Video Archive 8
Seagulls Ruin Coco's Chance, 6/11/2009
It started out like any other game, but it ended like no other game I've ever heard of.
Royals at Indians, Jacobs/Progressive Field. (Sorry, I have a thing with original ballpark names. As in I almost never stop using them.)
Cleveland trailed 3-1 until a two-run comeback in the 8th effectuated extra innings. With zero out and two on in the Indians 10th, Shin-Soo Choo singled off Kyle Farnsworth to center field.
Though never credited with a strong arm, KC centerfielder Coco Crisp had a possible shot to cut Mark DeRosa—no speedster—down at the plate and preserve the tie for at least one more hitter.
We'll never know, because a flock of seagulls stationed in center disrupted the play. The ball caromed off one bird (briefly stunning it; it soon flew off seemingly no worse for wear) and away from the oncoming Crisp! DeRosa trotted home with the winning run as the Royals cried "Fowl!"
Outside distractions at Jacobs Field aren't uncommon—recall in 2014 when a Reds reliever flung one over the bullpen wall onto the field, causing a confused Indian to be tagged out. And the unforgettable midges incident with Yankee Joba Chamberlain in the '07 playoffs. (Those are just the ones I know of.)
It is not clear if any of the gulls ran so far away upon leaving the field. Google it.
Notes: Crisp was so angry over the non-interference call, he left the Royals following the next game. Okay, that's not entirely true—following said game, the veteran OF underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, ending his brief Royals career after 49 games.
In his 11th and final season, Matt Herges pitched the 10th for his penultimate MLB victory. Sixth-year reliever Greg Aquino threw three innings in this game—his MLB career ended six days later, though he played on in foreign leagues.
Corey Maggette Takes A Trip, 1/16/2009
Every NBA official interprets certain rules differently. And every NBA official whiffs on a call at some point. Pobody's nerfect.
But how Bob Delaney, who'd been in the league forever, did not call Golden State's Corey Maggette for traveling when he did so at least six different times on this play is mystifying—especially when he was standing right there watching him from 15 feet away!
Maggette shuffled so much, Jim McMahon and Refrigerator Perry should have shot a music video with him.
We all know most players, especially superstars, are granted the "extra step" privilege by refs when preparing to lift off for a breakaway dunk. But for at least one night in the NBA, a sixth man at the elbow preparing to turn the ball over received superstar treatment.
(The best part: Maggette clotheslines Atlanta's Maurice Evans after Evans' steal—then complains to the same official who just allowed him to take six steps! This is like a judge sparing a defendant a deserved jail term, only for the defendant to gripe about community service.)
Notes: Stephen Jackson made the entry pass, while Joe Johnson of Atlanta defended. This play took place with 6:30 remaining in the 4th and host Golden State up 100-91; the clotheslined Evans drilled the ensuing free throws.
The Warriors soon blew their lead, but six points from Maggette down the stretch (he finished with 24 plus 16 rebounds and 12-14 FTM off the bench) helped sink Atlanta. Delaney retired after the 2011 season.
Yadier Destroyed, 6/15/2008
A play like this in 2015 will result in lenghty unpaid vacation for the baserunner, but back in 2008—pre-Posey—barreling over the catcher at home was not only allowed, but encouraged. On this day, third-year Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina got the worst of one.
It went down in the 9th inning of a 6-6 game against (eventual World Series champion) Philadelphia in St. Louis. Facing Cards reliever Ryan Franklin with the bags full and one out, Phils batter Jimmy Rollins grounded to first base. Down the line came Eric Bruntlett. The video tells the rest.
Miraculously, Molina held on to the ball for the out—and the Phillies ultimately did not score! Jason LaRue caught the final inning-plus of what would be a 10-inning walk-off win for the RedBirds. Anthony Reyes may have gotten the win...but Molina certainly deserved the "hold".
Notes: The winning run scored when Phillies reliever Tom Gordon muffed a throw while covering first base, allowing Chris Duncan—who made the fateful throw to Molina—to trot home. Brett Myers (PHI) and Mitchell Boggs (STL; his third MLB appearance) started the game, but neither was particularly effective.
Ryan Howard drove in four runs for the Phillies. Molina was back in action five days later—and even hit a crucial home run in his return!
Tony Fernandez's Costly Error, 10/26/1997
Much as the error by Alex Gonzalez—the one who came up with Toronto—is glossed over when recalling the "Steve Bartman Game", Indians 2B Tony Fernandez's costly error near the end of the '97 World Series is generally treated as an afterthought when recalling Cleveland's heartbreaking loss.
It doesn't rank high on many goat lists (if at all) and I'm pretty sure Fernandez wasn't run out of town like Bill Buckner was in 1986. Hell, I'm not sure Omar Vizquel—Fernandez's double-play partner—even mentioned it in his autobiography.
Quick recap: the Indians were three outs from snapping a 49-year championship drought vs. the rent-a-Marlins in Game 7. But the Fish evened the score at 2-2 in the 9th—where it remained two frames later.
Facing Charles Nagy (normally a starter), Bobby Bonilla led off the 11th with a single. One out later, up came rookie Craig Counsell...and Fernandez's inexplicable goof. Counsell scored the winning run for Florida three batters later.
While it should be noted Fernandez has always been a natural SS, he'd played the equivalent of 93 full games at 2B in '97 with 10 errors and a .980 percentage—exactly the league average. Sometimes in baseball, there's no explanation.
Notes: Ironically, Fernandez had a shot at Series MVP had Cleveland held on; he was batting .471 in the series with four RBI—including the two Indian runs in Game 7!
Kerry Wood Retires Mid-Inning, 5/18/12
In 1998, Kerry Wood blew into the league like one of his own fastballs. As a 20-year-old, he struck out 20 Astros in his fifth major league start, a one-hit shutout. (And these Astros weren't like the current Astros. There were several All-Stars in their primes that day.) He finished 13-6 with 233 whiffs. Comparisons to fellow Texan Nolan Ryan flew around like confetti.
At times, the name Kerry Wood triggered as much ovation at Wrigley as teammate Sammy Sosa. Mind you, 1998 was the year that Sosa and Mark McGwire starred in "The Home Run Chase". That's how big Wood was on the North Side...for a while.
Surgery sidelined him in '99 but Wood then put together a string of solid seasons for the Cubs before more arm issues disabled him—repeatedly—and eventually forced him to the bullpen.
But by 2012, a 34-year-old Wood—still battling arm trouble—was no longer effective. One (of many) bad outings left him saddled with an ERA nearing 15 and firing equipment into the stands in frustration. A week later, Wood decided to retire after his next game.
With a strikeout of the White Sox' Dayan Viciedo on three pitches, he did just that, ending his career on a high note.
Notes: Wood, who ultimately spent 12+ seasons as a Cub, was honored at Wrigley Field the next day. Viciedo was the only batter Wood faced in his final game, which the Sox won 3-2 on a Gordon Beckham solo homer off Jeff Samardzija two batters prior.
Albert Belle Takes Out Vina, 5/31/96
Already carrying around a deserved reputation as temperamental, enigmatic, angry and other choice adjectives, Albert Belle's legend only grew after a collision with Brewers 2B Fernando Vina.
The Indians LF stood on first after an 8th-inning HBP. The next batter, Eddie Murray, grounded to Vina—who moved to tag the oncoming Belle in an attempt to turn two. The video shows Belle's response.
Belle was not ejected, and no fracas occurred...at first. Brewers RP Terry Burrows plunked Belle again in the 9th, obviously for retaliation. In the bottom half, Tribe reliever Julian Tavarez threw behind Brewer C Mike Matheny...and the fight was on.
Belle ultimately drew a five-game suspension for his role in the brawl and for leveling Vina. Highlights of his "collision" were replayed and debated for weeks.
Notes: Much later, Belle claimed he was only doing whatever it took to break up the double play, having failed to do so earlier in the game. He also insisted having no intent to harm Vina. P Jack McDowell supported this claim.
Matheny and Tavarez—who'd be batterymates eight years later for NL Champion St. Louis—were the only other players suspended, each also for five games.
Shaq And Barkley Tussle, 11/10/99
Today, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley team up to bring analysis and laughs to NBA studio shows on TNT. 15 years ago, however, the two superstars acted as their own TNT after some rugged play under the basket.
O'Neal's Lakers were visiting Barkley's Rockets barely two weeks into the 1999-00 season (ultimately Sir Charles' last.) The Lakers were 5-1; the Rockets 0-5.
As the video shows, Bryce Drew begins a shot, then fires a mid-air pass to Barkley underneath. Laker G Brian Shaw stuffs his first shot, then Shaq flies in with a hack. The annoyed Barkley boinks Shaq with the ball, Shaq swings...you'll see the rest.
Both legends were ejected and suspended; the Lakers went on to win 89-88 despite a late Rockets charge.
Notes: The Lakers were already without Kobe Bryant since the preseason (broken hand); O'Neal played just 15 minutes yet L.A. still eked out the win. Glen Rice finished with 24 points; Shaq had six. Barkley had five points on 2-2 FG in his nine minutes. The great Hakeem Olajuwon couldn't capitalize on O'Neal's absence, going 5-for-18, 15 points.
Los Angeles went on to the championship; Houston finished 34-48. Shaq and Sir Charles get along much better these days.
Richie Sexson Smashes Own Face, 4/26/2004
In celebration of the big guy's 40th birthday, TSR recognizes the most-replayed positive moment of Richie Sexson's career (ESPN and co. showed him charging Kason Gabbard about ten times a night for a week).
After years of launching baseballs for Cleveland and Milwaukee, free-agent-to-be Sexson landed in Arizona for 2004 (in exchange for six solid players, but that's another story.)
The big guy was sitting on 199 career jacks when he stepped up in the sixth inning of what would be a 9-0 Diamondbacks home win over the Cubs. The video shows what the massive first baseman did with a Francis Beltran full-count fastball—best part is the stunned drone of the amazed crowd as ball meets scoreboard.
Sadly, Richie's season—and Diamondbacks career—basically ended two days later when he injured his shoulder on a checked swing, hit the DL for three weeks, then re-injured the shoulder in his second game back and underwent surgery.
Notes: Sexson finished 3-for-4 in the game with those two RBI; the homer was his 9th and final one of 2004. Alex Cintron scored ahead of him, with Steve Finley greeting his teammates with hi-fives at the plate. This was the ONLY time Sexson ever faced Beltran in the majors.
New Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson went seven innings for the win; Carlos Zambrano gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 4.1 IP. This would be Arizona's sole home shutout of their 111-loss 2004 season.
Starling Marte Beaned...And Stays In Game 7/18/2014
Getting hit with a baseball hurts. Getting hit with a baseball in the head really hurts. I can testify to that, having taken a 90-plus MPH liner off my head in 2009. It knocks you silly. It can temporarily disable your motor functions (as with mine).
It takes a tough (and lucky) SOB to absorb such a blow and come out no worse for wear—like Pirates OF Starling Marte did in July 2014.
In his first game back following a 10-day layoff (mother-in-law's death, the All-Star break), Marte tripled home Pittsburgh's first run—but also been erased at home after running a stop sign. In the 7th, with his team down 2-1 to Colorado and loaded bases, the young outfielder had a chance to compensate...and then some.
Freshly-summoned RP Adam Ottavino stood in his way. See video for what happens after Ottavino gets ahead 0-2.
Notes: Marte's bases-loaded beaning brought in Jordy Mercer (awkwardly) with the tying run—Homer Simpson would have approved. Marte was replaced in the top of the 9th by Travis Snider; he did not bat or take a defensive chance after his beaning.
Pinch-hitter Snider drove home the go-ahead run in the 8th; the Pirates went on to win 4-2. Starters Jorge de la Rosa (COL) and Francisco Liriano (PIT) each received no-decisions.
Having played only 10 innings of the next four games, Marte was placed on the DL 7/23—and posted a .354/.406/.569 line after returning 8/5. Sounds like a recovery to us.
Brain-Fart Ballgirl Nearly Ruins Play, 8/19/2013
Interference is common in baseball, from the inadvertent catcher's interference to the oft-unavoidable baserunner interference to the lamentable and all-too-frequent fan interference.
On occasion, even the ballboys/girls scoop up a fair ball after wrongly determining it to be foul—negligent, but forgivable.
This ballgirl—or ballbabe, as they're known at AT&T Park—takes the cake.
Up 7-0 over SF with two outs in the top of the 9th, Boston sent Stephen Drew to the plate against Jose Mijares. The veteran shortstop lofted a high pop foul near the home bullpen. Rather than grab her stool and run for cover as all ballbabes are instructed, "Sherry"—as identified in the video—tried to make the catch herself.
In 25 years of watching baseball, I've never seen anything close to this level of foolishness take place. Luckily, Giants 3B Joaquin Arias was able to hold his concentration long enough to make the play—how he limited his reaction to a brief glare and not a tongue-lashing is beyond me; I'm guessing the score played a role.
My guess is, Sherry has seen her last on-field action.
Notes: Brett Pill is the oncoming left fielder. The score held up, as Jon Lester (8.1 IP) and Brandon Workman combined for the shutout. Tim Lincecum was touched for five runs, four walks and nine hits in five IP—but went 4-0, 3.77 in his next five starts.