Not-So-Picture Perfect: The Top 10 Ugliest Sports Feats
Cheese indeed. Back in March LeBron James unveiled yet another component to his ever-growing list of pregame histrionics when he told his Cleveland Cavaliers' teammates to gather close for a "family-style" portrait while he mimicked taking a photo of them.
At the time his teammates and Clevelanders thought it was another classic LeBron moment, but in retrospect James was probably taking the "photo" for himself to have as a keepsake for when he blew out of Cleveland for South Beach in a style that only Cleveland Browns' former owner Art Modell could top.
No matter if it's Cleveland, New York, or any of the other cities that were ultimately scorned by "The Decision" and burned by the Miami Heat. One thing is for certain: The hoopla and fanfare surrounding the whole James affair was ugly...downright ugly.
Speaking of ugly, we have decided to look past LeBron James and all that is wrong with sports and focus on...well...all that is wrong and ugly with sports. Welcome to "Not-So-Picture Perfect: The Top 10 Ugliest Sports Feats."
10. Joey Chestnut Downs 68 Dogs
The pain that world-famous competitive eater Joey Chestnut appears to be in is nothing compared to the pain that viewers are in when watching this sport.
OK, so competitive eating might not be a real sport, but you'd be hard-pressed to find an uglier event than one that involves grown men and women shoving franks and buns down their throats year after year at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York.
Don't let the number in the photo deceive you—on July 4, 2009, Joey Chestnut set a new record as he "skillfully" downed 68 Nathan's Famous hot dogs to fend off six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan.
On July 4, 2010 Chestnut successfully defended his mustard belt for the fourth straight year while Kobayashi found himself spending the night in jail after rushing the competition stage.
Who said there's no drama in the world of competitive eating?
9. Edwin Jackson's No-Hitter
What happens when you pitch an extremely unconventional no-hitter in which you throw 149 pitches (only 79 of which are strikes), give up eight walks while striking out only six batters, and almost get yourself taken out of the game in the third inning after walking the bases loaded, and the author of this slideshow just happens to be one of the very few fans in attendance that night?
You get a shaving cream pie shoved in your face and find yourself on the list of The Top 10 Ugliest Sports Feats.
Arizona Diamondbacks' pitcher Edwin Jackson entered the June 25, 2010 game against the Tampa Bay Rays (which just so happened to be his former team), with a 4-6 record and a 5.05 ERA. His Diamondbacks have had a dismal season, and his no-hitter was just as ugly.
The only other no-hitter in MLB history that compares to Jackson's 149-pitch, eight-walk, six-strikeout mess occurred on June 12, 1970 when former Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher Doc Ellis tossed a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in which he also walked eight and struck out six.
In fact the only discernible difference between Jackson's and Ellis' no-hitters is that at least Ellis' wildness was probably the result of him pitching the game under the influence of LSD.
Edwin Jackson's No-Hitter (Cont.)
Another side note to the ugly nature of Edwin Jackson's no-hitter was the atmosphere at Tropicana Field. With only 18,918 people in the stands, the Trop was only at 52.5 percent capacity. Of the fans who were still around by the eighth and ninth innings, very few seemed to be aware of the potential for history in the making.
However, do you see that Kane's Furniture board? Fans had their eyes glued to that board from the fifth inning on, as it was a part of a Rays game night promotion. If Rays' pitchers total 10 strikeouts for the game, then all fans in attendance win free pizza from Papa John's.
When the ninth inning arrived, the loudest cheers of the night erupted—not because Edwin Jackson was about to head to the mound to finish a no-hitter but because Rays' pitcher Grant Balfour struck out the 10th and final batter necessary for fans to win their pizzas.
Who needs to witness Edwin Jackson make history when you can have better ingredients, better pizza...Papa John's?
8. Mark Reynolds Sets Strikeout Record...Twice
"Hey batter, batter, swing batter!"
Arizona Diamondbacks' third baseman Mark Reynolds takes Ferris Bueller and Cameron Frye's words very seriously, as he is a batter who swings (and misses) more often than not. In fact in 2008 Reynolds broke Ryan Howard's MLB record for most strikeouts in a season (199) with 204 total strikeouts.
Apparently not satisfied with his 204 strikeouts in 2008, Reynolds shattered his own record by striking out a total of 223 times in 2009.
As 2010 has been dubbed the year of the pitcher, the odds are pretty favorable for Reynolds to complete a record-breaking strikeout three-peat.
In the words of the Dos Equis beer guy, "Stay thirsty my friend!"
7. Jamie Moyer, Pitching's Home Run King
Philadelphia Phillies' pitcher Jamie Moyer had a great time popping the bubbly after his team won the 2008 World Series, but there certainly was no champagne celebration following his most recent record-breaking performance.
On Sunday, June 27, 2010 the 47-year-old veteran southpaw served up a long ball to Toronto Blue Jays' CF Vernon Wells. The home run was the 506th allowed by Moyer in his long (very long!) career, breaking former Phillies' legend Robin Roberts' record for the most home runs ever given up by an MLB pitcher.
As former teammate and future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux once stated in a Nike commercial, "Chicks dig the long ball!"
Apparently Moyer does his part to please the ladies.
6. Cleveland's Championship Drought
The city of Cleveland definitely appears to be picture-perfect, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about its sports franchises.
No matter which talented athlete passes through the city—Bernie Kosar, Ozzie Newsome, Manny Ramirez, Omar Vizquel, CC Sabathia, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, or most recently, LeBron James, they all have one thing in common—the lack of a championship ring.
It's been almost half a century since Cleveland sports fans last experienced the euphoria of a championship season. Back in 1964 legendary running back Jim Brown led his Browns to the NFL Championship in the pre-Super Bowl era, and before that the most recent MLB championship had been in 1948 when the Indians won the World Series.
The Cavaliers have never won an NBA championship and the short-lived Barons never won NHL Hockey's prized Stanley Cup.
Whether it was The Drive, The Fumble, The Interception, The Shot, The Single, and now The Decision, one thing is for certain—for the city that is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the song remains the same:
"And the beat goes on..."
5. Buffalo Bills Lose 4 Straight Super Bowls
The look on Buffalo Bills' quarterback Jim Kelly's face said it all after each and every Super Bowl he appeared in.
The good news is that Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills are the only quarterback and team in NFL history to play in four consecutive Super Bowls (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, and XXVIII.
The bad news? Kelly and the Bills lost all four.
4. Ken Johnson Takes Loss in No-Hitter
It is quite common for pitchers to lose no-hitters after giving up hits in the latter innings of games, but to actually lose the game when pitching a no-hitter is virtually unheard of. However, that is exactly what happened to former Houston Colt .45s pitcher Ken Johnson.
On April 23, 1964 Johnson became the first and only pitcher in baseball history to lose a complete game no-hitter in nine innings when he was defeated 1-0 by the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately for Johnson, the ninth inning was his downfall, as the Reds' Pete Rose reached base on an error, advanced on a ground out, and scored as the result of another error.
Imagine that, losing a no-hitter by the score of 1-0. Washington Nationals' fans might want to keep Ken Johnson in mind the next time they complain about pitcher Stephen Strasburg's lack of run support.
3. Anthony Young Loses 27 Consecutive Decisions
The 1992-1993 seasons were two of the worst seasons in the history of the New York Mets, as they fell way short of the expectations that came with the free agent signings of Bobby Bonilla, Bret Saberhagen, Eddie Murray, and Vince Coleman.
However, as bad as the "Worst Team Money Could Buy" was, nobody was as awful as former Mets' pitcher Anthony Young.
Young, affectionately known as "AY" by teammates and fans, quickly became New York's most lovable loser. Unfortunately for Young, manager Jeff Torborg (and later Bud Harrelson) would continue to send him out to the mound, only for him to suffer loss after loss after loss.
Young was finally able to stop wiping the sweat from his brow on July 28, 1993 when the Mets scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the Florida Marlins and give AY his first win after 27 straight losses.
Young is currently coaching several Little League teams in the Houston area, which for AY must feel like a huge step up compared to his former Mets teams.
2. Detroit Lions Go 0-16
During a press conference on Friday, December 26, 2008 Detroit Lions' cornerback Travis Fisher said that he wouldn't fly back to Detroit from Green Bay if his 0-15 team somehow managed to find a way to beat the Packers that upcoming Sunday afternoon.
"If we win, I ain't catching the plane back home," he said with a laugh. "I'll walk back to Detroit."
Fisher never had to worry about walking back to Detroit as he boarded that plane as a founding member of the first team in NFL history to go 0-16.
Happy trails to you Mr. Fisher, happy trails.
1. Evander Holyfield Retains Heavyweight Title
With respect to British boxer Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson once stated, "My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious! I want your heart! I want to eat his children!"
Unfortunately for Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and his unborn children weren't around at the time, so Mike Tyson cured his carnivorous appetite by feasting on both of Holyfield's ears during the infamous Holyfield-Tyson II match between the two boxers on June 28, 1997.
Fans across the world were shocked by what they witnessed, as the ring announcer read the decision, "Referee Mills Lane has disqualified Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield on both of his ears."
Have no fear, the story has a happy ending for everyone involved. Aside from his ears being used as rawhide treats, Holyfield retained his heavyweight title. A childless Lennox Lewis would go on to defeat Tyson in a match held on June 12, 2002.
As for Tyson, he would tattoo his face in 2003 and appear in the hit movie "The Hangover" in 2009.
All's well that ends well.