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…

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• 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 …

The best way to market your product is to continuously put games on different platforms requiring the consumer to pony up more money, right? Well, there seems to be a new platform (Apple TV+, Peacock, etc.) used by Major League Baseball every week, so don’t worry about that $200 cable or sat…

• I am surprised the Blues are even suiting up against the Avalanche in the second round, since Colorado is such a huge favorite. I was half surprised that The Athletic stat geek (er, analytics guy) did not pick the Avs in three, his model is so biased against the Blues (it is a best-of-7 se…

Maybe by the time you read this drivel, the price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline will be over $5.00 locally. To say it’s getting out of hand would be the understatement of the year, and I can honestly say I have never paid this much to fill up my tank. And I drive a ‘matchbox’ car, accord…

Thoughts for all to ponder while we wonder how we will remember the CNN+ era…

Welcome to May in central Illinois, and yes it’s still raining and chilly. Then I open up my weather app, and I see forecasted highs of 84, 90, 87 and 85 next week. Yep, that’s about right. We go from spring (which consisted of mostly rain, insane wind and below normal temperatures) to summe…

We’ll be continuing with a mixed bag this week, as there’s just so much going on in the world besides basic sports topics. But of course, let’s lead off with my Monday night of fun, complete with a school board meeting and ninth inning collapse from the baseball team in St. Louis...

Say it with me, Cubs fans. Seiya Suzuki is your National League Player of the Week, and he is off to a blistering start 10 games into his MLB career. Yes, it’s early. But so far, so good for the north-siders...

• By the time you read this, Kofi Cockburn will have announced what he will do next year, as he tweeted he would make an announcement Wednesday, after this column goes to press of course. He had until this weekend to declare for the NBA draft, and if he does, he cannot return to Champaign. B…

• I keep saying that one of these days, I will attend a Cardinal home opener, and if any year was the one, it should have been this year, with Albert Pujols back and Yadi saying this is his last year and Waino maybe being done too. I always get a bit emotional when I see the Clydesdales, and…

Politics or golf? Cancel culture or Cardinals? Scottie Scheffler or Adam Schefter? I’m stumped on how to proceed this week, so I’m probably going to offend more people than usual, if that’s possible.

Barring some last-minute injury or change of mind, Tiger Woods is going to play in the 2022 Masters. If you follow golf like I do, the coverage has been non-stop, 24-7. I will defer to the masses; I get it, it’s a big story. But I’m ready to see some actual golf being played and other storyl…

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Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder how nauseating all the UNC/Duke hype will be this week ahead of the Final Four…

Assuming all parties are all-in on roles, playing time and expectations, the Cardinals’ signing of Albert Pujols was a solid move for several reasons. Pujols is now a part-time player and bench bat, and as long as that role is understood, it makes for a farewell season many fans will celebra…

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• If it turns out that Kofi Cockburn does not return next year, one could not help but wonder what might have been. COVID stopped the Illini from maybe going on a long run in 2020, Loyola upset the Illini last spring and then on Sunday, the Houston Cougars stifled Illinois in the Round of 32…

In the least surprising event of this past weekend, the Illinois Fighting Illini endured another quick exit from the NCAA Tournament. What was more surprising was the fact that the Illini somehow pulled out a one point victory against Chattanooga in the first round on Friday. To put it mildl…

• I did not have the most positive vibes going into the Illinois game vs. Indiana Friday at the Big 14 tournament. Indiana the day before had pulled off an epic comeback against Flora Darnell’s Michigan Wolverines, and they were playing for their NCAA Tournament lives.

Major League Baseball is back, teams are scrambling to fill our their rosters and the Cardinals are locked in on Lars Nootbar as their solution at DH. My goodness, John Mozeliak, you never fail me!...

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• It had the potential to be a huge sports day in these parts, with the Blues and Illini both playing Sunday. Naturally, the Blues stunk it up again, but all Illinois needed to do was beat hated Iowa and clinch a share of the Big 14 title, because Wisky choked at home against lowly Nebraska …

I’m not sure what world I am living in these days, but it’s hard to imagine celebrating a championship before it actually happens. Memo to Wisconsin - nice clinch of a tie for the Big Ten title last week, and nice over-hyped celebration. Then Sunday happened and the Badgers lost at home to l…

• Breaking news! I actually watched a sporting event live, since I was at my brother’s house Sunday and arrived just in time for the Illini game at Michigan to start. Now I know why I prefer to watch things on a delay, because not only are there a lot of commercials (many of the same ones to…

Welcome to February, the month of weekly snowstorms in Illinois. Maybe a move into March next week will break this cycle, who knows. In the meantime, your favorite negative local columnist is here to cheer you up. And yes, I have thoughts on the Juwan Howard fiasco...

Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder how crazy you have to be to want to be a bobsledder, luger or ski jumper in the Olympics…

While many of you may not agree with my opinions or perceived negativity, one thing I have always tried to maintain with my audience is honesty. It is with a heavy heart that I write this week’s rants, and please keep the family and friends of Kent Dolenc in your thoughts and prayers at this…

I feel like the other columnist this week, since I am warning you ahead of time that some of what follows might not be for the faint of heart…

Last week was a rough one in these parts, with a foot of snow on top of ice wreaking havoc in a lot of ways. Travel conditions were so poor and dangerous that we did not attempt to make the trek to Hillsboro to pick up our papers until Friday, and with the post offices backed up and having t…

• It would be nice to see the Illinois men’s basketball team be at full strength at some point, since out of the 20 games they have played so far, they have essentially been at full strength for about 2-3 of them. Kofi Cockburn returned from concussion protocol and played well against Chicag…

Well, hopefully you are able to read this column before the end of February, since as of this writing a massive snowstorm was bearing down on our region. Who knows when we were able to get these papers to their respective post offices and then delivered to your residence or local store. It w…