Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 11-12-05

How' bout senior RB Nick Hartigan of Brown University? Going into this weekend's game vs. Dartmouth, he's run for over 100 yards SEVEN straight games (two of which he gained more than 200) and currently has 1,305 yards rushing this season. A Walter Payton Award candidate (best player in Division 1-AA), Hartigan will most likely be third on the all-time Ivy League rushing list when his career ends (behind Ed Marinaro and Chad Levitt); he also has a good chance of breaking Marinaro's all-time Ivy League record of 50 rushing TD's (he currently has 47). The topper? He's a first team Academic All-American (carrying a 3.91 GPA) and has applied for the esteemed Rhodes Scholarship to study in England. Ah, isn't it just SO refreshing to hear stories like Hartigan's in these days of corrupt, shady college athletics?..........TRIVIA QUESTION #1: Who is the tallest player to ever lead the NBA in free-throw percentage? Answer to follow..........Can you imagine if Brown University volleyball coach Diane Short had once married former Olympic champion Al Oerter--divorced--then married PGA golfer John Cook? Patrons of "greasy spoon" diners everywhere would have delighted in her married name of Diane Short Oerter Cook..........This week in sports history, November 13, 1964: St. Louis Hawks forward Bob Pettit becomes the first player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points--hitting a short jump shot in the second quarter during a 123-106 loss to the Cincinnati Royals. Pettit would reach this esteemed milestone at the age of 31 while playing in his eleventh NBA season..........I didn't think it was possible, but disgruntled Eagles WR Terrell Owens is now making fellow NFL "bad boy" Randy Moss look like a Vienna Choir Boy. If Owens isn't the biggest malcontent in NFL history, then there's not a pair of chopsticks in Beijing..........N.Y. Giants RB Tiki Barber recently told the New York Post that pitcher Al Leiter would make a good politician. Well, I gotta admit that pitchers and politicians DO have a lot in common: They both throw curves at people, frequently have dirt on their hands, and often need to be replaced..........Answer to trivia question #1: JACK SIKMA, the 6' 11" former forward/center, who led the league in 1988 with a percentage of over 92% while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a college football game last weekend in the South, Georgetown (KY) defeated Shorter 79-6. If I'm the losing coach, I inject a bit of comforting humor when addressing my players after the game and offer this: "Guys, yes, we represent an institution known as "Shorter." But let's all be thankful that this game didn't last any LONGER than it did!"..........Terrific commentary by CBS' Dan Dierdorf during last weekend's Chargers/Jets game--especially his complimenting of San Diego RB Lorenzo Neal for refusing to run out of bounds at one point in favor of gaining more yardage. Dierdorf astutely acknowledged the increasing amount of NFL players who take the easy way out--strictly to avoid taking hits; great job, Dan..........TRIVIA QUESTION #2: What two current PGA golfers--both of whom have won major tournaments--were born on the SAME day? Answer to follow..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: In a game last week vs. Denver, the Portland Trail Blazers scored a "robust" 68 points--shooting 29-for-87 from the field (33%), 3-for-13 from 3-point range (23%), and a PATHETIC 7-for-20 from the foul line (35%). I haven't seen that much incompetence since the last time I placed an order at a fast-food restaurant..........Gotta love Hall of Famer George Brett's current "vice president" position with the K.C. Royals: He's required to work just four weeks in spring training and also gets compensated for offering personal suggestions about the team when he attends home games in Kansas City. This guy has a better job than the taste tester at Ben & Jerry's--and ALMOST a better job than Hugh Hefner..........Answer to trivia question #2: JIM FURYK and MIKE WEIR--who were both born on May 12, 1970. Interestingly, they both won their majors in the same year, 2003 (Furyk--U.S. Open/Weir--Masters)..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Willie Hernandez--who blows out 51 candles on November 14th. A southpaw reliever from Puerto Rico, Hernandez--a three-time All-Star--pitched 13 seasons between 1977 and 1989 for the Cubs, Phillies, and Tigers; he won 70 games and saved 147. Few will forget Willie's magical 1984 season in Detroit when he went 9-3 with 32 saves and an ERA of 1.92. His stellar performance that season enabled him to win both the AL Cy Young and MVP awards while being an integral part of Sparky Anderson's world championship squad. Best wishes, Willie..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Al Widmar--who died recently of colon cancer at the age of 80. A member of the Jays' organization for 20 years (10 as pitching coach), Widmar was best known for guiding the talented 1985 Toronto staff that consisted of Doyle Alexander, Jim Clancy, Jimmy Key, and Dave Stieb--a quartet that led the Blue Jays to their first-ever division title. Widmar also pitched in 114 games at the big league level with the Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, and White Sox. May he rest in peace.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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