Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 09-17-05

Shame on the clueless dolts/"powers that be" who are now responsible for one of the biggest faux pas in sports broadcasting history: the classic James Blake/Andre Agassi quarterfinal at the recent U.S. Open being televised after TEN O'CLOCK--on a WEEKNIGHT! "One for the ages," some remarked afterward; too bad many of us did NOT see it due to the insane starting time. In short, a slew of us in waiting that evening endured a "thrilling" women's quarterfinal between Lindsay Davenport and Elena Dementieva (yawn) before finally surrendering to fatigue; we subsequently found out the next morning that we had missed one of the greatest U.S. Open men's matches in recent memory. It was like constructing the perfect ice cream sundae for yourself, freezing it, then having your roommate tell you how good it was the next morning..........TRIVIA QUESTION #1: Name the only New York Knicks player to ever lead the NBA in scoring; answer to follow..........Did you know that, in 1953, pitcher Max Surkont of the Milwaukee Braves struck out only 83 batters in 170 innings--but that he fanned EIGHT of them in a row at one point? Surkont accomplished the remarkable feat in May of that year vs. Cincinnati; he'd win only 61 games his entire big-league career..........Did anyone out there catch the post-match tennis interviews conducted by Tracy Wolfson during CBS'/USA's recent coverage of the U.S. Open? A typical "pretty girl" hire--whose ridiculous questions and unpolished delivery were beyond embarrassing. This misplaced gal working in the broadcast industry is like Paris Hilton working on the back of a garbage truck..........If every major league player hustled/ran full-speed out of the batter's box like Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler, wouldn't baseball be a HELLUVA lot more enjoyable to follow on a daily basis?..........Answer to trivia question #1: BERNARD KING--who led the league in scoring in 1985 with an average of 32.9 points per game..........That HORRIFIC tennis shirt (black and pink with holes in the shoulders) that Dominik Hrbaty wore at the recent U.S. Open makes the sweaters worn by former St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca look like Armani suits..........This week in sports history, September 19, 1959: On the 36th and final hole, 19-year-old Jack Nicklaus makes an eight-foot birdie putt--enabling him to win the U.S. Amateur golf championship at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs. Nicklaus, a junior at Ohio State, captured the thrilling, 1-up victory from defending champion Charley Coe. Nicklaus also became the second youngest winner in the history of the U.S. Amateur--being just three months older than Robert Gardner when he won in 1909..........TRIVIA QUESTION #2: What was the name of the goalie who had a tragic, career-ending heart attack in a game during the '71-'72 NHL season? Answer to follow..........Another "good guy" in the game of golf? Jason Gore--the 31-year-old who made headlines earlier this year for his stellar, early-round play at the U.S. Open. Here's a guy who has a perpetual smile on his countenance and is gracious to all those around him; in short, he's extremely happy/thankful to be playing golf for a living in spite of much past disappointment on the golf course. You get the feeling when you hear Jason speak that golf is WAY down on his list of life's priorities when compared to family and friends. This man truly "gets it"--and in a sport filled with a bit too many "stuffed shirts," the game of golf needs more guys in it like Jason Gore.........."Lazzari’s Score of the Week": In a college football game here in the east last week, East Stroudsburg defeated C.W. Post 66-49. The presence of ANY kind of defense in that game was as scarce as seeing an unattractive female on the set of "Desperate Housewives."..........The 21st annual Fordham University Golf Classic will be played at Winged Foot on October 11th; prices are between $4,500-$5,000 for a foursome and "only" $1,225 for individual spots. If I'm paying fees like that, I BETTER receive the following: a new set of Cleveland golf clubs upon arrival, lifetime season tickets to ALL Fordham sporting events, both pre- AND post-round massages performed by Ford models, and a dinner date with a Radio City Rockette of my choosing..........Answer to trivia question #2: BRUCE GAMBLE of the Philadelphia Flyers--who was stricken on February 9, 1972, while playing vs. the Vancouver Canucks..........One of the most satisfying things for a sports columnist to be able to say is that he/she witnessed one of the greatest athletes of all time during their prime. I can now say that once again; thanks for the memories, Mr. Jerry Rice..........Happy birthday wishes go out to baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda--who blows out 68 candles on September 17th. The "Baby Bull" played 17 seasons with a variety of teams; his longest tenure was with the San Francisco Giants. A seven-time NL All-Star, Cepeda hit 379 lifetime home runs, drove in 1,365 runs, and batted .297 over his career. His best season came in 1961 as a member of the Giants--when he smacked 46 homers and drove in a remarkable 142 runs while hitting at a .311 clip. Best wishes, Orlando..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Manchester Herald sports editor Earl Yost--who died recently here in Connecticut at the age of 84. Yost held his editor's position at the newspaper for 39 years--retiring in 1983. Earl was also a former competitive player, baseball umpire, and basketball referee; in addition, he was heavily involved in Little League baseball and the ever-popular Manchester Road Race. In short, when it came to sports, there wasn't much Earl Yost DIDN'T do. He was inducted into the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame in 1987--a project he once helped organize. Mr. Yost, you'll surely be missed.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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