Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 1/18/10

O.K.–kudos to the Seattle Seahawks for a huge win last weekend vs. New Orleans–and the run by the ‘Hawks Marshawn Lynch was one for the ages. But the tackling on the part of New Orleans’ defense was among the worst I have ever seen in the postseason. Quite frankly, I’ve seen better tackling during courtroom melees……….TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last NBA player to lead the league in offensive rebounds FOUR years in a row? Answer to follow……….Speaking of the aforementioned Seahawks: While taping an edition of “Monday Night Sports Talk” recently, the subject of college recruiting violations came up–specifically involving Pete Carroll (current Seattle coach) while he was at USC. I asked my co-host Tony DeAngelo about Carroll and how he would describe him in a short phrase. His sarcastic answer? A “bastion of integrity.”………. If the old Goodson/Todman production “I’ve Got A Secret” ever makes a comeback, I think newly-appointed Maryland football coach Randy Edsall would make the IDEAL host……….Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco recently told the New York Post that his three favorite dinner guests from any historical period would be Babe Ruth, Jessica Biel, and Vince Lombardi; he also said that his Mom’s home-cooked pasta is his favorite meal. And people wonder WHY I like this guy so much?……….This week in sports history, January 17, 1988: The Denver Broncos qualify for their second straight Super Bowl–defeating the Cleveland Browns 38-33 in the AFC championship game. QB John Elway connected on a 20-yard TD pass to RB Sammy Winder with 4:01 remaining to give Denver a 38-31 lead. Browns QB Bernie Kosar ultimately led his team down to the Denver 8-yard line with just over a minute left to play; RB Earnest Byner was then stripped of the ball by Denver’s Jeremiah Castille as he crossed the 5-yard line after taking a handoff (with a clear path to the end zone)–securing the victory for the Broncos……….Just thinkin’: Can you imagine if Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw married singer Jimmy Buffett–divorced–then married noted sculptor Kim Duffett? She’d be roaming the sidelines with the full married named of Muffet Buffett Duffett……….Answer to trivia question: DENNIS RODMAN–who led the league each year from 1990-1994 as a member of the Pistons and Spurs……….I know that media members have been urged over the past few years to look at race car driver Danica Patrick as being “just another one of the guys.” But c’mon–when I see photos of this woman in a bikini, it’s TRULY difficult to picture her being affiliated with the same sport as A.J. Foyt and Richard Petty……….O.K–here goes–one more: California physician Dr. Kathy Bak marries Singaporean photographer Ken Seet–divorces–then marries Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver. Her full married name? Kathy Bak Seet Driver……….ITEM: Reliever Hideki Okajima re-signs with the Red Sox–a one-year deal. Put it this way: If manager Terry Francona doesn’t use this guy STRICTLY to face just ONE batter in lefty-lefty situations during 2011, the Yankees automatically gain 3-4 games on Boston in the AL East standings……….Happy birthday wishes go out to former NBA forward/center Larry Smith–who blows out 53 candles on January 18th. A native of Mississippi who played college ball at Alcorn St., Smith spent 13 seasons in the league between 1980 and 1993 as a member of the Warriors, Rockets, and Spurs. Smith made the All-Rookie team in 1981 while with Golden State; he would go on to become one of the best rebounders in the league for years–averaging 9.2 rpg for his career. Smith led the NBA in offensive rebounds during the ’85-’86 season and pulled down a total of 8,125 total boards during his career. Smith is currently the head basketball coach at Alcorn State–a position he has held since 2008. Best wishes, Larry……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former major league pitcher Ryne Duren–who passed away last week in Florida at the age of 81. Amazingly, Duren pitched for SEVEN different teams during his 10-year big league career–pitching mostly in relief. Known for his 100-mile-per-hour fastball and occasional wildness, Duren made his mark while pitching for the Yankees from 1958-1961; he put together back-to-back ERA’s of 2.02 and 1.88 in the ’58 and ’59 seasons respectively while giving up a combined 89 hits in over 150 innings of relief work during that two-year span. In five World Series games, Duren was 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA–striking out 19 in 13 1/3 innings. His problems with alcohol were well-documented; he later spent much of his time helping many ballplayers with their addictions. His name will live on in baseball history as former Cub standout Ryne Sandberg’s plaque in Cooperstown includes this note: “Named after former Yankees pitcher Ryne Duren.” May Ryne Duren 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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