20 Guys Who Should've Called in Sick
Have you ever had the kind of day where everything goes wrong, you mess something up, your boss yells at you and you wish you had just decided not to get out of bed that morning?
Athletes have those moments, too. For them, though, it's worse because most of the world ends up talking about their one bad day at work for weeks on end.
Throwing an interception is bad, but you can rebound from it. Throwing five interceptions in one day—or seven(!)—makes you sad to even contemplate. So imagine what it was like for the guys who actually did that.
Or the guys who had a passer rating of 0.0 in a game. Or the guys who triple-bogeyed the last hole of a major to squander a lead.
Yup. Should've called in sick those days.
20. Jake Delhomme vs. Cardinals in '09
Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme did some things right during his NFL career. He did get his team to the Super Bowl after all, even though it fell to the mighty Patriots.
But here was one day—in the playoffs, no less—that Delhomme would have been better off just taking a sick day.
With a berth to the conference championship on the line, Delhomme essentially handed the Arizona Cardinals the victory, throwing a whopping five interceptions and fumbling once in a 33-13 blowout loss.
It was the worst home playoff loss by a second-seeded team since 1990 and by far one of the worst performances by a single person in NFL postseason history.
19. Sergio Garcia at '13 Players Championship
It's easy to hate on Sergio Garcia. He wears pink pants, complains a lot and says mean things about Tiger Woods, America's Golden Boy-turned Public Enemy No. 1-turned Golden Boy.
But it was probably easy for him to hate on himself after his performance in the final round of this year's Players Championship.
Garcia and Tiger were neck and neck at the top of the leaderboard for most of the fourth round, but whereas Tiger dug deep and showed some resolve, Garcia completely crumbled under the pressure. He was tied with Tiger at 13-under when he teed off on the 17th hole, but after sending not one but two shots straight into the water, he might as well have just walked off the course.
18. Josh Hamilton (Present)
The biggest free agent signing of the offseason isn't exactly panning out for the LA Angels, but then again, not much is panning out for them these days.
Still, when you sign a guy to a five-year, $125 million contract, you expect a little bit more than a .213 average and 10 homers when you're just about a month away from the All-Star break.
There's always a chance that Hamilton bounces back—there's plenty of time left, and you can't count out a five-time All-Star and former MVP—but he's not looking good right now, and the fans aren't having it. If he so much as smiles in the dugout, they ask for his head on a platter.
17. The Entire LA Dodgers Roster (Present)
If we're going to pick on one of LA's teams, it's only fair that we give the other one its due. And the Dodgers deserve it even more.
The biggest reason for that is that these guys have the second-highest payroll in baseball in 2013, behind only the Yankees, and they are still sitting in dead last in the NL West. In fact, they are the only team in the NL West that is not in the hunt and under .500, 7.5 games back.
In particular, Josh Beckett has been abysmal. The former ace arrived in LA in last year's biggest trade deadline blockbuster but has been unable to produce. This year, he's 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA, the second-highest mark of his career.
It's early, and there's always time to make a late-season surge, but these guys have tried everything in the last year. They have the pitching talent and they have the offensive talent; they just can't seem to figure out how to win games.
Better luck next year.
16. Jean Van De Velde at '99 British Open
Sergio Garcia's meltdown was bad enough. Jean Van de Velde's meltdown was that, multiplied by a billion.
At the British Open in 1999, the French golfer held the lead and needed a six on the par-4 18th hole—a six!—in order to win. He needed a double-bogey to win and he couldn't do it.
Instead, Van de Velde triple-bogeyed the final hole to give it all away. He hit one shot off the bleachers, one into the water and one into the trap. His collapse forced a three-way playoff, and Paul Lawrie ended up with the victory.
15. Alex Rodriguez in '04 ALCS
Directly or indirectly, Alex Rodriguez was the cause of a lot of anguish during the 2004 MLB season, particularly in the playoffs.
Ever since he tried to fight Jason Varitek during a critical Red Sox-Yankees series right before the trade deadline, he had a target on his back. He was brought in to be New York's missing piece, and the Yankees needed him to be exactly that in the playoffs that year. They needed him to deliver. They needed him to withstand the pressure.
A-Rod did none of those things.
Keeping up with his less-than-desirable postseason reputation, A-Rod hit .258 in the ALCS against the hated Red Sox with just two homers and five RBIs. Plus, there was his horrific base-running gaffe in Game 6 that pretty much solidified the fact that Red Sox would have all the momentum for the remainder of the series.
A-Rod should't have called in sick. He should have just stayed in Texas.
14. Ryan Leaf in '98
Almost every quarterback in the NFL has had a terrible performance here or there, but the most terrible performance of Ryan Leaf's career was downright historic.
The embattled former first-round draft pick did not get off to a good start during his first professional season in 1998. In his third game, the Chargers QB managed a feat that has been unparalleled by anyone else in the sport of football: He managed to finish a game with a 0.0 passer rating.
Leaf went 1-for-15 with a mere four passing yards and three fumbles.
Definitely should've stayed home.
13. Manu Ginobili in Game 6 of '13 NBA Finals
The Spurs were 28.2 seconds away—28.2 seconds—from dispatching the mighty Miami Heat for good. They were 28.2 seconds away from defeating Goliath. They were 28.2 seconds away from earning an NBA championship that everyone was ready to just hand over to LeBron James before the 2012-13 season even began.
But they blew it.
One heroic three-pointer by Ray Allen to force overtime, and the momentum had totally swung back into the Heat's favor. San Antonio led at the half and led at the end of the third quarter but was outscored in the final frame and allowed that one good look to Allen with just over five seconds remaining to blow it.
The loss was a team effort, but no one's effort (or lack thereof) stands out more than that of Manu Ginobili. The 35-year-old guard—who submitted a monster performance in a Game 5 win—apparently had nothing left in the tank for this one, finishing with nine points, three assists, four personal fouls and a game-high eight turnovers.
12. Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira (Present)
On their own, either of these guys could be a viable cleanup hitter. If it was 2007.
Given the way each of them has started the 2013 campaign for the Yankees, they should have just stayed on the DL.
Tuesday was an unfortunate day for New York: It had to announce that both Youk and Tex would be out of commission for the foreseeable future. Youkilis (and his .219 average in 28 games) needs surgery on a herniated disc in his back and will be out 10-12 weeks; Teixeira (and his .151 average in 15 games) will head back to the DL because of inflammation in his right wrist.
This would be easier to swallow if those two guys didn't account for a combined $34.5 million this season. And if the Yankees weren't four games back in the AL East.
11. The Malkin/Crosby/Letang Trifecta
7/2 odds of winning the Stanley Cup. 3/2 odds of winning the Eastern Conference. Owners of the alleged best two players in the world, plus a (unfathomable) Norris Trophy finalist. Decisive winners at the trade deadline.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins.
As we all know, things didn't go so well for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang & Co. in the Eastern Conference Finals. They got swept by the Boston Bruins, they got embarrassed at home and on the road and they went home looking like ridiculous, whiny babies, thanks to The Face of the NHL.
But nothing enraged Penguins fans more than seeing the scoring totals that accompanied those three superstars by series' end: zeroes. Zeroes across the board. No points or goals for any of them—and they combined for 14 goals and 47 points during the strike-shortened regular season.
They really didn't even need to show up.
10. Chris Bosh vs. Paul George
Chris Bosh is good, obviously. He won an NBA title last year and could very well find himself in possession of a second ring very soon.
But sometimes, he embarrasses himself, like he did trying to block this Paul George shot in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Bosh got absolutely posterized by the Pacers swingman. There was no hope for him.
What hurt even more was that Bosh's Heat would go on to lose to the Pacers 91-77, and Bosh would finish the game with a mere five points, four rebounds and one terrible play.
At least it came with a hilariously awesome call, though, courtesy of TNT commentator Marv Albert. Watch and enjoy.
9. Kaspars Daugavins in '13 Stanley Cup Finals
He may have once been the proprietor of an amazing mustache, but an amazing mustache does not a Stanley Cup Finals superstar make.
Kaspars Daugavins was the man the Bruins chose to replace fourth-line center Gregory Campbell after Campbell took a Evgeni Malkin slap shot to the leg. He really isn't doing Campbell proud.
Thus far in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks, the 25-year-old Daugavins has posted zeroes across the board. Zero goals, zero assists, zero points and a lovely minus-1. Bruins coach Claude Julien has all but confirmed the fact that he has zero faith in the winger: During Wednesday's overtime loss, he registered a series-low 5:57 on the ice.
Like the struggling, under-performing heroes who came before him, there's still time for Daugavins to rebound. Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley did it. He can, too.
Or maybe he should just spend more time grooming another 'stache.
8. BJ Upton (Present)
BJ Upton signed a big old five-year, $75 million deal in the offseason that made lots of Braves fans very happy.
That was then. This is now.
It was exciting in November when the Braves announced that BJ would be joining brother Justin in their outfield. They were expecting to get the durable player who hit a career-high 28 homers in 2012 with the Rays, who was the only center fielder to play at least 144 games in the last five seasons and who averaged 39 stolen bases during that span.
What the Braves have realized they are getting, though, is a guy who gets benched more frequently than he steals a base and who is hitting a meager .173.
7. Roy Halladay (Present)
Roy Halladay is one of the greatest pitchers ever. He is a sure-fire Hall of Famer. He is a legend.
But you can't pitch like your arm is made of rubber forever.
Halladay has spoiled his fans. For most of recent history, it didn't matter how old he was; he still pitched like he was 28 and wearing a Blue Jays uniform. In 2011, for instance—at the age of 34—Halladay won 19 games for the Phillies. He posted a 2.35 ERA and registered 220 strikeouts, finishing second in the Cy Young voting.
Last year was almost as impressive: fewer wins (on a worse team), significantly fewer innings pitched and nearly 100 fewer strikeouts.
This season, though, the other shoe has dropped. Halladay went 2-4 for the Phillies with an ERA of 8.65 before announcing in May that he would need surgery to repair a bone spur, a partially-torn rotator cuff and a frayed labrum, according to USA Today.
Should have just stayed home.
6. John Starks in Game 7 of 1994 NBA Finals
There are guys who save their best performances for the most important times. They save them for the times when their backs are against the wall. They are gamers.
And then there are guys like John Starks.
The Knicks guard had brighter times. He was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 1997 and was an All-Star once—in 1994, which was also the year of one of his darkest days as a basketball player.
During Game 7 of the NBA Finals that year against the Rockets, Starks submitted a historically terrible performance: 2-for-18 overall, 0-for-10 in the fourth quarter. Ten shots, zero makes.
Needless to say, the Knicks lost the title, and you can honestly say that New York would have been better off with their All-Star on the bench.
5. Freddie Mitchell in Super Bowl XXXIX
So back when the Patriots could still win Super Bowls, this happened.
The stage was set for Super Bowl XXXIX, Patriots vs. Eagles. Philadelphia wideout Freddie Mitchell—who, by the way, had a spectacular four-year NFL career in which he never accumulated more than 498 yards in a single season—was very eager to give New England some totally unnecessary bulletin board material.
That is why he said, before the game, that he was not intimidated by the Patriots' defense and couldn't even tell you their names, only their uniform numbers (which, by the way, he actually didn't know).
Not only did it prompt this epic line from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick—
"He's terrible, and you can print that."
—but Mitchell finished Super Bowl XXXIX with a whopping one reception for 11 yards.
By the way, the Eagles lost.
4. John Lackey in '11
There were people in the world who were happy when the Boston Red Sox announced in 2010 that they planned to pay John Lackey $82.5 million over five years.
Those people are probably hiding in a cave at this point.
Lackey was decent in eight seasons for the Angels. He definitely capitalized on the fact that when he hit the free agent market, the Red Sox were desperate and there were approximately zero other starting pitchers worth considering.
Therefore, you could argue that it's not his fault he took millions of dollars to be terrible in 2011 and sit out the entirety of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
When someone offers you $85 million, you don't say, "Thanks, but no thanks because I'm really not that good."
Lackey and his 6.41 ERA sure did prove that he deserved that ace money in his first season in Boston, when he went 2-4 with an 8.22 ERA over his final six starts of the season to help the Red Sox engineer the most humiliating September collapse in baseball history.
3. Matt Cain in April '13
The San Francisco Giants have won two of the last three World Series. Very impressive. They've done it with stellar pitching, some of which came from Matt Cain last season.
Sometimes, when you have a really, really spectacular, superhumanly-awesome season, it can make whatever you do in the aftermath pale in comparison. That's the risk of being outrageously good for one year. The subsequent downfall always seems much steeper than it actually is.
In 2012, Cain had the best year of his career. He went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA. He pitched Game 4 of the World Series, giving the Giants seven strong innings.
So…World Series hangover in April?
Cain—who, by the way, signed a six-year, $127 million contract in April 2012 that made him the most well-paid RHP in baseball—must have been giving the Giants brass heart palpitations this April. He could not have been any worse in his first five starts.
He escaped with just two losses, but his team lost every game he started until his last start of the month. In those first five attempts, he allowed 21 earned runs in 28.2 innings, allowing six home runs and 30 hits.
World Series hangover indeed. Should have stayed in bed until May.
2. Ty Detmer vs. Browns in '01
We've seen a quarterback who threw four interceptions in one game. We've seen a quarterback who finished a game with a passer rating of 0.0.
But there is one guy who one-upped both of them. There is one guy who threw not four, not five, but seven interceptions in a single game.
I give you Ty Detmer.
Detmer is yet another former Heisman Trophy winner who didn't pan out in the NFL, serving mostly in backup roles for five teams—and that is clearly a role in which he should have remained. Perhaps then, the events of Sept. 23, 2001 would never have happened.
I will let you peep this for a moment.
Yes. He threw seven interceptions and is listed first under Top Performers, because how could he not be? That is a feat. That is an accomplishment.
Detmer was traded from Cleveland to Detroit earlier in the 2001 season and remains the only living organism to make them look smart because when he played against them after being traded away, he got picked off SEVEN TIMES.
1. Jason Terry (vs. LeBron James)
LeBron James has posterized a lot of people in his life. But the victim who suffered the most embarrassing posterization is none other than Jason Terry.
Jason Terry doesn't like to get shown up. He doesn't like to lose. He likes to run his mouth and be a pest and get in guys' heads and force them into doing something stupid.
None of that worked against King James on March 18, 2013.
In the second quarter of a game between the Celtics and the Heat, Terry had an idea in his head that he was going to block LeBron one-on-one on an alleyoop off a turnover.
It didn't work. And the technical foul LeBron received after staring down his roadkill was 100 percent worth it.
Watch and enjoy.