Lazzari’s Sports Roundup 11/6/09

How ’bout that college football game played out west last weekend–Nevada defeating Idaho 70-45? In a state where gambling is so prevalent–and where one can bet on almost ANYTHING–I’m now wondering if there are odds in regard to which school’s defensive coordinator will be fired first……….TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last NBA player to lead the league in turnovers in consecutive years? Answer to follow……….I am TOTALLY convinced that in a previous life, Manny Ramirez was a flying insect that would visit different family picnics every so often–and be a nuisance each and every time……….O.K.–here goes: TV personality/”Dancing With The Stars” beauty Brooke Burke marries former major league catcher Steve Lake, divorces, marries pop singer Billy Ocean–divorces again–then marries San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Her full married name carries an aquatic theme as she is then known as Brooke Lake Ocean Rivers……….This week in sports history, November 3, 1973: Wide receiver Jay Miller of Brigham Young sets a new NCAA record for receptions in a game–tallying 22 during his team’s 56-21 victory vs. New Mexico. Catching passes from quarterback Gary Sheide (who threw for 408 yards and six TD’s), Miller caught three in the first quarter, six in the second, four in the third, and nine in the fourth; he broke the mark previously held by Tulsa’s Rick Eber–who caught 20 in a game back in 1967……….ITEM: ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips has an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant; Phillips has also admitted to having multiple affairs with women when he worked for the N.Y. Mets. Geez, I know his former job as a major league GM gave him LOTS of experience in “making moves,” but it seems like Steve has taken that expression to an ENTIRELY different level……….During the Pats/Bucs game last Sunday in London, CBS’ Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talked about the degree to which interceptions bother New England QB Tom Brady–how he thinks about them all week. Maybe so, but if I’m going home daily to a wife name Gisele Bundchen, the occasional “pick” becomes a HECKUVA lot easier to swallow……….While covering a high school football game for ESPN Radio last week on a cold, windy, rainy night in central CT, I was also exposed to various other “pleasantries”: a long, muddy walk to a small/unheated/crowded press box, a dimly-lit field with difficult-to-see yard-markers, and a loud band/unruly kids next to me–resulting in difficulty phoning in my reports. There’s more: I was given no team rosters, there were no bathrooms in sight, there was bench seating in the limited-view, noisy press box that brought new meaning to the term “discomfort”, and a fourth-quarter downpour resulting in my own paperwork getting totally soaked. Oh–finally, the parking lot made a sardine can seem roomy–resulting in a half-hour wait while exiting the premises. Yes, folks, putting all that aside, it was truly a TERRIFIC experience!……….Answer to trivia question: JERRY STACKHOUSE of the Detroit Pistons–who led the NBA in turnovers in 1999-’00 (311) and 2000-’01 (326)……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former NBA player Steve Johnson–who blows out 52 candles on November 3rd. A native of Ohio, Johnson played a total of ten seasons in the league (for a variety of teams) between 1981 and 1991–averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for his career. A power forward/center, Johnson’s best year came during the ’86-’87 campaign while in Portland–a season in which he averaged 16.8 ppg/7.2 rpg; he was named to the NBA All-Star team the following season. Johnson played collegiately at Oregon State where he was the star of the 1980-’81 squad–a team that spent most of the season at #1 in the national polls. That year, Johnson made 235 of 315 shots for a field goal percentage of 74.6%–a single-season mark which remains an NCAA men’s record to this day. Best wishes, Steve……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former University of Oklahoma softball standout Mariee Mena–who passed away recently from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident; she was just 26. A California native, Mariee was a member of the Sooners’ 2003 and 2004 Women’s College World Series teams as well as Oklahoma’s 2007 Big 12 Championship squad. Mena earned USA Softball and NFCA National Player of the Week honors in February of ’07 after leading OU at the Palm Springs Tournament–hitting a blistering .692 with eight RBI’s. Mariee Mena is survived by her parents, Adam and Isela Mena, a sister, and two brothers; may she 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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