Lamar Odom Dribbles Inbounds (12/6/2006)
This is why you have to really watch basketball instead of only peering at the boxscores to fully understand how a specific player affected a game.
The boxscore from the host Lakers' December 2006 matchup with the Hornets says Lamar Odom scored 20 points for LA, and a reader might initially think he had a good game. But Odom—playing through a bad cold—also turned the rock over seven times, including this baffling play in the 4th quarter with Los Angeles down by six.
Notes: You likely recognize legendary Lakers coach Phil Jackson looking on in amazement; he was quoted in the LA Times as having never seen anything like it through his decades in pro basketball. (If Jackson's watched any hoops this year, he's seen Eric Bledsoe and Draymond Green repeat Odom's gaffe.)
Smush Parker is the teammate Odom finally passes to.
The Hornets eventually won 105-89.
Three Brewers Collide (9/19/2015)
Well, technically two Brewers collided, but a third Brewer hit the turf near them, so you can understand any confusion.
Take two well-built athletes, set them off at full speed, mix up their sight lines, and then ram then into each other—the result will almost always be serious pain. This was the case back in 2015 when half the Milwaukee defense took off in pursuit of a popup off the bat of Skip Schumaker (Reds) at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
While star SS Jean Segura escaped injury, young Brewers Shane Peterson and (especially) Elian Herrera were not so fortunate.
Notes: Peterson, who was an injury replacement himself, escaped with only a knee bruise and played the next day. Herrera feared he'd broken his leg, but instead suffered a deep thigh bruise and sat out the rest of 2015. He never resurfaced in MLB, so this proved to be a career-ending collision.
Cincinnati eventually scored the tying and go-ahead runs, winning 9-7.
Tampa Bay's Hidden Ball Trick (8/10/2013)
Some people think the hidden ball trick is awesome and should be used more. Others think it's bush league and doesn't belong in the majors. But everyone agrees on one thing: it's very embarrassing to the victim, in this case Juan Uribe of the (ick) Dodgers.
As LA jumped out to an early 5-0 lead on the visiting Rays, it became clear that retiring the Dodgers conventionally was going to be tougher than usual on this day. So SP Roberto Hernandez (the ex-Fausto Carmona) and friends opted for a little trickery in the 4th inning.
Notes: Dodgers SP Zack Greinke was preparing to hit when the Rays executed the trick. Participating: 1B James Loney to SS Yunel Escobar to 3B Evan Longoria, who executed the tag. Dodgers 3B coach Tim Wallach is seen huddling with Uribe. Umpire Angel Hernandez makes the call...and actually gets one right this time!
Despite the gift out, LA still won by that 5-0 margin.
Phillies/Mets Postgame Brawl (9/27/1989)
It's no secret that not all dudes who play together become buddies. In fact, just as in any workspace, some teammates flat-out dislike each other. Mets IF Gregg Jefferies and RP Roger McDowell fell into that group.
Legend has it that McDowell, not pleased with his cocky young teammate, once sawed Jefferies' bats in half and taped them back together—it's fair to say the veteran was not fond of the kid. McDowell was traded to Philadelphia in 1989, and faced Jefferies in the final days of the '89 season; after retiring him for the game's final out, the fun began.
Notes: To the best of my research, neither man was suspended or even fined for their roles in the fight, nor were any other participants—this was definitely a different era. (Of course, the game was technically over, but still.)
Philadelphia won 5-3. McDowell only had to throw that one pitch to earn his 21st save of the season.
Glen Davis Woozy On The Court (5/26/2010)
In November 2019, you may have heard, ex-Boston Celtic Tony Allen shared the story of being knocked out by teammate Glen Davis (it's not quite what you may think). In May 2010, it would be Davis himself going down for the count, courtesy of inadvertent contact from superstar Magic C Dwight Howard.
It was the 3Q of Game Five of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals; you'll see Davis trying to defend Howard inside. The best view of the blow is obscured by Celtics G Nate Robinson flying by, unfortunately.
Notes: It is Robinson dribbling the ball unsure of what to do as Davis staggers upcourt. Referee Joey Crawford catches the stumbling big man, as teammates Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace offer assistance. Davis, who played 20 minutes off the bench and scored four points, was concussed on the play but returned for 17 minutes in Game 6.
The Magic would go on to win 113-92, staving off elimination, but fell to Boston in Game 6.
Ozzie Smith's Epic Barehand (4/20/1978)
It usually takes a little time to learn what exactly a rookie player can do. Can he play on the road? Is he durable? Will he hustle? Will he even care? In early 1978, the Padres had yet to find out everything that Ozzie Smith could give them over the long haul...but they were able to check "athleticism" off the list pretty quickly.
As Smith explains, ex-Cy Young winner Randy Jones is on the mound and ex-MVP Jeff Burroughs is in the box. It's the 4th inning of a scoreless game between the 2-7 Padres and the 3-7 Braves.
Notes: Smith's play proved important in a close game; San Diego was able to pull out a 2-0 victory over the great Phil Niekro, who went the distance in defeat. Burroughs finished 0-for-4. Jones went 8.1 for the victory.
Randal Grichuk Robs A Homer (6/25/2018)
Toronto's Randal Grichuk has made many, many difficult plays in the field during his career, but the one he made vs. the defending champion Astros in 2018 may head the entire list.
The setup: one inning after Grichuk ripped a 471-foot home run to give Toronto a 6-3 lead in the 8th, Houston took their turn at-bat—Tony Kemp walked and Josh Reddick singled to bring up the powerful George Springer.
Facing RP Seunghwan Oh, Springer drove one over the wall...temporarily.
Notes: Following Grichuk's catch, Oh struck out the next two batters to lock down the 6-3 win, which was Toronto's third in a row.
Charlie Culberson Beaned (9/14/2019)
His career started very slowly, but Braves IF Charlie Culberson has persisted to become one of the better utilitymen in the game. And part of being a good utilityman is doing the little things, one of which is laying down a bunt when called upon.
Late in a September clash with the Washington Nationals, Culberson pinch-hit for SP Mike Foltyniewicz with the intent of bunting two runners up a base. Unfortunately, Washington RP Fernando Rodney's 91-MPH fastball carried just a bit too much movement...
Notes: You see on-deck hitter Ronald Acuna checking on Culberson, who missed the rest of the '19 season and was left with facial fractures and one gnarly black eye.
Adding insult to injury, the HP ump ruled Culberson bunted at the pitch, making it a strike and leading to Braves manager Brian Snitker's ejection.
OF Adam Duvall finished the at-bat for Culberson as the Braves went on to score four times in the inning; they'd emerge victorious 10-1.