Strangest Stories of a Strange Year

Slugger centaurs and Queen's footmen and Saudi princesses, oh my!
December 28, 2009

And Mets fans hiss at "the home of the brave"

Before Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, Lakers fans booed the national anthem at the line "the rockets' red glare."

For days his forehead had sgnilwar on it

Julio Castillo, a minor league pitcher in the Cubs' organization, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for throwing a ball into the stands during a brawl on the field. The ball hit a 45-year-old man so hard that "the seams left a mark on his scalp," according to the Associated Press.

At tea, Her Majesty enjoyed putting Prince Philip in a half nelson

David Hintz, a footman for Queen Elizabeth—an avowed pro wrestling fan who followed Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks in the 1980s—was crowned British heavyweight champion after winning a cage match.

Go 10 yards downfield and hold the anchovies

The starting quarterback for the University of Hawaii, Bryant Moniz, was a walk-on with a young child, so he moonlighted during the season as a pizza delivery man.

At least they wrote to say they were very srry

The Majestic Athletic company apologized for sending jerseys to Washington players Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman that read natinals on the front. The players wore the shirts for three innings of an April game before the mistake was caught.

The Wizard of West Big Horn

Sarah Palin's best seller, Going Rogue, cites the following quote from UCLA coach John Wooden: "Our land is everything to us.... I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it—with their lives." The originator of the quote was actually John Wooden Legs, a native American activist who was referring to the victory of the Cheyenne and the Sioux at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

You need to come way in

Home plate umpire Ed Rapuano ejected the Phillies' Shane Victorino from a game against the Marlins for waving his arms in protest of a ball-strike call. Victorino was in centerfield at the time.

And there was no light on at the Motel 6 either

The Yankees were shut out of their usual Cleveland hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, when a Saudi Arabian princess in town for surgery at the Cleveland Clinic booked 90 rooms for her entourage.

If they'd been tall and slim, things would have been fine

After an upset loss to Texas A&M, coach Mike Leach said his Texas Tech players lost in part because the players' "fat little girlfriends are telling them how great [they] are and how easy it's going to be."

As a warmup for the Nobel Prize

President Obama was honored with a bobblehead night by the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones, who also changed their name to the Baracklyn Cyclones for the night.

Capitalizing on the weak dollar, French tourists bought 27

Stub Hub sent an e-mail in mid-October offering tickets to Mets playoff games. New York finished 70--92 and was out of playoff contention by July.

However, she wanted to stress that she was not a speedskater

Nicole Bobek, the 1995 U.S. women's figure skating champion, pleaded not guilty after being charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Welcome to Cleveland

In the middle of a Cavaliers media day at which newly acquired big man Shaquille O'Neal was introduced, the power went out.

Nailed and bonded

Former major league outfielder and self-styled financial guru Len (Nails) Dykstra filed for bankruptcy, claiming assets of $50,000 against debts of $31 million.

On Thanksgiving he tackled a turkey

A bat was buzzing the court during a Sacramento--San Antonio game on Halloween night until Spurs guard Manu Ginobili swatted it to the floor.

And on off days, he runs at Belmont Park

An ex-flame of Alex Rodriguez told Us Weekly that the Yankees' third baseman has two paintings in his bedroom of himself as a centaur, a mythical beast that is man from the waist up and horse from the waist down.

THREE ILLUSTRATIONSILLUSTRATIONS BY JEFF WONG

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)