MLB Playoffs: Top 10 Weirdest Moments in Playoff History
When Commissioner Bud Selig introduced the new playoff format for this season with an extra wild card, it could have been predicted that unimaginable, crazy and downright weird things might happen.
What the commissioner and fans probably didn't count on was that one of the weirdest moments in recent memory would happen in the very first game of the playoffs between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.
Watching what happened at Turner Field got me thinking about some of the weirdest moments to ever happen in postseason baseball.
Whether it was bad calls, awkward moments or just acts of nature, this is my list of the top 10 weirdest moments to ever happen in MLB playoff history.
Feel free to comment and mention your own list if you would like.
10. Deion vs. McCarver
This weird moment was put into motion when sportscaster Tim McCarver criticized Deion Sanders for playing for the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves on the same day. McCarver's feeling was that by Sanders not picking to play for either one team or the other, he was doing both teams a disservice.
When Francisco Cabrera hit a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, it sent the Braves into the World Series, and McCarver into the locker room with Sanders.
Sanders decided to fill buckets of water and throw them on McCarver while he was trying to do interviews. Needless to say, McCarver was not happy about the situation, as you can see in the video.
9. The Clemens-Piazza Rivalry
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But it seemed to come to a head during the 2000 “Subway Series” between the two teams. During the season, the Mets and Yankees played each other in interleague play, and Roger Clemens hit Mike Piazza in the head with a fastball, causing Piazza to miss the All-Star game.
So, in Game 2 of the series, everyone was wondering what would happen with Piazza in the batter's box and Clemens on the mound...and they didn't disappoint.
Mike Piazza broke his bat on a pitch that was going to be an easy out, but the barrel of the bat rolled toward Clemens. Clemens then decided to throw it at Piazza.
Clemens claimed later he thought it was the ball, which made absolutely no sense at all, because throwing the ball at Piazza would be equally as bad.
Sadly, this was the most memorable part of the 2000 series, as the Mets didn't put up much of a fight.
8. Chamberlain Gets Bugged on the Mound
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But when Chamberlain took the mound, hundreds of bugs started swarming the mound, distracting Chamberlain and causing him to give up the tying run.
What really made this weird was when the Indians went to take the mound, the bugs disappeared. Cleveland went on to win the game and the series, but haven't won much since.
7. J.T. Snow Saves a Baker
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In the 2002 World Series, the San Francisco Giants and L.A. Angels faced off in a battle of two teams that had never won a championship for their current city. For some odd reason, Dusty Baker decided to let his three-year-old son, Darren, be part of the team as an unofficial bat boy.
Any parent knows that toddlers are unpredictable. So when little Darren decided to run toward home plate after Kenny Lofton hit a triple, it could have been a total disaster.
Luckily for Dusty Baker, and everyone else watching, J.T. Snow saw Darren and picked him up while crossing home without missing a stride, and a crisis was averted.
6. When the Infield Fly Rule Applies in the Outfield
Last night was the first night of baseball's new wild-card format, and the very first game was less wild and more surreal. Emotions were already high when the night started, because future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones announced at the beginning of the year that this would be his last season.
So this do-or-die game could be Chipper's last.
Emotions were only raised when, being down 3-2, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons tried to bunt home the runner from third. Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse went to throw to first and hit Simmons on the helmet, sending the ball flying past first base.
But because Simmons wasn't running within the baseline and in fair territory, they called runner's interference and Simmons was out. The run that scored was taken off the board.
But in the bottom of the eighth, with the Braves down 6-3 and two men on base, emotions boiled over and the weird broke out. Simmons was at the plate again and hit a pop-up into shallow left field. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma kept drifting into the outfield.
He waved off outfielder Matt Holliday but then lost the ball and peeled off to let Holliday make the catch. But Holliday wasn't there and the ball dropped. The Braves fans cheered as they thought they had the bases loaded with one out and a chance to tie the game in the eighth.
But instead, left-field umpire Sam Holbrook made a very late infield-fly-rule call. Once fans at Turner Field realized what had happened, they started throwing cans and bottles and whatever else they could get their hands on onto the field.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez protested the call, and the game, but his protest was denied. The Braves lost, their season ended, Chipper Jones' career ended, and another chapter in baseball weird was closed. You can see for yourself in the video.
5. Pedro Pushes Zimmer
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There are many rivalries in sports that claim to be the biggest, but it is hard to argue that the biggest one in all of sports is the Yankees and the Red Sox. If you needed a prime example of why, you only had to watch the 2003 ALCS.
Earlier during Game 3, many Yankees thought that Pedro Martinez was throwing at Yankees batters, mainly Karim Garcia's head. When Clemens came up to pitch, he threw up and in to Manny Ramirez.
The benches cleared, but this time, 72-year-old bench coach Don Zimmer ran straight toward Pedro. Martinez grabbed Zimmer by the head and tossed him on the ground, causing a small cut on his head.
The Yankees won the game, and the series, but most people remember Pedro Martinez tossing a senior citizen to the ground.
Although Pedro was only trying to defend himself, there is no way you can cause any harm, purposely or accidental, to a man over 70 and have people on your side.
4. Jeffrey Maier Gives the Yankees a Home Run
In 1996, the Yankees were playing the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of the ALCS, as both teams were trying to make their first World Series since the early '80s. With the Orioles having a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Derek Jeter hit a deep ball into right field.
Tony Tarasco was ready to catch the ball on the warning track, when 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier reached out and caught the ball. Rather than call the play as fan interference, they ruled the play a home run.
The Yankees won the game, and the series, and a new Yankees dynasty was born.
3. The Black Sox Scandal
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It's safe to say most people reading this were not alive when the Black Sox scandal happened in 1919, but anyone who studies the history of the game knows it was one of the worst and weirdest moments in baseball history.
First off, the series was a best-of-nine World Series as opposed to a best-of-seven. But the story goes that the mob offered eight players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, $10,000 each to throw the series and let the Reds win.
After throwing the first two games, many players weren't paid and decided to start playing for real. With the series tied two games apiece, threats were being made to family members of the team to make sure they went through with what they promised.
The Reds won five games to three, word got out that the White Sox threw the series, and the eight, including Joe Jackson, were banned from baseball.
Many debate whether Joe Jackson was in fact involved (including almost anyone who is a fan of the movie “Field of Dreams”), but regardless, it is the only World Series to be proven to have been fixed.
2. Steve Bartman
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Everybody knows the Chicago Cubs as being the “lovable losers,” and it looked like in 2003 the Cubs would finally have another shot at winning the World Series. The Cubs had a three-run lead in the top of the eighth inning and were five outs away from going to the World Series for the first time since 1908.
The Marlins' Luis Castillo hit a fly ball down the left field line, and it looked like Moises Alou was going to catch the ball in foul territory—but Steve Bartman reached out and deflected the ball, not realizing that Alou still had a chance at a play.
Cubs pitcher Mark Prior—along with the rest of the team—unraveled, and the Cubs gave up eight runs, six of them unearned, and the Marlins won the game.
They later would win the series and going on to win the World Series. Cubs fans, in turn, were left with nothing but bitterness, and the Cubs haven't been close to the World Series since.
1. The World Series Earthquake
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The 1989 World Series had a lot of buzz, being that it put crosstown rivals Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants against each other. The A's were favorites to win the series and were led by Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.
But during the pregame warm-up of Game 3, everything changed, as a 6.9 earthquake struck California. The moment was on live TV until the power went out.
At least 63 people died during the quake, but many people believe that because it happened during the World Series, many lives were saved, since not as many people were on Interstate 880, which collapsed.