Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 12/24/10

Gotta love WFAN’s Steve Somers–who recently called the disappointing 2010 Dallas Cowboys squad the “Arlington Afterthoughts”……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1995-’96 Minnesota Timberwolves–who finished a disappointing 26-56 under coaches Bill Blair and Flip Saunders–were led in scoring by a player who was a member of five different teams over his nine-year career. Can you name this individual? Answer to follow……….ITEM: Former NFL lineman Keith McCants is arrested AGAIN–this time for crack cocaine possession outside an exotic dance club in Florida; it was his SIXTH drug-related arrest since 2008. The ironic part of this latest bust has to do with the name of the establishment where this low-life criminal had been hanging out that evening just prior to his arrest: “Tina’s House of Angels“……….In my next lifetime, I DO NOT want to be in the same foxhole with Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth……….This week in sports history, December 20, 1979: The Philadelphia Flyers extend their unbeaten streak to an NHL record-tying 28 games; they get a third period power play goal from Behn Wilson that results in a 1-1 tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Over 17,000 fans at the Philadelphia Spectrum saw Wilson put the puck past Penguins goalie Greg Millen with 4:08 remaining. The tie allowed the Flyers to match the 28-game unbeaten streak put together by the 1977-’78 Montreal Canadiens………If you’re putting together a new football team and you want guys on your squad who play the game the way it’s SUPPOSED to be played, can you go wrong by picking New England’s Wes Welker on offense and Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu on defense?……….I’ve been hearing all year long from some fellow NFL fans that sooner or later the “roof would cave in” on the Vikings season–due to Brett Favre’s advancing age, etc. And YES–last weekend it caved in LITERALLY……….If Joe Paterno had aged HALF as well as actress Teri Hatcher, then Penn State would be playing for a national championship in a few weeks; just sayin’……….The insanity continues: I see that pitcher George Sherrill recently agreed to a $1.2 million contract with the Atlanta Braves; in 65 games last year with the Dodgers, Sherrill pitched to an ERA of 6.69. Yes–in my next lifetime, I DO want to come back as a below-average, left-handed relief pitcher……….Great stuff from color guy Dan Dierdorf during last weekend’s Steelers/Bengals game. He pointed out that Cincinnati LB Dhani Jones was recently asked how is he still able to play so hard for a team that’s now 2-11. Jones simply answered, “Because my mother and father are watching.” Yes, pride STILL matters to some……….Answer to trivia question: ISAIAH “J.R.” RIDER–who averaged 19.6 ppg while appearing in 75 games……….ITEM: Former MLB player Gary Sheffield has partnered with a New York lawyer and plans to advise clients in the player representation business. Yeah, JUST the kind of guy I’d want overseeing MY career–surly, confrontational, linked to steroids, and uncooperative. Sheesh–what’s this world comin’ to, folks?……….I’d love to see Debra Grand–a VP at the Bank of America–hook up with PGA golfer Fred Funk. If they ever tied the knot, fans of a great American band would surely delight in her full married name of Debra Grand Funk……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league pitcher Paul Swingle–who blows out 44 candles on December 21st. The most avid baseball aficionado out there may not be familiar with this native of Inglewood, CA–who attended Grand Canyon University. Swingle played just ONE season in the majors–1993 with the California Angels. In just nine career appearances (all in relief), Swingle pitched a total of 9 2/3 innings, gave up 15 hits, and allowed nine earned runs–thus rendering him a lifetime ERA of 8.38. Hey–they ALL can’t be Nolan Ryan, right? Best wishes and happy holidays, Paul……….Finally, condolences go out the family of a special man who passed away recently–Frank Pergola of Ansonia, CT. Frank was a member of the Silver Sluggers Baseball Club–a close-knit group of individuals who meet weekly down in southern CT during the baseball season to discuss the happenings in major league baseball. Frank was a long-time friend to my father; whenever I’d see Frank at the weekly meetings, he’d kindly shake my hand and ALWAYS ask how my Dad was doing. Frank was simply a soft-spoken individual with a smile that could truly light up a room. I’ve met bigger BASEBALL FANS in my life than Mr. Pergola, but few nicer PEOPLE; he’ll truly be missed. May you rest in peace, Frank Pergola.

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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