Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 08-18-07

I just read that the N.Y. Mets mascot, "Mr. Met," has been nominated to the Mascot Hall of Fame. Sure, congrats are in order, but let's face it: using members of baseball's regular Hall of Fame as a reference, the Phillie Phanatic is Babe Ruth and Mr. Met is Bill Mazeroski..........TRIVIA QUESTION: In Pittsburgh Pirates team history, what hitter has struck out the most times in one season? Answer to follow..........I recently attended a weekly baseball discussion group meeting where former Seymour (CT) High baseball coach Dan Heffernan was asked what advice he'd give to young, would-be coaches. His answer: "Stress fundamentals--and find yourself a good pitcher and catcher." Yes, folks, sometimes the most brief, basic responses truly resonate the loudest..........Which of the following would you consider to be the main reason why the current 2007 Red Sox team may not enjoy similar success to 2004: the lack of left-handed pitching, the defense of SS Julio Lugo, poor base-running, or the knee/shoulder problems of DH David Ortiz?..........Did you know that the 1929 Philadelphia Phillies had FOUR players with 200 or more hits--but still finished in FIFTH place in the NL? Fresco Thompson, Pinky Whitney, Chuck Klein, and Lefty O'Doul all reached the coveted 200-hit plateau; however, the Phils compiled a record of 71-82 under manager Burt Shotton--trailing the pennant-winning Cubs by a staggering 27 1/2 games..........If the "suits" at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling were looking for a "bad guy" when they signed Titans suspended CB Pacman Jones, they surely barked up the right tree, huh?..........In MY world, a "Dream Team" consists of an infield of actresses Angelina Jolie/Charlize Theron/Sharon Stone/Cameron Diaz, an outfield of the old "Charlie's Angels" members, and a battery of supermodels Carol Alt and Heidi Klum..........Watching a game pitched by "slow-poke" Orioles starter Steve Trachsel is almost as painful as going through root canal while, at the same time, combatting a flare-up of NASTY gout..........This week in sports history, August 20, 1955: Golfer Arnold Palmer, a tour rookie from Latrobe, PA, shoots a final round of 70--capturing the Canadian Open for his very first professional victory. Palmer had carded previous rounds of 64-67-64 and finished at 23-under-par--two strokes off the tournament record; Jack Burke, Jr. finished second to the young phenom--four shots off the pace..........Lazzari's "Cheap Win of the Week": Definitely goes to Mariners P Horacio Ramirez. He pitched the minimum five innings vs. Baltimore last week--giving up SEVEN earned runs, walking five, and throwing a robust total of 95 pitches. However, he picks up the "W" nonetheless as the M's pound the O's 13-8..........If anyone out there knows of a PRETTIER female sports personality than NESN's Kathryn Tappen, please send of photo of that gifted individual (no smaller than 8 X 10) to sports editor Bill Pucci or yours truly IMMEDIATELY..........Answer to trivia question: CRAIG WILSON--who struck out 169 times in 2004 for Lloyd McClendon's fifth-place Pirates club..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league catcher Tim Blackwell--who blows out 55 candles on August 19th. A native of San Diego, Blackwell played ten seasons between 1974 and 1983 with the Red Sox, Phillies, Expos and Cubs--mostly in the role of a back-up catcher. Definitely NOT known for his offense, Blackwell failed to hit above .250 in 9 of his 10 big league seasons--hitting just .228 lifetime. Hey, they all can't be Mickey Cochrane, right? Best wishes, Tim..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former UNLV football coach/athletic director Bill Ireland--who died recently in Reno at the age of 80. Ireland coached UNLV football from 1969-1973 before taking over as AD. He was very instrumental in making the Rebels a major program nationally by scheduling well-known opponents for the school's various sports squads; he also spearheaded the construction of Sam Boyd Stadium and was the architect of women's athletics at UNLV. He leaves a wife, Jeanne, seven children, and 16 grandchildren; may Mr. Ireland rest in peace.


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