Sunday, December 11, 2005

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 12-17-05

In the Jan. 2006 issue, Sports Illustrated for Kids features a "how to" section--promoting such "responsible" skills as riding a bike with no hands and spitting sunflower seeds like a major league ballplayer. I can foresee a similar future feature in the works--showing youngsters how to do the following: trash talk like NBA players, perform end zone dances like NFL showoffs, and demand trades when one's team is not doing too well..........TRIVIA QUESTION #1: In 1998, tennis superstar Martina Hingis won a doubles Grand Slam--winning all four major tournaments in the same year. In three of them, she played with Jana Novotna; who was her other playing partner during her Grand Slam run that year? Answer to follow..........I'd like to see former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders hook up with San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees. If they ever tied the knot, fans of Seals and Crofts would delight in her married name of Summer Brees..........Great choice by my alma mater, Fordham--naming Tom Masella as their new head football coach. Masella, a Staten Island native, led Central Connecticut State University to back-to-back NEC titles the last two years. Look for Masella to recruit heavily in the tri-state area in order to put the Rams back onto the Division 1-AA football map. He replaces Ed Foley--who had a dismal 7-15 record during his two-year tenure as Fordham's coach. Best of luck, Tom--we're rooting for you..........Answer to trivia question #1: MIRJANA LUCIC--who teamed with Hingis to win the Australian Open in 1998..........This week in sports history, December 18, 1983: Edmonton Oilers center Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky scores a pair of goals and adds two assists--leading his team to a 7-5 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Gretzky's efforts that day would give him an astounding 100 points for the season in just 34 games played--rendering him the fastest ever to reach that milestone. "The Great One" notched three of his points during the opening period while helping the Oilers improve their overall record to 24-7-3--best, by far, in the Smythe Division..........How 'bout those two Chicago Bears offensive linemen--Olin Kreutz and Fred Miller--whose recent fight with each other resulted in Miller's jaw being broken? I've heard about offensive linemen playing "smash-mouth" football before, but these guys took that expression just a LITTLE too far..........TRIVIA QUESTION #2: What NFL kicker holds the league record for most PAT's (points after touchdowns) in a single season? Answer to follow..........I used to think that the Indianapolis Colts' offense was something beautiful to watch until I tuned in to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS last week..........Here's an amazing stat: Last season, outfielder Willy Taveras of the Houston Astros finished with172 hits--152 of which were singles. That comes out to a mind-boggling 88% of Taveras' total hits resulting in only one base. Simply remarkable..........The best thing about the magnificent Peyton Manning-to-Marvin Harrison TD combo over the years? Harrison's workmanlike way of always acting like he's been in the end zone before..........The latest "NBA Stinker": In a game last week in Indiana, the Pacers beat the Grizzlies 80-66; Memphis shot 24-for-71 from the field, 11-for-20 from the free throw line, and had a grand total of just 27 points AT HALFTIME. That game was ALMOST as difficult to watch as Tyra Banks' new daytime television show..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a girls high school basketball game here in Connecticut last weekend, Hall defeated Classical Magnet 52-18; the losing squad trailed 13-0 at the end of the first quarter. All things being relative, would an optimist consider Classical's four-point production in the second quarter an "offensive explosion?"..........Answer to trivia question #2: UWE von SCHAMANN of the Miami Dolphins--who kicked 66 extra points during the 1984 season..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Jim Clancy--who blows out 50 candles on December 18th. A native of Chicago, Clancy pitched 15 seasons between 1977 and 1991 for the Blue Jays, Astros, and Braves--winning 140 games during his career. He won 15 or more games in a season three times while with Toronto; his best year came in 1982 with the Jays when he won 16 games, led the American League in starts (40), and was named to the league's All-Star squad. Clancy also appeared in three games of the 1991 World Series (winning one) as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Best wishes, Jim, for many more celebrations in the future..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NFL coach Bud Carson--who died recently in Florida of complications from emphysema at the age of 75. Carson was the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive coordinator from 1972 to 1977--making a name for himself as the architect of the famed "Steel Curtain" defense (featuring "Mean" Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, and others). During Carson's tenure with the Steelers, the team won two Super Bowls. He later became the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams before becoming head coach of the Browns in 1989. Unfortunately, Carson never experienced the same type of aforementioned success while in Cleveland--compiling a record of 11-13-1 in just 1 1/2 seasons there. Rest in peace, Bud Carson, and thanks for having mentored one legendary, helluva "D" while you were in Pittsburgh--one that was surely a pleasure to watch; your efforts will not be forgotten.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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