Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 12-15-09

ITEM: Pittsburgh leads New Hampshire 15-7 at the HALF during a college basketball game last week–the fewest first-half points in a Division I game since the shot clock was employed. I haven’t seen anything THAT ugly since a former roommate of mine at Fordham was combing the hair on his BACK……….TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last member of the Milwaukee Bucks to lead the NBA in free throw shooting percentage? Answer to follow……….Gotta love WFAN Radio’s Steve Somers–who calls the lowly NBA team playing in New Jersey “The Empty Nets.” Somers also commented last week about Derek Jeter’s “squeaky clean” image–remarking, “This guy is so clean that the soap companies want to endorse HIM!”……….ITEM: The New York Jets bring in N.Y. Yankees manager Joe Girardi to teach QB Mark Sanchez how to slide. HUH??? Shouldn’t “Gang Green” have hired a TRUE, former baserunner to teach such a skill–maybe Rickey Henderson? Then again, if you bring Henderson in, you may have to interrupt a card game in order to get him to show up at the practice field……….This week in sports history, December 15, 1946: The Chicago Bears capture their fifth NFL championship–defeating the New York Giants 24-14 in a game played at the Polo Grounds. The game was played under a cloud of suspicion as NY quarterback Frank Filchock and FB Merle Hapes reportedly were offered bribes by professional gamblers; Filchock went on to throw a pair of TD passes as the game was tied 14-14 after three quarters. However, Chicago quarterback Sid Luckman would put the Bears ahead to stay in the fourth when he ran 19 yards down the right sideline on a fake sweep–propelling his team to the title game victory……….How ’bout the NY Knicks and the New Jersey Nets winning on the SAME NIGHT last week? My first thought was that if something like THAT can happen, then there is STILL hope for yours truly to date Christie Brinkley and/or Jennifer Aniston within the next six months……….The honors continue to pile up for Eastern CT State Univ. soccer player Sarah Swann of Oxford (CT). She was recently named as a first team all-star to the women’s ECAC New England Division III All-Star squad; as reported in this column a few weeks back, Swann had earlier been named as the Little East Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. Well done, Sarah………. Answer to trivia question: JACK SIKMA–who made 321-of-348 free throws during the ’87-’88 season for a percentage of .922……….Lazzari’s “Lopsided Score of the Week” (sit down for THIS one, folks): In a college basketball game played last week in Ohio, Walsh University obliterated Ohio St.-Mansfield 154-59; the winning squad set school records for margin of victory (95), field goals made (64), assists (47), rebounds (73), and points in a half (84). If I’m the coach of the losing squad, I inject some comforting humor into the equation while addressing my team after the game and offer this: “Good news and bad news, guys; the good news is that you still have your health intact and you will NEVER get beaten THAT badly ever again. The bad news is that our team trainer just took my blood pressure– and the systolic number is 30 points higher than Walsh’s total score tonight.”……….I’ve heard a countless number of Tiger Woods references since his car crash/indiscretions became public, but I’ll give reader Joe Pankowski credit for being the first to inform me that Tiger–from this day forward–should be known as “Cheetah”……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Doug Rau–who blows out 61 candles on December 15th. A native Texan who attended Texas A&M, Rau pitched nine seasons in the “bigs” between 1972 and 1981–spending most of his time with the Dodgers. Rau’s best year came in 1976 while with L.A.–a year in which he went 16-12 with an impressive 2.57 ERA (second in the NL); his lifetime record was 81-60. However, Rau struggled while pitching in the postseason as a member of the Dodgers; in six postseason games (11 innings) during his career, Rau pitched to a record of 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA. Rau ended his career in ’81 as a member of the Angels; best wishes, Doug……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of basketball Hall of Famer Al Cervi–who died recently in Rochester, NY at the age of 92. Cervi was the 1947 National Basketball League scoring champion and MVP as a guard for the Rochester Royals; he became a player-coach for the Syracuse Nationals in 1948 and remained in that role after the team joined the NBA. He retired as a player in 1953 and later coached the Nats to the NBA title in 1955. Cervi was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ruth, a son, two daughters, and four grandchildren. May Al Cervi 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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