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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Best Sports Tantrums of 2014

This is one of my favorite columns to write, but the 2014 edition presented some unique challenges.  Some of the best incidents of the year happened after the change from fall to winter but before the start of 2015.  So, stay tuned.  In the mean time, enjoy this look back at the best sports tantrums of 2014.  They are presented in order of occurrence not in order of greatness.

1. Not Very Ladylike.  We didn't have to wait long to get our first great spectacle of 2014.  This clip comes from the Sugar Bowl on January 2, 2014 between Alabama and Oklahoma.  The star of this video is reportedly an Alabama fan who is the mother of three children ... three children who were with her at the game!  This video has all sorts of gems.  Pre-fight trash talk.  A stealthy escape from calmer friends.  A Superman dive.  And a barrage of wild kicks.  My only question is:  Just how many Bourbon Street hurricanes contributed to this craziness?

2.  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.  The musical accompaniment is pretty good, though.

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.  Cow Terd Rant.  Every team has a few crazy fans, but it seems like Alabama football might have the market cornered on crazy middle aged women.  The winter edition of Temper Temper for 2014 included a mother of three going all WWE on a young Oklahoma fan at the Sugar Bowl.  After an October loss to Ole Miss this fall, this old-sounding lady lit into Paul Finebaum on the radio.  I'm not sure what Paawwwl said to provoke this, but clearly Phyllis from Mulga thought it was fightin' words.

5.  Haymakers and Hans Devices.  Brad Keselowski did not win the NASCAR championship in 2014, but he may have accomplished a feat even more rare.  During this year's Chase for the Championship, Keselowski provoked two of the sport's most mild mannered drivers to physical violence.  Less than a month ofter a fracas with Matt Kenneth, Keselowski found himself in the middle of this brawl involving Jeff Gordon.  This fight starts in earnest when Kevin Harvick pushes Keselowski from behind into a group of Jeff Gordon's crew members.  Then it's on.  My favorite part of this clip is the crowd noise.  I don't know if this was broadcast on the big screen displays at Texas Motor Speedway or if the fans could actually see the action from their seats.  Either way, it sounds like a WWE event.

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