Lazzari’s Sports Roundup 2/5/15

The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance (CSWA) has announced that six individuals will receive John Wentworth ‘Good Sport’ Awards at the upcoming Gold Key Dinner–April 26th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Glynn Baron (West Hartford), Jerry DeJulia (Danbury), Bill Hutchinson (Wallingford), Sarah Jadach (Derby), Jane Pinho (Prospect), and Dave Rodriguez (Wallingford) are this year’s honorees. The award is given in memory of the longtime sports editor of the New Britain Herald and honors individuals who have dedicated themselves and their time helping communities through various sports endeavors. These unselfish people–along with many others (including previously-mentioned Gold Key recipients John Kuczo, Craig Janney, Tracy Lis, and John Pagliaro)–will be recognized at the Alliance’s 74th dinner at 4 PM. Tickets to this wonderful event are $75 and can be obtained by contacting CSWA President Matt Conyers ([email protected]) or Vice President Tim Jensen ([email protected])……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2004-’05 Detroit Pistons–who finished 54-28 under coach Larry Brown–had FOUR players on the roster who scored more than 1,000 points apiece. Can you name this talented quartet? Answer to follow……….At last glance, Fordham’s basketball squad had just FIVE wins and was not even listed in the New York Post’s top 10 local power poll (NY area-based teams). As an alumnus, I am embarrassed, disgruntled, and TOTALLY disgusted (a yearly thing at this juncture). Maybe it’s time the school puts more money into the solid football program and limits basketball to the intramural level. Yes, it’s become THAT much of a disgrace, folks………..ITEM: LPGA golfer Lydia Ko becomes the world’s top-ranked player–at age SEVENTEEN. How young is that? She has to wait almost another 3 1/2 YEARS before she can raise a toast (well, a REAL toast) to any future victory–at least in the United States……….Last weekend’s Super Bowl? I’m still in total shock regarding Pete Carroll’s decision to PASS from the 1-yard line–which GAVE (yes, on a silver platter) New England the victory. All I can surmise is that Carroll lost his mind for a minute and thought he was STILL coaching the Patriots–and did what he thought was best for his New England squad. Yes, the biggest blunder in sports history……….*Note to tennis player Maria Sharapova: The next time you’re entering a tournament in which Serena Williams is also participating, it might be best for you to tackle a modeling gig instead (Williams has now won 16 matches in a row vs. the Russian beauty)……….Into bowling–or simply interested in helping out a great cause? Mark the date on your calendars, folks–Sunday, March 8th. That’s when the CT Epilepsy Advocate, Inc. will hold its 5th annual “Strike Out Epilepsy” event at Milford Lanes in Milford, CT. The entry fee is $30 per person; participants will enjoy a few hours of bowling while proceeds go to helping those affected with epilepsy–along with their families. Check-in is at 12 noon while pizza, nachos, and soda will be served. More information on this tremendous cause/event can be obtained by visiting……….Someone pointed out to me the other day that it’s been over six years since Tiger Woods won a major golf tournament. It STILL hasn’t sunk in. If someone asked me ten years ago, “How many majors will Tiger win by the year 2015?”, I would have said AT LEAST 20. Goes to show you that golf is a funny (or, in some cases, NOT so funny) game, folks……….Wide receiver Marvin Harrison not being elected to the NFL Hall of Fame is ALMOST as absurd as Chicago not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame……….ITEM: Lovely model/actress Christie Brinkley blows out 61 (yes–SIXTY-ONE) candles this coming week. Geez–and all this time I thought that Nolan Ryan was the “poster person” for aging gracefully; sorry, Nolan–Christie wins HAND DOWN……….Answer to trivia question: RICHARD HAMILTON (1,424), CHAUNCEY BILLUPS (1,316), TAYSHAUN PRINCE (1,206), and RASHEED WALLACE (1,145)……….There’s not much I can add to what has already been penned regarding the death of the great Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. We were all privy to his greatness on the baseball diamond (512 HR’s, 1,636 RBI’s, etc.), but when I think about Mr. Banks, a few more things come to mind, i.e. enduring segregation, serving in the Army, and his infectious personality. Tony DeAngelo–my “Monday Night Sports Talk” co-host who grew up watching Banks play–relayed the following about a very special man: “I remember Ralph Kiner having Ernie on ‘Kiner’s Korner’ following Mets telecasts. To a FAULT, Ernie was always so kind, generous, and appreciative. He’d talk about how there was NO other game in the world like baseball–and that he’d play THREE games in one day if they let him.” And Negro Leagues historian/photographer Bill Chapman chimed in with this: “NEVER a bad word was uttered about that man. I can’t think of anyone else that would apply to–at least not in baseball.” Amen, gentlemen. For sure, very few athletes in HISTORY were more universally respected/liked than Ernie Banks. Yes–a great athlete, a greater MAN. And Ernie, whenever I witness the disappearing phenomenon known as a ‘doubleheader’ in the future, I’ll be sure to shout out “LET’S PLAY TWO!” before the first pitch is thrown. Rest in peace, “Mr. Cub.”

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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