Monday, April 10, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 04-15-06

Former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko recently lost his bid to become mayor of Kiev in Ukraine--winning only 22% of the vote. Yes, it surely seems that Klitschko threw his hat in the wrong "ring" this time, huh?..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who is the only player in St. Louis Cardinals history to lead the National League in triples three years in a row? Answer to follow..........Did you know that former Orioles outfielder Albert "Don't Call Me Joey" Belle was paid an outrageous $40 million by the team (70% of which was recovered by insurance) AFTER his career was ended due to a degenerative hip condition? Ah, yes, guaranteed contracts. If I'm Belle, I thank my lucky stars and put a $1,000 check in my ex-agent's Christmas card each year..........I'd like to see SUNY-Fredonia basketball player Danielle Bleecker hook up with Oakland A's pitcher Huston Street. If they ever tied the knot, lovers of NY's Greenwich Village would delight in her married name of Danielle Bleecker Street..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: During a 38-point loss to New Jersey in late March, the Phoenix Suns shot 26-for-97 from the field (27%); last week vs. Detroit, Miami missed ten free throws while going 0-for-10 from three-point range (hey, at least they were consistent!). Can you imagine playing the popular backyard game "Jarts" with this current crop of NBA players? You'd have to don a helmet and body armor to protect yourself from all the errant throws these guys would make..........Do you get the feeling that if Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena played regularly, he'd strike out at least 200 times?..........Newly hired Seton Hall basketball coach Bobby Gonzalez says his goal is to get the team back to the Final Four (which it last reached in '88). With his recruiting ability, track record at Manhattan, and intensity, is there anyone out there who thinks Gonzalez CAN'T accomplish his goal?..........How 'bout the Red Sox/Orioles game last week--when Manny Ramirez actually ran HARD out of the batter's box after hitting a clean single to left field (I kid you not, folks--NESN showed the replay 4-5 times!)? Upon witnessing this miracle, I immediately ran to my front door/window to see if the sky was purple, pigs were airborne, or if Sharon Stone was waiting there wearing nothing but a smile..........Of all the players available in the upcoming NFL draft, I look forward to seeing Maryland TE Vernon Davis play pro ball more than any other; his physical gifts are ASTOUNDING and he makes any team that selects him INSTANTLY better..........This week in sports history, April 17, 1976: Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies hits four consecutive home runs--leading his team to an extra-inning, come-from-behind victory over the Cubs. After two Rick Monday homers helped Chicago to an early 13-2 lead, Schmidt went to work: a two-run homer in the fifth inning, a solo round-tripper in the seventh, a three-run shot in the eighth, and a two-run blast in the tenth. Schmidt's final home run would break a 15-15 tie in the final frame..........Answer to trivia question: GARRY TEMPLETON--who led the NL in three-baggers in 1977 (18), 1978 (13), and 1979 (19)..........Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano was arrested at the end of spring training for drunken driving; Florida cops said he was drifting between lanes and going 56 mph in a 35 mph zone. Seems to me that Liriano needs to work on "location" and "changing speeds" on the ROADS as well as the mound..........Happy belated birthday wishes go out to former major league catcher Jeff DeWillis--who blew out 41 candles on April 13th. If anyone out there can remember DeWillis, then consider yourself a baseball fanatic; he played a grand total of ONE big league season--1987 with Toronto. He appeared in 13 games that year for Jimy Williams' second-place club--going 3-for-25 (one of his three lifetime hits was a home run). Yes, Jeff DeWillis had a lifetime batting average of .120, folks; hey, they ALL can't be "Mike Piazza-like," right? Best wishes, Jeff.......... Finally, condolences go out to the family of former tennis player/tournament director Gene Scott--who died recently of heart failure at the Mayo Clinic; he was 68. Scott was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1963-1965 and rose to #11 in the rankings at one point during his career. He later went on to direct more than 200 tournaments; he also founded Tennis Week magazine in 1974. May Mr. Scott rest in peace.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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