Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 1/18/14

Once again, the time has come for a terrific humanitarian event.  The "White Out For Mandi" will take place on Friday night, January 24th at New Haven's Ingalls Rink as the Yale women's ice hockey team hosts Brown; it's a fundraiser for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation.  Aleca Hughes, a former captain who graduated from Yale in 2012, started the Foundation in memory of Mandi--the Yale center who passed away in 2011 after battling cancer for more than two years.  As usual, fans are urged to wear white as a sign of support.  Adding to the splendor of this evening is the fact that the entire St. Louis Blues squad will be in attendance; Mandi's brother, Jaden, is in his third season with the NHL team.  In addition to raising funds for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, the "White Out" will also help raise awareness for marrow/umbilical cord donations.  For more information on this wonderful event, please visit QUESTION:  Who was the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards during each of his first three seasons in the league?  Answer to follow..........This whole A-ROID saga reminds me of a bad case of the stomach flu:  it's draining, sickening, tiring, and long-lasting.  And just when you THINK it's finally coming to an end, it just continues to LINGER on--causing major nausea..........I lost an incredibly special friend a few weeks ago--Mr. Julius Alberico of Vernon Hills, Illinois (formerly a CT resident).  He was a huge NY Yankees fan--always asking my opinion about the current state of the team and its post-season possibilities.  He enjoyed this sports column, too--always providing me tremendous feedback after receiving his copy via email every couple of weeks.  In short, he was a great family man, businessman, and the most loyal friend I could ever ask for.  Rest in peace, "Dr. J"--you'll never be forgotten..........Congrats to a pair of Eastern CT State University basketball players (both CT natives) for surpassing the 1,000 career points plateau recently.  Senior Mike Garrow (Terryville) reached the milestone vs. UMASS Boston on 1/11; he's averaging over 16 ppg this year and is shooting 88% from the FT line.  Brian Salzillo--another senior--passed 1,000 last Saturday vs. Southern Maine.  The North Haven product is also among the best 3-point shooters in the country--having made 68 this season through last weekend (second in the nation in Division III).  Terrific work, gentlemen..........You can mention the names Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, Wayne Gretzky, etc.--in fact, ALL the all-time greats.  But I CONTINUE to maintain this:  Specifically in terms of having an unmatched effect on the way his/her sport is PLAYED, NO ONE holds a candle to the great "Pistol" Pete Maravich.  When it came to dribbling, passing, shooting, and playing with an unmatched 'flair', he simply incorporated things that were NEVER done before (and never WILL BE in quite the same fashion).  However, watch any NBA game now and you'll see constant remnants of his game/tremendous legacy.  It's a phenomenon/subject that truly (and sadly) continues to stay under the radar..........Came across an awful smell the other day that was wafting throughout my neighborhood.  I later found out it was simply the collective stench of the teams playing in the NBA's Atlantic Division..........I was talking to my "Monday Night Sports Talk" co-host Tony DeAngelo recently--asking him HOW disgraced former TE Aaron Hernandez could have gone about his daily business at the University of Florida and with the Patriots while so many people seemingly 'brushed off' his questionable character away from the gridiron.  DeAngelo:  "It's AMAZING what one can get away with if you can catch a football."..........Forget about steroids/PED's, etc.; current athletes would be wise to investigate what women like Christie Brinkley and Jane Seymour are doing in regard to getting MUCH better with age..........Answer to trivia question:  JOHN BROCKINGTON of the Green Bay Packers--who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 1971, '72, and '73 but would finish with only 5,185 over a seven-year career..........Finally, congratulations also go out to my friend/former "Monday Night Sports Talk" guest Bill Dowling--who has been selected as a 2014 Gold Key recipient by the CT Sports Writers' Alliance; he'll be honored--along with four others--at the 73rd Gold Key Dinner on April 27th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.  In his former roles as president, CEO, and general manager, Dowling revived a floundering New Britain baseball franchise in the Eastern League some years ago--ultimately developing it into an industry model.  He also established the Rock Cats Foundation--which continues to benefit a variety of charitable organizations in the region.  For more information regarding this tremendous yearly event, please contact Alliance president George Albano (The Norwalk Hour) at (203)434-2320.


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