Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 7/9/11

Just wonderin': If tennis star Venus Williams married Tennessee surgeon Dr. William Fly--divorced--then married former NBA forward John Q. Trapp, would she then go by the full name of Venus Fly Trapp?..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1989 Boston Red Sox--who finished 83-79 under manager Joe Morgan--had two players who drove in 100 or more runs. Can you name them? Answer to follow..........Lately, I can't tell which is thinner--Red Sox pitcher Andrew Miller or my WALLET..........Not too long ago in this column, I extended an open invitation to the lovely Christie Brinkley to play tennis some time--and have heard NOTHING so far. What do you think, guys--she prefers golf instead?..........This week in sports history, July 12, 1967: In the longest game in All-Star history, Cincinnati's Tony Perez homers off Jim "Catfish" Hunter in the 15th inning--giving the National League a 2-1 victory over the AL. The NL took an early lead in the second inning when Richie Allen of the Phillies homered; Brooks Robinson of the Orioles later tied it with a home run in the sixth. The two teams combined for just 17 hits over 15 innings, while a dozen different pitchers recorded 30 strikeouts in a game played at Anaheim Stadium..........Did you know that the 1992 San Diego Padres had a team total of just 69 stolen bases? In contrast, Marquis Grissom of the Montreal Expos stole 78 bases HIMSELF that year--leading both leagues..........A sign that one's best days are in the past: During last Sunday's game vs. Houston, Red Sox manager Terry Francona sent Darnell McDonald to the plate to pinch hit for J.D. Drew. McDonald's batting average at the time? .125. NOT a good sign, J.D..........Looking back at his first four years (2007-2010) since signing a 7-year, $126 million contract with the Giants, Barry Zito had won a total of 40 games for the club--or an average of 10 wins per season. With an annual salary of about $18 million (with three more years to go), that comes out to about $1.8 million PER WIN, folks. My only question is this: When San Francisco GM Brian Sabean is reminded of this on a regular basis, does he reach for Tums, Pepcid AC, or plain ginger ale?..........ITEM: Former NBA player Jose Ortiz is arrested in Puerto Rico after federal agents found 218 marijuana plants at his home. An interesting stat is that the number of plants (218) surpasses the number of points (183) that Ortiz scored in his NBA career. Don't expect to find that kind of info at anytime soon..........Answer to trivia question: NICK ESASKY (108) and DWIGHT EVANS (100)..........Further proof that professional tennis is truly a game for the younger crowd: All four men's semi-finalists this year at Wimbledon (Nadal, Murray, Djokovic, and Tsonga) were 26 years old or younger. All-time legends such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and the aforementioned Venus Williams--ages 29, 29, and 31, respectively) all failed to make it past the quarter-finals.........If yours truly was writing about Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon victory over Rafael Nadal last weekend, the headline would read something like this: It's No 'Djoke'--Novak Beats Rafael..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former MLB catcher Robbie Wine--who blows out 49 candles on July 13th. The son of former MLB infielder Bobby Wine, Robbie played parts of just two seasons in the majors--1986 and 1987 with the Houston Astros. Perhaps the reason why he didn't stay around longer is THIS: In 41 career at-bats, Wine could muster just six hits (with no HR's or RBI's)--thus rendering him with a lifetime batting average of .146. Hey, at least he can tell his grandchildren that he was a former teammate of the great Nolan Ryan, right? Wine is currently the head baseball coach at Penn State; best wishes, Robbie..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former boxing champion Billy Costello--who died last week of lung cancer at the age of 55. A native of Kingston, NY, Costello overcame a troubled youth (including doing jail time for robbery) to become the WBC light-welterweight champion in 1984--knocking out Bruce Curry in the tenth round. He later lost his title when he was TKO'd by Lonnie Smith in 1985. After quitting boxing for several years, Costello did make a comeback (winning nine consecutive fights) but never received another shot at a title. All told, Costello compiled a ring record of 40-2 in a career that began in 1979. In his later years, Costello did some refereeing, worked in construction, and also helped young people back in his hometown. The Billy Costello Gym now stands in Kingston--a tribute to a former champion who had truly turned his life around. Rest in peace, "Champ."


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