J.R. Smith Inbounds A Missed Shot (1/9/2010)
There's every player in the NBA, and there's J.R. Smith, who always operated on a wavelength unique to himself. The guy—while talented and as scary as any shooter in the league when hot—never went very long without managing a feat we observers had never seen before.
Now, these feats were almost universally detrimental to his own team, and made everyone wonder what exactly Smith was up to prior to taking the court. Like the time he inbounded a missed shot, for example. Is any other NBA player even capable of that?!
Notes: Though unable to capitalize on Smith's turnover, Sacramento would win the tight game 102-100 on what was essentially a buzzer-beater by Tyreke Evans—the same man who missed the shot Smith inbounded in the video.
The play took place with just under four minutes left in the 3Q. Evans finished with 27 points in 42 minutes, while Smith notched 20 in 37 minutes.
Shin-Soo Choo's Face Intercepts Wild Pitch (5/24/2018)
As we were recently reminded by Kurt Suzuki's HBP in the 2019 NLCS, baseballs still hurt even when ricochets take some of the sting out. Luckily, when the pitch is a foot outside in the dirt, batters can relax without having to worry about any sort of impact.
Shin-Soo Choo: "WRONG!"
Without meaning to, Royals C Salvador Perez manages to block Danny Duffy's 1st-inning wild pitch right into Choo's mug. As this video proves, even when slowed down, baseballs to the mug hurt.
Notes: The Royals went on to win 8-2. Choo remained in the game, drawing a walk in this PA and finishing 1-for-3 with a K. Delino DeShields Jr. is the runner thrown out. Not sure who's on the call.
Nyjer Morgan Fights Chris Volstad (9/1/2010)
Those pesky unwritten rules again...
Nyjer Morgan was a lightning rod for trouble during his relatively short career, none more than late 2010 when he busted the shoulder of Marlins C Brett Hayes in a home plate collision that was not 100% required for Morgan to score.
The next day, Morgan would be plunked by Marlins SP Chris Volstad—obvious payback. He then, despite his Nationals being down 14-3 to the Marlins, stole two bases and slid in hard each time. Clearly, Florida felt more payback was due. There's your setup to the video...
Notes: Marlins 1B Gaby Sanchez is the one who levels Morgan near the mound. Coach Pat Listach is the second Nat to join the pile; he'd receive a three-game suspension for doing so.
Morgan was punished with eight games off, Volstad received a six-game break, and numerous other Fish and Nats got unpaid time off as well, including both managers.
In the end, Florida triumphed 16-10, with Volstad earning his 9th win.
Ken Griffey Jr. Hits The Warehouse (7/12/1993)
It stands a "mere" 439 feet down the RF line at Camden Yards in Baltimore, a distance most of today's (and yesterday's) sluggers are more than capable of covering with one mighty swing.
And yet, no one has proven capable of launching a home run off the B&O warehouse across the street from Camden Yards.
Well, almost no one. Though it's still never been reached on the fly during a game, Seattle superstar Ken Griffey, Jr. was able to ping the big brick beast during the 1993 Home Run Derby.
Notes: Derby rules differed back in the 1990's, and Junior wound up in a tie with Texas's Juan Gonzalez. Gonzalez ultimately broke the tie and won the Derby.
Marcus Smart's Epic Flop (4/22/2016)
The NBA legitimately attempted to crack down on flopping a few years ago. By and large, the financial penalties levied upon floppers served as an effective deterrent. For most.
Celtics G Marcus Smart did not seem to get the memo; in fact, there exists best-of YouTube videos devoted solely to his flops. It's generally agreed that this performance, from the 2016 NBA Playoffs, serves as Smart's masterpiece. (Flop begins around 0:16 mark)
Notes: Kyle Korver is the Atlanta Hawk who "collides with" Smart; no foul was called on the play. Boston went on to win 111-103, cutting Atlanta's series lead to 2-1 before losing the series 4-2.
Yunel Escobar Vs. The Red Sox (5/25/2014)
Seriously, David Ross? Seriously, Jonny Gomes? A five-run deficit in the 7th is insurmountable by the defending World Champions? Tampa Bay had just gone up 6-3 on Boston thanks to a Sean Rodriguez three-run homer, with SS Yunel Escobar subsequently reaching via two-run double.
Shortly into Jose Molina's AB, Escobar took 3B unchallenged, and Boston C Ross—Escobar's former Atlanta teammate—took offense from the bench. Chirping led to more chirping, and eventually Boston's Gomes raced in from LF and made everything worse.
Notes: As you see, Escobar, Gomes and Rodriguez (shocker) were all ejected; Cole Figueroa pinch-ran for Escobar and was stranded. Jonathan Herrera entered for Gomes, taking over at 1B while Mike Carp moved to LF.
The announcers referred to bad blood between the two teams, who had at least one bench-clearing incident the previous season and would have another five days later after Carp was drilled by David Price.
Making this sillier: Boston did cut into the deficit before finally falling 8-5.
The Rays 3B coach wearing "Zimmer 66" is actually Tom Foley, who was honoring the recently deceased Rays advisor Don Zimmer and his 66 years in pro baseball.
Don Baylor Breaks Leg Before A Game (3/31/2014)
Three years before his 2017 death, longtime big leaguer Don Baylor worked as the Los Angeles Angels' batting coach. While in this role, he was set to catch a ceremonial first pitch from former Angel Vlad Guerrero prior to the 2014 season opener.
Like Baylor, Guerrero won the league MVP award while with the Halos, hence the connection..
At first, nothing seemed off, as Guerrero's acres-wide smile proves. But soon Baylor's distressed reaction became obvious to all.
Notes: Baylor was battling a bone-weakening cancer at the time, which likely contributed to his broken right femur. He resumed his coaching duties on June 24, 2014, remaining with the Angels through 2015.
Billy Hamilton's #1 Home Run Robbery (4/15/2016)
Speedy Billy Hamilton may be best known for his base-stealing prowess, but the guy can play some center field, too. While, IMHO, this is not the finest grab he's ever made, Hamilton himself at the time ranked it #1 on his personal list.
Notes: Obviously, Hamilton's play was made on Jackie Robinson Day. Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals was the batter; Dan Straily was the pitcher.
Though B-Ham brought this one back, St. Louis still put six others over the fence out of anyone's reach—they'd win 14-3.