Monday, October 17, 2005

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 10-22-05

From the "Go Figure" Dept.: New Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has hired former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon as his bullpen coach. One question for Jim: WHY???? McClendon played part-time during his big-league career--one which saw him play almost every position BUT pitcher. In addition to his managerial record being nothing to brag about while in Pittsburgh, McClendon's never been known for developing pitchers--especially relievers (he was a former BATTING coach). It's one thing to demonstrate loyalty to former friends, colleagues, etc., Mr. Leyland, but you're paid to WIN GAMES--NOT to simply foster personal relationships..........TRIVIA QUESTION #1: Name the current NFL running back who scored an impressive 72 touchdowns over the first five years of his career; answer to follow..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a college football game in the Southwest last weekend, Mississippi Valley State defeated Paul Quinn College 62-0. My question is this: Was the losing team truly THAT overmatched--or did they only have ONE player suit up that day NAMED Paul Quinn?..........Is it me--or should Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo concentrate LESS on his hairstyles and musical endeavors--and a little MORE on pitching well in meaningful games?..........Can you imagine if LPGA golfer Birdie Kim married former Air Force swimmer Evan Parr--divorced--then married New York-based sportscaster Ian Eagle? She'd be roaming golf courses with the catchy, appropriate name of Birdie Parr Eagle..........This week in sports history, October 23, 1971: Running back Greg Pruitt runs for 294 yards on just 17 carries--leading the second-ranked Oklahoma Sooners to a 75-28 blowout victory against Kansas State. Pruitt would score three touchdowns during the rout that was played in Manhattan, Kansas--one that saw the Sooners' wishbone offense rush for over 700 yards while scoring on 11 of 12 possessions..........Answer to trivia question #1: SHAUN ALEXANDER of the Seattle Seahawks--who rushed for 62 touchdowns and caught 10 TD passes from 2000-2004..........Just a guess, but I think I have a good idea what Mr. Steinbrenner is thinking at this very juncture: A payroll of a quarter of a BILLION in 2006 might be JUST what is needed to put my Yankees team over the top..........If the recent tragic, unexpected death of Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier doesn't cause us to NOT sweat the small stuff--or live each day to its fullest--then NOTHING will..........TRIVIA QUESTION #2: Who was the tennis player that defeated defending champion Steffi Graf in the first round of Wimbledon in 1994? Answer to follow..........Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is one of the few players I can remember who can accumulate 206 hits (like he did in 2005)--and STILL be considered to have experienced an "off year."..........Did you know that, in 1945, pitcher Joe Cleary of the Washington Senators made only one appearance the entire year--pitching 1/3 of an inning while surrendering SEVEN earned runs? Cleary never appeared in a big-league game again--rendering him with a lifetime ERA of 189.00..........I was flipping through the Dartmouth College Football Media Guide the other day--and came across the bio of RB Ikechi Ogbonna. Folks, this guy earned NINE varsity letters in high school, was president of the Multi-Cultural Club, and earned the Latin Scholarship Award. Currently an English major, Ogbonna is co-captain of the Dartmouth track team and sings in the gospel choir; his favorite academic course is Shakespeare I. Sounds to me like a student-athlete who would actually USE laptop computers at times--and NOT steal/sell them, huh?..........Answer to trivia question #2: American LORI McNEIL--who defeated Graf 7-5, 7-6, in one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Wilbur Wood--who blows out 64 candles on October 22nd. A Massachusetts native, Wood pitched 17 big-league seasons between 1961 and 1978 for the Red Sox, Pirates, and White Sox--winning 164 games. Used as a reliever at the beginning of his career, Wood (a knuckleballer) entered the White Sox’ starting rotation in 1971 and proceeded to produce four straight seasons with 20 or more wins for Chicago. Wood led the AL in wins in both '72 and '73--a terrific two-year stretch that saw the lefty pitch a whopping total of 735 innings. Best wishes, Wilbur..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Toronto Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek--who died recently in Florida of brain cancer at the age of 66. Cheek called every Blue Jays game (over 4,300 of them--including post-season) until June of 2004 when his father passed away; he underwent brain surgery shortly thereafter. All told, Tom Cheek spent 27 1/2 years as the voice of the Jays--having started with the team during its inaugural season of 1977. Many of us will never forget his famous call of Joe Carter's home run in the ninth inning to win the '93 World Series vs. Philadelphia--when he simply said, "Touch 'em all, Joe. You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life." Thanks for the memories, Tom Cheek.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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