Chip Caray is the new television voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, according to reports as of this writing. It’s certainly not a name I had expected, but it seems to make sense when you consider all of the variables involved, including the fact that Caray grew up in St. Louis and graduated f…

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• Did not get to watch the game Monday, because the Big 14 did not consult me on the schedule and I was living the dream at the girls county tournament, but the Illini men’s basketball team picked up another win at the Barn in Minneapolis against a scuffling Golden Gopher bunch. The Illini h…

Have you had enough talk of classified documents yet? Good grief, how can you ignore something that is discussed non-stop on over half of the channels on the tube? As I always point out, how you differently perceive or evaluate similar situations happening to two different people can certain…

Thank you, Lovie Smith and the Houston Texans. The Bears get the ultimate reward for a horrible season with the top pick in the NFL Draft, and Smith is immediately fired after one season as head coach. And whatever you think of Lovie and his past coaching resume, which is extensive, he got a…

• Going into the former Outback Bowl Monday, I admittedly did not have high hopes for the Illini football team against Mississippi State. Not only did three of the Illini’s best players opt out to avoid injury, but they were playing a Bulldog team that was playing for its late coach, Mike Le…

It’s hard to believe we are turning the calendar to 2023, but here we are. For those who are so inclined, we have a weekend full of college and professional football that includes the Fighting Illini against Mississippi State in a bowl game late Monday morning. Chase Brown and Sydney Brown a…

• I figured it was only a matter of time before former Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters became a head coach in his own right, though I admit I would have preferred he went somewhere besides Purdue, since that is a division rival (well, as long as the Big 10/14/16 conference divisi…

By the time you are able to read this, we may be buried in snow and frozen over in the midst of an historic December winter storm in central Illinois. Hopefully, the forecast fizzled out, but as I begin this week’s rants, it’s time to run to the store and stock up on $4.99 cartons of eggs, $…

• Because I had four visits with Santa Saturday in four different towns, I knew that watching the Illinois basketball game against Penn State was going to be dicey, if I could avoid finding out the score. I accidentally went to Twitter to look up something else, but I saw the score late in t…

How are we doing, Cubs fans? Your former catcher is now a St. Louis Cardinal, and I’m not sure the Chicago media and die-hard Cubs fans are done crying about it yet. Yes, it’s glorious; a little offseason hot stove action to spice up this rivalry even more.

• The Illinois football team will be playing in January for the first time in a long time on Jan. 2, when they will play Mississippi State in what used to be called the Outback Bowl. It is too early to say how many Illini players might opt out, which is a new trend in the last few years, whe…

• The Fighting Bielemas took care of business in a big way this week, routing Northwestern in Evanston Saturday to finish the regular season at 8-4, with ALL FOUR LOSSES by one possession. That is how close Illinois was to maybe being part of the College Football Playoff, or at least in line…

Not that anybody cares, but it’s a short week for us, with a Tuesday printing due to Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, I will be blessing your big week of travel, turkey, football and whatever else is on the docket with another dose of unhinged, yet common sense, rantings...

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• The Illinois men’s basketball team is off to a solid start, though they are playing a Syracuse-like schedule early on, with three cupcakes. The fun really begins this weekend in Vegas, as the Illini get UCLA Friday night and then either Baylor or Virginia Saturday. I would not be surprised…

You can’t sugarcoat it, the Illini football season has bottomed out with consecutive losses at home to Michigan State and Purdue. And with a road game at Ann Arbor Saturday, Illinois is staring at records of 7-4 overall and 4-4 in the conference heading into the final regular season game aga…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder how many injuries Michigan State defenders will claim to have in their game this weekend…

It was another Moral Victory Monday for Bears fans, and it honestly seems like most people don’t care about wins and losses right now. I mean, the team has traded its two best defensive players, acquired a new offensive weapon and quarterback Justin Fields is emerging into stardom.

• The Cardinals made quite a bit of news last week, and it is not even officially time for the Hot Stove League. Waino is coming back for one more season (not a surprise), Nolan Arenado is returning and not opting out of the last five years of his contract (also not a surprise), but Mike Mad…

It’s been an incredibly busy week, even by my usual standards. I don’t like to chirp about it, unlike other folks do, but it’s just a fair warning. However, in case you ever doubted it, I have carved out some time for ridiculous hot takes for your consideration...

• The Blues finally lost their first game Monday in Winnipeg, getting blanked for the first time in over 100 games. This game after a very solid performance in Edmonton, as Jordan Binnington and crew shut down the high-powered Oilers. After that slow schedule start (three games in 11 days), …

• I wish I would have put good money on the Illinois football team being 6-1 right now, though I did not think there was much of a chance of that happening and I am not a betting man. I remember writing this space a few weeks ago that I hoped the Illini would win at least one of the three ga…

They haven’t exactly had the toughest schedule, but who cares, right? When was the last time the Fighting Illini won three consecutive Big Ten Conference football games to rise into the top 20 in the rankings? All I and many others asked for was viability and relevance, but right now we have…

• I joked with a certain Iowa fan the other day that the Hawkeyes’ game vs. Illinois might finish 7-5, and as it turned out, I was not too far off, as the Illini won a 9-6 slugfest that set offense back a couple of decades. As if I need to say any more about Ryan Walters’ defense, but wow, h…

I enjoy my (very) early Monday mornings listening to Chicago sports radio following a Sunday Bears game, and this week the theme was ‘Moral Victory Monday.’ And it wasn’t a joke. The majority of people were generally positive in their reviews of the Bears’ 29-22 loss at Minnesota, and as a f…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder how awkward the next in-person meeting will be between Bret Bielema and Paul Chryst…

You think college football is not a full-time, 100 percent business? Paul Chryst had a 67-26 record at Wisconsin in seven-plus seasons, winning nine or more games five times. Then he lost at home to Washington State and Illinois and got fired. The wealthy boosters will pick up that $11 milli…

• I was hoping for some major chaos Friday night, and I don’t mean the football game I attended. Since both the Yankees and Cardinals were on Apple TV, I was HOPING that Aaron Judge would break Roger Maris’ AL home run record (and in my opinion, the true home run record) and Albert Pujols wo…

Albert Pujols has 14 more games, as of this writing, to hit two more home runs and reach 700. What once seemed impossible will now be a huge disappointment if it doesn’t happen, right? There’s a lot going on in the sports world and the Cardinals have a big division lead, but the Pujols story…

• I wonder how many people legitimately had Albert Pujols getting to 700 homers this season before he retired? If everyone is being honest, that number likely is not too big. But Oli Marmol has maximized Albert’s opportunities, and in the last few weeks, Albert has hit like the Albert of old…

I can only be classified as a ‘bandwagon’ or ‘casual’ Bears fan, as I no longer live and die with wins or losses on NFL Sundays. It’s been that way for several years. But how do you define a ‘good’ day? How about a Bears victory and Packers loss? And for good measure, let’s include a prime-t…

It’s been a rough season for our friends on the north side, and the latest kick in the teeth was delivered by Albert Pujols and the Cardinals on Sunday. In a pennant (or playoff) race, of course you walk him. But the Cubs are out of it, the crowd is in a frenzy, Pujols is on a quest for 700 …

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• It did not always look pretty, but Bret Bielema and the Fighting Illini football team will take the 38-6 win over the Wyoming Cowboys Saturday. Wyoming lost a boatload of players and was overwhelmed by the Illini defense. How much longer will Ryan Walters be in Champaign? Betting no more t…

The rich get richer, that’s the law of the land.’ Movie buffs will know that line, as it was uttered by the incomparable Ed Harris (Dave Moss) in the 1992 classic ‘Glengarry Glen Ross.’ If you haven’t seen the picture, don’t let the title fool you. Just watch it, and make sure the kids have …

• It is Albert Pujols’ world, and we are just living in it. The Machine stayed red hot Monday night with another bomb at Wrigley, the only run in the Redbirds’ 1-0 win over Dan Lynch’s Cubbies. As of this writing, Albert is only seven dingers away from 700, which was unthinkable a month ago,…

Can Albert Pujols get to 700 career home runs? What once seemed preposterous is suddenly not so far-fetched, and that storyline could dominate the month of September as the Cardinals try to finish off winning the National League Central title. Sorry, Cubs fans (and the one Dodgers fan/securi…

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• The Cardinals honored the 1982 World Series champs Saturday before the game against the Beermakers, the team they beat in that series. Most of the living players returned, not surprisingly because so many of them have settled in the St. Louis area. I would have liked to have seen “Silent” …

Welcome to the start of a new school year, and maybe we will get to embark on a fully ‘normal’ year, whatever that means anymore. CDC guidance has changed again regarding the virus, and what many people have thought and believed for over two years now is suddenly being realized and admitted.…

The Chicago Bears have not played a preseason game yet, but the drama continues to build. A team with an already-thin and mostly unproven roster continues to take blow after blow, with injuries, holdouts and trade demands now a daily occurrence at Halas Hall. I’m not sure who Justin Fields (…

• Kristen and I were part of history Sunday, and not necessarily the best kind. She was one of the many Riverton students who quite impressively performed “God Bless America,” under the direction of Mr. Pat Moore, before the Cardinal game against the Yankees. I told her going down to St. Lou…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I admit I would have been a lot more productive Monday and Tuesday if I did not check Twitter or multiple message boards for MLB trade deadline news…

It was a weekend of watching golf on television, fasting (yes, I’ve been on a crash diet for over a month) and spending time at the Sweet Corn Festival for your favorite (or least favorite) local columnist, and it seems readers in all of our coverage areas get to read a certain other local c…

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It’s the middle of summer and it feels like time for just major randomness; a stream of consciousness that will either make you turn the page immediately or laugh hysterically trying to figure out how my wild and non-sophisticated, middle-aged mind works these days. It’s a mess, and that goe…

Yes, it’s nearly August 2022 and we’re still documenting and reporting COVID-19 cases on a daily basis, tracking who’s vaccinated and boosted and denying entrances into countries for those who haven’t taken the vaccine. I’m convinced that if there wasn’t a major election coming this November…

• The other columnist often discusses how ‘routine’ I am, and last week, that routine was definitely disrupted, but in a good way. Kristen and I went to Washington DC as part of a RMS school trip, a whirlwind three-day event that included 22 miles of walking along the way. Neither one of us …

• The Cardinals need more pitching, like every other MLB team, and you’d think Sandy Alcantara would look great in the rotation about now? The Redbirds traded him, Zac Gallen, Magneuris Sierra and one other player to the Marlins for two years of Marcell Ozuna. Could that trade (and the subse…

Hopefully by now all the neighborhood amateur fireworks displays where you live have stopped by this point, but who knows. I’ve never gotten the fascination with them, and at this point, I never will. With all of the noise I deal with regularly, I put the ear plugs in and go to bed anyway. M…

This missive will be completed and sent off prior to any election results Tuesday night, so don’t expect any hot takes on that until next week. And I’m not sure what is the best time of year to hold an election, but I’m pretty sure smack dab in the middle of summer isn’t it. Oh well. On with…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I know we only have to get through one more week of annoying political ads before we hopefully get a bit of a break…

Anybody still complaining about cold, rainy and windy weather? Goodness, the switch has flipped to summer, and the result has been day after day of record high temperatures. One thing about living in central Illinois - we get the extremes of all four seasons, so we’ve got that going for us...

It has been a bit since I have graced this spot, for various reasons, so be forewarned, some of the following might not be for the faint of heart…

Yes, gas prices are so high that it has myself and many others conscious of each trip behind the wheel, limiting them whenever possible. I’ve made several journeys lately, from East Peoria to Charleston to Decatur to Champaign, and probably two trips to Joliet this weekend to finish off the …