Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 2-23-08

I recently talked to former major league All-Star pitcher Frank Sullivan--who told me the following about the conditions at Connie Mack Stadium after he was traded to the Phillies from Boston in late 1960: "It was as if I had been sent back to the minors because the conditions in Philly in those days were ridiculous. If your locker was under the whirlpool that was situated immediately above the mezzanine in that awful clubhouse--and mine was--you went home in wet clothes!"..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who is the only pitcher in major league history to throw no-hitters in each of his first two full seasons? Answer to follow..........If that McNamee/Clemens partisan-filled circus on Capitol Hill didn't cause many out there to change their political affiliation to "independent," then NOTHING will..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a Connecticut girls basketball game played two weeks ago, East Hampton annihilated Hyde 61-2 (yes, folks, that's correct, TWO--and I didn't forget to put a number before it OR after it); the winning squad held a 33-0 lead at the half during this fiasco. I know--on the surface, it's just another ugly mismatch at the CT high school level, but that outrageous score REALLY gets put in perspective when you think of this: If Hyde had scored FIVE TIMES as many points as they actually did that evening, they STILL would have lost by more than 50 points. Ughhhhhhh..........All I'll say about the Sports Illustrated 2008 Swimsuit Issue is THIS: Page 162, guys--page 162..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: During Portland's embarrassing 96-76 loss last week to Dallas, the Trail Blazers shot a pitiful 11-for-22 from the free throw line (50%) and had a total of just 10 assists AS A TEAM (Steve Nash of Phoenix averages over 11 assists per game HIMSELF). I haven't seen anything that ugly since an old roommate of mine at Fordham thought he was Joe Namath after an all-night drinking binge and proceeded to don panty hose..........And kudos to Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki--who was recently quoted in the New York Post as saying (in critical fashion) that the NBA is "not promoted as a team sport as it is in it's always individually-based." Right on, Dirk, and if more players felt like you, the NBA would be, well, watchable..........This week in sports history, February 25, 1973: Major league baseball owners and players come to terms on a new Basic Agreement. The highlight of the new deal would allow players to submit salary demands and have an arbitrator make a final decision as to which submission/offer was more fair--the player's or the owner's. The agreement would also include a new "10 and 5" rule--which allows a player with ten or more years of big league experience (with the last five having been spent with one team) to reject a trade..........Answer to trivia question: STEVE BUSBY of the Kansas City Royals--who hurled no-hit gems vs. the Tigers in 1973 and the Brewers in 1974..........New definition of the "Ali Shuffle": Yours truly navigating quickly around the Internet--searching for scantily-clad pictures of actress Ali Larter.......... Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league outfielder Jeff Yurak--who blows out 54 candles on February 26th. Having trouble remembering this Pasadena, CA native? I can understand why. Nicknamed "Yak-Attack," Yurak played just ONE big league season--1978 with Milwaukee--going 0-for-5 at the plate; yes, folks, Jeff Yurak joins that infamous club of many who've accumulated a lifetime batting average of .000. Hey, they all can't be Robin Yount, right? Best wishes, Jeff..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former National League umpire Ed Vargo--who died recently of congestive heart failure in Butler, PA at the age of 79. In a career that lasted from 1960-1983, Vargo was behind the plate when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's all-time home run mark. He also worked the World Series in '65, '71, '78, and '83 and umpired four All-Star games. Ed Vargo also holds the distinction of being the only big league umpire to call a no-hitter and a perfect game for the same pitcher; he was behind the plate for Sandy Koufax's no-hitter on June 4, 1964, and for his perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Elizabeth, and four children. Rest in peace, "Ump."


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