Andrew Bynum And The "Jesus" Glitch
In 2010, EA Sports decided 15 years of the NBA Live series was enough, and set out to create a whole new hoops experience with NBA Elite '11. The end product, which was mercifully scrapped before an official release, was universally panned.
Bugs and glitches littered this game, none more famous—or hilarious—than the Andrew Bynum "Jesus" glitch. When players are motion-captured for games, they must begin in a "crucifixion" pose, and a glitch left Bynum frozen in his (although some would argue EA captured the oft-maligned center perfectly, as he's collecting pay for doing zero.)
Excuse the language of the gentlemen playing the game, then see for yourselves.
Nate Schierholtz's First Career HR (9/6/2008)
Nate Schierholtz was a damn good Giant and contributed to two World Series winners, but that is not why I've posted video of his first big league homer. Said homer remains the closest I have ever come to catching a home run ball (or even a foul ball) at a major league ballgame.
This bomb provided 8th-inning insurance in a seesaw game against the visiting Pirates. (Giants legend Orlando Cepeda was honored with a statue outside the ballpark before the game.)
I am the wide guy in the Giants jersey and blue jeans to the left of the ball's landing spot (you can't see me in the thumbnail). I am also inexplicably wearing a sweatband at a night baseball game in San Francisco. Guess we all do dumb things in our 20's.
Notes: San Francisco won 7-6. Though they went up on a 5-spot in the 7th inning, Schierholtz' bomb proved decisive, as Pittsburgh scored what would have been the tying run in the 9th. Matt Cain and Paul Maholm started; they went 6.2 and 6 IP, respectively, but neither received a decision. Reliever Geno Espinelli earned his second and final major league win.
Mike Schmidt Retires (5/29/1989)
Will Clark played a role in the retirement of the legendary Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt. Schmidt said so himself.
The Giants' young superstar made the Phillies pay for an uncharacteristic Schmidt fielding error with a grand slam on May 28, 1989. With Philly going nowhere and his own health eroding right along with his skillz, one of the greatest players of all time decided he was through.
Upon that game's conclusion, he informed those closest to him they'd seen his last game. The next day he informed the world, as seen in this video. (I apologize for not downloading a video without an idiot reporter referring to Schmidt's ten "Golden Gloves" when I had the chance last month.)
Notes: Philly lost 1-0 to San Diego on the day of Schmidt's retirement. Already 18-28, they finished 49-67 without him. Chris James, Randy Ready (acquired for James) and Von Hayes took turns at the position until Charlie Hayes—acquired via trade two weeks prior—was deemed ready to take over.
Schmidt was elected to the Hall Of Fame first-ballot in 1995; his 548 home runs rank 15th all-time (7th at the time of his retirement).
Pedro Martinez Charges The Mound (9/24/1996)
Sports irony at its finest: By September 24, 1996 Martinez, in his third season as a starter, had not yet established "Future Hall-of-Famer" status. He had, however, become Pedro—having earned a deserved reputation as baseball's prime intimidator this side of Roger Clemens (I shy away from the term "headhunter" in general terms.)
Though Martinez was young and buried in a city (Montreal) with ever-dwindling baseball interest, all of baseball knew he owned the inner half of the plate—and despite being slight in stature, he was not afraid to "move a batter's feet." This fearlessness contributed to over 200 major league victories, five ERA titles and three Cy Young awards.
But when Philadelphia's Mike Williams, avenging a viscious drilling of teammate Gregg Jefferies, gave Pedro a taste of his own medicine...(not shown: Pedro, Williams, Phillies manager Jim Fregosi and pitcher Curt Schilling, plus Expo C Tim Spehr were all thumbed for their roles.)
(Notes: Interestingly, eight years later Martinez and Schilling would go on to form one of the top 1-2 punches atop a rotation of that decade for the championship Boston Red Sox (if only for a season.) And Martinez would end his career with the N.L. Champion Phillies in 2009.)
Hakeem Olajuwon's Low-Post Skillz
The Dream is my favorite hoop star of all-time, and next to Rickey Henderson, my fave athlete all-time period. He was an artist on the block, a magician. (I'll one day post an extended vid of Hakeem abusing David Robinson in the 1995 playoffs.)
I've been a pickup baller for years myself; at 6'2", I'm always the center. Who else do I always attempt to emulate? Olajuwon—with mixed results. I've got his turnaround. I can do the up-and-under. I once did the DreamShake to astonishing perfection.
But it's pretty hard to match the footwork and off-the-dribble game when you're over 100 lbs. overweight as I am. Oh, well. Watch and enjoy one of the best ever handling business in the low post like no other.
Edgar Renteria's World Series Homer (11/1/2010)
Exactly three sports videos ever have given me chillz: Hank Aaron belting #715, Ted Williams' 1999 All-Star Game cameo, and this—much-maligned veteran Edgar Renteria scraping the top of the fence with one of the unlikeliest home runs in World Series history.
The call by Giants announcer Dave Flemming (the middle one): legendary. It conveys all of the excitement, shock and anticipation all Giants fans felt when those three Giants runners crossed the plate. (Apologies for not editing out Joe Buck's call...)
Notes: On base for Renteria's 7th-inning blast: Cody Ross and Juan Uribe (at 3rd and 2nd, respectively; both singled and moved up on a bunt.) Nelson Cruz homered off Tim Lincecum in the bottom of the 7th to make it 3-1, but later K'd vs. Brian Wilson to end it.
An oft-forgotten side effect of this home run: it picked up Pat Burrell. Already in the midst of a terrible World Series performance, Burrell had whiffed—again—just before Renteria's at-bat.
Lloyd Moseby Steals First Base (8/16/1987)
Toronto is hosting the White Sox at Exhibition Stadium, and is leading 2-1 in the bottom of the third. Toronto's Lloyd Moseby takes off on a failed hit-and-run...loses track of the ball...comedy ensues.
Ernie Whitt is the batter, Bill Long/Carlton Fisk the battery, Ozzie Guillen (#13) the shortstop and Kenny Williams the center fielder.
Check out the interesting wording of the play in baseball-reference.com's boxscore.
Notes: George Bell came up next and drove Moseby in to make it 3-1; Toronto went on to a 6-4 victory with Moseby himself contributing a 2-run jack in the 7th! Starters Long and Jimmy Key each received no-decisions.
Kirk Gibson's Fallen Helmet (4/25/1992)
Over 20 years later and I still can't believe this happened. Wrigley Field. Greg Maddux on the mound, Jay Bell in the box. At least Bell still got credit for a single out of this...(note: Gibby is wearing the old number of Bobby Bonilla, who departed that offseason for the Mets.)
Notes: The next batter, Andy Van Slyke, doubled in Bell for what would be the game's only run. Despite this loss, Maddux went on to win the first of four straight Cy Young awards.
Gibson—who had been batting leadoff for the Bucs—temporarily retired one week later. He returned in 1993 with Detroit, bowing out for good in mid-95.