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…

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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…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder if Brad Sturdy’s favorite college basketball official, Bo Boroski, and his comrades could have been a bit more consistent in the Illinois-Purdue game…

When is a loss not too discouraging? That’s easy. The Fighting Illini put up quite a fight against one of the most talented teams in the country Monday morning/afternoon, and that’s with All-America center Kofi Cockburn playing one of the worst games of his career. Along with some questionab…

Thoughts for all to ponder while I wonder if Michigan and Juwan Howard are scheming to find a way to not play in Champaign Friday night as they battle COVID issues in the program…

There’s so much to get to, I could probably write three or four columns this week. But I’m sure one dose of me is enough for most folks. In any event, we’ve got to start at Halas Hall. Change is coming for the Chicago Bears organization. However, George McCaskey is still running the show, so…

Welcome to 2022. It sure seems a lot like 2021, and most of 2020 for that matter. Nearly two full years, with no end in sight, of living through a pandemic. And yes, if you haven’t figured it out yet, we still have to live our lives. Last time I checked, we only get to live once. Democrat, R…

• Funny thing about last week’s Illinois-Mizery game: I admit I wanted the margin of victory to be a LOT bigger than it was. I think Cuonzo Martin is inching up into the territory of Bruce Pearl in terms of my dislike, though NO ONE will ever reach the depths that the conniving scumbag reach…

So...how is your holiday season going? No matter how you spin it, the hysteria surrounding COVID-19, its variants, its spread and the daily scramble to find a test or testing site is dominating our lives as we turn the calendar to 2022. It’s no laughing matter, and you can see what’s coming …

What is a Monday without a hangover, full day at the office, a school board meeting and Monday Night Football? It’s just another day in the life, and of those four, which do you think was the worst part of my day?

• What an atmosphere Saturday at Assembly Hall for the Illini-Arizona game. The Illini had maybe their best four-minute stretch since the 2005 Final Four game with that epic 19-0 run, fueled by Trent Frazier, but then they gave it right back and could not close out the Wildcats, who are a Fi…

It was just a huge weekend for your favorite grouchy local columnist, who ventured nearly 100 miles south to an outlet mall to, yes, do some Christmas shopping! I battled idiots who should not have drivers licenses, thick traffic on six lane roads, non-positive fast food choices, crowds, mas…

When do you go to bed excited and joyous on a Monday night? Well, as a die-hard Illini basketball fan, it doesn’t get much better in the regular season than a win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. As a ‘famous’ local mayor told me last week after I took his challenge to fit a ‘mystery’ word into my c…

• Progress definitely this year was made by the Illinois football team under Bret Bielema, but how frustrating it is at the same time since ONE MORE WIN would have sent the Illini into a bowl game? Five of the Illini’s seven losses were by 10 points or less, including games against Purdue, R…

If you had any doubt the impact Ayo Dosunmu had on the Fighting Illini men’s basketball team, you don’t now. You can tell me about injuries, illnesses, suspensions and everything that has gone on so far in November, but let’s be honest. Brad Underwood and his team, even when they all finally…

• The Illinois football team missed a chance to pull off another upset Saturday in Iowa City against Will Peters’ Hawkeyes. Ryan Walters’ defense came through again, giving up only one offensive touchdown and four field goals in a 33-23 loss.

What am I doing getting worked up about a college basketball game a week before Thanksgiving? Well, on a lovely Monday evening I had time to sit down and take in our Fighting Illini in their first true test of the young men’s basketball season. And I have a few thoughts, as you might imagine...

Thoughts for all to ponder while we wonder who will take a chance on former Cardinal Carlos Martinez next season…

How does a .500 baseball team for five-plus months (that caught fire and won 17 games in a row - I know!) have five of the top eight fielders at each position in its respective league? Oh, and how does that same team (the St. Louis Cardinals) fire its manager that was a finalist for the Nati…

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• The Illini football team just cannot handle any kind of success, unfortunately. After that epic win at Penn State, the Illini came home and laid an egg in a very winnable game vs. the State University of New Jersey. I watched most of the first half before heading to the WHS playoff game, a…

The hypocrisy of the National Collegiate Athletic Association knows no bounds, of course. Sure, a three game suspension at the beginning of the season is a ‘slap on the wrist’ for Kofi Cockburn and the Illini, but it still doesn’t pass the smell test. The rules changed over the summer, right…

• Of course, I had not planned on paying much attention to the Illini football game Saturday in Happy Valley, figuring the top 10 ranked Nittany Lions would have little trouble with the Fighting Bielemas. Naturally, the Illini pulled out a win in NINE overtimes, in large part because both of…

Well, I have to say I was a little bit disappointed Monday morning. The Cardinals called a press conference to announce a new manager, and I was absolutely shocked that John Mozeliak did not announce that John Mozeliak was taking over as the new manager. Yep, I know, just hysterical...

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• I just had gotten home from my usual Thursday running around when I checked Twitter, and I was stunned to see that the Cardinals had fired manager Mike Shildt. Mr Bow Tie, John Mozeliak, cited ‘philosophical differences’ in the decision, though he denied multiple opportunities to elaborate…

Yes, Aaron Rodgers, you still ‘own’ the Chicago Bears. Any reasonable fan knew the Bears had to score more than 14 points to win that game, and they were proven correct. The Bears’ offense can run the ball, but that only gets you so far. Quarterback Justin Fields continues to hold the ball t…

• While the other columnist had already fallen asleep, our college roommate kept texting with me during the Cardinal game last Wednesday night. When Alex Reyes came in to relieve in the ninth, I texted him and basically predicted something bad would happen, and it did not take long for that …

The record will show that Justin Fields’ first victory on the road as a starter in the National Football League came against the Raiders in what surely will be Jon Gruden’s final game as a coach in the NFL. Yep, we all saw that coming, didn’t we?

Everyone wants my hot takes on the Cardinals, but there’s no chance this week. The big wild card game is on Wednesday night and you will know the outcome by the time you read this drivel. I got up at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to start on this mess, so good luck reading the rest...