Lazzari’s Sports Roundup 2/13/09

For those of you out there who are concerned about the political future/leadership of our nation–and its overall welfare in general–please be advised that we ALL can take solace in at least one thing: Isiah Thomas has yet to enter the field of politics……….The “Who Am I” TRIVIA QUESTION: After playing college ball at Jackson State and being a first-round draft pick, I played in the NBA for 12 seasons–mostly for a team on the west coast. As a guard/forward, I averaged more than 18 points per game for five consecutive seasons during the 80’s–highlighted by a mark of 28 ppg during the ’84-’85 campaign. I could shoot free throws, too, as I compiled a career mark of 82% from the line while playing in over 800 games. Who am I? Answer to follow……….Lazzari’s “Lopsided Score of the Week”: In a college basketball game played a few weeks ago in St. Louis, Crichton College defeated Logan 118-37; the winning squad outscored its overmatched opponent 62-14 in the second half of this laugher and outrebounded Logan in the game 50-16. Let’s put it this way: When your team is on the short end of a game by 80 points or more, giving out a “game ball” is truly out of the question. Perhaps more therapeutic would be a game BAWL–with the losing coach leading the weeping/whimpering in a devastated post-game locker room……….The adjectival definition of the word “criminal?” The fact that baseball commissioner Bud Selig basically earns more than NBA commish David Stern and NHL commish Gary Bettman COMBINED. Put that together with MLB having laid off employees over the past year or so and you’ve reached the height of absurdity/insanity……….This week in sports history, February 16, 1984: 23-year-old Californian Bill Johnson captures gold in Olympic downhill skiing–clocking a sizzling time of 1:45.59 at the Games in Sarajevo. The cocky Johnson–who had told reporters before the race that “they should just hand it (the gold medal) to me”–performed his heroics after heavy snow and winds had postponed the downhill three times. Johnson finished 27/100 of a second faster than Switzerland’s Peter Mueller and 34/100 faster than Anton Steiner of Austria……….I loved the way WFAN’s Mike McCann began one of his sports updates last weekend: “A-Rod, A-Roid, A-Fraud, A MESS!” Yes, Mike, and I’ll add ‘AMEN’ to that……….Still think that effective free-throw shooting is overrated in college basketball? Don’t tell that to Eastern CT St. University coach Bill Geitner–whom I spoke with before his team took on Southern Maine last Saturday: “If we were shooting 70% from the line this season instead of 55%, we probably have FIVE more wins,” Geitner told me. “Yeah, it’s BEYOND frustrating–but kinda what I expected from such a young group of guys”……….Answer to trivia question: PURVIS SHORT–who averaged 17.3 ppg in a career spent with Golden State, Houston, and New Jersey……….Regarding the aforementioned Alex Rodriguez and his link to steroids: I truly don’t have much to say about it–mainly because it’s not shocking to me WHATSOEVER; I was actually more surprised that the sun rose seven days last week. One of the best comments about it came from the N.Y. Post’s Mike Vaccaro–who compared the skinny rookie in 1995 to the bulked-up A-ROD eight years later. Vaccaro simply conveyed that “it doesn’t take long to conclude that he got that way by using something other than a bowl of Wheaties and a pile of Flintstone chewable vitamins every morning.”……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Glen Abbott–who blows out 58 candles on February 16th. Abbott spent 11 years in the majors between 1973 and 1984–hurling for the A’s, Mariners, and Tigers. Used primarily as a starter, Abbott won 12 games for Seattle in both the 1977 and 1980 seasons; in his career, he won 62 games and lost 83 while appearing in 248 games. Perhaps the highlight of his career happened in September of ’75 when Abbott and three other A’s pitchers combined to no-hit the California Angels. Currently, Glenn is the pitching coach of the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League; best wishes, Glenn……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Stanford/U.S. Olympic track and field coach Payton Jordan–who died recently of cancer at his Laguna Hills, CA home; he was 91. Jordan was a star sprinter at USC in the 1930’s and coached at Stanford from 1957 to 1979. But he will always be remembered for his work at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City–where he led the U.S. men’s track team to 24 medals –12 of them gold. After retiring from coaching, Jordan dominated masters track meets–setting world records in the 100 and 200 meters in his age groups. He was married to his wife Marge for 66 years before she died in 2006; may Coach Jordan rest in peace.

About the Author

Bob Lazzari

Bob Lazzari is an award-winning sports columnist for both Connecticut's Valley Times and NY Sports Day--where his "Sports Roundup" column is featured weekly. He is a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance and host of "Monday Night Sports Talk" --a cable television show on CTV/Channel14 in Connecticut. A Fordham grad, Bob is a regular contributor to ESPN Radio's "Inside Yankee Baseball"; he can also be heard weekly every Tuesday morning on WXLM/104.7 FM in New London, CT. He has a popular blog where many of his past columns have been archived.

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