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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Temper Temper: Tantrums of Spring

Summer is here!  With another season in the rear view mirror, it's time to take a look back at the best sports tantrums of Spring.

1.  Take That!  Richard Pitino expressed his frustrations with his Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team by abusing a chair and the floor in his own gym.  This clip isn't on the list because it's the most extreme tantrum you'll ever see.  No, this clip stands out because it actually worked.  The tantrum sparked a comeback by the Golden Gophers in this game and inspired them on to an NIT championship.

2.  Redbird Gets the Bird.  Only two days into the season, the fans in Cincinnati were in midsummer form.  On April 3, 2014, Matt Adams, first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, lunged into the stands to try to catch a foul ball.  The Reds fan snagged the ball before Adams could get to it.  That was all well and good.  The stands are the fans territory.  Adams showed his frustration by giving the fan a little shove.  Not so fine.  But, the real tantrum here comes from the fan and his friends.  First, they taunt Adams.  Then the lady fan unleashes a torrent of expletives.  The entire encounter wraps up with a spirited display of the middle finger.

3.  Argghh ....  A Pirates Life.  Baseball has a lot of sacred rules.  Most of them unwritten.  One of those rules is "thou shalt not flip your bat ... especially if the ball doesn't leave the park."  Carlos Gomez of the Brewers committed that sacrilege in an April game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Garrett Cole, the pitcher who gave up the triple, approached Gomez to express his displeasure over this breach of baseball etiquette.  Then it was on.  Baseball fights usually resemble the junior prom ... a lot of talk and very little action.  But, this fight gives us knockdowns and haymakers.

4.  Short Track, Shorter Tempers.  No one really seems to know what sparked this altercation between Casey Mears and Marcus Ambrose after NASCAR's Richmond night race on April 27, 2014.  But, we all know what ended it: a short right hook by Ambrose.  Ambrose is widely regarded as one of the most mellow guys in NASCAR, but when Mears put his hands on him after the race, the Aussie let him have it.  Both men were fined and put on probation.  In other words, NASCAR agreed with the fans.  This was good entertainment.

5.  Lend Me Your Ear.  This incident involves the glorious combination of teammates fighting and body parts being bitten off.  This gem comes to us from the Dodgers' farm system.  On May 20, 2014, the Triple A Albequercue Isotopes were playing a road game in Salt Lake City when hostilities broke out between Miguel Olivo and Alex Guerrero.  The first skirmish takes place during a pitching change in the bottom of the seventh inning.  Olivo, the catcher, was angry with his shortstop for failing to tag out a baserunner who stole second.  Olivo was so angry that he had to be restrained from assaulting Guerrero.  After the inning, the Olivo continued the hostilities in the dugout.  As Guerrero was preparing an at bat, Olivo decked his teammate and knocked him to the ground.  Teammates broke up the scuffle, but when they did, part of Guerrero's ear was in Olivo's mouth.  Not good.  Or as they say in Guerrero's native Cuba, "No bueno."  Guerrero is a top prospect in the Dodgers' organization.  The injury required plastic surgery and sidelined Guererro for over a month.  Unfortunately, since this was a Triple A game, there is not excellent video.  This was the best I could find, but the musical accompaniment is pretty good.

6.  Straight from the Horse's Mouth.  The guy ranting in this video is not actually a horse ... more like a horse's you-know-what.  On June 7, 2014, California Chrome had a chance to make history at the Belmont Stakes.  Steve Coburn's colt would have been the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.  Chrome came up short in the race, but Coburn did not come up short in this rant.  Not even his wife Carol can stop him once he gets rolling.  Coburn did apologize a few days later, but  not before his "this is the coward's way out" earned him a place next to "I'm a man, I'm forty" in the annals of sports rants.

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