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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Temper Temper: Sports Tantrums of Summer

Normally, the summer provides us with many outrageous outbursts.  For the most part, players and coaches kept their cool despite the hot temperatures this summer.  But, those who did make the list made it in style.

1.  Fighting Tooth and Nail.  Soccer may be the beautiful game, but Luis Suarez was the center of an ugly incident at the 2014 World Cup.  Heading into the World Cup, Uraguay had hopes of taking home soccer's greatest prize.  However, those hopes bit the dust, literally, when Luis Suarez clamped his jaws on an opponent.  During group play, Suarez, who already had a history of bizarre lapses in judgement, bit Italy's Girogio Chiellini on shoulder.  The bite wasn't noticed by the referee on the pitch, but, after further review, Suarez was given ten-game ban that included the elimination round of this year's World Cup.  Uraguay did not advance past the first round of elimination matches.

2.  Minor League, Major Fight.  Most of the time, minor league baseball is a great outing for American families.  One of the reasons is because an average person can still afford good seats at a minor league park.  But, on July 25, 2014, the fans behind the plate at a Triple A game between the Reno Aces and the Albuquerque Isotopes got a little closer to the action then they bargained for.  The animosity between these teams stemmed from the fact that Isotopes' shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena hit a home run the previous night and broke one of baseball's unwritten rules by taking a little extra time making his trip around the bases.  The Aces showed their displeasure at Arruebarrena's showmanship by throwing a few high and tight pitches during Arruebarrena's first at-bat the following night.  Arruebarrena eventually struck out.  Then a brawl ensued.  Two things are noteworthy here.  First, this is the second consecutive appearance by the Albuquerque Isotopes in the Temper Temper column.  When last we saw them, one player bit off a piece of a teammate's ear.  Second, even though the netting keeps the players from actually spilling into the stands, you can hear women and children crying as the melee approaches the seat.  Grown men fighting is scary in person, but from the safety of a computer screen it is incredibly entertaining.  This post is camera phone footage of the brawl.  Click here if you want to see more professional videos, complete with play-by-play commentary.

3.  Take It All Off.  Single A baseball is a special sort of American experience.  And Joe Mikulik is a special kind of Single A manager.  Mikulik has a long history of histrionics, but his meltdown on August 17, 2014 in a game in Salem, VA, showed some true creativity.  Dressing down an umpire is nothing new for a manager, but Mikulik drew the attention of the national media when he dressed himself down at home plate.

4.  That Bites.  On September 13, 2014, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV hosted Mayweather-Maidana 2.  The match, billed as "Mayhem," was a rematch of Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana's dramatic bout on May 3, 2014.  The first fight was not expected to be a competitive affair, but on that night, the gritty Maidana turned the sweet science into a brawl.  Both fighters engaged in a fair share of rough-housing during the first fight.  That style continued into the rematch.  During a clinch in the 8th round, Mayweather appeared to be lacing and smothering Maidana with his glove.  Then something weird happened. You can judge for yourself after watching the video, but it seems like Maidana chomped down on Mayweather's fingers.  Maidana's camp vigorously denied the accusation, but most of those denials came through an interpreter who was also Maidana's manager and who was clearly doing his own talking.  Unlike Suarez, Maidana was completely justified if he did indeed bite the pound for pound champ's fingers.  Also interesting is the fact that Mike Tyson, architect of the most famous bite in boxing history, was sitting ringside for this fight.

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