Monday, April 14, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 4-19-08

Folks, you have to love the irony in life. I saw a picture in last weekend's paper of former Argentinean tennis star Gabriela Sabatini carrying the Olympic torch along the streets of Buenos Aires. The funny thing is that yours truly has "carried a torch" for this talented beauty for the last twenty YEARS...........TRIVIA QUESTION: Four players in NHL history have scored more than 100 goals lifetime in postseason play. Can you name these gentlemen? Answer to follow..........A suggestion to N.Y. Yankees manager Joe Girardi to carry a card in his wallet (or with his daily game notes) that reads the following: I, Joe Girardi, from this day forward, vow to never, EVER, pitch to Manny Ramirez with runners in scoring position with first base open during the last few innings of a ball game. Failure to adhere to the aforementioned promise may result in the loss of my job and/or possible commitment to Bellevue Hospital. Hey, you live and learn--right, Joe?..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: During an embarrassing, 28-point loss (ughhh) to Toronto last week, the New Jersey Nets shot a pathetic 3-for-23 from three-point range (13%) while committing a ridiculous 27 personal fouls. Good news and bad news for Nets fans that evening. The BAD news is that the loss eliminated the Nets from any hopes of playing in the postseason and was symbolic of a not-so-good '07-'08 season. The GOOD news is that if any New Jersey fan was able to watch that fiasco without vomiting profusely, then that person can assume that his/her gastro-intestinal system is in very fine shape..........This week in sports history, April 21, 1951: Toronto's Bill Barilko scores at 2:53 of overtime--giving the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens and their fourth NHL Stanley Cup title in five years. Amazingly, EVERY game in the five-game series went into OT; Barilko's series-clinching goal was set up by teammate Howie Meeker in front of a raucous crowd at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens..........How 'bout LPGA rookie Onnarin Sattayabanphot? I'm thinking that if players on the Tour are someday required to wear their names on the rear of their shirts/blouses, she may actually have to incorporate a back/neck brace due to health problems caused by the weight of SO many letters..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week" (warning to readers: It does NOT get much uglier than this): In a CT girls high school softball game last week, New Britain beat up Bulkeley 34-1; the winning squad scored EIGHTEEN times in the very first inning (not a misprint) and added eleven more in the fifth before this mismatch was mercifully stopped after five innings. In addition, the losing team made a robust total of TWELVE (yes, a DOZEN) errors during this nightmare. I haven't seen that many mistakes made since an ex-roommate of mine at Fordham tried remembering the lyrics to Springsteen's "Thunder Road" during a keg party sing-along in the early '80's..........Yes, "down time" can be a good thing--and has its perks. While daydreaming the other day (as I've been known to do), I simply envisioned being stuck in a malfunctioning golf cart in the middle of NOWHERE with LPGA'er Natalie Gulbis. Let's just say that I've been in WORSE real-life jams..........Answer to trivia question: WAYNE GRETZKY (122), MARK MESSIER (109), JARI KURRI (106), and BRETT HULL (103)..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former big-league pitcher Joe Keener--who blows out 55 candles on April 21st. For those of you who don't remember this San Pedro, CA native, you're not alone. Keener spent just ONE year in the majors--1976 with the Expos; he started two games and pitched a grand total of just 4 1/3 innings during his short-lived career. Oh, he walked eight batters while giving up seven runs (five earned) along the way--rendering him with a career ERA of 10.38. Hey, they all can't be Steve Rogers, right? Best wishes, Joe..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league infielder/coach Billy Consolo--who passed away recently of a heart attack in Westlake Village, CA at the age of 73. Consolo made his big league debut with the Red Sox at the tender age of 18 and played for six different teams between 1953 and 1962. One of baseball's first "bonus babies" after graduating from high school, Consolo was never able to solve major league pitching--hitting just .221 lifetime in 603 games. He later spent years coaching with the Detroit Tigers after childhood friend Sparky Anderson hired him in 1980. Consolo is survived by two brothers, Horace and Bobby; rest in peace, Billy.


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