Kurt Warner's wife wants Denzel Washington to play her husband in his biopic. Jonah Hill is cast as Paul DePodesta in the upcoming Moneyball movie. Neither of those are jokes.
Let's take a look at the worst casting decisions in sports movie history.
San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos recently had to go on the disabled list for a sneezing-related injury. He tried to stifle the sneeze, but his finely-tuned athlete body couldn't handle the pressure and he pulled a muscle.
Is this the most humiliating athlete injury of all-time? Not even close.
Here are the Top 20.
#1 Lionel Simmons
In 1991 Sacramento Kings rookie forward Lionel Simmons missed two games due to tendonitis in his right wrist and forearm from playing too much GameBoy. As humiliating as the injury was, Simmons' ability to get to Level 25 on Tetris remains the biggest accomplishment in Sacramento Kings history.
Fun Fact: There's a very good chance the guy in this original GameBoy commercial is former NBA scrub Rex Walters.
#2 Steve Sparks
During Spring Training in 1994 the Milwaukee Brewers received a visit from an inspirational team of strongmen. After the group left, journeyman knuckleballer Steve Sparks tried to replicate their stunts by ripping a phone book in half. Big surprise: he dislocated his shoulder and failed to make his first big-league roster. Tough break for a knuckleballer, and this incident is why to this day Tim Wakefield won’t rip anything larger than a copy of Mike Lowell’s memoirDeep Drive: A Long Journey to Finding the Champion Within.
Note: the following video may be not be suitable for Major League Baseball players
#3 Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs is a man of many appetites. He loves chicken, ill-fated rides atop police horses, and dressing like a cowboy. That third love caught up to him during his career, though. Boggs once missed a seven-game stretch after straining his back while pulling on his cowboy boots. Most baseball historians feel this injury was karmic payback for taking the wrong side in the legendary Lord Palmerston/Pitt the Elder debate of 1992.
#4 Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan is currently vying to buy the Texas Rangers, and that’s not even the worst decision he’s ever made. During his pitching career he liked to go for drives in the country, and he once brought back two adorable coyote puppies from a little jaunt. How could bringing home a pair of feral dogs possibly go wrong?
Ah, yes, coyotes bite. Of course one of the pups took a chomp out of the flamethrower, and animal control officers became concerned that Ryan might contract rabies. Ryan had to go through a painful battery of rabies shots that kept him out of his next start for the Astros. Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen has enjoyed a lengthy managerial career for the Chicago White Sox while clearly dealing with the effects of an active rabies infection.
#5 Greg Harris
Reliever and occasional starter Greg A. Harris piled up a pretty nice journeyman career from 1981 through 1995, but in 1987 he rang up one of the stupidest injuries of all-time. Harris missed two starts for the Rangers that season due to elbow inflammation. The cause of his malady? Harris had spent an entire game flicking sunflower seeds at a nearby friend from the bullpen. A lesson for aspiring pitchers: this anecdote illustrates why you should always, always spit your seed shells on your buddies. If you want to throw something at them, that’s what rocks and ninja stars are for.
#6 Cal Ripken, Jr.
Ironman Cal Ripken, Jr. may have suffered the worst photography injury in MLB history. At the 1996 All-Star Game Ripken and his American League teammates were posing for a pregame team photo when pitcher Roberto Hernandez lost his balance. Hernandez swung his forearm back to steady himself, but unfortunately his errant limb cracked Ripken in the face, breaking the shortstop’s nose. You’re not going to believe this one, but Ripken played through the pain. Meanwhile, Orioles fans pooled their money and offered Hernandez $17,539 if he would have the exact same “accident” in front of Billy Ripken.
#7 Glenallen Hill
Like a lot of people, former MLB outfielder Glenallen Hill is arachnophobic. Most peoples’ fear of spiders hasn’t cost them time off of work, though. While playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, Hill had a vivid, spider-related dream. He was so terrified that he jumped out of bed, broke a glass table, and cut himself on the shards so severely that he had to go on the 15-day disabled list.
Fun Fact: Hill was later named as a performance-enhancing drug user in the Mitchell Report, but he likely took them not for baseball reason, but so he could survive the spider-filled apocalypse that was foretold in the 1990 documentaryArachnophobia. Smart guy. Spiders eat Blue Jays and other birds.
#8 Darius Vassell
If nationalized health care fails, there’s always Home Depot. In 2002 Aston Villa and English national team striker Darius Vassell was having a problem with a blood blister under one of his toenails. Like any reasonable person with health insurance and access to a large sports training staff would have done, Vassell attempted to drain the blood himself by using a power drill to pierce a hole in the toenail.
Unbelievably, this brilliant plan somehow went awry. Vassell drilled past the nail and into his toe, which necessitated removal of the nail and led to a nasty infection. He ended up missing several games for Villa as he recovered from the wound, but Vassell learned from his mistake and vowed to only use genuine, quality Dewalt tools on all future home surgeries.
#9 Alex Stepney
If you watched the World Cup, you know that soccer’s goalies put themselves in a dangerous position all the time. It’s no surprise, then, that former Manchester United keeper Alex Stepney once dislocated his jaw during a 1975 match. The odd thing was how he did it: Stepney was injured not by a kick to the grill, but by yelling at his teammates. Apparently the goalie was barking orders at his defense so emphatically that his jaw popped right out. This injury was actually a great stroke of luck for Stepney’s friends and relatives when the temporarily mute Stepney was unable to bore them with his incessant talking about soccer.
#10 Glenn Healy
Longtime NHL backup goalie Glenn Healy was something of a Renaissance man. In addition to winning 166 games on the ice, he also plays the bagpipes in several Toronto-area bands. In 2000 his two passions collided in an unpleasant way, though. While playing for Toronto, Healy was working on repairing a set of vintage bagpipes when he accidentally sliced his hand, an injury that required stitches.
In an effort to fill Healy’s skates, the Maple Leafs turned to the only other bagpipe-obsessed Canadian they knew: Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper lost six straight starts but managed to assault most of the league with coconuts.
#11 Svein Grondalen
Norwegian soccer star Svein Grondalen liked to start his days with a brisk morning jog. At some point during the 1970s, though, the defender’s daily ritual turned dangerous. Grondalen was trotting along when he ran into a charging moose. Although Grondalen was known for his burly physique, he was no match for Bullwinkle. He sustained injuries in the collision that kept him out of the Norwegian national team’s next contest. They’re still laughing about this one in Norway. Or at least they would be if Norwegian people ever laughed. (You’d be sullen and serious if your country was overrun with trolls, too.)
#12 Andy Moog
Goalkeeper Andy Moog won three Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s, and he also managed to miss games for one of the most bizarre reasons. Moog was visiting children at a local hospital when he accidentally wandered into a quarantined ward. Moog soon learned that there was a reason the ward was being quarantined: he contracted a viral infection and lost six pounds. Children’s hospitals: is there any situation they can’t make hilarious?
#13 Doug Wickenheiser
Early in the 1984-85 NHL season, St. Louis Blues centre Doug Wickenheiser was helping his teammates haze some rookies when he got a catastrophic injury. The basic gist of the hazing plan was that the rookies would be arrested and taken to jail on a phony charge, while the vets would go out for pizza for a few hours, then come retrieve them.
Everything went according to schedule until Wickenheiser decided to ride in the back of a pickup truck after leaving the pizza joint. He fell out of the bed and was hit by an oncoming car. Luckily, the other car was only going 15 mph, but the impact tore the ACL and MCL in Wickenheiser’s knee. The injury cost him a full season and a half away from the ice.
Fun Fact: There may have been some alcohol involved in this endeavor.
#14 Kevin Mitchell
Think sneezing your way onto the DL is embarrassing? Slugger Kevin Mitchell can top that. The master of the barehanded catch once missed time after straining his ribs while vomiting (possibly as the results of seeing teammate Jeff Brantley coming out of the shower).
Oddly, that might not have even been Mitchell’s strangest injury. He also missed games after breaking a tooth on a microwave chocolate donut and needing a root canal. To this day, the broken tooth is the best outcome anyone has ever had from eating a microwavable frozen donut.
#15 Clarence Biethen
In 1923 Red Sox rookie Clarence Blethen decided that he looked more intimidating on the diamond if he removed his false teeth. The strategy literally came back to bite him in the ass, though. Blethen liked to slip his dentures into his uniform’s back pocket while he was on the field, which worked until he had to make a hard slide into second base in an effort to break up a double play. When Blethen hit the ground for his takeout slide, his dentures took out a bite of him. Blethen had to be lifted from the game to seek medical attention for the bloody hunk that was missing from his rear.
Yankees fans, you shouldn’t need our help in turning this story into a competitive advantage. (Fine, here’s a hint. The first step involves knocking out all of Dustin Pedroia’s teeth.)
#16 Marty Cordova
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Marty Cordova missed time in 2002 after falling asleep in a tanning bed. Cordova’s face was so sunburned that team doctors ordered him to avoid direct sunlight until the injury healed, so he had to spend the O’s games hiding out in the dimly lit clubhouse. Teammates later said they would have helped Cordova out of his jam, but they all just assumed the delicious aroma of roasting meat was from pitcher Sidney Ponson grilling another whole cow in the clubhouse.
#17 Turk Edwards
Turk Edwards had a Hall of Fame career as an offensive lineman for the Redskins, but his time on the field came to an abrupt end in 1940. Edwards, one of the Skins’ captains, was so ecstatic that his team had won the pregame coin toss that he whirled around and ran to tell his coaches. Unfortunately, Edwards’ exuberance forced his cleats to become caught in the turf, and he blew out his knee. The injury was so severe that Edwards never took the field again. However, the Redskins did get the ball first. So it was an even trade-off.
#18 Kendall Simmons
Kendall Simmons is the anti-Marty Cordova. While playing for the Steelers in 2006, guard Simmons missed an October game due to frostbite. Was it unusually cold in Pittsburgh that fall? Not quite. Simmons had fallen asleep while wearing a cooling device on his injured left heel, and the prolonged frigid temperatures left his entire left foot frostbitten and raw. Team trainers eventually warmed Simmons’ heel back to normal temperatures by building a small fire from timber harvested from the underside of Bill Cowher’s chin.
#19 Roger Craig
Even managers can heroically soldier through injuries. While managing the San Francisco Giants during the 1980s, Roger Craig once made it to the bench despite having a serious laceration on his hand. The culprit for the cut: a bra strap. Craig never really explained how he sliced his mitt on a bra strap, but one can only hope and pray that John Kruk’s bountiful C-cup was in no way involved.
Nah, it wasn't Kruk. A hot piece of meat like Roger Craig got tons of women.
#20 Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley did plenty of dumb stuff during his NBA career, but this might have been his finest hour. Just before the 1994 season, Barkley accidentally rubbed body lotion into his eyes while attending an Eric Clapton concert, which caused him to let loose with a string of tears, but not in heaven. The chemicals in the lotion burned Sir Charles’ corneas, and an ophthalmologist ordered him to wear patches on both eyes for 12 hours. As a result, Barkley missed the Suns’ season opener.
Sure, the injury itself was stupid, but the most incredible part of this story is that Charles Barkley, one of the baddest men in NBA history, willingly attended an Eric Clapton concert. Remember, kids, Barkley wasn’t a role model, so don’t think his endorsement means it’s okay to listen to Clapton’s solo work. It most certainly is not.
Speed, strength, power, quickness. Sports are biased in favor of people who possess those attributes and our sports Halls of Fame are full of these athletic specimens.
But what about our sporting heroes who are slow, short, uncoordinated and ugly? Don't they deserve some recognition, too?
It's time we have a Scrappy Athlete Hall of Fame. Here is the first induction class
The lil’ fella is the patron saint of this list, the Sultan of Scrap. Just look at him. He’s 3’2”. He needs a nine-step running start to shot-put the ball from second to first. He’s got a career OPS of .704. When GM offered him a free car for winning the World Series MVP in 2006, he asked for a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe. He is, by darn near anyone’s estimation, not particularly good at baseball. Doesn’t matter, though. He’s got the sort of scrappiness you can build a dream or at least a lazy, 500-word, newspaper sports column on. Because if a noodle-armed gnome can somehow win a World Series MVP, truly anything can happen in sports.
How’s this for a scraptacular resume? Skiles once got into a fistfight with a young Shaq when they were teammates on the Magic. He won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 1991, and nothing’s quite as scrappy as being publicly told, “You used to really suck, but your hard work and perseverance have raised you to the level of ‘merely crappy.’ Have a trophy, little guy!”
Skiles’ scrappiness didn’t stop when his playing career ended, either. As a head coach he has compiled a 361-335 career record thanks to his variation of the Triangle Offense, which requires three players to be incredibly scrappy at all times.
Iverson is perhaps the ultimate paradox when it comes to scrappiness. He was supremely talented at hoops, yet he still managed to be scrappy. At first glance, this situation makes no sense. I mean, there are reports Iverson didn't like to practice. We talkin' bout practice!
Good players usually don’t need to be scrappy and determined; they’re justgoodand have always been good. Most superstars are way too talented and lazy to have the requisite grit and scrap to work hard. Iverson was the exception, though. From his downright masochistic willingness to take punishment to his admirable determination to commit his own crimes and not pawn them off to associates and hangers-on, Iverson was the definition of the scrappy star.
Even Saint David Eckstein would probably give up the game if he lost a finger in a farm machinery accident – try not to get any ideas, Padres fans – but Hall of Fame pitcher Brown managed to use the nub of his severed index finger to put an otherworldly amount of spin on his pitches. Not only did Brown’s scrappy perseverance turn into an inspirational story, it also provided a clear path to the Majors for future generations of pitchers. Can’t throw the breaking ball? Break out the malt liquor and fire up the band saw! Super-agent Scott Boras will be on the phone within five minutes.
Canada is America’s scrappy next-door neighbor, and there’s nobody they love more in Canada than this little guy. The vertically challenged QB won three Grey Cup championships while playing in the CFL and found his way into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame even though he’s an American citizen. Sure, he may have once lost his NFL starting job to Rob Johnson, but Flutie had a scrappy skill no one can take away: the ability to dropkick an extra point when Bill Belichick was running up the score in a game. Scrappiness shows no mercy!
You don’t have to be little to be a scrapper, but it helps. If you’re tall, though, you’d better be willing to wear comically nerdy glasses and a dubious mustache. Rambis’ scrappy willingness to sacrifice his body for rebounds and hustle plays made him the fan-favorite heart of the '80s Lakers dynasty even though he had a mug straight off of a “Do Not Allow This Man to Go Near Your Children” flyer. Rambo never averaged more than 11 points a game or played 30 minutes a night, but you always knew you could count on him to clean up the offensive glass and be the recipient of Kevin McHale’s clotheslines. He also almost single-handedly inspired basketball players to wear longer shorts, and that's an intangible that can't be ignored. Just like his leg hair and milky inner thighs.
You may not know Stanky’s name, but he irritated the hell out of opposing baseball teams throughout the 1940s and 50s. Giants manager Leo Durocher once said of Stanky, “He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy all the little SOB can do is win.”
Stanky, who was nicknamed “the Brat,” was famous for two things: taking walks and inventing “the Stanky Maneuver.” While it might sound like a nightmarish sex act and maybe it was in the Stanky bedroom the Stanky Maneuver was actually a clever little bit of scrapping. Instead of standing motionless while playing the field at second base, Stanky would jump up and down and wave his arms to distract the batter. What an annoying asshole. And, therefore, what a scrapper. If only Chase Utley would try something like that, he might finally become a great player.
How scrappy was Phil Garner? His nickname was Scrap Iron, for God’s sake. His mustache alone was worth 2.3 Eckstein units on the International Scrappiness Scale. The first team he managed, the 1992 Brewers, was maybe the scrappiest squad ever assembled; it was the first team to ever have all nine starters steal double-digit bases. Sure, some of them had no business running – Greg Vaughn got caught 15 times while only racking up 15 swipes – but you can’t put a price on the scrappy value of a stolen base. Unless, that is, you want to sit down and do 10 minutes’ worth of simple math, and who’s got time for that?
When the 5’6” Ruettiger took the field as a walk-on for Notre Dame, he was a heartwarming little scrapper who managed to record a sack on the final play of his senior season. At the time, the story was an inspiring one, but today someone with Ruettiger’s size, speed, and motor would probably be Notre Dame’s best defensive player. The feature film based on his life story still reminds us of two important truths: first, that with a little scrappiness, anything is possible. Second, Sean Astin wasn’t always this fat.
Give Boykins credit. Despite standing just 5’5” he’s managed to scratch out a decade-long NBA career. Some analysts attribute Boykins’ longevity to his ability to travel as checked baggage, saving his team big-time cash on airfares. When the Wizards lost guards Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas to gun-related suspensions last year, guess who replaced them: the never-armed Boykins. Who needs to pack heat when you can just headbutt foes in the groin?
Don’t listen to stat nerds who tell you that you win baseball games by scoring more runs than the opposing team. Not even close. You win baseball games by running into walls at full speed. It may not show up on the scoreboard, but every time you make a face-first dive into an outfield wall, your team gains 4,000 scrappiness points. Some players might try to help their teams by hitting for power, getting on base, and playing the field for 150+ games each season. Only Rowand knows that the truly gritty path to victory involves spending weeks at a time on the DL while some fourth outfielder is promoted to your starting job.
When Nagurski was playing college ball for Minnesota in 1928, he played games while suffering cracked vertebrae. He protected his mangled spine with a corset. A corset! Corsets are fine and dandy if you’re an overweight Victorian widow who’s trying to disguise her dumpy figure in an effort to lure in a young, naïve lover, but to protect your broken back? That’s insane. And insanely scrappy.
Oh, what's that? You think corsets aren't manly and therefore not scrappy? There are three answers to that: 1) Look at Bronko Nagurski; 2) His name is Bronko; 3) With a K!
Any other stupid comments?
This is an actual sentence from Rizzuto’s Wikipedia page: “The slick fielding Rizzuto is also regarded as one of the best bunters in baseball history.” Boy, that little guy couldn’t hit, but nobody was better at giving outs away than the Scooter! Despite being only 5’6” Rizzuto scrapped his way into the Hall of Fame by virtue of his defense and having the singular talent of playing on a Yankees team with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and other all-time-greats who could do the little things like hit and pitch. Rizzuto’s career OPS+ of 93 shows that he was a below-average hitter, but holy cow, was he ever determined!
Do you even watch sports?
White people. Many of them undersized. Routinely playing through horrific injuries. There was no room to put every NHL player on a list of 15, so we had to induct the entire league.
In the latest move in a wave of conference realignment, league sources are reporting that the NBA’s Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic are poised to accept invitations to join the Western Conference. The same sources cite increased exposure, greater revenues, and a higher level of play as the primary reasons for the move.
“This is a big day for us,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “The Eastern Conference treated us well for decades, but we want to be where the best teams are. Plus, it’s hard to get comfortable in a conference where your playoffs air on TNT. You’re always worried aLaw & Orderrerun is going to preempt one of your games.”
“I don't think this was an easy decision for this franchise,” said Magic center Dwight Howard. “I knew that unless I died or lost a leg I’d be starting the All-Star Game for the East for the next 12 years. I grew up dreaming of playing in the real NBA, though, against the best players in the world. And now I finally have a chance to do it. It's about legacy. I can only prove myself in the Western Conference.”
Cavaliers officials are hopeful that the move will help the team retain free agent superstar LeBron James. “Giant contracts are nice and all,” said one team official, bBut now we can promise LeBron that those repeated midseason trips to Detroit and Indianapolis are a thing of the past. That’s huge.”
Commissioner David Stern who says he is now Western Conference Commissioner David Stern says he believes the creation of a mega-conference will improve the financial picture of the NBA.
"Honestly, I have no idea what will happen to what's left of the Eastern Conference," he says. "And I really don’t care. Maybe those teams can join the Big East or something. Their names and level of play are already sort of similar.”
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference is left scrambling to populate its ranks. The conference has considered adding the University of Kentucky from the NBA, but there are concerns about whether coach John Calipari could get his squad’s payroll under the NBA’s $57.7 million salary cap and still put a competitive team on the court.
“At this point, we’ll take any team with five players. They don’t even have to be healthy or particularly good at basketball,” said New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. “If anyone has a connection with the NBDL’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, please have them call us.”
The World Cup is almost here. And with 32 nations vying for the biggest title in the world's most popular sport, you bet you're going to want to root hard for the United States and against every other nation. (At least until the U.S. is eliminated, upon which you'll tell yourself you never cared about soccer in the first place.)
But who are these other countries? I mean, Cameroon? What have they ever done that's so hateable? Oh. Plenty.
It's political primary season and all across the country former athletes are running for office.
Because if there's anything we need right now, it's politicians who can pepper their cliched talking points with cliched sports metaphors.
Here are 20 athletes, past and present, who made the jump to politics.
The Kentucky Derby is this weekend, which means that you may find yourself in a situation where you need to act like you know a thing or two about the sport of kings. Here are a few facts and tips to help you enjoy the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports This Side of Bengie Molina Legging Out a Double.
- Try not to make light of the jockeys’ small statures. Atlhough they may be small, they’re people, too. Tiny, sinister, goblin-like people.
- Be sure to mix up a batch of mint juleps, the Derby’s traditional cocktail. Just mix three ounces of bourbon, five or six sprigs of mint, and a bit of sugar together in a glass, then add crushed ice. If that sounds like too much work for you, take a pull directly from your bottle of Jim Beam while chewing some Doublemint.
- To answer your question, yes, Bob Baffert’s hair is indeed on loan from the Bobby Cremins Collection.
- It’s traditional for women attending the races at Churchill Downs to wear large, garish hats. If you lack the requisite funds to make a trip to your local hatter, you can make your own lid; just make sure it looks as silly as possible. Some suggestions for particularly ridiculous embellishments include flowers, rhinestones, and the Baltimore Orioles’ logo.
- The moment of silence you observe in memory of Barbaro should be at least twice as long as the Derby itself. In fact, you might want to just take the next few days off from work in order to properly honor him.
- If you’re a fan ofWhere’s Waldo, then you’ll enjoy the shots of the infield, where most of the Derby’s drunken revelry takes place. If you look hard enough, you can spot the one woman in Louisville who Rick Pitino has yet to bed!
- Be respectful when Kentucky’s state song, “My Old Kentucky Home,” is played before the race. You may not know that the song’s original lyrics included the line, “’Tis summer, and darkies are gay,” which was a huge hit with both racists and middle schoolers. The lyrics have since been changed to reflect a more sensitive, tolerant attitude and now read, “’Tis summer, and darkies are involved in romantic relationships with members of their own sex.”
- The winning horse should pull in somewhere around $1.5 million from the race’s purse, which will make it Kentucky’s second-highest-paid athlete for this year behind just John Wall.
- The Derby is 1.25 miles long. Or, in horse racing parlance, it’s 10 furlongs long. Put another way, it’s roughly 1175 Edward Furlongs long.
- When deciding how much money to bet on the race, remember that it’s technically not gambling if your horse is a sure thing. Or if you have a hunch based on one of their names. We mean, come on. Lookin At Lucky? It's basically code for: "I'm going to win." Now there’s a name that’s worth taking out a payday loan to back!
- Remember to respect the horses. You may not think they’re athletes, but they’re nearly as fast as the best bike or the crappiest car you’ve ever owned.
- Don’t feel too bad for the owners and trainers whose horses don’t win. They’re getting one of the nicest consolation prizes in all of sports: a freezer full of horsemeat.
Even the most old-school baseball fans have probably come to realize the fact that advanced statistics are all the rage in baseball these days.
But without a shiny new sabermetric of their own, they'll never be able to decisively win baseball arguments against the new breed of fan. While the youngsters rely on their VORPs, their WARPs and their xFIPs, the old-timers can now silence them for good with these six even more obscure, yet totally accurate, sabermetric stats.
March is Women's History Month.
And while no awareness campaign will ever put an end to WNBA jokes, it's also good to remember that there have been many great female athletes.
Here are the Top 25 of all-time.
China's medal count at the Vancouver Olympics stands at nine good for 9th place overall, 23 medals behind the United States. But the Chinese people are hearing very different news from their government.
Here is a copy of an account of the Games released today by the Chinese Government.