by Danny Boyce
This is about the wacky, the weird. The bloopers. The odd endings. The ones that make you shake your head. The ones that make you laugh. Or make you cry, depending on your team affiliation and loyalty. Here are the strangest moments in sports in my lifetime. . .
Kerry Robinson Misplays Joe Crede’s Warning Track Fly
Kerry Robinson played in parts of seven seasons in the big leagues between 1998 and 2006. In 2006 he was hanging on with the Kansas City Royals, a team that would go on to lose 100 games for the fourth time in five years – and for the fourth time in franchise history, and on this particular Sunday afternoon the Royals were on the south side of Chicago with Mark Redman taking the hill for K.C. In the bottom of the fourth with two out Joe Crede crushed a fly ball to left center field. The ball seemed playable to Robinson, who raced back to the wall and timed his jump perfectly . . . only to look helplessly as the ball dropped five feet in front of him on the warning track and bounced over the now sinking Robinson for a ground rule double. Except that the umpire, Gerry Davis, ruled it a homerun. After Royals manager Buddy Bell came out to argue that no, the ball did not go over on a fly just that his centerfielder misjudged it about as badly as you can misjudge a fly ball from five feet away, Davis reversed his call to a ground rule double. Apparently Robinson – who has his own You Tube page – doesn’t take as much enjoyment over this as I do because I can’t find the clip. But it did happen: Here is the account of it, for those who don’t believe it.
Dion James Hits a Bird
In April of 1987 the Braves were in New York to face the reigning World Series champion Mets. Dion James hit a lazy fly to left field. Kevin McReynolds was in position, but then had to charge in as Tim McCarver yelled on the air, “It hit a bird!” James ended up with a double. Honestly I forget if the bird lived.
Randy Johnson Kills a Bird
We all know this one. Randy Johnson in a spring training game threw a pitch that absolutely destroyed an unfortunate flying species. The bird blew up like it had swallowed a bunch of Alka Seltzer tablets. For the record the pitch was a ball.
San Antonio and Bats
The Spurs have been highly successful since moving to San Antonio in 1973. But they have had some recent troubles with flying mammals. One night Manu Ginobili added to his Hall of Fame resume by swatting a rodent to the ground, then picking it up and handing it to one of the arena personnel. There is something about people from other countries that give them a lack of fear of animals like these, though he did require shots and not my kind. It’s not the Spurs only conflict with bats, so why they don’t take care of the issue is beyond me.
Kevin Harlan Makes the NFL Interesting
Unlike many, I find the NFL to be boring as hell. The games are one dimensional, too predictable, it’s borderline impossible to have an interesting conversation with fans, and if you only drink when the color analyst says an entire sentence without praising the quarterback (I was going to say worst, but we are more of a family site nowadays) your loved ones will love you for being sober all Sunday long. Then Kevin Harlan had to call this snooze fest between the 49ers and Rams when an idiot drunk (and trust me, I’ve met some intelligent drunks in my life; there are differences) and Harlan was magic. Drunk fans acting like morons is nothing new, but when the broadcaster can make it fun.
Don’t Mess With Tie Domi
I’m harsh on football fans, but if I was to say that football is the only sport with idiots in its fan base I would be way off. Hockey fans have their share of stupidity, too. As the 1970’s went along with the Broad Street Bullies ruling the NHL, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974-75, fans started to get upset with the constant fighting turning every game into “Slap Shot”. It peaked (or bottomed out, depending on how you want to see it) when Mike Millbury did his best Hanson impersonation at Madison Square Garden. A lot has changed, but you still get moments, like in 2001, when Philly fan Chris Falcone got upset with Tie Domi of the Maple Leafs.
The Malice in the Palace
The Pacers were beating the defending champs handily. Then all hell broke loose. Indiana was making their case for being the best team in the Eastern Conference – not that it was saying a whole lot, but it could get you to the Finals – and then came the suspensions and the Pacers’ opportunity was over quicker than a King Kong Bundy squash match.
Tyson Bites Holyfield
Mike Tyson reached a point in the 1990’s where it seemed like he was doing anything to get out of boxing. This was the final straw, taking a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear. It made no sense then and still doesn’t today.
Crash Landing During the Fight
Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield squared off in November of 1993 for the Heavyweight Championship in what was labeled as “Repeat or Revenge”. In the seventh round of the fight, James Miller lost control of his chute and crashed into the ring. It wasn’t Miller’s final stunt, but it while avoiding injuries he couldn’t escape other demons, and was found dead in March of 2003, though he had disappeared in September of the previous year apparently to hang himself.
Ruben Rivera. . . Need I Say More?
You’ve gotta love it when major leaguers look like little leaguers.
Youppi! Gets Ejected from the Game
Youppi! was the lovable mascot of the Montreal Expos who did just about any crazy thing he felt like. On August 23, 1989 he pulled of a first.
Now the game was scoreless until the 22nd inning when Rick Dempsey – a 39-year old catcher who would finish the season with a .179/.319/.305 slash line – homered off of Dennis Martinez. But in the top of the 11th inning, with one out there was some commotion around the Dodgers dugout. Third base umpire Bob Davidson ejected Youppi!, pajamas and all. Here’s the French version. Apparently his antics had ticked off Tommy Lasorda and the complaints were enough for Davidson. So for the first time ever a mascot was ejected from a game. I miss the Montreal Expos.