Sunday, October 24, 2004

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" -- 10-30-04

How 'bout that ATP Masters Series tennis tournament in Madrid recently--where they paid 25 female models to replace the volunteer ball boys/girls? If I'm the PA announcer, I inject some humor when giving the score and offer this: "Advantage, male courtside observers"..........TRIVIA QUESTION #1: Who was the only fighter to defeat former boxing champion Thomas Hearns TWICE? Answer to follow..........I'm STILL waiting to wake up any minute now--and see the Yankees pound Derek Lowe into oblivion during Game 7 of the ALCS..........Lindsay Davenport has regained the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis--even though she's been mulling retirement and is past her prime; she now joins Kim Clijsters and Amelie Mauresmo as players who've reached the number one spot since the summer of 2003. Just further evidence of why following the women's game is more difficult now than watching a segment of John McEnroe's television talk show..........Score of the Week: Last weekend, Tulane's football squad defeated UAB 59-55. Rumor has it that the PR people at Finlandia may use highlights of this porous defensive game in their next Swiss cheese advertising campaign..........Chant to be heard at Fenway Park next season--when Yankees pitchers are on the mound: "WHO'S YOUR PAPI??!!"..........Answer to trivia question #1: IRAN BARKLEY--who scored a third round knockout against Hearns in 1988 as a middleweight and won a 12-round decision against "The Hitman" in '92 as a light-heavyweight..........Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford recently told the New York Post that he threw spitballs ONLY in exhibition games. Question: Do you think all those late-night parties at Toots Shor's may have clouded "The Chairman of the Board's" memory just a little bit?..........TRIVIA QUESTION #2: What future baseball Hall of Famer hit a pitiful .056 in the 1970 World Series as his team went down in defeat? Answer to follow..........This week in sports history, October 31, 1959: All-American running back Billy Cannon of LSU returns a punt 89 yards for a TD with ten minutes left to play--leading his top-ranked LSU team to a 7-3 victory over third-ranked Mississippi..........Did you know that, in 1929, N.Y. Giants star Mel Ott walked FIVE times during the last game of the season--one with the bases loaded? The clincher? Ott ended up losing the home run crown that season to the Phillies' Chuck Klein--43 to 42..........In a "Got Milk" advertisement last week in SI, Tracy McGrady is shown in a trash-talking pose--while sporting a tattoo, expensive sneakers, and earrings worth more than my car. Thanks, T-Mac, for contributing even more to the skewed values possessed by today's youth..........Tennis stars Kim Clijsters and Lleyton Hewitt, who had planned to marry in February, have called off their wedding. I guess this "love game" they were playing has had its share of "faults" and "unforced errors," huh?..........A totally "bush league" move by the Yankees--letting Bucky Dent throw out the first pitch during the ALCS vs. Boston. That's almost equivalent to inviting Roger Clemens to a Piazza family reunion..........Answer to trivia question #2: TONY PEREZ--who went a horrendous 1 for 18 as his Reds ball club fell to the Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1..........During a three-game exhibition stretch this preseason (vs. Utah, Dallas, and Minnesota), N.Y. Knicks guard Jamal Crawford shot a PATHETIC 6-for-32 from the field--or 18.8%. I haven't seen anyone that cold since the last time I watched an interview with Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown..........Vandals from the University of Wyoming recently entered rival Colorado State's stadium and spray-painted "UW" in letters 30 feet high and 75 feet wide on the field's turf. I just hope the perpetrators were art majors and NOT criminal justice students..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big league pitcher/NBA player Ron Reed--who blows out 62 candles on November 2nd. Reed pitched 19 seasons for the Braves, Cardinals, Phillies, and White Sox--winning 146 games. His best year came in 1969 with Atlanta--when he won 18 games while helping his team to its first division title. A basketball star at Notre Dame, Reed was also the "sixth man" for the Detroit Pistons from 1965-1967 before concentrating solely on baseball..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Yankees first baseman Johnny Sturm--who died recently of congestive heart failure at the age of 88. A starter on the Yankees' '41 championship squad, Sturm ended up playing only that ONE season in the majors after mangling a finger in a tractor accident a few months after the World Series ended. While managing in the minors in the late '40s, Sturm persuaded the Yankees management to look at a young phenom named Mickey Mantle; he also did scouting work for the Houston Colt .45's, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Boston Red Sox. May he rest in peace.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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