"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 4/28/12
Congratulations to my good friend Roy Lawrence--who was named an honorary coach for the 2012 UCONN Blue vs. White scrimmage last weekend at Rentschler Field. Roy was an offensive lineman for the Huskies from 1965-1967 and was named to the school's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1998; he was an All-Yankee Conference pick in '67. For years, I had the immense fortune/pleasure to coach both baseball and basketball with Roy Lawrence at the middle-school level in northeast Connecticut. He was a tremendous motivator who always stressed fundamentals. The payoff? Our kids ALWAYS bought into his philosophy year after year--which translated to success both on AND off the field. Quite honestly, the rewarding time I spent coaching with Roy made yours truly a better person--and I'll forever be thankful for the opportunity. I've run into very few coaches who were as effective teachers as one Roy Lawrence--and even fewer who were better HUMAN BEINGS; congrats, my friend..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the four Colorado Rockies players who hit 30 or more home runs apiece in 1995; answer to follow..........Anyone out there catch the photos of A-ROID's ex--the lovely Cameron Diaz--in the May issue of InStyle Magazine? Well, it's been said that milk "does a body good." I'll just add that life without a gazillionaire athlete renders the same result..........This week in sports history, May 1, 1991: 44-year-old Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers pitches his record-extending SEVENTH no-hitter--leading his team to a 3-0 victory over Toronto at Arlington Stadium. It was career win #305 for the veteran of 25 major league seasons--who had started with the New York Mets back in 1966. Ryan struck out 16 Jays on this memorable evening--walking only two--while still throwing his infamous fastball at a speed of more than 95 miles-per-hour. Ryan had become the oldest pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter when he hurled #6 a year earlier vs. the Oakland A's..........So I see that NESN has replaced the lovely Heidi Watney as the sideline reporter on Red Sox telecasts with just-as-stunning beauty Jenny Dell (YES, I noticed, folks). Question: How does a sports columnist go about becoming the on-air-talent recruiter at NESN? Then again, landing a job like that at this juncture would be close to IMPOSSIBLE because the person who currently holds that position does it EXTREMELY well..........Two comments about last week's Fenway Park 100th Anniversary Celebration--followed by the Red Sox game vs. the Yankees: 1) If you didn't get a bit emotional while viewing the pre-game ceremony--no matter WHAT team you root for---check your pulse and see a doctor immediately. 2) Dustin Pedroia is the ONLY major league player who looks more natural in a "throwback" uniform as opposed to his regular team garb..........Answer to trivia question: DANTE BICHETTE (40), LARRY WALKER (36), VINNY CASTILLA (32), and ANDRES GALARRAGA (31)..........Call me judgmental, but have you ever seen two teammates like Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow of the N.Y. Jets who were SO far apart on the, shall we say, "moral character spectrum?"..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former NBA player Billy Owens--who blows out 43 candles on May 1st. An All-American at Syracuse, Owens was a former first-round pick of the Sacramento Kings in the 1991 draft. Billy went on to play for six different teams between 1991 and 2001--averaging 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for his career. His best year was probably in 1993-'94 as a member of the Golden State Warriors--a season in which he averaged 15 ppg/8 rpg while shooting over 50% from the field. Here's wishing you many more birthday celebrations to come, Billy..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NBA center Dwayne Schintzius--who passed away recently in Florida of respiratory failure at the age of 43. A 7-foot-2 giant, Schintzius led Florida to its first three NCAA tournament appearances and remains the only SEC player to accumulate 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists, and 250 blocked shots. A first-round pick of the Spurs in the 1990 draft, Schintzius played for six different teams until 1999 when his career was curtailed due to various injuries. Diagnosed with leukemia a few years ago, he was declared cancer-free in 2010 after receiving a bone-marrow transplant from his brother; he recently endured months of complications after a second bone-marrow procedure. Dwayne Schintzius is survived by his parents, Ken and Linda, and a younger brother, Travis. May he rest in peace.