Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 02-10-10

I’ll say it once again (and this tidbit warrants being mentioned WEEKLY in this column for as long as it runs): Roger Federer’s record of reaching 23 straight Grand Slam tennis semifinals is at the TOP of the heap when it comes to ANY major sports record/milestone. Need a little more proof–besides the recent, unfathomable #23? This: Former tennis greats Rod Laver and Ivan Lendl are in second place with a total of TEN apiece (remarkable itself). Yes, simply amazing……….TRIVIA QUESTION: In December of 1983, the Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184–the highest-scoring game in NBA history. Four players (two from each team) scored more than 40 points apiece during the game; can you name any of these individuals? Answer to follow……….Lazzari’s “Lopsided Score of the Week”: In a CT girls high school basketball game last week, Prince Tech dismantled University 62-11; the score at halftime was 38-4 and University did NOT score in the second quarter. Question: Does the University coach look at the 24-7 second half score as a moral victory–or tear up the locker room knowing that two different Prince players outscored the entire University team by THEMSELVES?……….This week in sports history, February 9, 1991: In a lopsided 12-round decision, WBC junior middleweight champion Terry Norris batters former champion Sugar Ray Leonard in a fight held at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The 23-year-old Norris sent Leonard to the canvas in the second and seventh rounds while working Leonard over with a variety of punches. Leonard–who was fighting for the first time in a year–formerly held the welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight titles at various times throughout his storied career……….ITEM: QB Kurt Warner announces his retirement at the age of 38. A future Hall of Famer? Absolutely. Here’s a guy who threw for over 32,000 yards, was the fastest player in NFL history to 10,000 yards, and has the top three passing performances in Super Bowl history. He also led two different teams to Super Bowls; he and Fran Tarkenton remain the only NFL quarterbacks to throw for 100 touchdowns and 14,000 yards for two teams. Yes, we all know about his circuitous route to the NFL–Arena League days, etc. But I’ll always remember the guy as a true CLASS ACT–a man of deep faith who will walk away from $11.5 million that he’s due next year. Very refreshing, Kurt–and thanks for being YOU……….The “Unwatchable NBA” Update: In a game played in Detroit last week, the Heat beat the Pistons 92-65; Detroit scored a GRAND TOTAL of just 25 points in the second and third quarters COMBINED. Rumor has it that, following the game, Piston officials wanted to distribute Compazine to the many fans in attendance in order to combat severe nausea and vomiting; they later thought better of it after finding out that it is a prescription medication……….Answer to trivia question: ISIAH THOMAS (47) and JOHN LONG (41) for Detroit; KIKI VANDEWEGHE (51) and ALEX ENGLISH (47) for Denver……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former NBA player Abdul Jeelani–who blows out 56 candles on February 10th. Born Gary Cole in Bells, Tennessee, Jeelani has the distinction of scoring the first points in Dallas Mavericks franchise history back in 1980; he also had the Mavs’ best individual scoring effort that season when he tallied 31 vs. Boston. He had previously played with the Trail Blazers and later played overseas in Italy and Spain. Jeelani is a charter member of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Athletic Hall of Fame; best wishes, Abdul……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former ballpark organist Jane Jarvis–who died recently in New Jersey at the age of 94. Jane was Shea Stadium’s “Queen of Melody” from 1964 to 1979; she had begun her career as a jazz pianist and had formerly played for the Braves at County Stadium in Milwaukee. Those of us lucky to have been to Shea during her tenure were always treated to an unforgettable, eclectic musical style. Tony DeAngelo, my co-host on CTV-14’s “Monday Night Sports Talk,” summed up Ms. Jarvis’ legacy this way: “She was NOT a sports fan, but simply a musician who had an extra job playing at a ballpark and a stadium club at night. But yet, she had an incredible gift of playing the right music at the right time during a game. When Seaver took the mound, it was ‘Mr. Wonderful’–Tug McGraw, the ‘Irish Jig.’ And if the Mets won a game in extras, it was ‘We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye.’ Finally, there was no greater feeling than sitting in your seat when the game ended with the scoreboard blinking–with Jane playing exit music; it was mostly soft stuff–like ‘Smile’ or ‘My Reverie.’ Quite frankly, she was the music of the Mets’ life back then.” Amen, Tony; may the “Queen of Melody”–Jane Jarvis–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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