Tony Sanchez Flips Into The Dugout (9/19/2013)
The MLB career of former Pirates C Tony Sanchez was brief (52 games), but you can't fault him for a lack of effort. In his 20th major league game, one which his Pirates led very comfortably by the T8th, Sanchez still put his body on the line in the name of securing an out for RP Jason Grilli.
I can safely say if I went over the rail in the manner that Sanchez does here, my bones end up broken, my ligaments end up torn, and my pants end up split. Fortunately, Sanchez walks away from his mission fully intact.
Notes: Before you say anything about the Padres doing nothing to prevent Sanchez's fall, understand it is known in baseball that any fielder who ventures toward/into the opposing dugout in pursuit of a popup will NOT receive protection from the enemy.
Any play fielders attempt are at their own peril. I mean, would you turn on the light so burglars don't slip on your stairs?
That's fellow C Nick Hundley of San Diego looking Sanchez over in the dugout. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino makes the "out" call. Chris Denorfia was the Padres batter. Not sure of the Pirates trainer or announcers.
Sanchez struck out in the B8th, but still finished 2-for-4 on the day with a BB and two runs. The Pirates led 9-1 at the time of his fall, and soon closed out a 10-1 win.
Troy Williams Jukes Three T'Wolves (12/17/2018)
"Ankle breaking", the art of juking a defender so badly until he stumbles or collapses, has become all the rage in professional (and perhaps even amateur) basketball these past 10 years or so. We've posted a couple "broken ankle" videos here on TSR and have a few more in queue.
I'm not sure how you'd label what we see in this video—juking not just one, but three defenders so badly that they leap themselves completely out of the play. "Premature liftoff", perhaps? "Cloud chasing?" We're open to suggestion here at TSR.
It's Kings G Troy Williams executing a pump-fake so effective, that Minnesota Timberwolves defenders Gorgui Dieng (#9), Anthony Tolliver (#43) and Josh Okogie (#20) all bite HARD, almost in synchronization—thus allowing Williams to convert the easy bucket.
Notes: Williams, a journeyman, would play one more game after this before racking up four months of "Inactives" in the Kings boxscores. He then played three more times in April 2019 before vanishing from the league altogether.
The basket was scored in the final minutes of a 132-105 Timberwolves home win. Williams had been 1-for-6, including 0-for-4 from deep, before his incredible fakeout. He finished with six points on 3-for-8 shooting.
Dan Jennings Hit By Liner, Dazed (8/7/2014)
For nearly a decade, Dan Jennings was a solid lefty reliever in MLB, mostly for the Marlins and White Sox. As good as he was, however, every now and then batters would square up one of his offerings.
And in August 2014, one particular batter—SS Jordy Mercer of the host Pirates—squared up a ball right off the side of Jennings' skull and into the glove of SS Adeiny Hechavarria for an out.
Though clearly dazed and briefly on auto-pilot, Jennings did not lose consciousness (you see C Jarrod Saltalamacchia having to hold him upright, however).
Notes: We see big #27 Giancarlo Stanton among the concerned Marlins surrounding Jennings. About a month later, Stanton himself would be leveled by a fastball to the face and be driven off the field in an ambulance. The baseball was not kind to the Marlins after the 2014 Trade Deadline.
A.J. Ramos got the final out of the 7th inning for Miami, who trailed 5-0 at the time of Jennings' injury and lost 7-2.
Jennings was concussed and wound up missing just under a month of action. In 2015 he began using a protective cap but I'm not sure if he kept it long-term.
Props to Mercer for showing his own concern. I'm not sure if he was able to interact with Jennings at all, but just remaining on the field said a lot.
DeSean Jackson Celebrates Prematurely (9/15/2008)
In the past, we've showed you Nick Young (then of the Los Angeles Lakers) celebrating a three-pointer before ensuring it completely went through the hoop.
We've also showed you Kemba Walker (then of the Charlotte Hornets) doing the same thing.
This, however, may be the premature celebration to end all premature celebrations.
DeSean Jackson, longtime NFL receiver mostly for the Eagles, Redskins and Buccaneers, has racked up over 600 receptions and nearly 60 touchdowns in his decorated career. But to this day, no play he's made gets the same attention/reaction as the touchdown he didn't score as an Eagles rookie in 2008.
It was a gimme, a deep pass from QB Donovan McNabb right into the kid's arms. All Jackson had to do was continue his gallop into the end zone.
In the end, Jackson learned the hard way that officials and opposing coaches pay closer attention than they're given credit for, and not to dance until the referee's arms go up.
Notes: That's #38 Roy Williams and #21 PacMan Jones in pursuit of Jackson, who was somewhat exonerated when Eagles RB Brian Mitchell scored a one-yard TD on the next play. Why Philadelphia got to keep possession after Jones recovered Jackson's "fumble" remains a mystery.
Still, the Cowboys went on to win 41-37. Jackson finished with six catches for 110 yards...and no touchdowns.
Mike Cameron Robs Derek Jeter (4/7/2000)
I played amateur baseball for years, and recreational baseball for eons. I can tell you that robbing a home run at the fence is about 11% as easy as the professionals make it look. The first time I tried such a theft, I nearly gave myself vertigo. The second attempt was timed so poorly that the ball landed before I did.
Oh, well. At least I didn't get hit in the head.
Let's give props to those in MLB capable of not only bringing home runs back over the wall, but making schlubs like me actually believe we could do it, too.
Mike Cameron was one of the best ever at playing above the wall, and this grab he made versus Hall-of-Famer-to-be Derek Jeter in 2000 left me particularly impressed.
Notes: Again, I'm blown away by just how routine Cameron made this play look—you either have this skill or you do not. Jeter had already singled and homered in this game, but this time he was absolutely fleeced.
That's Mariners RP Paul Abbott whose ERA Cameron protected.
Seattle went on to defeat eventual World Champion New York 7-5 on this night.
Strickland Vs. Harper (5/29/2017)
The backstory: during the 2014 NLDS, brash Nationals OF Bryce Harper ripped a couple of homers off high-strung Giants RP Hunter Strickland. Strickland didn't like it. Words were exchanged on the field, but not blows.
Fast-forward to May 2017: the two finally faced each other again, and Strickland wasted little time drilling his old nemesis. Understandably, Harper took offense to this, and fists flew. Unlike many "brawls" that actually end up as aggressive group taunting, this was a real fight!
Notes: I listened to this brawl live from my work radio. To any customers who received the wrong delivery that afternoon...my bad. I was distracted and a little excited.
You'll see Giants C Buster Posey doing nothing as the fight starts. I've heard varying explanations, one being that Strickland TOLD Posey what he had planned and to stay away. Another version, and the one that seems most believable: Posey wasn't about to risk injury in a fight precipitated by his teammate's ridiculousness.
See Giants 1B Mike Morse running in from his position, only to be met by equally massive Giants SP Jeff Samardzija? The resulting concussion ended Morse's career prematurely, in case you wondered whatever happened to "The Beast".
I'm not sure what was said/done that left Strickland so enraged that three Giants—RP George Kontos, OF Mac Williamson and OF Hunter Pence (who was on the DL and faced penalty for going on the field)—were required to drag him into the clubhouse. We can safely assume it was a little worse than "you're UGLY!"
Strickland received a six-game suspension for his role, while Harper took three games off (appealed down from four). Years later, Harper said in an interview that he actually respected Strickland for drilling him waist-high rather than above the shoulders as some might do.
Oh, and Washington won the game 3-0.
Nowitzki And Carl Landry's Teeth (12/18/2009)
Carl Landry was a tough forward for 10 NBA seasons split among five teams; his being willing to take a charge from the massive, charging Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is no surprise.
In fact, on this play, it could be argued that Dirk got the worst of this December 2009 collision with Landry in spite of accidentally elbowing out three of Landry's teeth and cracking two others!
How could that be?
Two of the teeth embedded in Nowitzki's elbow.
There are no reports of Landry spending excess time howling at the moon after the game, or suddenly refusing to play or practice before sundown.
Notes: This play, which occurred with 9:28 left in the 2Q, knocked both men from the rest of the game. Landry, who was called for a blocking foul, was sent to the hospital. Nowitzki required a half-hour of treatment, x-rays, and stitches in his elbow.
Landry finished with two points and two rebounds in six minutes. Nowitzki finished with five points (including a lefty free throw after the injury) in 10 minutes.
Without their superstar, first-place Dallas was unable to fend off Houston, who won 116-108.
Jose Abreu Hit By Thrown Bat (6/9/2021)
Jose Abreu is nobody's wuss—just looking at him should prove that. In his seven MLB seasons before 2021, he'd missed eight or fewer games five times. As recently as 2020, he missed zero games. Only something called testicular torsion had ever kept him out of the lineup for long.
(If you want to know more about that condition, YOU look it up. I don't ever want to view that page again.)
But on 5/14/2021, he was knocked silly by a freak collision with Royals runner Hunter Dozier, who is equally as massive. Less than a month later, while on deck and acting as the home plate coach for incoming runner Jake Lamb, something even freakier put Abreu on the ground.
I've long advocated for MLB personnel to do a better job getting dropped bats away from the plate area before someone gets seriously injured. But not recklessly, Erich Bacchus (noob MLB umpire)!
Notes: 3B Yoan Moncada was the user of the bat that wound up clanging off Abreu's knee. The reigning AL MVP stayed in the game but finished 0-for-4 as Chicago fell to the Jays 6-2.
Lamb, who'd reached on an error by Toronto SP Alek Manoah, did indeed score that run, which put Chicago up 1-0 in the B1st.
The Catch III Starring Vernon Davis (1/14/2012)
After a shaky start to his NFL career—#IWantWinners—Vernon Davis wound up as one of the great TE's in 49ers history. He caught 468 passes for San Francisco, including postseason, and it's a safe bet none mattered as much as this one.
In the closing seconds of their wild 2011-12 Divisional Round clash, New Orleans held a 32-29 advantage over Davis's 49ers. But San Francisco QB Alex Smith was able to connect with Davis just over the goal line with nine seconds remaining!
What makes this play stand out, of course, was Davis's emotional reaction—after scoring, he beelined to head coach Jim Harbaugh full-on sobbing. I can't say I wouldn't have had a similar response to such a huge moment.
Notes: In the end zone celebration, we see #81 TE Justin Peelle, who I did not know existed even back then. We also see #10 WR/KR Kyle Williams, whose fumbles against the New York Giants helped knock the 49ers out of the postseason two weeks later.
This play was quickly dubbed "The Catch III", alluding to two previous great catches in 49ers postseason history.
"The Catch" was made by WR Dwight Clark (from QB Joe Montana) in the 1981-82 NFC Championship Game against Dallas. "The Catch II" was made by WR Terrell Owens (from QB Steve Young) in the 1998-99 Wild Card Round against Green Bay.
Helton Benefits From Ump's BAD Call (5/2/2012)
At least it didn't cost the Dodgers the game (not that I'd be shedding tears if it did, but still.)
The force play at first base is pretty basic: the 1B has to touch the bag with possession of the ball to retire the batter/runner. It doesn't matter if he touches the bag with his foot or his tongue—as long as part of his person makes contact with the bag before the runner does, said runner is out.
Evidently, the MLB rulebook was amended during the 2011-12 off-season without advance warning to 29 clubs. Because in May 2012 Rockies 1B Todd Helton was given credit for a forceout while standing a good 18 inches off the bag.
Notes: Veteran umpire Tim Welke worked first base that day, and while it's clear HOW he missed the call given his point-of-view, it's still not an excuse—he should have been standing elsewhere unless the crew was missing a member. Welke retired in Spring Training 2016.
In 2012, MLB was still two seasons away from the current replay system. Back then only "boundary" home run rulings could be reviewed (was it fair/foul, did a fan interfere, did it hit an obstacle, etc.)
Drew Pomeranz was the Rockies P, with UT Jerry Hairston the befuddled Dodgers batter. The blunder ended the T6th with Colorado up 2-1; no telling what happens afterward if called correctly. The Dodgers eventually fell 8-5.