"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 7/19/14
*GREAT CAUSE: Mark your calendars, folks--Sunday, July 27th. For the sixth consecutive summer, my good friend John Holt--sports reporter at WFSB in Hartford--has organized the "Scooper Sunday" charity event in conjunction with the New Britain Rock Cats. Proceeds that day will benefit the lifesaving work being done by the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) as New Britain takes on the Portland Sea Dogs. Holt became involved in this wonderful event in memory of his brother, Lindsey, but maintains that it is also an attempt to assist others who may be struggling with depression, loneliness, and the immense impact of suicide loss. Ice cream, Italian ice, and frozen custard--available from various vendors--will be offered in over 25 different flavors; the event begins at noon. For more information on this worthy undertaking, search "Scooper Sunday At The Rock Cats" on Facebook or email Mr. Holt directly at John.Holt@wfsb.com..........TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last Baltimore Orioles player to lead the American League in stolen bases? Answer to follow..........Here's a more-than-disturbing tidbit for y'all: The U-T San Diego newspaper now has an "NFL Arrests Database" on its website that lists tons of arrests and citations involving players dating back to 2000--infractions that are MORE serious than, say, speeding tickets. One can actually log onto the site and utilize a search box to plug in a name, team, or position in order to read about the many offenders. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this site (whose "honor roll" is growing) is not listed under Roger Goodell's "Favorites" whenever the NFL commissioner accesses his personal computer..........*O.K.--here goes: North Carolina basketball player Jamie Cherry marries ex-baseball star Darryl Strawberry, divorces, marries former MLB outfielder Chet Lemon--divorces again--then walks down the aisle with two-time Olympian wrestler Spenser Mango. She is then running up and down the court with the "fruity" full name of Jamie Cherry Strawberry Lemon Mango..........Did you know that the 2001 Pittsburgh Pirates--who lost 100 games under manager Lloyd McClendon--were led in victories by pitcher Todd Ritchie with a total of just ELEVEN? Just HOW bad was the staff that season? NO starting pitcher finished with an above-.500 record and the combined staff ERA was a robust 5.05--second worst in the league to Colorado (5.29)..........I may be in the minority, but count me among those who believe that Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, and Rich "Goose" Gossage AREN'T totally deserving of plaques at Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. It just seems to me that players who are honored there should be classified as all-time Yankee greats who spent the MAJORITY of their careers in New York. Martinez spent a total of seven seasons in NY (six of them consecutively between '96 and '01) and made ONE All-Star team while in the "Big Apple." O'Neill spent just the second half of his career in NY; he hit .288 lifetime and won a batting title in '94 for the Yanks (BARELY qualifying). Finally, Gossage may be deserving of Hall of Fame status (elected in '08/over 300 saves lifetime). However, he was a major presence in NY for just six years between '78 and '83 (in a 22-year career)--leading the league in saves twice while in pinstripes before bolting to San Diego as a free-agent. Yes, there's no doubt that these guys DID win championships and were very talented ballplayers. But to place plaques/remembrances of them alongside the likes of Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Rivera--names SYNONYMOUS with immense greatness in New York baseball history? Nah--this just cheapens the mystique of an area once reserved for baseball ICONS, folks..........ITEM: 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith pleads NO CONTEST to THREE felony weapons charges (later downgraded to misdemeanors) and a DUI charge--but is only put on probation and required to complete a work-release program every Monday for 11 weeks. And you HAVE to almost LAUGH at the politics of it all after reading the recent tweet by Mike Garafolo of FoxSports.com: "Eleven Mondays of work release for Aldon Smith magically ends one Monday before the Niners' first MNF game at STL"..........According to The Huffington Post, the black mini-dress that 56-year-old actress Sharon Stone was recently wearing made her the "hottest woman at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival." Wow--and I used to think that NO ONE aged as gracefully as the aforementioned Mariano Rivera..........Answer to trivia question: BRIAN ROBERTS--who tied Carl Crawford for the AL lead back in 2007 with a total of 50 swipes..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former college football coach Tom Jones--who passed away recently at the age of 90. Jones was an incredibly successful high school football coach in Alabama before becoming an assistant at Auburn from 1966-1971 under Shug Jordan. He then became head football coach at Troy State for a short time and also served as that school's athletic director. A Navy veteran, Jones excelled at both football and baseball at Troy during his younger days and later became one of the first inductees into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Tom Jones is survived by his wife of 64 years, Evelyn, a son, and three daughters. Rest in peace, "Coach."