(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
The ultimate definition of a “starting five?” How ’bout the 2005-’06 Detroit Pistons–whose quintet of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tashaun Prince, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace ALL started 80 or more games APIECE? I wonder if coach Flip Saunders even bothered to announce the starting line-up to his squad prior to games; if these guys SHOWED UP to the arena on any given day/night, they were STARTIN’……….TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2011-’12 New Jersey Devils–who finished 48-28-6 under coach Peter DeBoer–were led in scoring by a player who once led the league in goals scored while playing for a different team. Can you name this former player? Answer to follow………..ITEM: New Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds claims that “God knows I’m a Hall of Famer.” Ummm–excuse me, Barry, but I’m just guessing that the God who MOST of us are familiar with would rather ‘know’ more about generous, truthful, law-abiding, non-surly people who haven’t done a lot of cheating during their lifetimes. Again, JUST a guess, Barry………….My thoughts about the 2016 SI Swimsuit Edition? Page 189, guys–PAGE 189……….Sports and politics are NEVER too far removed from one another–NEVER–as we often point out on “Monday Night Sports Talk.” My co-host Tony DeAngelo–on the phoniness of Hillary Clinton: “She is selling herself on the fact that she was a critical member of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Ummm–that makes ME a former member of the 1968 Yankees. Why? I attended games that year, scored them, donned the jacket and hat, walked on the stadium grounds, and attended Bat Day. It’s the SAME reasoning”……….Lewis Mills (CT) High School senior Nicole O’Donnell and Simsbury High junior Danny Deitz have been selected to receive Bob Casey Courage Awards by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance (CSWA); they will be honored–along with many others–at the Alliance’s 75th annual Gold Key Dinner on April 24th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. The award is given in memory of the late sportswriter of the New Haven Register and honors individuals who’ve overcome major adversity. O’Donnell, a field hockey player, sustained major injuries in an auto accident last summer; she suffered a collapsed lung, fractured pelvis, lacerated liver, and concussion and had to be airlifted to Hartford Hospital. Deitz, a football and lacrosse player, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart) and underwent a heart transplant last September–spending more than 80 days in a Boston hospital. Tickets to this very special event ($75) can be obtained by contacting CSWA President Matt Conyers at (860)874-4166 or by emailing Alliance VP Tim Jensen at [email protected]……….*Here goes: Former Delaware State athletic director Candy Young ties the knot with K.C. Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Her full married name would sound “sweet”–especially around the holidays: Candy Cain……….Tampa Bay Bucs QB Jameis Winston was recently talking to SI about his days at Florida State; at one point, he said, “Everyone just WANTED something from me.” My first thought? Yes, they did, Jameis–especially those individuals who liked SEAFOOD……….Call me misguided, misinformed, or just plain JEALOUS. But when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can earn over $100 million over a three-year period (2012-2014) while some ex-players with a myriad of health issues continue to struggle to pay rents, there’s something MORE than rotten in Denmark, folks; there’s a MAJOR stench at the NFL offices in New York City, as well………..ITEM: Former Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle is arrested for the FIFTH time in 17 months–the latest incident being one where he allegedly hit three people with his car outside a home in Wichita (folks–if you can keep up with THIS guy’s arrests, you’re automatically qualified to work in the field of statistics). And during a court appearance last week, Randle told the judge, “I don’t got no money for bond or nothing like that.” Call me judgmental, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Randle was NOT an English major during his college days at Oklahoma State……….My buddy, New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick, brought up this question the other day: Why does Mets P Bartolo Colon–after spending 18 years in the “bigs”– STILL need an interpreter? Mushnick: “He apparently has NO trouble ordering off menus printed in ENGLISH. “Yes, CLASSIC “Mush” for ya……….Answer to trivia question: ILYA KOVALCHUK–who led the team with 83 points that season; he previously led the NHL in goals scored (41) while playing for the Atlanta Thrashers during the 2003-’04 season……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of one of my favorite baseball players of all-time (my Dad loved him, too)–Tony Phillips–who passed away recently of a heart attack at the age of 56. WHY did I like the guy so much? His versatility; the man played EVERY POSITION (except catcher and pitcher) in a career that lasted from 1982-1999. His career stops included Oakland, Detroit, Anaheim, Chicago (White Sox), Toronto, and New York (Mets). Phillips was one of the more popular players on EVERY team he played for–due to an infectious laugh and his fiery personality. Amazingly, he led the AL in runs scored in ’92 (Tigers) and also led the league TWICE in walks–yet he was never elected to play in an All-Star game. Additionally, Phillips is remembered for throwing out Brett Butler at first base for the final out of the 1989 World Series between Oakland and San Francisco (he also homered in Game 3). Tony Phillips played in 2,161 major league games (also appeared in 13 postseason games) and accumulated more than 9,000 plate appearances. May Mr. Tony Phillips–perhaps one of the more underrated players of all-time–rest in peace.