Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 3/14/15

A few days ago, I came across a picture of actor Sean Penn and actress Charlize Theron walking arm-in-arm outside a theater in L.A.--with Penn possessing a very melancholy look on his face. Message to Mr. Penn: If you're looking sad with a beauty like Charlize at your side, then there is absolutely NOTHING IN THIS WORLD that will make you smile. And when a guy like Bill Belichick smiles more than YOU do, then there's a problem, Sean. Just a reminder, Mr. Penn: It's CHARLIZE THERON, for cryin' out loud..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the former guard who is the Dallas Mavericks all-time leader in total assists AND steals. Answer to follow..........In this past weekend's New York Post, my buddy/fellow columnist Phil Mushnick brought up the academic negligence problem at UMASS when John Calipari was coaching there approximately 20 years ago--and how guys like Marcus Camby weren't cutting it in the classroom. When questioned about it at the time, Calipari told ESPN's Roy Firestone that Camby had turned it around and improved academically, in fact, making the "Athletic Department's Dean's List." Mushnick's reaction: "Athletic Department Dean's List? What's that for--perfect attendance at PRACTICE?"..........Did you know that NHL Hall of Famer Mike Bossy played ten years in the league and scored less than 50 goals in a season just ONCE? That happened to be during his final year in the league ('86-'87) when he STILL managed to score 38 goals (in 63 games) while battling injuries. His highest goal-scoring season? The 1978-'79 campaign when he tallied 69 goals for an Al Arbour-led Islanders squad that finished first in the NHL's Patrick Division..........The Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance (CSWA) has announced that the husband and wife pair of Bob and Cookie Bromage will receive the Bo Kolinsky Special Recognition Award at the upcoming Gold Key Dinner--to be held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on April 26th. This coming August, the Bromages will have combined to coach high school athletics here in CT for an astounding 100 years (yes, you read that correctly, my friends). Bob coached baseball at Enfield High for 39 years before moving on to East Granby. Cookie started as the cheerleading coach at Enfield in 1966 and ultimately formed the field hockey team there. In August, she will begin her 49th season as field hockey coach at the northern CT school. The award--in its second year--is named after the longtime high school sports editor of the Hartford Courant (and past CSWA member) who passed away in 2003. Tickets to this prestigious event can be obtained by contacting CSWA President Matt Conyers (mconyers@courant.com) or VP Tim Jensen (tim@enfieldsource.com)..........*Rhyme time: LPGA golfer Mo Martin marries former NFL linebacker Leon Joe, divorces, marries Army wide receiver Edgar Poe--divorces again--then walks down the aisle with former San Diego Chargers LB Woodrow Lowe. She is then roaming the links with the catchy, full name of Mo Joe Poe Lowe..........*Attention NY Yankees fans: The chances of CC Sabathia, A-ROID, and Mark Texeira going the full 2015 season INJURY-FREE are about the same as yours truly dating actress Sandra Bullock within the next week or so..........Congratulations go out to legendary baseball coach Bill Holowaty--who was recently selected for induction to the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Holowaty compiled a mind-boggling record of 1,404-525-7 (and won four national titles) while coaching at Eastern CT State University over a 45-year span. He retired in 2013 as the winningest coach in the history of New England athletics at ANY level. Bill is one of eight honorees (including former major leaguers Lance Berkman and Frank Viola) who will be inducted as part of college baseball's annual celebration to be held June 28-29 in Lubbock, TX. Having had the opportunity to interview/speak with Coach Holowaty on numerous occasions, I ALWAYS had the feeling that I was in the company of greatness; yes, he possesses THAT type of presence. Whenever I think of Bill Holowaty, the expression "old school" immediately comes to mind. And guess what? His approach WORKED--for a VERY long time. Congrats, Coach--a well-deserved honor..........Answer to trivia question: DEREK HARPER (5,111 assists/1,551 steals)..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NBA player Jerome Kersey--who passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 52. A forward who played his college ball at Division II Longwood University, Kersey enjoyed a 17-year career with the Blazers, Warriors, Lakers, Sonics, Spurs, and Bucks. But he will be best remembered for his consistent years in Portland--helping the team reach the NBA Finals in both 1990 and 1992. For his entire career, Kersey averaged 10.3 ppg/5.5 rpg. But he also combined his immense athletic talent with a pleasant demeanor and an infectious smile--rendering him a fan favorite. Portland owner Paul Allen remarked in a statement that Kersey was "one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform." Yes, the NBA and its fans were privileged to watch a 'class act' like Kersey play for a very long time. May you rest in peace, sir.

Monday, March 02, 2015

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 2/28/15

I've been asked to comment about the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. All I will say is THIS: Page 128 guys--PAGE 128..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1992-'93 Montreal Canadiens--who won the Stanley Cup under coach Jacques Demers--had FOUR players on the roster who tallied 30 or more goals apiece. Can you name this talented quartet? Answer to follow..........The Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance (CSWA) has announced that Middletown High's Dario Highsmith and Capital Prep's Kiah Gillespie have been selected as the Hal Levy High School Athletes of the Year. This is the fourth year of this special award--named in honor of the late Shore Line Newspapers sports editor and former CSWA president. Highsmith is the all-time rushing leader in Middletown High football history with 6,612 yards and had 70 career rushing TD's. Gillespie--the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year ( CT basketball)--has led her team to a pair of consecutive state championships and has scored over 1,500 points during her stellar career; she also maintains a 3.72 GPA in the classroom. This pair of outstanding teens will be honored at the 74th Gold Key Dinner--to be held April 26th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets ($75) can be obtained by contacting CSWA President Matt Conyers at (860) 874-4166 or VP Tim Jensen at tim@enfieldsource.com..........*Question: When LPGA golfer Brooke Pancake shoots a bad round/has a bad day on the course, shouldn't it be referred to as a "flat" performance? (sorry, folks)..........Nearly a month has passed, and I'll ask the question once AGAIN: Did the Seattle Seahawks actually THROW that pass--REALLY?????...........Would you like to combine fitness along with aiding a TERRIFIC cause? "Walk MS"--a fundraising event of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society--will take place here in Connecticut at various sites on the weekends of April 18th and 25th. Each walk site will feature 2.5 and 5-mile fully accessible routes and participants will enjoy lunches provided by Coca Cola and Subway. Walking with a team is a great way to unite co-workers and boost company morale while proceeds go to raising essential funds for research/services for people with MS. More information about this very noble cause can be gathered by visiting www.nationalmssociety.org and checking out the "Upcoming Events" section..........My good friend Frank Marcucio--head football coach at Westhill (CT) High--recently alerted me to an incredible gesture performed by NIKE CEO Mark Parker. Parker, a Westhill alumnus, has decided to donate 80 home and away uniforms to the football program--incorporating the "Mach Speed" design that was used in the national championship game between Ohio State and Oregon. Sure--Parker has the authority and financial means to do such kind acts. But it's still very refreshing to see an individual NOT forget his/her roots--and be able to put smiles on the faces of many young people (some of whom are underprivileged). Nice job/classy act, Mr. Parker..........NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton holds the single-season league record for most assists per game with an outrageous mark of 14.54 during the 1989-'90 season. Just wondering: Do you think Stockton sends Karl Malone a bottle of champagne each year at Christmas in order to continue celebrating this remarkable feat?..........A-ROID of the New York Yankees is scheduled to earn approximately $22 million in 2015. Based on 450 at-bats or so, that means he'll earn almost $49,000 for each chorus of boos he hears this upcoming season. Yeah, I'd GLADLY accept booing at those kinda prices--how 'bout you?.........Just recently, I came across a picture of ageless beauty Christie Brinkley (she's 61, folks)--taken outside the ABC Studios in NYC. Yes, my offer for a tennis date with this physically-gifted woman has no expiration date (OK, I'll admit it--I'm NOT holding my breath). Geez, and I used to think that NFL legend George Blanda was the "poster person" for aging gracefully..........Former major league second baseman Steve Sax continues to do great things during his post-playing days. He currently runs the Steve Sax Foundation--whose mission is to motivate and mentor young individuals while offering hope through opportunity. Sax is involved with various organizations/parents in order to provide a platform for positivity, but his main purpose is THIS: Raise the bar of expectancy within the hearts and minds of our young people. I heard from Sax recently; he told me that the Foundation will also help guide/mentor children of individuals who have died while serving our country or in the line of duty--at no cost. To find out more about the Foundation and the great work that Sax is involved in, please visit www.stevesaxfoundation.org.......... Answer to trivia question: BRIAN BELLOWS (40), VINCENT DAMPHOUSSE (39), KIRK MULLER (37), and STEPHAN LEBEAU (31)..........Finally, sad news to report as former NBA forward Anthony Mason died this past weekend at the tender age of 48; he had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few weeks ago. Altogether, he played 13 seasons in the NBA between 1989 and 2003; he also spent time playing in the CBA and overseas, as well. Mason will be best remembered for his five-year tenure with the N.Y. Knicks ('91-'96); he was instrumental in helping the team reach the NBA Finals in 1994. He won the NBA's "Sixth Man Award" following the '94-'95 season and was an All-Star in 2001 while playing in Miami. For his career, Mason averaged 10.9 ppg/8.3 rpg while appearing in almost 900 regular season games. From this day forward, when I think of Anthony Mason, the word "gritty" will always come to mind. Rest in peace, Anthony, while condolences go out to the entire Mason family.