"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 7-12-08
Ditto to what John McEnroe said following last Sunday's Wimbledon final between eventual-winner Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: It was simply the greatest tennis match I have ever seen. In fact, I'm STILL exhausted from watching that unforgettable, nail-biting, five-set marathon. I'll keep it simple and just say to the players, "Thanks, guys," on behalf of all the lucky tennis fans out there who were fortunate enough to view such utter magnificence..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1985 Texas Rangers had only one player on the team who drove in more than 70 runs. Can you name this individual? Answer to follow..........University of Georgia defensive end Michael Lemon has been charged with misdemeanor battery and felony aggravated battery after punching a fellow student; this now makes it a total of SEVEN Georgia players that have been arrested since the end of the 2007 season. Ah, yes, it surely seems that head coach Mark Richt's current priority is recruiting "top notch" individuals down in Athens, huh? Rumor has it that the team may soon change its nickname from "Bulldogs" to "Pit Bulls" in order to more accurately represent the school's increasingly negative reputation..........Talking recently with my "Monday Night Sports Talk" co-host Tony DeAngelo, we both agreed that this phenomena of signing (and later defending) high-priced players who are "good for the clubhouse" (a la the Mets' Pedro Martinez) is overrated. Tony added this gem: "These teams should just hire CIRCUS CLOWNS; they'll keep the clubhouse loose and they also work a LOT cheaper."..........How 'bout forty-one-year-old swimmer Dara Torres--who recently made the U.S. team for the fifth time when she won the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials? Geez, I know people in their 40's who get tired while WALKING 100-meters. My other thought was that she probably owns SWIMSUITS that are older than the majority of her young competitors. In any case, terrific stuff, Dara--and good luck in Beijing..........ITEM: Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California, defeats six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan in the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest held at New York's Coney Island. Among Chestnut's winnings is a year's supply of Nathan's hot dogs. Question: Since Chestnut ate 64 dogs on the 4th of July (which he accomplished while winning in overtime), does Nathan's then multiply that number by 365 to constitute a "year's supply?" If that's the case (and my math is correct), Joey Chestnut stands in line to receive 23,360 hot dogs for his gluttonous efforts..........This week in sports history, July 14, 1966: Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown announces his retirement from professional football to pursue a career as a movie actor. Brown had originally planned on making the 1966 season his final one, but was unable to report to training camp by the starting date of July 17th as he was filming "The Dirty Dozen"; the talented RB had asked to be excused by Cleveland owner Art Modell, but was instead threatened with fines and suspensions--ultimately fueling his retirement decision. Brown rushed for over 12,000 yards and scored 126 TD's during his nine-year career while averaging an impressive 5.2 yards per carry..........Lazzari's "Question of the Week": Who needs their head examined more: The Cleveland Indians for having picked up pitcher Paul Byrd's $7.75 million option last November or Peter Cook--for having cheated on stunning supermodel Christie Brinkley?..........Answer to trivia question: PETE O'BRIEN--who led the last-place Rangers with a total of 92 RBI's..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Joey Long--who blows out 38 candles on July 15th. If you don't remember this product of Kent State University, you're not alone. Long pitched only ONE season in the big leagues--1997 with the Padres--appearing in just ten games as a reliever. His numbers weren't pretty, either: 11 innings, 17 hits, and 10 earned runs. Thus, Joey Long is in the baseball record books as having a robust career ERA of 8.18. Hey, they all can't be Trevor Hoffman, right? Best wishes, Joey..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former college running back/Connecticut resident Ray Kelly--who died recently at the St. Joseph Living Center in Windham at the age of 80. A three-sport athlete in high school, he went on to play football for West Virginia Wesleyan and Davis & Elkins College; he later played semipro ball for the Teaneck (NJ) Red Devils. A Lazzari family friend, Mr. Kelly later became an educator in northeast CT while enjoying/partaking in sports such as golf and tennis. One of yours truly's prized possessions is a 1936 Yale/Harvard souvenir football program that Ray graciously gave to me a couple of years ago after he had become ill. In short, Mr. Kelly was truly one of the most pleasant/selfless individuals that I've met in my lifetime; may this very special individual rest in peace.