Monday, August 31, 2015

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - -8/29/15

In regard to sprinter Usain Bolt: Seriously, I don't know if I've ever come across ANY athlete who does what he/she does ANY BETTER than Bolt. His recent victories in the 100m and 200m (AND 400 relay) at the World Championships in Beijing (after an injury-plagued year) are just further proof of an individual whose accomplishments TRULY leave me speechless. He's had INCREDIBLE competition since he burst on the stage back in 2004, but ALWAYS makes it looks so easy when competing against the world's best (just ask Justin Gatlin, Asafa Powell, etc.). Folks, trust me: We will NEVER see a faster human being, and his world-record times in the 100 and 200 (9.58 and 19.19, respectively) will NEVER be broken--well, at least not in MY lifetime (that is unless Bolt HIMSELF somehow deems it necessary to change that). I'm just thankful that I've been lucky to see this man dominate the world of sprinting like he has--an athlete whose mind-boggling exploits (in my opinion) have somehow gone slightly under-publicized..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2004 Texas Rangers--who finished 89-73 under manager Buck Showalter--had FIVE players on the team who hit 20 or more home runs apiece. How many of these players can you name? Answer to follow..........*Here goes: Former University of North Dakota track star Emily Emerson marries former major league catcher Steve Lake--divorces--then walks down the aisle with current PGA player Ryan Palmer. Fans of a very successful English progressive rock group would surely enjoy her full married name of Emily Emerson Lake Palmer..........Anyone out there catch of glimpse of tennis player Caroline Wozniacki wearing a skin tight, orange outfit at the recent Players' Tribune celebration for women held in NYC? Let's just say it was a LOT more "eye-opening"/attractive than when she wears all-white tennis garb on the court--along with a baseball cap--while sweating profusely..........Oh--and as far as being rendered speechless about a person who's NOT an athlete? How 'bout my fellow Fordham alumnus Vin Scully--who will return for his 67th year in the broadcast booth for the Dodgers in 2016? Sheesh--at this juncture, I just want to be able to LIVE until the age of 67. The MOST amazing thing? He's STILL the best at what he does, folks--and will turn 88 in the fall. Simply remarkable.........I had the privilege of interviewing former New York Yankees player/World Series MVP Bobby Richardson recently--who had just celebrated his 80th birthday. Put it this way: In addition to having put together a storied baseball career, the man is "top shelf" as far as character is concerned. I've talked to many media people about Richardson over the years and not ONE person has had anything negative to say about the former infielder. I don't expect that to change either--a total "class act" if there ever was one..........Did you know that the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates finished last in the NL in ALL of the following categories?: At-bats, runs, hits, batting average, ERA, saves, and wins? Yes, a true sign of a team that lost 105 games--and the main reason why manager John Russell was fired as soon as that nightmarish season was completed..........*QUESTION: Shouldn't some television network give some SERIOUS consideration to producing a soap opera based on the life of PGA golfer John Daly?..........Answer to trivia question: MARK TEIXEIRA (38), HANK BLALOCK (32), ALFONSO SORIANO (28), KEVIN MENCH (26), and MICHAEL YOUNG (22)..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of legendary NHL coach Al Arbour--who passed away last week at the age of 82; he had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia. Arbour is best-known for being the leader of the New York Islanders' dynasty during the early 1980's as the team won a remarkable FOUR STRAIGHT Stanley Cups; he also won four Stanley Cups as a player (defenseman) during the 50's and 60's. Altogether, he won 782 games as a coach; his incredibly strong work ethic is often cited as the main reason why he was such a successful coach. In retirement, Arbour continued to follow the game closely--often being critical of the NHL's disciplining policies. Arbour was the NHL's coach of the year in 1979 and was ultimately elected into the league's Hall of Fame in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Claire, and four children: Joann, Janice, Julie, and Jay. Rest in in peace, "Coach."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 8/15/15

Just came across some pictures (ummmm--shall we just say "provocative" ones?) of lovely, 57-year-old actress Sharon Stone (yes, you read that correctly-- she's 57, folks) in the latest issue of Harper's Bazaar. Sheesh--and I used to think that Rod Carew's swing was the ultimate thing of beauty; goodness gracious (of course--this is putting aside air-brushing, lighting, photographer's talent, etc.)..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2001 Cleveland Indians--who finished 91-71 under manager Charlie Manuel--had three players on the squad who drove in 100 or more runs apiece. Can you name this talented trio of hitters? Answer to follow..........I had the privilege of interviewing former L.A. Dodgers first baseman Wes Parker on "Monday Night Sports Talk" last week--a man who won SIX Gold Gloves in a row between 1967 and 1972. My co-host Tony DeAngelo on Parker's excellence in the field: "I've seen guys like George Scott, Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, and many others play the position over the years. Not ONE of them was a better-fielding first baseman than Wes Parker; he was the best I've ever seen."..........Here in New England, it's NEVER too early to think about winter clothing, right? The Connecticut Tigers (Class A-Detroit Tigers) will be having a "Winter Hat Giveaway Night"--next Saturday (8/22) as the team takes on the Vermont Lake Monsters. Game time is 7:05 PM (gates open at 6) and the first 1,000 fans will receive a hat--courtesy of Backus and Windham Hospitals. Ticket info, directions to Dodd Stadium, etc. can be obtained by visiting the team's website: www.cttigers.com ..........Congrats to my good friend--former Cubs infielder Carmen Fanzone--for recently having a "Hot Doug" sausage named after him at the Wrigley Field concession area. Doug Sohn, who formerly ran a hot dog stand on N. California Ave. in Chicago, recently started offering his famous sausages at Wrigley and named them after three of his favorite players he followed as a youth: Dave Kingman, Rick Reuschel, and Fanzone. Anyone out there feeling HUNGRY? The 'Kingman' is a bacon cheeseburger sausage with cola BBQ sauce and sharp cheddar cheese. The 'Reuschel' choice features an atomic sausage with chipotle mustard and pepper jack cheese. And the 'Fanzone' variety is a Vienna Polish sausage with spicy brown mustard and carmelized onions. My only question is THIS: With a last name like "Fanzone", how could that choice be prepared with Polish sausage instead of ITALIAN? Regardless, my stomach is growling as I write this; congrats again, Mr. Fanzone!..........ITEM: S.D. Chargers QB Philip Rivers signs a 4-year contract extension worth approximately $85 million (about $21 million per season). If my math is correct--and figuring Rivers connects with receivers perhaps 350 times per season--he will earn approximately $60,000 PER COMPLETION. Nice work if you can get it, huh?..........*Here goes: Just imagine if former LPGA Tour winner Tammie Green married current PGA golfer/recent PGA Championship winner Jason Day. Fans of a certain punk/pop band would surely be delighted as she'd be navigating golf courses with the full married name of Tammie Green Day..........If anyone out there DIDN'T get choked up when K.C. Chiefs safety Eric Berry (who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last December) took the field vs. the Cardinals this past weekend, check your pulse and see your OWN doctor IMMEDIATELY..........ITEM: N.Y. Jets QB Geno Smith gets punched in the face, breaks his jaw, and then is spotted winging the football around with friends two days after surgery--AGAINST doctor's orders. Now I know Smith was an English major at WVU and is a pretty bright guy. But I'm TOTALLY convinced that he has NEVER heard of a very popular term that is extremely familiar to most of us: "COMMON SENSE". Sheesh, Geno--c'mon........Speaking of Smith (and NOT to make light of ANY type of injury): If the "powers that be" of the N.Y. Jets have ANY type of sense of humor, the theme from "Jaws" will be played over the PA system every time Smith takes the field (that's IF he takes the field) during the upcoming 2015 season..........Answer to trivia question: JUAN GONZALEZ (140), JIM THOME (124), and ROBERTO ALOMAR (100)..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former University of Kentucky offensive line coach John Jacob Hallum ("Jake")--who passed away recently at the age of 76. "Jake" was the OL coach under Jerry Claiborne at Kentucky for eight years; he previously held the same position under Claiborne at Maryland for ten years. Hallum went on to do some NFL scouting work for the Eagles, Patriots, and Browns and was universally known for his intense attention to detail/highly-respected work ethic. Perhaps "Jake's" greatest football accomplishment was the development of former Kentucky lineman Dermontti Dawson--who would play 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2012. Hallum is survived by his wife, Mable, and two sons--Todd and Bart. May Coach Hallum rest in peace.