Lloyd McClendon Removes First Base (6/26/2001)
Rookie Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon didn't plan to do what he did on the night of June 26, 2001. But, as I know all too well, sometimes you just get so upset that logic and reason go out the window.
It was the 7th inning against visiting Milwaukee. Pirates C Jason Kendall led off the inning with a grounder up the middle; hustling all the way, it was bang-bang at first base but umpire Rick Reed called Kendall out, much to his chagrin.
Soon, McClendon was out of the dugout to give Reed some, uh, feedback on his call. Already frustrated over an earlier close call that went against Pittsburgh, the ejected McClendon eventually left the field...with a parting gift!
Notes: David Weathers is the Brewers pitcher, and Jose Hernandez is the Brewers shortstop who throws Kendall out. Locked in a 4-4 tie at the time of McClendon's ejection, Pittsburgh ultimately won the game 7-6 in 12 innings.
Patrick McCaw's Very Bad Fall (3/31/2018)
Challenging gravity is part of an NBA star's job description—besides the Muggsy Bogues/Earl Boykins types who are barely larger than 6th-graders, I can't think of anybody in the league incapable of elevating above the rim.
Unfortunately, when one elevates above the rim, he is about as vulnerable to mishap as vulnerable gets. A push, a bump, a nudge from an opponent—incidental or otherwise—can cause catastrophe.
Just ask Vince Carter of the Kings and Patrick McCaw of the Warriors.
Late in the 3Q of an eventual 112-96 Warriors win, Carter (who knows a thing or two about high-flying) inadvertently flipped McCaw over as the latter skied toward the hoop. The young Golden State guard, needless to say, endured a lot of pain.
Notes: Lost in the immediate aftermath of the scary scene—McCaw actually banked the shot in (F Kevin Durant shot his flagrant free throw). McCaw, who finished with seven points in 16 minutes, was taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a lumbar spine contusion.
You see, around the 4:00 mark, both teams in prayer as McCaw is tended to. Just know this is not common in the NBA, regardless.
You're hearing Warriors announcers Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett on the call.
On 5/26/18, McCaw returned to action in the Western Conference Finals against Houston.
Prince Fielder Says Goodbye (8/10/2016)
In the early days of this website, I posted the emotional retirement video of longtime Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt and fully intended to feature more like it. And today, almost seven years later, I've finally done so.
Prince Fielder was a baseball punisher for more than a decade in MLB. People forget that for years, he was ultra-durable as well despite his notable girth. Then in 2014, as a new Texas Ranger, Fielder required spinal fusion surgery.
Though healthy in 2015, by 2016 Fielder required a second such surgery, one from which he would not receive medical clearance to return to baseball. The big fella, tough by anyone's standard, couldn't help but emote during the announcement.
Notes: Fielder steps away here, but he did not officially retire (and to my knowledge, never did.) For contractual/insurance purposes, Fielder was not released by Texas until after the 2017 season. He actually rejoined the team during its 2016 playoff push, but only as a spectator/supporter.
Todd Gurley Scores...On Accident (10/25/2020)
A football team doesn't go 4-12 without finding innovative, shocking ways to lose, and the 2020 Atlanta Falcons were no different.
Late in a Week 7 matchup with the Lions, Atlanta trailed by two points but had the ball within chip-shot field goal range. All it had to do was run the clock down and make the kick at the last second.
True, the Falcons could score a go-ahead TD, but why risk giving Detroit the ball back with time on the clock?
That last part was not explained to Atlanta RB Todd Gurley. As you'll see in the video, Gurley's instincts understandably sent him toward the end zone; he realized too late that scoring was a bad thing in this situation.
Sure enough, Detroit soon marched downfield for the winning TD.
Notes: That was Gurley's second TD of the game; he finished with 63 rush yards and 19 receiving yards.
Lions S Will Harris (#25) initially tries to bring Gurley down before setting him free.
The final score: Detroit 23, Atlanta 22.
Bartolo Colon Hits A Homer (5/7/2016)
There's already been probably about 28,000,000 words written about this particular swing of the bat, so I'll skip the lead-in and cut right to the chase.
Mets SP Bartolo Colon, a major leaguer since 1997, had never homered in his career and as far as I can tell, he'd never really come close. Hey, the guy wasn't out there to contribute to the offense. He certainly wasn't expected to contribute to the offense.
Then one glorious day, Colon did contribute to the offense.
And the nation loved it.
Notes: Prior to this at-bat, Colon—17 days before his 43rd birthday—had batted 20-for-225 (.089) with zero home runs and 119 K in his career. James Shields of the Padres served up the blast; LF Justin Upton pursues it.
C Kevin Plawecki greets Colon at the plate, with OF Curtis Granderson (#3) and 3B David Wright (#5) giving him five en route to the dugout. New York went on to win 6-3, with Colon going 6.2 innings in a game he'll never, ever forget.
As you hear Mets announcer Gary Cohen proclaim, this homer is indeed one of the great moments in the history of baseball.
Mike Morse's Bizarre Grand Slam (9/29/2012)
Baseball saw some, uh, interesting situations during its 2008-13 limited replay era, such as Bengie Molina hitting a homer but not being allowed to score the run.
Only a very special, confusing circumstance could surpass the Molina play on the replay weirdness scale. Well, it took a few years, but finally, such a circumstance presented itself when Mike Morse of the Nationals hit a hard liner deep to RF.
Only the video can fully explain everything that went down following what was initially ruled a single by Morse.
Notes: On base ahead of Morse: Bryce Harper at 3B, Ryan Zimmerman at 2B, and Adam LaRoche at 1B. And yes, that is Davey Johnson you see around the 1:15 mark—he led the Nationals to 98 wins in 2012.
Behind Morse's big blast, Washington went on to beat St. Louis 6-4. Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse recovered from the 1st inning blow to pitch six innings, with nine strikeouts.
This was the next-to-last of 67 home runs Morse hit during his four seasons with the Nats.
Stephenson Breaks Jeff Green's Ankles (3/26/2019)
"Ankle breaking", the act of a ballhandler causing his defender to trip all over himself and/or collapse, wasn't really a thing when I first became a hoops enthusiast—it happened, but nobody got that excited about it. You wouldn't find it on any highlight shows.
But that's changed with the current generation of NBA standouts. They still love and appreciate a ferocious dunk on a hapless defender more than anything. But as you'll see in this video, when ankles get broken, pandemonium erupts.
90% of why I'm posting this video is the over-the-top exuberant reaction of Lance Stephenson's Laker teammates, at least one of whom appears to be in joyous shock.
Notes: Stephenson's victim here is onetime Memphis teammate Jeff Green. Taking the final three at the horn is #52 Jordan McRae.
Other Lakers on the floor at the time were Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Johnathan Williams and Moritz Wagner, meaning the likes of JaVale McGee, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma and others are going wild in the bench area.
Stephenson, who would only play five more NBA games, finished with seven points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers beat the Wizards 124-106.
Michael Cuddyer's Hat-Aided Catch (5/12/2008)
Sometimes you hear certain dudes, such as Matt Holliday, described as playing baseball "like a football player". For one night, anyway, Michael Cuddyer of the Twins played baseball like a futbol player.
Facing RP Juan Rincon in the T7th, Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia powered one to the opposite field. Cuddyer was there to make the play...with a little help from "above".
Notes: First-place Minnesota held on to defeat defending champion Boston 7-3. With help from Cuddyer's play, Rincon worked two scoreless innings. Pedroia finished 1-for-4.
Robert Bailey Goes 103 Yards Untouched (10/23/1994)
When I first discovered this clip, one thing went through my mind: best touchdown ever. When only one, maybe two dudes out of 22 on the field realize what is going on and have the presence of mind to do what Rams special teamer Robert Bailey does here, it's spectacular...and damn funny, if you're not a Saints fan.
The video tells it all: Saints P Tommy Barnhardt's kick appears set to bounce out of the end zone. But it doesn't, and #28 Bailey is the only man who seems to realize that the ball staying in is even a possibility. This is a FOOTBALL we're dealing with, people! They take crazy bounces!
Notes: This play went down with 4:16 left in the 4Q, with New Orleans up 37-27. Kudos to the refs for staying with the play.
Robert Bailey wasn't even the Rams normal PR; that would be #21 Johnny Bailey, who let the punt bounce. #88 Chris Brantley is seen escorting Robert Bailey to the end zone and celebrating with him. It was Robert Bailey's second of three career touchdowns.
We also see several shots of Saints coach Jim Mora Sr. in obvious disbelief. New Orleans still won 37-34, however.
Ruben Rivera's Worst Baserunning (5/27/2003)
Anybody can screw up on the baseball diamond—they're humans, not robots, after all.
However, when you screw up no fewer than four times within a span of 30 seconds, in ways unmatched by even Little Leaguers, you deserve some ridicule. Especially when it could have cost your team a victory.
Could I have done better? YES.
Ruben Rivera, the once-heralded Yankees prospect and Padres flameout, was on his way out of the majors for good by May 2003; his colossal goofs on this night certainly didn't help matters.
Notes: You hear Hall-of-Fame Giants radio broadcaster Jon Miller accurately describing Rivera's horrific baserunning, which took place in the 9th inning of a 2-2 game.
OF Marquis Grissom is the batter, Mike Koplove is the Arizona RP, and David Dellucci is the Arizona RF who misses the catch. Grissom reached 3B on the play with two outs, but teammate Neifi Perez couldn't bring him home.
Still, SF won in the 13th on a two-run Grissom triple. Rivera would play one more game with the Giants before they let him go, ending his MLB career at 29.