Monday, June 30, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - -7-05-08

Recently-retired N.Y. Giants defensive end Michael Strahan said last week that he "just fell into" his new gig with Fox Sports (NFL pre-game/post-game shows)--a $2 million per year deal. Question: Why couldn't this guy "fall into" something like a coaching job at the youth level--and leave the broadcasting work to someone actually TRAINED in the media arts? Ah, yes, just another pathetic example of the dreaded "jockocracy" and its awful, tight grip on professional sports; once again, Howard Cosell groans loudly from the grave..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2001 Baltimore Orioles had five pitchers on their staff who lost 10 or more games. Can you name their leader in losses--with a robust total of 17? Answer to follow..........ITEM: Shaquille O'Neal will be stripped of his special deputy's badge in Maricopa County (Arizona) due to some racially derogatory/obscene language he used in a rap video. Geez, and up to this time, I had considered his free throw shooting to be the only thing about him that was "foul"..........I don't know the name of the individual responsible for hiring stunning beauties like Kathryn Tappen and Heidi Watney for the NESN network, but one thing's for sure: There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that person's eyesight..........This week in sports history, July 7, 1975: In a match race at Belmont Park, unbeaten filly Ruffian--matched against Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure--suffers a broken leg early in the race and is subsequently euthanized. Ruffian had built up a slight lead over the first 3 1/2 furlongs before jockey Jacinto Vasquez was forced to shut her down after she pulled up lame. The filly would soon undergo more than 3 hours of surgery to no avail--and was buried the following day in the infield area at Belmont Park..........Incredibly, the first week at Wimbledon this year ended without any major rain/weather distractions. The odds of that happening are about the same as yours truly having upcoming, consecutive-night dates with Jennifer Aniston and Carmen Electra--so I guess there's still hope for me..........Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch recently had his driver's license revoked in traffic court after saying he didn't realize he struck an Ontario woman while driving on a Buffalo street in May. Man, if he's that casual/unfazed when it comes to serious contact, he should have a LONG career as a running back in the NFL..........I caught up with eventual runner-up Hunter Mahan after the second round of the recent Travelers Championship and asked him if he had a favorite hole at the TPC in Cromwell. Instead, he commented on a few: "You know, I think #4 (481 yards) is a great hole," he told me. "Number 15 is a great short par 4, risk/reward-wise. And 16 & 17 is also a great couple-hole stretch out there."..........Speaking of the Travelers, I have to extend my gratitude to the marketing/media manager of the tournament, Anne Marie McLaughlin, and the rest of her staff for another stellar year of unmatched hospitality out in Cromwell. Each year at the TPC, a HUGE effort is made to accommodate media members in regard to interviews, work stations, etc.--and these true professionals rarely fail to come through. Thanks once again, Anne Marie..........Answer to trivia question: JOSE MERCEDES--who went 8-17 with a rather inflated ERA of 5.82..........Bulgaria's weightlifting federation has withdrawn its team from the upcoming Beijing Games after 11 lifters recently tested positive for steroids. Silly me, and all this time I truly believed these athletes were powered by Shopska salad, tarator soup, and lukanka sausage..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher George Culver--who blows out 65 candles on July 8th. Culver pitched for SIX different teams between 1966 and 1974--appearing in 335 games and compiling a lifetime ERA of 3.62. The Salinas, CA native started 35 games for Cincinnati in 1968, but was used mostly as a reliever during his nine-year career. Perhaps his best season was in 1972 while pitching for Houston--a year in which he gave up only 73 hits in 97 1/3 innings while winning 6 games in relief. Best wishes, George..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former University of Houston football player Linton Weatherspoon--who died recently of leukemia at the tender age of 38. Weatherspoon was an offensive lineman for the Cougars in the early 90's for coach Jack Pardee; he later attended Texas Southern University where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics before going into teaching. Linton received a bone marrow transplant in 2001 and put up a gallant fight over the past few years--but the leukemia returned again early in 2008 before he finally passed away on June 5th. May Mr. Weatherspoon rest in peace.


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