Monday, December 18, 2006

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 12-23-06

Once again, I must recognize my good buddy Robert "Raven" Kraft of Miami Beach--the "streak runner" who has now run his 8-mile route EVERY single day without fail since January 1, 1975 (as the saying goes, "you could look it up"). That's more than 93,000 miles covering a span of approximately 11,700 consecutive days. What once started as a New Year's resolution has now become legendary; keep it going, my friend..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who is the only player in New Orleans/Utah Jazz history to lead the NBA in rebounding? Answer to follow..........ITEM: N.Y. Yankees P Mike Mussina has gone on record as saying there is little or no difference between aluminum and wooden bats as far as batter performance is concerned. Something's smelly here, and I wonder if Mussina would take the mound if Manny Ramirez were standing in the batter's box armed with an aluminum "rocket." Just goes to show you that a Stanford education and MILLIONS of dollars do not provide (or even BUY) some people an ounce of common sense..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: Flagrant foul, followed by a bench-clearing brawl resulting in the ejection of TEN Knicks/Nuggets players last weekend at Madison Square Garden--just a stone's throw from league headquarters. Nothing more needs to be said, folks..........This week in sports history, December 25, 1984: The Chaminade basketball team defeats SMU 71-70 in a major upset--thus capturing the Western Airlines Chaminade Classic held in Honolulu. The small Hawaiian school--an NAIA institution--had earlier shocked Louisville in the semifinals. With an enrollment of just over 1,000 students, Chaminade first generated national headlines back in 1982 when it upset Virginia (led by 7-foot-4 Ralph Sampson)--the #1-ranked team in the country at that time..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a CT boys high school basketball game last week, East Catholic beat Sport & Medical Sciences 67-9--having led 43-4 AT THE HALF. An optimist points out that SMS scored more points in the second half (5) than the first half (4) and can only improve from here. A pessimist notes that THREE East Catholic players individually outscored the ENTIRE SMS team--and that if the losing squad had drained NINETEEN more three-pointers during this fiasco, they STILL would have lost..........From the "Jockocracy Rules" Dept.: The legendary Howard Cosell just stirred in the grave once again as Lee Mazzilli is named lead analyst on SNY's Mets telecasts. Oh, but I'm sure (ahem) that "Maz" has been taking journalism/broadcasting courses over the last few years--from the time he bombed as Orioles manager to the point where he was recently fired as Joe Torre's bench coach. Sheesh; sorry, Howard..........Answer to trivia question: LEONARD "TRUCK" ROBINSON--who led the league in 1977-1978 with an average of 15.7 rpg while playing in New Orleans..........Best wishes go out to CT's own Jeff Bagwell--who recently announced his retirement from the Houston Astros after 15 seasons with the SAME TEAM; yes, the last of a dying breed--for sure. His #'s are worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement (449 HR's, 1,529 RBI's, .297 BA), but I'll always remember "Bags" for going about his business in a quiet, unassuming way; you seldom heard a peep from a guy named Bagwell. Thanks, Jeff..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big league pitcher John D'Acquisto--who blows out 55 candles on Christmas Eve. A native of San Diego, D'Acquisto showed great promise after winning 12 games for the Giants in 1974 (his second year in the 'bigs')--giving up just 182 hits in 215 innings. However, he'd win only 22 games over the next eight years for a variety of teams--finishing with a disappointing career record of 34-51. Also, D'Acquisto is the cousin of Lou Marone--who pitched briefly with the Pirates in '69 and '70; best wishes, John..........Condolences go out to the family of NBA Hall of Famer Paul Arizin--who died recently while sleeping in his home outside of Philadelphia. A Villanova product who was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1950, Arizin averaged almost 23 points per game over a ten-year pro career and led the Warriors to the NBA championship in '56. An early pioneer of the jump shot, he was once chosen as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1978; rest in peace, Paul Arizin...........Finally, as this holiday season unfolds, it's time to thank the many loyal, terrific readers out there who continue to "tune in" weekly. I'd also like to thank sports editor Bill Pucci, Angie Burke, and the rest of the Valley Times staff for their continued support--as well as Susanne Metcalf for her undying proofreading/administrative efforts in regard to this column. Happy holidays, everyone!

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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