Monday, July 20, 2009

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 7-25-09

*ATTENTION PARENTS: One of the best things you can do for your child this summer is to pick up a copy of the book A Glove Of Their Own--winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Children's Book Award. Written by Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling, and Lisa Funari-Willever (and illustrated by Lauren Lambiase), it's a story of underprivileged kids' raw love for the game while playing with an inadequate amount of worn-out equipment. The price of this wonderful publication is $15.95; proceeds from each sale will be donated to organizations whose goal is to see less-fortunate kids in this country finally HAVE a glove they can truly call their own. More details about the book along with ordering info can be obtained by visiting ..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last member of the San Francisco Giants to lead the National League in runs scored? HINT: It was NOT Barry Bonds; answer to follow..........Very few happenings in the sports world these days cause me to smile and get goosebumps; 59-year-old Tom Watson's performance at the British Open last weekend DID. If any so-called "sports fan" out there didn't get a lump in his/her throat when the man approached the green on the final hole last Sunday (I also stood up and applauded while watching it on TV), then check your emotional health IMMEDIATELY. You may have come up short in a playoff vs. Stewart Cink, Mr. Watson, but thank you for some memories that one sports columnist will always cherish.........This week in sports history, July 27, 1952: 30-year-old Emil Zatopek does the unthinkable--winning the Olympic marathon in Helsinki after already having won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races just days before. A major in the Czechoslovakian army, Zatopek completed the marathon in a time of 2:23.3; incredibly, it was more than SIX minutes better than it had ever been run in Olympic competition. With 70,000 people watching and applauding wildly as he entered the stadium tunnel, Zatopek would end up finishing almost a half-mile in front of his closest competitor--Reinaldo Gorno of Argentina..........What a pleasure having Jim Kaat broadcast the Red Sox/Blue Jays games on NESN last week--along with regular play-by-play guy Don Orsillo. During one telecast, Orsillo pointed out the annoying, modern day phenomena of pitch counts--and how pitchers of long ago STRENGTHENED their arms by simply throwing MORE pitches. Kaat agreed--then added, "The arm of a pitcher will RUST out before it WEARS out."..........How 'bout the American League using Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, and Mariano Rivera over the last three innings to secure another AL victory in the recent All-Star Game? The odds of the NL scoring against those guys were about the same as yours truly dining with Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, and Sharon Stone on consecutive evenings this coming week..........ITEM: Troubled PGA golfer John Daly appears to have found a new soulmate, Anna Cladakis; the woman--employed by Hooters Restaurants--wants to make it clear that she is a marketing director and NOT a waitress at the famed chain. In any case, when you're dating a guy who's had problems with alcohol in the past and has been married a few times, I'd keep him AWAY from Hooters and insist that he frequents the nearest Waffle House as much as possible..........Answer to trivia question: WILL CLARK--who tied for the league lead in runs scored (104) in 1989 with Howard Johnson of the Mets and Chicago's Ryne Sandberg..........Column reader Abe Knaster of New York chimes in with this gem: "If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the REST of them drown, too?".........Happy birthday wishes go out to former figure skater/TV commentator Peggy Fleming--who blows out 61 candles on July 27th. Fleming won five U.S. titles and three World titles during her illustrious career. But most memorable was her capturing gold at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France--the ONLY gold medal won by the U.S. team during that year's Winter Games. Peggy went on to star in the Ice Follies for years as well as provide expert commentary for ABC Sports. A breast cancer activist/survivor who was diagnosed in 1998, Fleming and her husband now operate a vineyard/winery in California; best wishes, Peggy..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former football coach Dennis Fryzel--who passed away recently of renal cancer in Duluth, GA at the age of 67. Known for his intensity and for being a terrific motivator, Fryzel put together a record of 14-8 at the University of Tampa before that school dropped its football program in the 1970's; he later coached special teams for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also had coaching stints at Syracuse, Air Force, and Ohio State. He is survived by his wife, Gayle, two daughters, two brothers, and four grandchildren. Rest in peace, "Coach."


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