Monday, August 07, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 08-12-06

I must recognize the work being done by former NBA guard Kevin Johnson. A former All-Star, “KJ” retired in 2000 to focus on improving education--something he has referred to as "bigger and more important than basketball." Johnson originally opened an after-school program named St. Hope Academy--aimed at high-risk kids in his hometown of Sacramento; he now runs the six schools that comprise the St. Hope Public School System in California. Kevin's main mission is to convey the importance of attending college to both kids AND parents; it's a shame that more NBA players--both former and current--don't champion causes/take action like one Kevin Johnson........
TRIVIA QUESTION: During the 1960s, two non-Americans won the Indianapolis 500. Can you name either gentleman? Answer to follow..........Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter now has his own cologne called "Driven"—available through Avon beginning in November. Rumor has it that Mets reliever Duaner Sanchez has his own similarly-named fragrance coming out soon as well; it will be called "Dangerously Driven--Via Taxicab"..........Can you imagine if tennis player Venus Williams married Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars, divorced, married former Virginia high school quarterback Jon Jupiter--divorced again--then married sportswriter/author Terry Pluto? Astronomy buffs would surely delight in her full married name of Venus Mars Jupiter Pluto..........I am now TOTALLY convinced that if I'm ever in a burning building, I will yell out David Ortiz' name in hopes of having my life saved..........Lazzari's "Cheap Win of the Week": Has to go to Phillies reliever Aaron Fultz. He recently pitched 2 2/3 innings vs. the Marlins--throwing a whopping 50 pitches and giving up two home runs; nonetheless, he gets the "W" during an 11-5 blowout victory by the Phils..........Terrific gesture by the USTA in renaming the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows the "USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center"--a well-deserved honor for an individual whose efforts on behalf of women's sports are unmatched. The sad part is this: Do you think the majority of girls playing sports at the high school or collegiate level right now even know who Billie Jean King IS?..........This week in sports history, August 14, 1977: On a challenging Pebble Beach golf course, Lanny Wadkins sinks a par putt on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff--enabling him to defeat Gene Littler at the PGA Championship. Littler blew a five-stroke lead with nine holes to play--allowing Wadkins to win his first tournament since 1973..........A stun gun was recently used on Detroit Pistons center Dale Davis after he was charged with disorderly conduct and assault after a run-in with Miami Beach police officers. I guarantee it will be the most "electrifying" shot THIS basketball player will ever experience..........Answer to trivia question: JIM CLARK of Scotland (1965) and GRAHAM HILL of England (1966)..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league outfielder Jay Buhner--who blows out 42 candles on August 13th. A Louisville native, Buhner played 15 seasons between 1987 and 2001 with the Yankees and Mariners--hitting 310 lifetime home runs. Buhner's best season undoubtedly came in 1996 while with Seattle when he slugged 44 homers and drove in an astounding 138 runs while hitting .271. A good defensive outfielder, Buhner also won a Gold Glove Award in '96--a year in which he was named to the AL All-Star team. In addition, he hit eight post-season home runs during his career. Best wishes, Jay..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Baltimore-area high school cross country coach Jim McCoach--who has died of a massive stroke at the age of 63. McCoach won numerous Maryland Scholastic Association and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships in the 1990s while at Calvert Hall; he had recently agreed to return to Calvert this fall as an assistant coach. All told, Jim McCoach leaves this world with more than 500 cross country victories over a 39-year period at seven different schools. May he rest in peace.

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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