Crazy Baseball "Awards" for 2008
From Jayson Stark of ESPN:
Injuries of the Year
• Fifth prize: Carlos Beltran twisted his knee on Labor Day -- by sliding into home and crashing into plate ump Ed Rapuano, who then toppled over and landed on Beltran's knee.
• Fourth prize: Orioles pitcher Dennis Sarfate slammed his own car door on himself while moving into his apartment in April, never realized he fractured his clavicle and only found out in September that he (a) had pitched with it all year and (b) needed surgery.
• Third prize: Giants reliever Keiichi Yabu missed two games in April when he was attacked by his own elastic exercise band. The band is supposed to slip over a hook on his locker. But this time, it wiggled off the hook, conked Yabu in the eye and blurred his vision for a couple of days. When Yabu arrived in the clubhouse the next day, he found the exercise band tied up and attached with a note from the trainer that read: "NO!"
• Second prize: A's first baseman Daric Barton managed to get hurt during the All-Star break. How? By diving into the shallow end of a friend's swimming pool and clanking his head and neck on the bottom. He did get two not-so-prestigious trips out of it: (1) to the emergency room and (2) to the disabled list.
• First prize: Tigers utility whiz Brandon Inge was lying in bed with his 3-year-old, reached over to move a pillow under his son's head, strained his sore oblique and wound up on the disabled list. Sorry to report he still hasn't landed a Sleepy's endorsement deal from it. "Well, that's a first," Jim Leyland said.
• Honorable mention: Lots of great moments in self-inflicted mishap madness this year: Carlos Quentin knocked himself out of the MVP race by slamming his fist into his bat and fracturing his wrist. … Royals pitcher John Bale punched a door in the team hotel and broke his pitching hand. … Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki fired his bat down in frustration, broke the bat and slashed up his hand. … And Angels pitcher Jered Weaver had to miss a start in September after he cut two fingers on his pitching hand, trying to push himself up off the bench at Comerica Park.
Impossible Stuff That Really Happened This Year
• The only Padre to steal a base in July was noted burglar Greg Maddux.
• Willy Taveras stole five bases in one game June 14 -- and still didn't score a run.
• CC Sabathia is tied for the lead in shutouts in both leagues in the same season.
• The Giants just became the first team since the 1983 Dodgers to field an entire lineup of nine rookies (courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News' Andy Baggarly).
• The Tigers whiffed Angels rookie Sean Rodriguez on Sept. 4 -- on a 4-and-2 pitch -- when everybody lost track of the count, including the umpires and Rodriguez. "That's a new trick of ours," manager Jim Leyland said.
• Uber-efficent Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook threw a nine-inning complete game in just 79 pitches July 5. That's fewer pitches than 12 different pitchers threw this year without making it out of the third inning.
• The Rangers had a winning record in July -- even though their ERA for the month was 6.63.
• Two different Rays switch-hitters homered right-handed in the same game Sept. 17 -- but it was against a right-handed pitcher (Tim Wakefield), the first time that had ever happened in the 48-season expansion era.
• As my buddy Tim Kurkjian loves to point out, on Aug. 22, the Diamondbacks became the first team ever to have a 6-foot-10 pitcher (Randy Johnson) get relieved by a taller pitcher (6-11 Jon Rauch).
• Sure hope you didn't miss Jhonny Peralta's homer off Joel Peralta (Aug. 21), or Miguel Cabrera's homer off Daniel Cabrera (July 19), or Jose Reyes' two homers off Jo-Jo Reyes in one week (Sept. 13 and 19). Not to mention that Rays-Angels game Aug. 19 in which James Shields was the winning pitcher and Scot Shields was the losing pitcher.
• And I still can't believe Johan Santana had that at-bat Tuesday in which his bat hit the same ball twice -- first in the batter's box, and then again just before Cubs shortstop Ronny Cedeno was about to dodge the broken barrel and field it. "It should count for two hits," Santana said.
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