Lazzari’s Sports Roundup – 3/19/16

(Former Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia – David Pokress / Sportsday Wire)

Sheehan High (CT) baseball coach Matt Altieri and Southington softball coach Davina Hernandez have been selected as the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance (CSWA) Doc McInerney Coaches of the Year; they will be honored–along with many others–at the Alliance’s 75th Gold Key Dinner on April 24th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Altieri led Sheehan to the Class M championship last June–his third state title. He has won 333 games in 22 seasons at the Wallingford school–where he also teaches social studies. Hernandez’ Southington squad won the Class LL championship last spring; the team finished 24-0 and extended the program’s winning streak to an amazing 70 games. Her career record now stands at 48-0 with a pair of Class LL titles to her credit. Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner–which begins at 4 p.m.–can be obtained by calling CSWA President Matt Conyers at (860)874-4166 or by emailing VP Tim Jensen at [email protected]……….TRIVIA QUESTION: Who was the last NBA player to lead the league in free-throw shooting for three consecutive years? Answer to follow……….Sports radio host Dennis Farrell–commenting after the Cleveland Browns severed ties with troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel: “If Johnny Manziel was a rapper, his name would be ‘The Notorious B.U.S.T.'”……….Anyone out there catch the revealing picture of Jennifer Lopez that appeared in the New York Post last weekend? She was decked out in a stunning pink dress (which gave an ENTIRELY new meaning to the phrase “pretty in pink”) prior to a taping of “American Idol.” Geez–and to think that I used to consider a Magic Johnson “no-look” pass the ultimate symbol of pure pulchritude……….*O.K.–here goes: Ryerson University women’s hockey player Alex Armstrong marries former Wheaton College defensive lineman Josh Aldrin–divorces–then walks down the aisle with former NBA player Jason Collins. Fans of Apollo 11/early lunar landings would surely appreciate her full married name of Alex Armstrong Aldrin Collins……….*Message to former Mets disgraced pitcher Jenrry Mejia: Please GO AWAY–far, FAR away–and take your delusional, SLIMY, opportunistic legal team with you, as well……….If newly-signed Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler is worth $72 million over four years, then Charlize Theron is the most unattractive actress in Hollywood……….As this column winds down after an enjoyable 15-year run, I can only admit to having ONE regret: The open invitation to the lovely Christie Brinkley for a tennis date went on “deaf ears” and NEVER materialized. Then again, I had a better chance of winning the record-breaking Powerball jackpot back in January……….How ’bout American golfer Keegan Bradley–who shot an impressive 67 to open the recent Valspar Championship–only to follow it up the next day with a robust 79 and ultimately NOT make the cut? The legendary Joe Garagiola once said that baseball is a funny game. I believe that if you ask Mr. Bradley about golf right now, he’d say that it can be “funny”, too–if not downright NASTY at times……….ITEM: Known thug/NFL DB Adam “Pacman” Jones re-signs with the Bengals–a three-year contract worth $20 million. I don’t know about you, folks, but I was brought up to believe that crime/criminal behavior DOESN’T pay. Wrong AGAIN, Bob!……….Last week, I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Marjorie Adams–great granddaughter of baseball pioneer “Doc” Adams–on “Monday Night Sports Talk.” Ms. Adams, an incredibly bright and personable individual, talked at length about the immense accomplishments of her overlooked relative–who should have been elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame a LONG time ago (he fell TWO votes short in the Pre-Integration Era Committee’s voting a few months back). Quite frankly, it’s nothing short of a TRAVESTY at this juncture that this man is not enshrined alongside the greats of baseball. Just SOME of his contributions to the game: 1) setting the distance between bases at 90 feet 2) an early advocate for nine inning games/nine players per side 3) putting in place the “fly game”, i.e. not to allow balls caught on bounces to count as outs 4) creating the position of shortstop and 5) the first umpire to call non-swinging strike outs. He also oversaw the making of ball and bats in baseball’s earliest days, and was BY FAR the most active baseball “executive” of his day. Again, a “no-brainer” if there ever was one; if the ‘powers that be’ are made FULLY aware of how this guy truly shaped the “American pastime”, then he should FINALLY get his rightful place in baseball’s shrine in upstate New York in 2018………*ATTENTION, Red Sox fans: If you see first baseman Hanley Ramirez begin to wear a HELMET while playing his new position, then it’s safe to assume that it will be a very long season in “Beantown”……….Answer to trivia question: RICK BARRY of the Golden State Warriors/Houston Rockets–who led the NBA each year from 1977-1980 with marks of .924, .947, and .935……….Finally, condolences go out to the family of former NFL quarterback Billy Wade–who passed away recently in Tennessee at the age of 85. A native of Nashville who attended Vanderbilt, Wade was selected as the first overall pick by the L.A. Rams in the 1952 draft; he spent two years in the Navy before beginning his pro career. An incredibly durable player, Billy spent 13 years in the league–playing for the Rams from 1954-1960 and with the Bears from 1961-1966. During Chicago’s 1963 championship season, Wade threw for over 2,300 yards and 15 TD’s; he also rushed for the two TD’s scored by the Bears in the title game that year vs. the New York Giants. Billy Wade was the son of W.J. Wade–a captain of the Vanderbilt squad that went undefeated in 1921. Ironically, Wade’s death came just days after the death of Rudy Bukich–his backup QB on that memorable ’63 Bears team. Religion and family were always top priorities for Wade throughout his life, and Bears Chairman George McCaskey recently called Wade “a gentleman in every sense of the word.” Yes–what a tremendous legacy the man leaves behind. Rest in peace, Mr. Wade–you’ll surely be missed.

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.

Get connected with us on Social Media