Strange Days, Strange Plays

Paris Hilton on steroids, a game ball for Mom and Twitter trash talk with God: taking stock of a year's sporting absurdities
December 27, 2010

Next Year, Bottled Bronx Air That Could Have Been Exhaled By Derek Jeter

The New York Yankees announced the sale of dirt used at the old stadium. The coin-shaped mementos sell for $80 each.

With That, Another Royals Season Had Just Begun

In the first inning of the season Zack Greinke of the Royals got a batter to hit a pop-up over the pitcher's mound. "It was hit so high," he said, "I was like, There's no way I'm catching this ball. I turned around, and no one was even close to it. And I was like, Where the heck is everyone?"

As He Understood Scripture, It Spoke Strongly on the Power of Whoopass

Evander Holyfield's wife said in court papers that the former heavyweight boxing champ had hit her in the face, in the back of the head and on the back for not giving to their church.

After Nine Innings of Flailing, The Team Had a Cynical Thought

Soon after the Marlins endured a perfect game by Phillies righthander Roy Halladay, the team announced it would offer for sale the 11,000 tickets that had gone unsold for those wishing to invest in souvenirs of the event.

He Was Always So Tiresome On the Subject of Ball Control

Two-time Super Bowl--winning coach Jimmy Johnson began pitching ExtenZe penile-enhancement products. Johnson's tagline: "Go long with ExtenZe. I do."

Yet Not a Word About Bill Russell's Perfect Game

In a public ceremony Boston mayor Thomas Menino honored local athletes, among them that famed hero of the 2002 Super Bowl--winning Patriots: "Varitek splitting the uprights."

Mom, This One's for You

Twins outfielder Denard Span's mother was seated in the stands at a spring training game when her son laced a line drive into the crowd that struck her in the chest.

His Impact on Fans Continued Well into the 21st Century

A fan at a Blue Jays game was struck by a two-foot-high metal letter B that had fallen 30 feet after being hit by a foul ball. The B, on the facing of the third deck at the Rogers Centre, was part of a tribute to Jackie Robinson.

Medical Treatment Marches On

Ex--Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon told the Chicago Tribune his memory had blank spots and lamented the lack of attention paid to concussions when he played in the '80s. "Back then, it was just tape an aspirin to your helmet and you got back in."

A Supposedly Fun Idea That Will Now Become a Tip of The Cap and a Careful Descent Into the Dugout

After hitting a walk-off grand slam on May 29, Kendry Morales of the Angels took a celebratory jump into a crowd of teammates at home plate and landed with a broken leg that ended his season.

Seeing the Tab, He Receded Into a Different Kind of Haze

When Dez Bryant balked at the rookie hazing rite of carrying older players' pads, Cowboys veterans suggested instead that he take them to dinner, for which Bryant was handed a bill for roughly $55,000.

Half Past the Moon and Clear On till Sunrise . . . but You Can't Actually Get There from Here

In the Steelers' media guide Ben Roethlisberger's hometown was changed from Findlay, Ohio, to fictional Corey Rawson, Ohio, because Big Ben was miffed at comments from Findlay residents about his off-season troubles.

Otherwise, All the Guys Agreed It Was Great to Be Back Home

North Korea's winless World Cup team was put on stage at the People's Palace of Culture before 400 students, athletes and party officials and reprimanded for six hours over failures in their play, accused of betraying young general Kim Jong-un and made to publicly criticize their coach.

Then Lindsay Lohan Would Pick Him Up and Throw Him Into the Grandstand

After Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids but said that they didn't help him hit home runs, Curtis Wenzlaff, a convicted dealer who claims to have supplied McGwire, commented on Outside the Lines about the likely effect of the drug. "Will it help you hit a baseball?" Wenzlaff said. "Let me put it to you this way. If Paris Hilton was to take that array, she could run over Dick Butkus."

Twitter Service Was Then Disrupted Worldwide By a Thunderstorm of Biblical Proportions

Bills receiver Steve Johnson dropped a game-winning TD pass against Pittsburgh and blamed God in a tweet. "I praise you 24/7!!!! And this how you do me? You expect me to learn from this? . . . Thx tho."

Take It from a Big Leaguer

Brian Roberts of the Orioles missed the last week of the season with recurring headaches caused by clubbing himself in the head with his bat in frustration after a strikeout. "It's a lesson to myself," he reflected, "a lesson to the kids to not do that."

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)