Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 12-22-07

Folks, I had originally planned on devoting this column strictly to the recent Mitchell Report/steroid investigation in major league baseball. But upon further thought, I found the findings to be about as surprising as another hike in gasoline prices. In addition, I'd just be repeating what I've suspected for YEARS since the Ken Caminiti article appeared in SI--that the game of baseball is dirtier than anyone can imagine. I remember baseball writer/rules consultant Rich Marazzi asking me at the time--after Caminiti's claims became public--if I thought there was a significant drug problem in baseball; I had no doubts--but it still doesn't make the Mitchell findings any easier to stomach for many of us baseball purists. I'll say it again: these steroid bums' greatest crime is their HUGE contribution to the "easy way out"/cheating mentality prevalent among so many young people today--a disgusting act that borders on abuse but will continue to remain in place for a VERY long time..........TRIVIA QUESTION: What player in NHL history holds the league record for most points in his very first game? Answer to follow..........I must recognize Wisconsin-Whitewater RB Justin Beaver--recipient of this year's Gagliardi Trophy (the nation’s most outstanding Division III football player). He rushed for 249 yards in last week's championship game vs. defending champ Mt. Union--leading his team to a 31-21 victory in the Stagg Bowl. Raised by his grandparents (because his birth parents were too young), he also struggled with the death of his father while in high school. In addition to his tremendous gridiron exploits, he's made the Dean's List 7 of 8 semesters while in college. Simply put, you've made a lot of people proud, Justin..........My choice for a headline when coach Houston Nutt recently decided to leave Arkansas? Nutt To Bolt..........This week in sports history, December 24, 1961: "Mr. Do-It-All" George Blanda of the Houston Oilers throws a 35-yard touchdown pass to Billy Cannon in the fourth quarter--leading his team to a 10-3 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the AFL championship game. The Oilers had scored an astounding 513 points in their 14 regular season games but managed just 160 yards passing vs. the stingy Chargers defense. But Blanda's arm AND leg proved to be the ultimate difference in the game; he had also kicked a 46-yard field goal in the second quarter to give Houston an early lead that they would not relinquish..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a Connecticut high school girls basketball game played last week, Capital Prep beat University 67-15; in this fiasco, Capital led 32-0 AFTER ONE QUARTER and 54-6 at the half. When I see a "mismatch" like that, I'm reminded of a bad date I once had. I ordered some Dom Perignon before dinner that evening and the girl asked me if that was all I could afford..........Answer to trivia question: AL HILL of the Philadelphia Flyers--who recorded two goals and three assists for five points vs. St. Louis in a 1977 game played at the Spectrum..........I thought I felt an unusually strong gust of wind recently, but then realized it was the result of a collective sigh of relief on the part of Red Sox fans due to Eric Gagne signing with Milwaukee..........Question: Why can yours truly recall that a lovely gal named Lauretta Tarpey was the head cheerleader while we were attending Fordham back in the 80's--but I CAN'T remember to make my bed, brush my teeth, or comb my hair on occasion? Hmmmm..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big league pitcher Charlie Lea--who blows out 51 candles on Christmas Day. Born in Orleans, France, Lea spent seven seasons in the majors between 1980 and 1988 pitching for the Expos and Twins--winning 62 games; all but one season was spent in Montreal. While with the Expos, Lea had two terrific seasons in '83 and '84--going a combined 31-21 during that stretch and compiling ERA's of 3.12 and 2.89 respectively. A tall, lanky right-hander, Lea tossed eight shutouts during his career and was named to the NL All-Star squad in 1984. Best wishes, Charlie..........Finally, it's that time of the year to wish all of my readers a very happy and safe holiday season; once again, you've been a terrific audience over the course of another year and it continues to be very gratifying knowing that many sports fans continue to "tune in" on a weekly basis. Special thanks go out to Valley Times sports editor Bill Pucci for his continued confidence/loyalty as well as Angie Burke for her stellar administrative efforts. Happy holidays, everyone.


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