Maz would approve of Irish’s Obi

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A big congratulations goes out to the Notre Dame girls basketball team who made an incredible comeback to win the National Title on Easter Sunday in what was a fitting win.

If you watched the game it was a perfect example of my column on the “lump,” as Mississippi State got the “lump” and could have used some of the no lump coffee that was served back at the arcade pool room by George “the Greek” Papas.

One player who did not need it was Arike Ogunbowale, who we will refer to as Obi-Wan Kenobi as she had the force on her side and ice water in her veins. She didn’t need a Light-Saber. She reminded me of the movie “Hoosiers” when Jimmy Chitwood told coach Norman to “give me the ball, I’ll make it.”

Arike (Obi-Wan) had the look, got the ball and drilled the game winner with a second left on the clock. It was a fitting win for her on Easter Sunday as she went to high school at Divine Savior Holy Angels in Milwaukee and her mom and dad were in the stands. There is a God and a force.

Hail, Steubenville

I have written in the past about some of the famous people from Steubenville (Ohio) and was recently reminded in an email that the entire tri-state area was noted for some great athletes not only in football but also in baseball.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s growing up in the area there was little to do, you played sports and after high school, if you were both good and smart enough, you could go to college. If not, it was joining the service or working in one of the steel mills.

Sports was the first choice for most in our area and the tri-state produced some great players with one of my favorites being Bill Mazeroski. Most of us old timers remember him as the player to hit the game winning homer for the Pirates in the 1960 World Series.

Maz was, believe it or not, a top basketball player and as they said in “Hoosiers,” they grown them small down on the farm. He was only 5-foot-11 and the center for Warren Consolidated High School, averaging over 27 points a game, and was second team All-Ohio as a Senior.

But baseball was his game and not really at second base where he had many gold gloves for the Pirates. In high school he is remembered as the pitcher of record in the 1953 baseball Ohio Class A finals, pitching a four hitter in a tough 2-1 loss. The one game most remember back then was when Maz, or Catfish (his nickname), pitched a game vs. Bridgeport and the opposing pitcher was Phil Niekro who tossed a one-hitter only to lose to Maz who tossed a no-hitter.

After the Majors Maz owned a golf course right down the road from Steubenville called the Bill Mazeroski golf course in Titonsville right down Route 7. My buds and I played many a round of golf there and even had beers with Mr. Gold Glove himself. Maz used to say all he wanted to do back then was fish and play ball. That is just what he did, along with many growing up back in the good ole days.

Audible sound

As the Kentucky Derby closes in on us we had some big time racing last weekend with Audible blasting home in the Florida Derby for Todd Pletcher, who will again have several runners in the big race on the first Saturday in May. We are not sure just how good the runners were behind him as the second place finisher Hofburg was almost eight lengths clear of the rest of the field.

A horse by the name of Mendelssohn won the UAE Derby in Dubai by, it seemed, the length of a football field (actually 18.5 lengths) in what was his first start on a conventional dirt course. This colt is royally bred, cost several million and is trained by world class trainer Aiden O’Brien.

Mendelssohn, who won the Breeders’ Cup juvenile turf mile, has traveled the world already and we are looking forward to seeing him run for the roses. If the name Mendelssohn strikes a note, if you ever walked down the aisle with a bride, you would have heard playing on the organ a piece called “The Wedding March,” which was written by Mendelssohn, the composer not the 3-year-old colt.

Next week we will have seen enough baseball to start having an opinion, so tune in and don’t miss a beat here at GamingToday. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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