Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 8/6/11

Great deal, fun times: The Class A Connecticut Tigers are continuing to make minor league baseball entertaining and affordable. For three upcoming Wednesday night home games in August (8/10, 8/17, and 8/31), the team is offering fans its "Grand Slam Family Pack." For just $40 (a $55 value), buyers can receive 4 reserved seats, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas, and a box of popcorn. For more information on this deal--or on any upcoming promotions at Dodd Stadium--call the Tigers front office at (860) 887-7962..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1992 Chicago White Sox--who finished 86-76 under manager Gene Lamont--had THREE players on the squad who stole 30 or more bases apiece. How many of these gentlemen can you name? Answer to follow..........When the New England Patriots acquired Chad Ochocinco recently, I immediately received an email from my friend John Swingler--who chimed in with this classic line: "The EGO has landed in Foxboro."..........On MLB Network telecasts, WHY--when pitching graphics are displayed on the TV screen--are strikeouts listed FIRST before walks (in this manner: K/BB)? Is it me--or haven't baseball fans been privy to box scores, pitching lines, etc. for years that have ALWAYS listed walks BEFORE strikeouts? Totally ridiculous...........This week in sports history, August 8, 1988: With over 36,000 fans in attendance, the lights are turned on at Wrigley Field in Chicago--finally ending a long-standing tradition of day-only baseball. A 91-year-old Chicago fan flipped the switch--illuminating the historic ballpark with 540 lights that were resting on the building's roof. However, the game between the Phillies and Cubs would end after 3 1/2 innings as thunder, lightning, and rain put a damper on an event attended by over 500 media representatives..........Question: Do you think that lovely actress Denise Richards--when she's finally done promoting her new book The Real Girl Next Door--would be interested in a tennis date with an aging sports columnist?..........Nice touch: On our Internet radio show "View From The Lone Red Seat," my co-host Chris Mascaro decided it would be appropriate to end each broadcast by saying, "Good night, 'Big Bob', we miss ya"--in honor of my late father who passed away in June. Yeah, he's missed, Chris--but I get the feeling he's listening each week and honored to be thought of so highly. It's truly very touching--and is a terrific way of remembering one of the biggest baseball fans I'll ever come across. Thanks again, Mr. Mascaro..........Speaking of the MLB Network, I was watching the SF/Philadelphia game last week and was treated to Jim Kaat doing color commentary. Yes, even at 72 years-old, he's STILL the best in the biz--and has been one of the handful of 'ex-jocks' who have deservedly (and LEGITIMATELY) landed broadcasting gigs...........Question: If Virginia-based financial advisor Deborah Garter walked down the aisle with MLB outfielder Brandon Belt, do you think she'd mind being referred to as Deborah Garter Belt?..........Answer to trivia question: TIM RAINES (45), LANCE JOHNSON (41), and STEVE SAX (30)..........Did you know that the 1965 Detroit Tigers were led in stolen bases by Jerry Lumpe with a total of just SEVEN? Four other players had six apiece, but the team ended the year with a paltry total of 57 while being thrown out 47 times..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league catcher Steve Swisher--who blows out 60 candles on August 9th. The father of current Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher, Steve played nine seasons in the National League (as a member of the Cubs, Cardinals, and Padres) between 1974 and 1982. Known as a decent receiver, Swisher barely hit his WEIGHT during his career--putting together a lifetime batting average of just .216. Yes, folks, during four of his nine big league seasons, Swisher hit below the famed "Mendoza Line" (.200). Amazingly, Swisher was named to the 1976 NL All-Star team--a year in which he appeared in just 109 games and hit .236 (I'm shaking my head TOO, folks). Hey, they all can't be Johnny Bench, right? And the good news is that his son, Nick, has made millions playing baseball--making up for any small contracts that Dad may have played under years ago. Best wishes, Steve..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league pitcher Howard Hilton--who died recently in California at the age of 47. A native of Oxnard, Hilton helped pitch the Arkansas Razorbacks to the 1985 College World Series; he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals the same year. Hilton appeared in just two MLB games for the Cards during the 1990 season--allowing no runs in a total of three innings of relief. Strangely, he was released by the team during spring training in 1991; he later hooked on with the Padres--staying with that organization until 1992. Yes, after a seemingly wonderful start as a major league hurler, Hilton was never able to make a career out of it. May Howard James Hilton rest in peace.


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