Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 03-18-06

Two University of Tennessee basketball players, Anthony Passley and Jordan Smith, were recently suspended by the school after being charged with possession of crack cocaine. I know--these two gentlemen/scholars were probably saving the crack (with no intentions of using it) SOLELY to study its chemical composition in one of their upcoming science labs, right?..........TRIVIA QUESTION: In 1986, Evander Holyfield became the first '84 Olympian to win a world boxing title. What fighter did Holyfield defeat to earn the crown? Answer to follow..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: Here's something that may cause you to have difficulty keeping your lunch down: The Chicago Bulls shot 7-for-19 (that's NOT a misprint, folks) from the foul line during a recent loss to Cleveland; they also scored a total of 30 points in the ENTIRE second half during this 91-72 loss/fiasco. I can now see, for sure, that former Bulls guard Steve Kerr didn't bother to leave any free-throw shooting tips behind when he left the Windy City a few years back..........Can you imagine if LPGA golfer Candie Kung married University of Pittsburgh team physician Dr. Freddie Fu? Fans of the martial arts and/or actor David Carradine would then delight in her full married name of Candie Kung Fu..........If Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson is worth $7 million per season, then Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has never experienced a hangover..........This week in sports history, March 19, 1955: Center Bill Russell scores 18 first-half points while guard K.C. Jones shines defensively--leading San Francisco past LaSalle 77-63 in the NCAA championship game held in Kansas City. Russell finished with 23 points and 25 rebounds while Jones, in addition to his tenacious defense, scored an impressive 24 for the Dons--who finished their remarkable season with a stellar 28-1 overall record..........Hear about the new dandruff shampoo now being used by "steroid bum" Barry Bonds? It's called "Huge Head & Broad Shoulders."..........Gotta love Dick Vitale--commenting last weekend on ESPN during the Duke/BC ACC final when no BC player boxed out a Duke free throw shooter, thus giving that player a clear path to get his own rebound: "You can't be out there dreaming about your date--you gotta find the shooter!!"..........Answer to trivia question: DWIGHT MUHAMMAD QAWI--whom Holyfield defeated by decision in a grueling 15-round bout to earn the WBA cruiserweight crown..........I see that Mike Piazza went 1-for-11 during Italy's "under-whelming" showing at the World Baseball Classic. In the Italian language, I believe they would call Piazza's performance "un fetore grande"--or STINKEROO in plain English..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former Oakland A's pitcher Mike Norris--who blows out 51 candles on March 19th. A San Francisco native, Norris pitched nine seasons for the A's between 1975 and 1983; he also appeared in 14 games for the team in 1990 while attempting a comeback. All told, Norris won 58 major league games--22 of which came in one tremendous season, 1980. That year, Mike pitched 289 innings, threw a mind-boggling 24 complete games, and pitched to an impressive 2.53 ERA for Billy Martin's second-place club. Unfortunately, Norris was never the same thereafter due to extensive arm problems. Best wishes, Mike..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett--who died recently of a stroke in Arizona at the age of 44. His numbers/leadership qualities are well-documented; he was a .318 lifetime hitter, garnered 2,304 hits in his career, and led the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. Sadly, his career was cut short by glaucoma--which also seemed to pave the way for numerous personal problems in retirement. Having written at length about the man before, I'll conclude by saying simply this: Kirby Puckett, along with the great George Brett, were the two most fun-to-watch players I've ever seen play the game of baseball; they were "throwback" guys who never failed to maintain the "little kid" in them while they were in between the lines. Kirby, I prefer to remember the GOOD times at this juncture; thanks for the memories.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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