that every major winner this year was a
Local teams back at it in this heat?
I always know when local
football, volleyball and soccer teams are back in session. How's
that, you ask? Just tell me IF the mercury's bubbling over the 90
mark, and I'll tell you that school must be back in session (By the
way, when I'm governor or president, we WON'T be going back to
school until after Labor Day… Wonder if I can win an election
carrying the junior high and high school voting demographic?).
As one who went through the
rigors for several years, I tip the LDN hat to all of you! PLEASE
hydrate yourselves every time you think about it. Drink some water
when they let you, and then drink some when you can get your hands
on it too! There is absolutely NO reason to ever take a chance with
your health, period! There are NO heroes on the field or on the
court in August; I don't care who tells you differently!
[to top of second column in this
More fun things to do?
Over the last few weeks we've
been talking about things to do locally or within a few hours' drive
of Lincoln and Logan County. One I forgot to mention is biking.
There are a lot of great places to bike locally and throughout the
area. IF you're looking for some great trails (hopefully, someday,
I'll be able to recommend a beautiful trail here!), may we suggest
the Constitution trail in Bloomington-Normal and also the trail
between Pana and Taylorville. These are two awesome trails that are
clean, smooth, have some great sights, and are great for singles or
I also want to endorse a great
family location for those who are looking for maybe a family values
outdoors experience or one that offers a chance to couple your faith
with the out-of-doors. Discovery Ministries just outside Eminence,
Mo. (approximately 5½ hours from Lincoln) offers an exhaustive host
of activities for the single or the family 12 months a year.
Right now they are obviously in
the heart of canoeing season. Some spots on both the Current and
Jack's Fork rivers are over your head, but not very many. Also,
there are only a couple of rapids, and even those are quite tame.
This makes that area a great place to take the family, a reunion, a
work retreat, a church group or just a family float trip.
If you'd rather not even work
as hard as a canoer, you can float in tubes or rent some rafts at
some area outfitters. If you're looking for a great place to view
the leaf changes, this is one of those majestic spots. For those who
want more challenges, they have mountain climbing and rappelling,
cave exploration, back packing, mountain biking, horseback riding,
fishing (including nearby trout access), walking-jogging and running
areas, group initiatives and problem-solving simulations, a great
confidence and ropes course, etc.
DM also makes a wonderful
location for a preseason team camp or preseason bonding experience
for a junior high, high school or college athletic team. (I took my
team down there before the season we went 24-6… A smart coach would
make a return trip!)
In addition to all of this,
they have two things that the LDN heartily endorses. One, is that
they tailor-make every experience to the person, group or family
that's making the reservation; and two, is the price. There is kind
of a sliding scale. The top price (which is STILL lower than what
ANY local competitor charges) is very reasonable, and actually what
you pay is REALLY a donation to the Discovery folks. This is by
design rather than by accident. Even though it is risky for them to
invest in so much equipment, insurance, etc.; they do so because
they feel their mission is to connect or reconnect people with
nature and their faith away from the noise and hustle and bustle of
their everyday lives.
The campgrounds are not
resort-style, but they are very clean and neat. You can tent or
vehicle camp or chose to rent at a super reasonable cost a cabin or
a room in one of their lodges. I don't know of a room anywhere in
the wilderness of the Midwest any less expensive than what DM
charges. Another cool thing that they do that I didn't even mention
is that the DM staff can be involved with your campfire at night or
you can be completely devoid of them. They will even feed you very
inexpensively, if you choose to avoid that part of the camping
I used to live to go on trips
to places like Discovery Ministries. As I've gotten older and more
sophisticated, I don't seem to have the time (?) to take trips like
that by myself or with my family. I hope my son helps me change that
For more information and to
reserve your spot and your family's trip, call 1 (573) 226-3213 or
find 'em on the Web at
To Chuck and Charlotte Beeler
and their families for a 75-year run at managing the Dixie Truck
Stop in McLean! I spent a lot of time during my college days out
there…studying… Yes, studying is what I was doing! At any rate, it
was always a great place to get breakfast or a burger and just hang
out and take in the culture… Long may she live, and THANKS, Beelers,
for the great job you did out there!
Also, hats off to two of my
best young friends, Michaela Maris and Jordan Taylor, who were
baptized this weekend. Believe when I say nothing happened in the
sports world that was more exciting than that! God bless you both!
a GREAT week, everybody!!!