Prove He Can Hit Before Giving Him the Truck
Chicago Cub outfielder Tyler Colvin found out that someone in Utah used his name to convince a car dealer to take an overnight test drive with a $50,000 truckonly never to return. A stunned Colvin was notified the next day and told authorities that he’s never even been to Utah. The impostor, a 24-year old Nevada man, was later found and arrested.
The Cardinal, the Rat and Mickey Mouse
St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright, moseying his way down to Cardinal spring training camp in Florida, got stuck short of his destination when a rat got under the front lid of his SUV and chewed through the ignition wire as the Sunshine State froze over. The good news for Wainwright and his family was that all of this happened in the shadows of Disney World. Better there than Blythe.
No Longer Driving in the Past
The State of Missouri voted to change the name of I-70 in St. Louis from the Mark McGwire Highway to the Mark Twain Highway.
Very Bad Citizens Bank Park
The year in bizarre behavior from Philadelphia Phillie fans at Citizens Bank Park: A 330-pound man intentionally vomited on an off-duty police officer and his 11-year old daughter seated in front them after engaging in an argument; a 17-year old kid ran onto the field and eluded security to the point that they had to taze him; another teenager dressed in a full-body red spandex suit had his wild ride on the field end when Atlanta outfielder Matt Diaz tripped him up on the grass; and a TV camera focused on a toddler taking a swig…from a beer bottle. (Upon further review, the Phillies insisted that the bottle was empty.)
Hey, Where is Everyone?
Atlanta’s Nate McLouth hit a solo home run that won an April 20 game in the bottom of the tenth against Philadelphia, 4-3and when he came to home plate, there were no teammates there to greet him, and the dugout was abandoned as well. Lonely and perplexed, McLouth sauntered into the tunnel separating the dugout and clubhouse, and that’s where he found everyone, hiding and ready to pounce on him in celebration.
The Two-Base Trot
On May 6, Pittsburgh’s Lastings Milledge hit what he thought was a home run, as did the team’s broadcaster, as did the guy who shot the fireworks off at the ballpark. Only problem was, the ball actually hit off the wall and back into the field of play, where the Chicago Cubs retrieved the ball to the infield and tagged Milledge as he was in the middle of his home run trot between second and third base.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones hit an inside-the-park home run on May 22 at Washington when the Nationals’ Nyjer Morgan couldn’t catch his drive in center field, slamming his mitt on the ground thinking that the ball had deflected over the fence. It hadn’t; it was actually lying on the warning track mere feet away from Morgan, and by the time he realized it, Jones was completing a run around the bases.
You Know the Pirates Are Bad When...
The Pittsburgh Pirates, besieged with 17 straight years of losing baseball, brought in a “mental-conditioning coach” by the name of Bernie Holliday to teach positive, mental toughness and discipline to help players succeed in a game that is “designed to make you fail.” Did it work? The Pirates lost 105 games and suffered their worst campaign since 1954. You be the judge.
You Know the Pirates Are Really Bad When...
The Pirates fired one of their pierogi racers (the Bucs’ answer to Milwaukee’s sausage racers) when he criticized team management on his Facebook page.
Some People Just Don't Get It
Career minor leaguer Prentice Redman, hit with a 50-game ban for illegal performance enhancement, tested positive again while serving that suspension and received another for 100 games.
When the Cubs came to Milwaukee in September, someone in the Brewers’ PR department apparently stashed a faux press release in the game day notes for reporters promoting a faux book by Cub general manager Jim Hendry entitled How to Finish Near Last Place With the Highest Payroll in the League, listing chapter titles such as “Why I signed Milton Bradley!”
Johnny Knoxville Would Have Been Proud
The Angels’ Erick Aybar swung and missed at a pitch that ended up hitting him in what Monty Python always referred to as the 'naughty bits.'
200 Will Get You 100 in the Worst Way
Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki became the major leaguer to twice collect 200 hits in a season while his team lost 100 or more games.
A Bay Area man reportedly went on Craigslist and offered up a night with his wife in exchange for World Series tickets at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. No picture of the wife was said to be provided, and there was no word on whether a deal was ever consummated.
Weirdly Wounded of the Year
Los Angeles of Anaheim’s Kendry Morales sustained a season-ending injury when he hit a walk-off homer run and broke his leg jumping for joy at home plate; Baltimore’s Luke Scott and Cincinnati’s Jim Edmonds injured themselves while in the middle of their home run trots; San Francisco reliever Dan Runzler dislocated his kneecap after falling down on a swing in a rare batting appearance; San Diego pitcher Mat Latos strained his left oblique and missed two weeks after suppressing a sneeze; and Florida outfielder Chris Coghlan tore up his knee trying to sneak up behind Wes Helms with a pie full of shaving cream and missed the rest of the year.
He Said What?
“If Hell freezes over, he’ll be skating.” Former Boston pitcher Bill Lee, apparently still holding a grudge with the recently deceased George Steinbrenner from comments the controversial Yankee boss made of him during his playing days.
Maybe the Bullpen Wasn't Open
Baltimore pitcher Brad Bergesen walked in cold to film an Oriole TV commercial and threw at full strength before the cameras without warming up. As a result, he strained his right shoulder and missed the beginning of spring training.
A Hotdog With a Little Too Much Mustard
A fan hit by a hotdog thrown by the Kansas City Royals’ mascot at Kauffmann Stadium sued the team for $25,000 in damages because, he claims, it hit him in the eyeresulting in a detached retina and cataracts.
Does Artie Have AAA?
Hideki Matsui, in his one and only year for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, tagged a spring training pitch foul over the ballpark’s overhang and into the parking lot beyondcracking the windshield of Angel owner Artie Moreno’s Mercedes.
During the last week of spring training in Florida, Minnesota outfielder Denard Span lashed a foul ball into the stands that made a direct hit...on his mother. Mom was fine after taking one on her chest, but Span nevertheless suggested that protective netting be extended to protects fans behind the dugouts as well as behind home plate.
A Topic For the Next CBA Talks
Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez was one of two major leaguers suspended for steroid usebut because he was recovering from surgery, he served all 50 days of his suspension while on the disabled list.
When New York Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez kept hearing the complaints of Oakland pitcher Dallas Bradenwho became enraged during a late April game when Rodriguez broke a baseball rule of thumb by stepping on Braden’s mound heading back to first after a foul ballhe refused to answer, saying “I really don’t want to extend his 15 minutes of fame.” Just a few days later, Braden threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay.
Blown Phone Calls
A man by the name of Jim Joyce, living 50 miles south of Detroit in Toledo, Ohio, received 40 harassing phone calls in the 24 hours after Jim Joyce the umpire made his blown call that cost Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
Did You See That?
Chicago third baseman Jeff Baker temporarily lost his vision in his right eye, just seconds before a wicked liner from Los Angeles’ Russell Martin whizzed right past him on May 27. He was immediately taken out of the game and sent to the hospital, where his eyesight would return.
Just Go Away, "Lady"
Attention-starved pop star and Yankee clubhouse guest Lady Gaga was barred from further visits when, after failing to receive what she felt was proper attention from Yankee players, decided to start groping herself in front of them.
The Not Ready For Prime Time Ballplayers
The Kansas City Royals made their first appearance on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball in 14 years on July 4and lost to the Angels, 11-0.
The Far-From-Perfect Ten
In a space of four days in July, three Milwaukee pitchersManny Parra, Dave Bush and Randy Wolfeach gave up ten or more runs in their starting assignments.
Another Bad "Decision"
A fan sitting in the bleachers at Cleveland’s Progressive Field had to be escorted away for his own safety because he was wearing a LeBron James jersey…for the Miami Heat.
Extra Bases, But Not Extra Credit
On August 25 at Colorado, everyone in the Atlanta Braves’ starting lineup banged out at least one extra-base hit, the fourth time it had happened in a NL gamebut still lost, 12-10. The previous three times, the teams accomplishing the feat won by at least 16 runs.
Shutout by Committee
On October 2 in Kansas City, the Tampa Bay Rays needed eight pitchers to complete a 4-0 shutout of the Royals, tying the major league record for most hurlers used in a nine-inning blanking.
He's Yours Now, Baltimore
In what ended up being his final season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mark Reynolds became the first everyday major leaguer to have a higher strikeout total (211) than batting average (.198).
Either Way, He Wins
By being a member of both the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers during the season, Bengie Molina was guaranteed a championship ring regardless of who won the World Series.
Not-So-Big Ten Football at Wrigley Field
When they set up a football field at Wrigley Field for a November game between Northwestern and Illinois, they discovered that it fit in so tight within the baseball-only configuration that they decided to have the offense from both teams always move towards the same end zone, where there was more space around the parameters.
One last goodbye to those who left us in the past year: Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, Sparky Anderson, Ron Santo, Bobby Thomson, Jim Bibby, Willie Davis, Mike Cuellar, Gil McDougald, Bobby Bragan, Jose Lima, Tom Underwood, Phil Caverretta, Walt Dropo, Ralph Houk, Ernie Harwell, Dave Niehaus, Bob Shepard and George Steinbrenner.
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