Touring The Bases With…Bob Lazzari
Bob Lazzari and I have become friends over the internet and he is one of those guys that you just immediately know that you would like. He is very thorough and interesting with his reporting and is a great writer. Bob has a way of writing that touches you and makes you reflect on your own life.
Bob is an award-winning sports columnist for Connecticut’s Valley Times and a contributor to Seamheads.com. He is also a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance and host of “Monday Night Sports Talk”–a cable show on CTV-14 in Connecticut.
Jack Perconte – When did your love of sports begin and which sports did you play?
Bob Lazzari – Jack, I received my love of sports solely from my Dad—who took me to my first Yankees game in 1968. He also loved Juan Marichal—which made me follow the Giants closely as a youth. His love of ALL sports was probably the reason why I played baseball, basketball, and football in high school. I even played volleyball before school and street hockey if there was time. There was NO sitting around in my neighborhood when we were kids—for sure!
Jack – Looking back on your playing days, is there anything you would do different from what you did and why?
Bob – Unfortunately, I was slotted to play baseball at Fordham University but came down with a very serious illness—which cut short a promising college career. That couldn’t be controlled, but during all of my physical activities as a younger guy, I would have put more of an emphasis on stretching—which could have prevented some injuries I sustained.
Jack – What do you see as the biggest problem in youth sports today and what would you like to see changed?
Bob – As a coach, I can tell you that most kids are pulled in so many different directions today—resulting in not specializing/excelling greatly in one sport. But the main problem is a true lack of DISCIPLINE—kids looking for the “easy way out.” I think that’s a societal thing—starting with the breakdown of the family unit—and will continue for years to come.
Jack – When did you get into sports writing and what is your favorite part of it?
Bob – Being involved for so many years as a PARTICIPANT in various sports (I later got into competitive running and major league softball, also), I started SERIOUS sports writing fairly late in life—maybe 12 years ago. I truly wish that I had started WHILE in college—which would have given me MANY more opportunities over the years. My favorite part? I like writing human interest pieces—which can appeal to both the serious AND non-sports fan alike. For example, some of the greatest feedback I’ve ever received on columns I’ve done were the pieces I did on BOTH my parents after they died—how they were responsible for my love of sports. Other people can relate—and those columns usually evoke strong emotions.
Jack – Your newsletter is always very interesting, down to earth and often touchingly personal – what motivated you to do a weekly newsletter?
Bob – Well, the newsletter is simply an ongoing archive of ALL my columns that have appeared in the Valley Times over the years; people receive the updated version each week—with the newest column—if they are subscribed.
Jack – Which interview (story) has been your favorite over the years and who do you hope to interview in the future?
Bob – I’ve written a few pieces over the years on the great Pete Maravich, my idol as a kid and–in my opinion–the most fascinating athlete of all-time. I also received an IMMENSE amount of feedback on a “thank you” letter-type column I did on American hero Pat Tillman. As far as future interviews, I’d love to speak with Michael Jordan and/or Roger Federer who—in my opinion—were the greatest at their respective sports.
Jack – I believe you are a huge Red Sox fan – as objective as you can be, what will prevent the Red Sox from winning the pennant this year?
Bob – The “iffy-ness of the second half of their pitching rotation and the middle relief corps would be my main concerns. If Bedard is able to solidify the # 3 spot—and Wheeler continues to improve—there’s no reason why this team can’t win another championship.
Jack – Who is your favorite all-time non Red Sox player and favorite all-time Red Sox player? And why?
Bob – George Brett—by far—just because of the way he approached the game; he played SO hard while enjoying the game at the same time. My favorite Sox player might have been Luis Tiant—a character who also happened to be a terrific pitcher.
Jack – What do you enjoy about doing your Monday Night Sports Talk show?
Bob – I truly enjoy talking to older ballplayers like yourself–who are able to shed light on a time when I believe baseball was a LOT more fun to watch. It seems like guys from other eras were more grateful to fans and also respected the game a LOT more. I talked to Orlando Merced last week—who was SO thankful he was able to spend 13 years in the majors; he was one of the most polite individuals I’ve ever chatted with.
Jack – What projects do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
Bob – It’s difficult to envision what the media biz will be like in a decade, Jack—it’s changing almost DAILY. I just hope to be able to continue talking to athletes, writing opinionated pieces, and having fun while doing both.
Jack – Give an example of people names of people marrying, divorcing, marrying, divorcing etc and how that got started and how you come up with those?
Bob – I’ve always believed that people take sports TOO seriously at times—so I truly try to keep things on the “lighter” side. Heck, if you can’t have fun following sports, then why bother? And yes—if tennis star Venus Williams married Tennessee surgeon Dr. William Fly–divorced–then married former NBA forward John Q. Trapp, she would she then go by the full name of Venus Fly Trapp!
Jack – Finally, Where can people read your articles and listen to your radio show?
Bob – The weekly columns are archived at www.boblazzari.blogspot.com. The TV show site is www.mondaynightsports.net; click on “Video Clips” to see over 30 interviews we’ve done. I also do a Red Sox Internet radio show every Tuesday night: “View From The Lone Red Seat”; you can find this at www.blogtalkradio.com. Finally, people can hear me weekly every Tuesday morning talking sports on the “Lee Elci Morning Show” onWXLM 980 AM in New London, CT (www.wxlm.fm). Thanks, Jack.
Former major leaguer Jack Perconte is the author of The Making of a Hitter(www.jackperconte.com) and has a baseball instruction site that can be found at www.baseballcoachingtips.net. He has recently published his second book Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport.