Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 9/11/10

Lazzari’s “Lopsided Score of the Week” (a no-brainer): In a college football game last weekend, Oregon defeated New Mexico 72-0–with the winning team having led during this ‘laugher’ 59-0 at HALFTIME. The Ducks piled up a school-record total of 720 yards on offense and (get this) played WITHOUT starting RB LaMichael James. But what stood out to me was what New Mexico defensive end Johnathan Rainey said after the game–remarking that this should be a “wake-up call” for the losing Lobos. Put it this way, Johnathan: If THAT kind of score doesn’t wake your team up, then I’m truly convinced that you and your teammates would have nodded off during the ear-splitting Who concert I saw at the Meadowlands back in 1982……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1990 Philadelphia Phillies–who finished 4th in the NL East under manager Nick Leyva–were led in victories by a starting pitcher with a measly total of just TEN. Can you name this former left-handed hurler? Answer to follow……….I have a new nickname for Bill Hall of the Boston Red Sox: “The Pendulum.” WHY? Because he’s ALWAYS swinging. When he drew a walk last weekend vs. Chicago, it was his first in 85 at-bats–dating back over a MONTH. I’m totally convinced that the next time a floating hot dog wrapper is near home plate while Hall is in the batter’s box, he’ll offer at it and start running to first base……….This week in sports history, September 14th, 1968: The Detroit Tigers rally for two runs in the bottom of the ninth–defeating Oakland 5-4 and enabling pitcher Denny McLain to garner his remarkable 30th win of the season. Willie Horton drove in the winning run for Detroit–singling over a drawn-in infield to score Mickey Stanley. The victory improved McLain’s season record to 30-5; he became the first 30-game winner in the American League since 1931 when Lefty Grove compiled a record of 31-4 while pitching for Philadelphia……….Is it me–or are baseball announcers currently supplying more useless/non-impressive information than ever before? During last week’s meeting between Cincinnati and St. Louis, Cardinals color man Al Hrabosky remarked that Jonny Gomes of the Reds had hit safely in 4 of his last 5 games. Wow, Al, now you have me wondering if a parade should be in order if a player hits in 15 or more consecutive games……….Anyone out there catch a glimpse of the dress that 47-year-old “supermodel” Elle MacPherson was wearing recently at the opening of a lingerie shop in Brazil? Three comments: 1) This woman looks as good right now as she did at age 27. 2) Elle and Mariano Rivera could make a fortune collaborating on a book titled Secrets to Anti-Aging. 3) She surely lives up to her nickname of “The Body.”……….Answer to trivia question: PAT COMBS–who led the Phils in wins that year while pitching to a record of 10-10……….Anyone out there remember major league shortstop Tom McMillan? I didn’t think so. Well, he’ll celebrate his 59th birthday this week. Perhaps the reason why his name is so “foggy” to the average baseball fan is because he played just ONE year in the “bigs”–1977 with the Mariners–appearing in just TWO games. McMillan came to bat five times that year without a hit–thus joining a select group of players who’ve gone into the MLB record books with a lifetime batting average of .000. Hey–he CAN tell his grandchildren that he handled five chances in the field that season WITHOUT making an error; yes–he can always brag that his career fielding % will forever remain a perfect 1.000. Best wishes for many more birthdays to come, Tom……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Yale football player Jim MacLaren–who died recently at the age of 47. Jim was a three-year letter-winner at Yale–graduating in 1985–but he’ll truly be remembered for his heroic actions OFF the gridiron. Struck by a New York City bus in 1985, MacLaren had his left leg amputated from the knee down but went on to become one of the world’s most prolific amputee distance runners/triathletes. Tragedy struck again in 1993 when Jim was struck by a van during a triathlon competition in California–which resulted in him becoming a paraplegic. Making the most of his plight, MacLaren became a motivational speaker and formed the Choose Living Foundation–supporting various philanthropic endeavors that were dear to his heart. A former recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, we ALL can learn a lesson from the way MacLaren approached life. Back in the mid-90’s, I’d occasionally see Jim at Claire’s Corner Copia (restaurant) in New Haven; he was always wearing his racing gear and would park his bike near the front entrance. We became casual acquaintances simply due to our shared athletic interests and mutual fondness for Claire’s menu. When we’d crossed paths there, I’d often say, “How ya doing, Jim?” And he’d smile and usually say something like, “Great–and you? Nice day for a ride!” He was a true gentleman and an inspiration to countless individuals; yes, albeit a short one, his was a life well-lived. Rest in peace, Jim.

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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