Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a pair of interesting individuals–author Johanna Wagner and former major league catcher Brent Mayne. Both currently have terrific books on the market; Johanna’s is called A View From The Stands–which chronicles her visits to all 30 MLB ballparks back in 2002. Mayne’s work is titled The Art of Catching–designed to help coaches, fans, and players understand and enjoy this important defensive position. More info on Johanna and the book itself (along with some great blog entries) can be obtained by visiting www.loveymyteam.com. To find out more about Mayne’s book (and to sign up for a free “Art of Catching” newsletter), log onto www.brentmayne.com ……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1987 Pittsburgh Pirates were led in victories by a hurler whose win total that year was more than HALF his career total. Can you name this former right-handed pitcher? Answer to follow……….Lazzari’s “Cheap Win of the Week”: A “no-brainer”–goes to Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox. He enters the 9th inning last weekend vs. Detroit with a 3-0 lead, blows his fifth save, and allows Detroit to tie the game 3-3. However, he picks up the “W” nonetheless as the Sox proceed to win on an errant throw by Tigers pitcher Robbie Weinhardt in the bottom of the 9th……….*OK–here goes: Longwood University Assistant Dean Kathy Charleston marries Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Lovers of flavored nougat covered in chocolate would surely love her new married name of Kathy Charleston Choo………. “Raven” Update: My good buddy Robert “Raven” Kraft of Miami Beach continues to amaze, inspire, and carry on. “Raven” reached his 13,000th day of consecutive 8-mile runs this past Wednesday, August 4th, and will also reach the 104,000 total mile mark this weekend (August 7th). This is a man who made it his New Year’s Day resolution back on January 1, 1975 to run every day for just ONE year; he hasn’t stopped SINCE, folks. Learn more about my remarkable friend–one of the top “streak runners” in the country–at www.ravenrun.net ……….This week in sports history, August 9, 1988: In one of the most shocking trades in sports history, the Edmonton Oilers send “The Great One”–Wayne Gretzky–to the Los Angeles Kings after Gretzky had asked owner Peter Pocklington to orchestrate the deal. The 27-year-old Gretzky had married American actress Janet Jones in July–a Los Angeles native–perhaps a major reason for Wayne’s request to land in Hollywood. Still a very young man, Gretzky had already piled up a mind-boggling 43 NHL scoring records, and stood just 219 goals/182 points shy of the great Gordie Howe’s all-time scoring marks–once considered untouchable……….ITEM: 21-year-old Matthew Clemmens of Cherry Hill, NJ is sentenced to jail and community service for sticking his fingers down his throat and VOMITING on fans at a Phillies/Nationals game back in April. If I’m the judge presiding over this dolt’s sentencing, I order him to take the 100-or-so mile trip from Cherry Hill to Baltimore as a punishment and force him to watch the pathetic Orioles play–which would most likely make him regurgitate profusely WITHOUT even having to use his fingers……….Answer to trivia question: MIKE DUNNE–who went 13-6 for Jim Leyland’s fourth-place club that season but ended up winning only 25 games over his five-year career………I thought the infield at the new Yankee Stadium was truly beautiful when I saw it recently–but then it took a MAJOR back seat a few days later when I saw a picture of the gown Jessica Biel was wearing at the London film premier of “The A-Team”……….At one point last week, I was TOTALLY convinced that Washington Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth would have a better chance of passing any state’s BAR EXAM than a team-given conditioning test……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league outfielder Jimmy McMath–who blows out 61 candles on August 10th. A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, McMath belongs to that unique fraternity of ex-ballplayers who played just ONE big league season; as a teenager, Jimmy played for the Cubs in 1968–appearing in just SIX games. Coming to bat 14 times in his brief career, McMath managed just TWO hits (singles)–thus going into the MLB record books with a lifetime batting average of just .143. Hey, they all can’t be Billy Williams, right? Best wishes, Jimmy……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league pitcher Billy Loes–who died recently in Arizona at the age of 80; he had undergone open-heart surgery a few years ago and also fought diabetes. In an 11-year career between 1950 and 1961, Loes won 80 games as a member of the Dodgers, Orioles, and Giants; he pitched on three pennant-winning Brooklyn Dodgers teams in the 1950’s and won a World Series game vs. the Yankees in 1953. Billy Loes is survived by a wife, Irene–from whom he was separated; may he rest in peace.