Tuesday, September 02, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 8/30/14

At the end of July, Daniel Lucas "Doc" Adams was selected as SABR's "Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend" for 2014. This honor is bestowed upon a 19th century player, manager, executive, or baseball personality not yet inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. "Doc Adams", one might say? Yes, he's a man whose early contributions to the American Pastime surely deserve high recognition. As a player, Adams is credited by most historians as creating the shortstop position--and he was a member of the famous New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club in the 1840's (he played productively into his forties and also was a medical doctor). He later became an executive and was highly responsible for some of the key aspects that make up today's game: nine inning games, nine players per team, ninety feet between bases, and fly ball outs. I recently was in contact with his great granddaughter, Marjorie Adams, who is currently on a crusade to see her deserving relative gain entrance into Cooperstown. Yes, it's time "Doc" gets his rightful place in baseball history. For more information on this fascinating man--and his under-publicized contributions--please visit SABR.org/overlooked-19th-century-baseball-legends..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2001 Texas Rangers--who finished 73-89 under managers Johnny Oates and Jerry Narron--were led in stolen bases by a player who would swipe just 77 during his entire career. Can you name this former outfielder who played 12 years in the big leagues? Answer to follow.........ITEM: The NFL announces that it will impose stricter sanctions for domestic violence actions--including a 6-game suspension for a first offense. Call me crazy/critical, but doesn't this decision make it appear that the league thinks that beating on a significant other is only "halfway" bad? If there was EVER a despicable act that should warrant an absolute ZERO TOLERANCE policy , it's domestic violence; it surely appears that the NFL and Roger Goodell don't agree with my 'tough' stance..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a college football game played last weekend, Texas State annihilated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 65-0; the winning squad held a 42-0 at halftime of this 'laugher' and piled up nearly 700 yards of total offense--a school record. If I'm the UAPB coach, I incorporate a little comforting humor when addressing my team after the game--and offer this: "Keep your chin up, guys, and look on the bright side: At least we kept Texas State's point total under the game time temperature--which was 94"..........From my good friend/baseball historian Dick Graham: "I recently had a dream that Yankees sideline reporter Meredith Marakovits ice-dunked me at second base while whispering in my ear at the same time, 'Dickie, I only have "ice" for you.'" Yes, there's only ONE Dick Graham, folks--aka the "Maven from West Haven."..........ITEM: Nike matches Under Armour's deal of approximately $280 million to keep NBA star Kevin Durant on board for the next ten years. Question: Do you think Durant's Mom--or his representatives at Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports--had to beg/plead with him to "JUST DO IT"when it came to signing THAT kind of immense endorsement deal?..........Here's some interesting information: In 1980, Willie Wilson of the K.C. Royals put up AMAZING numbers--leading the league in runs scored (133), hits (230), and triples (15). Oh--he also stole 79 bases, hit .326, and won a Gold Glove award while being the catalyst for the American League champs. The "interesting" part? Wilson placed FOURTH in the MVP balloting that year--finishing behind teammate George Brett and the Yankees' tandem of Reggie Jackson and Rich "Goose" Gossage..........Just HOW much does aging have to do with a player's golf game? A LOT. Take PGA player Mike Weir, for example. The man has won close to $28 million over a very respectable career. However, since turning 40 in 2010, Weir has just two Top 10 finishes and three Top 25's. "Father Time" spares no one, folks..........I just found out that the lovely Christie Brinkley recently broke her left foot--posting pictures of her mishap on Instagram. Sheesh--I guess that puts my wishes of a future tennis/dinner date with this beauty on hold just a little longer, huh?..........Answer to trivia question: GABE KAPLER, who led the team that year with 23 steals--almost 1/3 of his career total..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former college basketball coach Jack Kraft--who passed away recently in New Jersey at the age of 93. Kraft was best known for leading the Villanova program for 12 seasons starting in 1961. While with the Wildcats, he amassed a record of 238-95--taking his teams to the NCAA tournament six times and the NIT on five occasions. Jack Kraft will be best remembered for leading 'Nova to the NCAA final in 1970-'71--eventually losing to UCLA. He later coached at Rhode Island between 1973 and 1981 where he won 103 games before retiring due to health concerns. Rest in peace, "Coach."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 8/16/14

Here's an interesting tidbit for everyone: Minnesota Twins pitcher Scott Erickson led the American League in victories in 1991 with 20--a year in which he was an All-Star and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting to Roger Clemens. However, did you know that just two years later--in 1993--Erickson led the AL in LOSSES (19), pitched to a robust 5.19 ERA, and gave up the MOST hits in the league (266)?..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates--who lost 104 games under manager Chuck Tanner--were led in home runs by a former infielder with a paltry total of just TWELVE. Can you name this former big leaguer who spent 11 years in the majors with four different teams? Answer to follow..........ITEM: Florida State wide receiver Isaiah Jones is ruled academically ineligible and will not play during the 2014 season. Put it this way: To be ineligible to play at a "football factory" like FSU, one has to REALLY mess up in the classroom--or perhaps he just couldn't find his way to the Seminoles' practice facility..........Steve Lyons may have been considered a tad "flaky" when he played in the majors (after all, he WAS nicknamed "Psycho"), but he truly knows the game--and provides some very keen, well-delivered insight whenever he's given the opportunity to provide color commentary on Red Sox telecasts. Funny guy, too.........Just the other day, I was thinking to myself how beautiful it is watching Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones going back on a fly ball. A couple hours later, I witnessed lovely TV host/model Daisy Fuentes doing a commercial for hair extensions, and my definition of "beauty" took on an ENTIRELY new meaning (no offense, Adam). My goodness--and I used to think that Mariano Rivera aged well..........Try to fathom THIS, folks: The New York Yankees STILL owe "past their prime" players A-ROID and CC Sabathia approximately $120 million over the next three seasons. If that doesn't make any Yankees fan out there a bit nauseous, then consider yourself as possessing a very strong gastro-intestinal system; I'm not sure the same can be said about current NY general manager Brian Cashman..........*O.K.--here goes: WNBA player Kayla Alexander marries New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham, divorces, then walks down the aisle with Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell. Fans of telecommunications history would surely delight in her full married name of Kayla Alexander Graham Bell..........Based on pitcher Mickey Lolich's 1971 season with the Detroit Tigers (376 IP/29 CG/25 wins), I'm going to make THREE assumptions: 1) Manager Billy Martin was NOT concerned with his pitch count 2) Pitching coach Art Fowler was NOT concerned with his pitch count, and 3) If the team doctor WAS concerned with Mickey's pitch count--and had publicly voiced concern about it--he probably would have been looking for new employment within 24 hours of doing so...........Speaking of baseball broadcasters: I've always respected Paul O'Neill's ability ON the baseball field. But as a color commentator on Yankees telecasts, he's prone to talking WAY too much--which sometimes resembles a monologue rather than good, periodic insight..........Answer to trivia question: JASON THOMPSON--a first baseman whose career spanned from 1976-1986 with the Tigers, Angels, Pirates, and Expos..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Duquesne basketball coach/NBA scout John Cinicola--who passed away recently of cancer at the age of 85. Cinicola--who led Duquesne from 1974-1978--was the last coach to take that school to the NCAA tournament (1977). One of his prized recruits during his tenure at the Pittsburgh school was Norm Nixon--who would experience a long, successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers. John would later do some scouting for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. He was an avid fitness buff, too--competing in several Boston Marathons while running 100 miles per week at certain junctures of his training. Cinicola is a member of the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, the Duquesne University Hall of Fame, and the Italian Sports Hall of Fame. John Cinicola is survived by two sons, two daughters, and 13 grandchildren; he was predeceased by his wife, Eileen, in 2012. Rest in peace, "Coach."