Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 2/18

(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)

The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance (CSWA) has announced that six individuals will receive John Wentworth Good Sport Awards at the annual Gold Key Dinner on April 24th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. The recipients: Ray Aramini of Columbia, Tom DeFilippo of Bethany, John Greco of Middletown, Bill Nataro of Torrington, David Pelletier of Wolcott, and Jennifer Schulten of Middlefield. The award is named after the late sports editor of the New Britain Herald and honors various individuals who have dedicated their time to helping communities through sports. Tickets to this special event ($75) which begins at 4pm can be obtained by contacting CSWA VP Tim Jensen at [email protected] or by mailing at check to the CSWA, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2006-’07 Buffalo Sabres–who finished 53-22-7 under coach Lindy Ruff–had FOUR players on the team who scored more than 30 goals apiece. How many of these individuals can you name? Answer to follow……….My good buddy Phil Mushnick wrote a piece in the New York Post this past week about Chuck Smart; ironically, he’s a former NCAA rules investigator who was hired by Louisville last summer as a “compliance consultant” (*translation: prevent the school’s transgressions from being made public). Mushnick: “Folks such as Smart are hired by colleges that are deeply invested and diseased by whatever-it-takes sports sickness; they’re NOT hired to help determine the freshman English Comp reading list.”……….ITEM: N.Y. Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia fails his THIRD PED test and now receives a permanent ban from MLB. O.K., folks, I don’t use the “S” word too much, but I’ll use it here: This may quite possibly be the most STUPID individual in the history of sports (and I’ve seen more than MY share along the way). Reactions? My good friend, sportswriter Bob Snowden: “There is NO limit on stupidity; UNBELIEVABLY dumb.” Photographer/journalist Mike McCann: “As Bugs Bunny once said, ‘What a MAROON!’ ” Finally, the headline in the New York Post this past Saturday: OH, JENRRY, YOU IDIOT!………. *O.K.–here goes: LPGA golfer Angela Stanford marries former college basketball star “Scoonie” Penn, divorces, marries PGA golfer Ken Duke–divorces again–then walks down the aisle with NFL running back Donald Brown. Fans of fine academic institutions would surely delight in her full married name of Angela Stanford Penn Duke Brown……….ITEM: Panthers QB Cam Newton pouts and has little interest in speaking with reporters before abruptly leaving his media session following Super Bowl 50. And this reigning ‘MVP’ is supposed to be the “face of the NFL” for years to come? Like my Dad ALWAYS told me: You can have all the talent/riches in the world, but there is one thing you CANNOT teach a person–and that’s CLASS……….Oh–and a piece of advice for Mr. Newton: Loose footballs–in critical situations during the BIGGEST of games/situations–are NOT supposed to be gazed at as if they are rabid raccoons……….Looking for a “good cause” event that involves competition and physical activity? Join the CT Epilepsy Advocate’s “Strike Out Epilepsy” 2016–to be held April 10th at Milford Lanes in Milford, CT. The entry fee is $30 per person; participants will enjoy a few hours of bowling with appetizers, pizza, nachos, and soda being served. There are also four levels of sponsorship banners to choose from (at various price points) that will be displayed above the bowling lanes. Proceeds from this noble/terrific cause will go toward people living with epilepsy–along with their families. For more information, visit the CT Epilepsy Advocate web site at……….I used to think that the home run swing of Ken Griffey Jr. was the ultimate thing of beauty. That all changed the other day when I saw a stunning picture of actress Eva Longoria–decked out in a dazzling crimson dress–at a Godiva Valentine’s Day event in California. Sorry, “Junior”, but as pretty as your swing was, it didn’t leave me HYPERVENTILATING; my goodness, Ms. Longoria……….Yes, no doubt–a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga prior to the aforementioned Super Bowl 50. But the RED GLITTER eye shadow, Ms. Gaga? That scared me more than the Broncos DEFENSE did during the game……….*Question: Do you think that Peyton Manning–due to his post-Super Bowl comments–will receive free Budweiser for the remainder of his LIFETIME?……….Answer to trivia question: THOMAS VANEK (43), CHRIS DRURY (37), JASON POMINVILLE (34), and DANIEL BRIERE (32)……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Butler basketball player Andrew Smith–who died of cancer a few weeks ago at the tender age of 25. Smith played center at Butler from 2009-2013 and was very instrumental in the team’s run at national championships in 2010 and 2011; he was also an Academic All-American. Smith played professionally overseas until he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in January of 2014. For a short time, his cancer had gone into remission, but it returned in 2015, intensified, and transformed from lymphoma to leukemia. Brad Stevens–the current Boston Celtics coach who coached Smith at Butler–called him “the toughest guy I ever met.” Also, in a statement, Smith’s father, Curt, wrote the following: “Andrew packed more living into his 25 years than most of us will enjoy in a full 75 years.” Ah, yes–now THAT’S something we all can learn from, folks. Andrew Smith is survived by his wife, Samantha, parents Debbie and Curt, a brother, and two sisters. May this very special individual 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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