(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
ITEM: The Miami Marlins name steroid ‘poster boy’ Barry Bonds as their new hitting coach. Call me judgmental–or even nasty–but the Rolling Stones’ tune “Sympathy for the Devil” has been playing in my head ever since that news story broke……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1979 Houston Oilers–who finished 11-5 under coach Bum Phillips–were led in receptions by a player who caught just 40 passes. Can you name QB Dan Pastorini’s favorite target that season? Answer to follow……….SO refreshing to see my alma mater, Fordham, get off to such a great start in basketball this season (6-1 record at press time) under new head coach Jeff Neubauer. After having watched the team dismantle a very overmatched Central CT squad this past weekend, one thing is certain: Any team coached by Neubauer will play defense AND hustle; team effort will never be a concern. The man has pumped life into a Rams program that needed it BADLY (an understatement); kudos to athletic director David Roach for maneuvering such a terrific hire. However, the team’s current success should not be overshadowed by the fact that my lifespan has been shortened CONSIDERABLY due to having followed this team closely since the late 1970’s……….Over/under date for the first arrest of a Miami football player during the new Mark Richt era–maybe January 15, 2016?……….In the history of the NBA, there may have been better players than Golden State’s Stephen Curry. But I’m willing to say that there have been very FEW players who’ve performed as SMOOTHLY as this talented guard. Wow………Did you know that the Stanley Cup-winning New Jersey Devils of 2002-’03 were led in scoring by Patrick Elias with a total of just 57 points? Ah–but it was an incredibly balanced team as the squad had seven players who scored 40 or more points. Oh–and the goaltending was fantastic; goalies Martin Brodeur and Corey Schwab combined to give up just 166 goals all season long–the best mark in the NHL……….Put it this way: If the S.F. 49ers give backup QB Colin Kaepernick a $12 million roster bonus come April 1st, then yours truly will be dating both Christie Brinkley AND Sharon Stone at the SAME TIME during the summer of ’16……….*ATTN, N.Y. Giants fans: I don’t mean to downplay the immense talent of superstar WR Odell Beckham, Jr., but he’s NOT making a lot of these one-handed grabs if he’s NOT wearing gloves (I’m assuming you already know that–at least I HOPE you do)……….After witnessing the $200 million plus contracts signed by Zack Greinke and David Price this past week, I often think of what my Dad used to say when he heard of such incredible money being thrown around: “Wow–I guess their spouses won’t be shopping in the discount supermarkets anymore!”……….Speaking of the aforementioned Dan Pastorini: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing him on “Monday Night Sports Talk”; he was an INCREDIBLE all-around athlete in his day who had quite the career both on AND off the field. Toward the end of our talk, I referred to him by his given name of Dante Anthony Pastorini, Jr. His response? “Now THAT’S Italian”……….ITEM: Marshall assistant basketball coach/former NBA player Chris Duhon is arrested for aggravated DUI; he was found sleeping in his car with the engine running while having a blood-alcohol level of .20–TWO-AND-A-HALF TIMES the legal limit. I don’t know about you, folks, but I felt hungover just READING about Duhon’s idiotic actions……….I used to think that watching WR Lance Alworth running a pass pattern was the ultimate thing of beauty. That all changed the other day when I saw a picture of actress/singer Vanessa Hudgens wearing a very revealing black gown at the L.A. premiere of “The Shannara Chronicles.” Sorry, Lance–some things are just NOT up for debate at this time……….Some current/former NFL players are well-suited to do TV commercials. Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman are NOT among that select group……….Answer to trivia question: KEN BURROUGH–who wore #00 on his jersey and enjoyed a very respectable 12-year career in the NFL……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NFL punt/kick returner Dennis Morgan–who passed away recently after having a heart attack in the stands at MetLife Stadium while watching the Cowboys play the Giants; he was 63. A native/lifelong resident of White Plains, NY, Morgan was selected by Dallas in the 10th round of the 1974 draft (Western Illinois); he played for both the Cowboys and Eagles in a brief two-year career. Morgan will be best remembered for a 98-yd. punt return vs. the St. Louis Cardinals in ’74–which remains a Dallas team record. Dennis also served honorably in the U.S. Army. Morgan is survived by two brothers–Troy and Charles–and a sister, Alice. May Dennis Morgan rest in peace.