Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ---- 01-27-07

Why I love ESPN's Dick Vitale: Working the UCONN/PITT game recently, the Huskies' poor free-throw shooting was discussed--especially Jeff Adrien's--who was 2-for-8 at the time. It was noted that this was a .250 percentage--NOT good for basketball. But Dickie V. also relayed (like only HE can--in typical "Vitale-esque" fashion) that a .250 average in baseball "gets you a $3 million contract!!!"
..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Between 1983 and 1989, only two different NBA centers led the league in blocked shots. Who were these two gentlemen? Answer to follow..........Can you imagine if women's tennis player Ai Sugiyama married big league outfielder Jermaine Dye, divorced, married former outfielder Steve Brye--divorced again--then married ex-NBA player Johnny High? She'd be gracing the tennis courts with the full married name of Ai Dye Brye High..........I'll take the "high road" in regard to the implosion of the New Haven Coliseum last weekend. Instead of saying that a part of my younger days went down with it, I'll choose to remember things like countless Nighthawks games, the Harlem Globetrotters, wrestling, and attending 9 out of every 10 concerts that came to town. The structure may be nothing but rubble now, but the memories it fosters will last a lifetime.........
Did you know that, in 1920, pitchers Leon Cadore of Brooklyn and Joe Oescher of Boston pitched ALL 26 innings during a 1-1 tie between the two teams? I'll go out on a limb and say that Dodgers manager Wilbert Robinson didn't have a "clicker" in his hand while in the dugout to record Cadore's pitch count. These days, if a pitcher throws 26 innings in a MONTH, it's considered a major accomplishment..........Why I STILL can't take women's college basketball too seriously: #1-ranked Maryland beating #19 Mich. St. 97-57 a few weeks ago. The rankings are skewed, the competitive balance is absent, and there aren't enough teams out there that have a LEGITIMATE shot at the national championship..........Whenever a professional athlete signs an outrageous, "gazillion"-dollar contract, I count the minutes until I hear from my father--who utters the SAME phrase every time: "Well, his wife won't be shopping at the A & P anymore!"..........This week in sports history, January 29, 1958: Stan Musial, the seven-time batting champion of the St. Louis Cardinals, becomes the first NL player to sign a six-figure deal as he inks a $100,000 contract with the team. The defending batting champ would replace former Pirates slugger Ralph Kiner as the league's highest-paid player ever..........Answer to trivia question: MARK EATON ('83-'84, '84-'85, '86-'87, '87-'88) and MANUTE BOL ('85-'86, '88-'89)..........What the heck was Eagles coach Andy Reid thinking last week--canceling a press conference by QB Donovan McNabb so he could "concentrate on his rehab"? Can someone tell Mr. Reid that Mr. McNabb has SIX months to get ready for training camp--and that thirty minutes or so with reporters won't make or break this guy physically? Sheesh, I'm wondering if Reid also wiped McNabb's runny nose shortly after making those ridiculous comments
..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big league outfielder La Schelle Tarver--who blows out 47 candles on January 30th. Can't recall Tarver? Don't feel bad. Tarver played just one major league season--1986 with Boston--appearing in just 13 games. Tarver, a Modesto, CA, native, came to bat 25 times in his career and amassed only THREE hits; yes, the man left baseball with a grand total of ONE RBI and a lifetime batting average of .120. Hey, they all can't be Jim Rice, right? Best wishes, La Schelle..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NASCAR driver/commentator Benny Parsons--who died recently of complications from lung cancer at the age of 65. A native of North Carolina, Parsons won the NASCAR championship in 1973 as well as the Daytona 500 in 1975; he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994 and was voted one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in 1998. Behind the "mike," Benny Parsons' greatest assets were his unassuming personality and his ability to reach his audience with no evidence whatsoever of fakeness; many in the "biz" could learn a lot from listening to old tapes of Benny Parsons. Rest in peace, "BP."

Bob Lazzari

Reprinted by permission of the Valley Times.


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