The life of a professional athlete is demanding, let’s be clear; but, every now and then we, as chesterfield participants in our favourite sports, get reminded that some of our most idolized stars are, indeed, only human themselves.
Such is the case today with the Toronto Blue Jays’ outfielder, Kevin Pillar; he’s to miss at least 10 days of play because of a sneeze that resulted in an oblique strain that he suffered early Saturday. While this, on its own, is certainly chuckle-worthy, there is a veritable laundry list of ridiculous injuries in professional athletics, and so… it begins.
#10. Kendry Morales + Bill Gramatica ‘Break a Leg’
As far as professional sports injuries go, you really can’t fault a player for getting injured during a game… whether during the action or between plays, shit happens – but sometimes, more bizarrely, it happens when you’d least expect it: while celebrating.
Morales, who played for the MLB’s Angels, broke his frigging leg while jumping up and down in celebration and meeting his teammates at home plate after a grand slam home run. Similarly, Cardinals’ kicker Bill Gramatica suffered an injury to his ACL while celebrating a relatively routine field goal kick that only gave the team a 3-0 lead over the NY Giants in the first quarter of a regular season game against them in December, 2001. – what can I say, the man appreciated the art of celebration.
See above for similar comment.
#9. Orlando Brown Takes a Flag in the Eye & Ken Griffey Jr. Pinches his Ball-bag
Next on the list of surprising, but understandable (though still somewhat ridiculous) injuries to pro athletes comes a couple of hurts courtesy of sporting equipment.
Ken Griffey Jr., one of baseball’s most celebrated heroes and who, of course, has several video games named in his honour, managed, somehow, to pinch one of his testicles – I assume he’s got both, here – between his jock and body. Naturally, this kind of treatment of your testicles is frowned upon by pain receptors, and Griffey required a bit of time off for recovery.
Orlando Brown, a former NFL player who played for both the Browns and the Ravens, and who died inexplicably at the age of only 40, was similarly injured by sporting equipment; however, his particular injury was completely out of his hands. While playing for the Browns, Brown was hit in the eye by a referee’s flag, which was thrown in his direction on a play, and that got through his facemask. Brown left the field on his own, but returned to physically assault the offending referee, and he was subsequently suspended from the NFL until it was revealed that he had been rendered temporarily blind by the errant flag.
There is nothing subtle about an eye injury.
Brown was let go by the Browns, later returning to the league to play for the Baltimore Ravens, but only after suing the NFL for upwards of $200 million dollars for the flag incident, and to buy a more fashionable eye-patch; however, he apparently settled for far less than this amount. Look at that thing.
#8. Moises Alou Falls off a Treadmill
Houston Astros outfielder, Moises Alou is known for a great number of things: playing on a great number of teams other than the Astros, being named Moises, and falling off of a treadmill.
The Astros were dealt a serious blow to their offence when Alou, then 32 years of age, fell off his treadmill while training for an upcoming season at his home in the Dominican Republic. The injury, which one can imagine looked a lot like any number of these, resulted in a torn ACL and a great number of missed games.
“I told you not to wear your uniform on the treadmill, Moises.”
#7. Jeff Kent Breaks his Wrist Doing… Something?
When San Francisco Giants’ second baseman Jeff Kent announced that he’d broken his wrist while washing his truck, the sporting world was in a spectrum of hysterics.
How could this happen? Was the soap super slippery and Kent fell? Was the sheer force of the water too much for Kent’s wrist as he tested the water temperature before taking the hose to his vehicle? Whatever the case may have been, Kent took a lot of flack from just about everyone regarding the story and got was getting frustrated with it.
Long story short, some reporters in the San Francisco area dug up what seemed to be a more plausible story – that Kent had been screwing around on his motorcycle, popping wheelies and such, and when shit inevitably went south, Kent made up a more innocuous story to avoid the wrath of the MLB and his fandom.
Almost certainly what Kent’s wheelies looked like before he crashed.
#6. Joel Zumaya + Lionel Simmons Can’t Stop Playing Video Games
What do a Detroit Tigers pitcher and a Sacramento Kings forward have in common outside of an inherent ability in sports? That’s easy – an equally inherent ability to become addicted to video games.
Both Joel Zumaya and Lionel Simmons, of the Tigers and Kings respectively, were so addicted to playing video games that they were sidelined due to injuries sustained by their continuous play.
Simmons missed two games from his rookie season after developing tendonitis from too much GameBoy playing, and Zumaya, who cannot be faulted for loving great music and kickass video games, had to miss the 2006 ALCS due to a wrist injury that he developed by constantly playing the Playstation 2’s smash-hit Guitar Hero. The addiction was apparently so concerning to the Tigers’ organization that Zumaya was actually forbidden from playing it; however, when Guitar Hero II was released, Zumaya was mentioned in the credits: “No pitchers were harmed in the making of this game. Except for one. Joel Zumaya. He had it coming.” Awesome.
It’s not a photoshop. It’s a problem.
#5. Bret Barberie, Kevin Mitchell, and Dustin Penner Can’t Eat Food Good
When us non-athlete types sit down to dinner it typically comes after a day of the mundane – we got up, left for work, did our thing for eight or so hours, and then came home and prepared a little sustenance so that we could rest easy and do it all again tomorrow.
When pro athletes make something to eat, however, it’s a special occasion. In the case of Barberie, Mitchell and Penner, these weren’t just regular meals and snacks that they were getting prepared to devour – they were professional meals and snacks.
Barberie, like any average joe, loves himself a plate of nachos and had prepared himself one hell of a plate to sit down to. Before going completely Mexican on that nacho plate, however, Barberie decided to put in his contact lenses. This, for most non-professionals, is a simple task, and it is likely the mundanity of the action that lead to Barberie’s oversight: he neglected to wash his hands after previously loading said nacho plate with all kinds of hot sauce and peppers. Naturally, his retinas could not handle to intensity of the Mexican dish that he himself had prepared, and Barberie was sidelined for a number of games.
Similarly, Kevin Mitchell, a former Mets and Giants player, and who has been accused of both rape and beheading his girlfriend’s cat during an argument (not, however, in the same instance), broke a tooth on a donut that he’d microwaved from frozen for so long that it over-hardened. Previous to this incident, Mitchell had also strained a stomach muscle in a bout of vomiting.
Penner, meanwhile, was simply sitting down to a plate of his wife’s fantastic pancakes when he strained his back. The incident was so widely reported on that Penner wrote an open letter to the media LA Kings’ fanbase explaining the incident, and even outlining his hopes of getting an endorsement from Denny’s or IHOP. Annnnnd this is why I love hockey.
Typical goal celebration, or breakfast? You decide.
#4. Glenallen Hill Has a Terrible, Terrible Nightmare
We’ve all been there: you watch Arachnophobia, maybe have a drink or two too many, and then fall asleep only to wake up several hours later screaming your head off, smashing your way through a glass-topped table covered in dreamworld spiders. Amirite?!?!
Well, regardless of your own experiences, such was the case with pro MLB’er Glenallen Hill. Hill, who is reported to have some serious arachnophobia, woke up in the middle of a terrifying spider dream and went on to suffer injuries all over his body after smashing a glass table, and the falling down the frigging stairs. Hill wound up missing about half a month of play and earned the moniker ‘Spiderman’ for his efforts which, of course, I’m sure he appreciates immensely.
This spider, meanwhile, suffers from baseballophobia. Poor little guy.
#3. Jimmie Johnson Falls off the Roof of a Golf Cart
Despite only admitting to being “in” the golf cart at the time of the accident, NASCAR super-driver Jimmie Johnson is reported to have been on the roof of the golf cart when his driver made a sharp turn and he flew off. Johnson, who landed on and ultimately broke his wrist, was then unable to drive a car for four weeks.
For his next stunt, Johnson is rumoured to be attempting to surf atop one of his very own NASCAR vehicles – that is, unless he realizes that he isn’t in any way athletic.
Oh, please be how this ended.
#2. Brian Anderson, Mark Smith, + John Smoltz Can’t Use Home Appliances
There are a lot of things that pro athletes do well – there’s no doubt about that – but with all of these abilities, not to mention having had things done for them for many steps along the way, there are just some things that elude the pro athlete’s mind.
Like how to use an iron, and just how air conditioners work.
Brian Anderson, an Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher and John Smoltz, a pitcher for the Braves, both had run-ins with irons in their careers. Anderson, needing to iron a shirt, tested the warmth of the iron on his face, while Smoltz reportedly, though adamantly denies, that he attempted to iron a shirt while he was wearing it.
Smith, on the other hand, simply jammed his pitching hand into an air conditioner to see why it wasn’t working properly. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my garbage disposal is making a strange whirly noise.
#1. Plaxico Burress + Chris Hanson Should Not Carry Weapons
As a professional athlete, one must be able to protect oneself and feel like a confident, strong, and capable individual. Sometimes this means carrying a weapon… and sometimes it means using it. If, however, said pro athlete is not truly accustomed to carrying and using such a weapon, problems may indeed arise.
Such was the case with Hanson and Burress, two athletes who, in different ways, damaged themselves and their reputations by accidental use of a weapon. Yes, I said accidental.
Hanson, at the time a kicker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, was simply spending time in the Jags’ locker room when he attempted to participate in coach Jack Del Rio’s physical motivator: a wood stump, left with an axe as a symbol to the team’s players to ‘keep chopping wood.’ Hanson, in his attempt to chop said wood, instead chopped his foot and was sidelined for the remainder of the 2003 season.
Burress, a former Super Bowl hero and NFL star, had carried a handgun into a New York club called LQ. While attempting to move between floors of the club via staircase, Burress missed a step and tripped up the stairs. His gun, which was tucked into his waistband at the time, slipped from its position and it was only when Burress reached for the gun to stop its sliding down his leg that the gun went off, shooting himself.
Burress realized the trouble he was in immediately, and eventually spent 21 months in prison for the mistake. He also fully admitted the stupidity of his actions and eventually made a comeback in the NFL.
His name, however, is still ridiculous.
“I’d like my one phone call.”
*BONUS / Alternate #1.* Adam Eaton Stabs Himself in the Stomach Opening a DVD
Eaton, a pitcher for several different MLB teams over the course of his career, injured himself in what can only be described as the most average, non-professional, ridiculous way possible: opening a DVD.
In what was no doubt frantic jubilation over his recent purchase, Eaton accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach with a paring knife while attempting to open a dual-pack DVD. The movies in question? Backdraft and Happy Gilmore. All that’s left now is to find out which one he watched first!
**Final thought: What the Hell is with MLB pitchers? Seriously, get it together.