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The Lowlights of 2021

Sports took a large step toward a return to normalcy this year, which was great. And this stuff happened, which was not so great.

THREE YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST
After a fan illicitly scattered the ashes of a loved one onto Heinz Field during the Steelers-Broncos game in Pittsburgh, another fan told WTAE’s Action News 4 that “remains blew onto him and others in the stadium, as well as into their food.”

GRISTLED VETERAN
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton had a root canal in spring training after chipping his tooth while eating a steak.

DIVER-TICULITIS
A Cape Cod lobster diver was wholly ingested by a humpback whale that spat him out after 30 seconds.

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MELON BALLER
On the Manning brothers’ Monday Night Football simulcast, Eli Manning asked former linebacker Ray Lewis whether he would rather have $10,000 in cash or Peyton’s helmet full of quarters.

ZACH THE STRIPPER
Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac broke his right thumb while—as manager Terry Francona put it—“aggressively ripping off his shirt.”

IT’S ENOUGH TO MAKE A MAN AGGRESSIVELY RIP OFF HIS SHIRT
Opposing pitchers no-hit Cleveland three times in 2021. Plesac started each game.

MISSED CALL OF THE WILD
A hiker stranded overnight on a Colorado trail ignored repeated calls from search and rescue because he didn’t recognize the number.

RANGERS VS. CUBS
Hours before Japan played Australia in the Olympic softball opener, an Asian black bear was shooed from the Fukushima stadium with loud music and firecrackers.

CHARMIN KILLEBREW
After the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs beat the Augusta (Ga.) Green Jackets behind a three-run dinger by Abiezel Ramirez on Toilet Paper Night, fans rained the 3,000 rolls they were given onto the field in celebration.

CHURCH GIGGLES
British swimmer Tom Dean suppressed a laugh when BBC presenter Clare Balding told Dean’s Olympic teammate, Matt Richards, on live television, “Your third leg was just phenomenal.”

MOUNTAINEER TURNED BOUTONNIERE
An Indiana woman was arrested for climbing Mount Rushmore, where she made it “to the base of George Washington’s lapel” before obeying a ranger’s command to come down, the Rapid City Journal reported.

SMOKE ON THE WATER
Gondolier Renato Busetto, competing in the Historical Regatta in Venice, was stripped of his second-place finish and banned for a year after testing positive for marijuana, according to the Daily Mail.

SPINNING IN HIS GRAVE
Former NCAA bowling champion John Hinkle rolled a perfect game with a ball whose thumb hole had been filled with his father’s ashes.

THE WINNER CHUGGED A BOTTLE OF BOUILLON
The Nascar Xfinity Series staged a race in Daytona whose official name, replete with periods, was: “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner®. 300.”

NEW ENGLAND CURSE WORDS
The Boston Globe reported that Rhode Island’s DMV banned the vanity plate YANKEE as inappropriate but allowed the vanity plate FATTY.

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THE ENGINE WAS PURRING
Firefighters in Fort Lauderdale partially dismantled the Maserati of then Giants cornerback Isaac Yiadom while rescuing his cat, who was stuck above the rear differential.

HE WAS JUST HAPPY TO BE OUT OF THE MASERATI
A cat that fell from the upper deck of Hard Rock Stadium during a Miami football game was caught by fans who used an American flag as a safety net.

SNEAKER HEADS
British footwear retailer ShoeZone named as its chief financial officer Terry Boot, who replaced the outgoing CFO, Peter Foot.

COME OUT WITH YOUR PANTS UP
During a rain delay in a Reds-Nationals game in Washington, a naked man ran onto the field, slid across the tarp and hid from security inside the tarp roller.

Josh Allen got the better of Josh Allen as Allen’s Jags stopped Allen’s Bills.

Josh Allen got the better of Josh Allen as Allen’s Jags stopped Allen’s Bills.

HIS OWN WORST ENEMY
In a November game Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen sacked, intercepted and recovered a fumble from Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

BARON WASTELAND
In a single inning of a game against the Biloxi (Miss.) Shuckers, relief pitchers for the Double A Birmingham Barons walked 13 batters, hit another and threw two wild pitches.

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE
Coors brewed a special edition Coors Light made with ice shavings scraped from Amalie Arena, the Lightning’s home rink.

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
In August, after Arsenal lost its Premier League opener to newly promoted Brentford, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, posted a multitweet thread ripping the team.

THE BEAUTIFUL GAME, PART II
When a scuffle broke out after he issued a red card, the referee of an adult league soccer game in Oklahoma got a .38-caliber handgun from his car and fired it toward players and spectators.

THE BAD NEWS IS . . .
A Greenpeace protester attempting to paraglide over the Allianz Arena in Munich before the France-Germany soccer match at the Euros crashed into overhead camera wires, rained debris onto spectators, injured two people and had to make an emergency landing on the field.

THE GOOD NEWS IS . . .
“Because of the Greenpeace logo, it was decided not to have the snipers intervene,” the Bavarian interior minister told Bild.

WATER HAZARD
European Tour golfer Jeff Winther of Denmark was trapped in a hotel bathroom with his wife for 45 minutes on the Sunday morning of the final round of the Mallorca Open. “Our little girl Nora, 6 years old, had to go and find guys at reception to break down the door,” he said hours later, after winning the tournament.

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BOULES
A man in Norton Shores, Mich., was replacing his back steps when he discovered 158 bowling balls buried beneath his house.

ONE MAN’S JUNK IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE
A pair of Michael Jordan’s old underpants, showing signs of “definite use,” sold in a Lelands auction for $3,340.80.

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