Monday, April 30, 2007

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" ----5-5-07

Very few authors/journalists (if ANY) have caught or held my attention quite like the great David Halberstam; his recent involvement in a car crash in California ended the life of perhaps the most versatile writer of our time. Whether it was his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Vietnam or such tremendous sports books as October 1964 or The Teammates, the man's storytelling ability was his greatest asset. We all should celebrate the fact that, due to the magic of journalism, his work will be available for future generations to use both as a learning tool and a source of pure enjoyment..........TRIVIA QUESTION: What player holds the K.C. Royals team record for most home runs in a season? Answer to follow..........STILL trying to figure out why Red Sox manager Terry Francona allowed light-hitting catcher Doug Mirabelli to bat with two men on in the 7th inning (vs. RHP Brian Bruney) last Saturday vs. the Yankees--AFTER pitcher Tim Wakefield (whom Mirabelli catches for) had already left a very close game. FOX pointed out on its telecast that Mirabelli had a lifetime .300 average at Yankee Stadium; that's STILL not enough to justify this blunder as the almost-"automatic out" Mirabelli struck out to kill a potential rally. This "non-move"--with a couple of much better LEFT-HANDED batters ready on the Boston bench--made no sense WHATSOEVER..........Good decision by UCONN center Hasheem Thabeet to return for AT LEAST one more year with the Huskies. This guy being ready for the NBA at this juncture is equivalent to yours truly being ready for marriage, fatherhood, and Arctic bungee-jumping..........This week in sports history, May 6, 1972: Riva Ridge, guided by jockey Ron Turcotte, registers a dominating wire-to-wire victory in the 98th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Trained by Lucien Laurin, Riva Ridge ran the race in a time of 2:01 4/5 and would finish 3 1/4 lengths ahead of runner-up No Le Hace in front of a crowd of more than 130,000 spectators at the famed Louisville track..........Can you imagine if former LPGA golfer Carol Mann had once married former baseball manager Stump Merrill, divorced, married former college football coach Jackie Sherrill--divorced again--then married current Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell? She would have been walking the golf course with the catchy, married name of Carol Merrill Sherrill Farrell..........Do you get the feeling that the Miami Dolphins' decision to NOT draft Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn will be a topic of conversation in southern Florida well into the next decade?.......... Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a recent CT boys high school baseball game, Manchester ANNIHILATED Weaver 31-1 in a game shortened to four innings; the winning squad banged out 25 hits during the course of this abbreviated fiasco and scored SIX or more runs during each of the four frames. If I'm the Weaver coach, I add a bit of comforting humor when addressing my players after the game and offer this: "Well, fellas, wanna know just HOW badly we were beaten today? The opposing third base coach just told me he now has a WIND-BURNED face due to so many of his players rounding third base this afternoon"..........Answer to trivia question: STEVE "BYE-BYE" BALBONI--who hit a modest, team-record total of 36 round-trippers for the '85 Royals..........I see that Miami (FL) produced three first-round draft picks in last weekend's NFL draft. Impressive, for sure, but I'm waiting for the day when that school produces three SCHOLAR-ATHLETES in ANY draft--which may happen the same day the sun no longer shines in Coral Gables.......... Did you know that, in 1944, "Indian Bob" Johnson (half-Cherokee) of the Boston Red Sox hit .324, scored 106 runs, had 106 RBI's, and hit EIGHT triples--accomplishing all of this at the age of 38? Johnson had also made news seven years earlier when he set a big-league record with SIX RBI's in one inning--on a grand slam and a double..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big league SS Frankie Libran--who blows out 59 candles on May 6th. Can't remember this native of Puerto Rico? For good reason. Libran played only ONE year in the majors--1969 with San Diego--appearing in just 10 games. He went 1-for-10 at the plate that season with the Padres--thus accumulating a lifetime batting average of .100 at the big-league level. Hey, they all can't be Derek Jeter, right? Best wishes, Frankie..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former New York Giants WR Johnny Perkins--who died recently in Texas at the age of 54 following heart surgery. Perkins spent his entire career with the Giants--calling it quits following the '83 season. His best year came in 1981 when he caught 51 passes for 858 yards; he retired with 163 receptions totaling more than 2,600 yards. He is survived by his wife, Debra, and two sons; you'll surely be missed, Johnny.


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