"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 5/21/11
While at the Little East Championship (Division III) baseball game last weekend between Rhode Island College and Eastern CT, I told my friend Bryan via phone that the score was 5-4 (RIC leading) in the 5th inning. His response? "These teams are scoring faster than George Clooney at a singles bar!"..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1997 Colorado Rockies--who finished 83-79 under manager Don Baylor--had FOUR players on the squad who drove in more than 100 runs apiece. How many of these players can you name? Answer to follow..........Joe Garagiola once said that baseball is a funny game. It's also not FAIR, either. Need proof? Going into last weekend's action, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner's record stood at 0-6 with a very respectable ERA of 4.25. In contrast, Rockies pitcher Esmil Rogers had won 3 of his first 4 decisions with an inflated ERA of 7.66. Go figure..........This week in sports history, May 24, 1990: Silencing critics who predicted the team could never win without Wayne Gretzky, the Edmonton Oilers claim the Stanley Cup championship with a 4-1 victory over the Bruins in Game 5 at the Boston Garden. The Oilers tallied all the goals they would need in the second period as Glen Anderson and Craig Simpson found the net. Meanwhile, Edmonton goalie Bill Ranford stopped 29 of 30 shots and later was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. The Oilers were playing just their second season after trading "The Great One"--who had led Edmonton to four Cup victories from 1984-1988..........Congratulations go out to Eastern CT State University softball pitcher Molly Rathbun from Hebron--who has repeated as the Little East Conference Pitcher of the Year; she was named first team all-conference for the third straight season. A junior, Rathbun improved her record this year to 22-0 following last weekend's 5-1 victory over Saint Joseph's College (ME) in the Division III Regional in Providence. Her ERA after that performance stood at 0.66--having struck out 238 batters in 160 innings. Oh, and she was the team's top hitter, too--compiling a blistering .423 average (.711 slugging percentage) while also leading the squad in home runs with eight. Congratulations, Molly--and continued good luck..........Answer to trivia question: ANDRES GALARRAGA (140), LARRY WALKER (130), DANTE BICHETTE (118), and VINNY CASTILLA (113)..........Can you imagine if LPGA golfer Penny Hammel ever married Boston-area accounting professional Stephen Pincher? Those "cheapskates" out there would truly enjoy her married name of Penny Pincher..........I used to think that a Ron Guidry slider was a pure thing of beauty. That all changed the other day when I saw a picture of the red, semi-sheer gown that actress Rachel McAdams was wearing at the Cannes Film Festival. My goodness..........Question: Now that the lovely Bar Refaeli has split with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, do you think she'd have any interest in an aging sports columnist who's had a long-time desire to date SI Swimsuit Issue cover models?..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Todd Rizzo--who blows out 40 candles on May 24th. A native of Pennsylvania who was originally signed by the Dodgers, Rizzo played just TWO seasons in the majors--1998 and 1999 with the Chicago White Sox. Perhaps the reason why Rizzo never became a household name is THIS: In 12 major league games (all in relief), Rizzo pitched a total of just eight innings--giving up 16 hits, walking nine, and allowing a total of 11 earned runs. Yes, folks, Todd Rizzo is listed in the baseball record books as having a staggering lifetime ERA of 12.38. However, he CAN take pride in the fact that he never allowed a home run to a big league batter (the optimistic approach). Best wishes for many more celebrations to come, Todd..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NBA forward Robert "Tractor" Traylor--who was found dead recently in his apartment in Puerto Rico; he died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 34 and had been playing professionally with a Puerto Rican team. Nicknamed "Tractor" due to his large frame (over 300 pounds), Traylor attended Michigan where he was once implicated in a loan scandal involving university booster Ed Martin. He later went on to play for the Bucks, Hornets, and Cavaliers between 1998 and 2005--appearing in 438 games. Despite Traylor making news both on AND off the court, he may be best known for a trade in which he was involved. After being drafted by Dallas in '98, he was traded for Pat Garrity and Dirk Nowitzki; Nowitzki has proceeded to become a league MVP ('06-'07) and play in 10 NBA All-Star games. Traylor had undergone heart surgery following the 2005 season. May the "Tractor" rest in peace.