L.A. Dodgers: The Chavez Ravine Fire and 8 Bizarre Stadium Incidents
Dodger stadium hasn't been all fun and games in 2011. Besides the fact that the Dodgers are under .500 at home, fans have been given several other reasons to think twice about going to a Dodger game.
Just two months ago, a Giants fan was beaten up and put in critical condition in the stadium parking lot. Then, just nine days ago, a fire mysteriously broke out in a storage room in the upper deck at Chavez Ravine, during a game between the Dodgers and the Florida Marlins. Luckily, the fans from that section were relocated fairly easily and no injuries were reported.
Of course, when you realize that there are more than 2400 games in a typical Major League Baseball season, not including the postseason, along with the fact that the sport has been around for 125 years, it is not surprising that bizarre events happen from time to time.
There have been countless strange, wacky, or just downright disturbing occurrences that have taken place during major league games.
The following eight come to mind.
Ten Cent Beer Night
There have been very few promotions with less risk than Ten Cent Beer Night in Cleveland.
Unsurprisingly, fans became intoxicated quickly and in great quantity.
Before the game even started, fans set off fireworks from their seats.
During the game, various fans ran onto the field and exposed themselves, including a woman flashing her breasts in the on-deck circle, as well as a father and son both mooning the crowd. At one point, during the middle of the fourth inning, a naked man ran onto the field and slid into second base.
In the ninth inning, with the score tied 5-5, things really got out of hand, as fans began pelting players with cups, rocks, bottles, hot dogs, radio batteries, popcorn containers, and folding chairs.
Umpire Nestor Chylak called the game a forfeit in favor of Texas.
Disco Demolition Night
Major League Baseball has certainly had an impact on American pop culture over the years, but never in the same light as it had on July 12, 1979 at Disco Demolition Night.
Fans could get into Comiskey Park to see the Chicago White Sox host the Detroit Tigers for 98 cents if they brought a disco record to be destroyed. A crowd of about 12,000 was expected to turn out, but an estimated 90,000 people showed up to Comiskey Park, which only held about 52,000 seats.
Popular Chicago disc jockey Steve Dahl led the event and blew up a gigantic box full of disco records on the field.
[After the records were blown up], "all hell broke loose,” said Tigers starting pitcher Jack Morris. “They charged the field and started tearing up the pitching rubber and the dirt. They took the bases. They started digging out home plate.” Fans even burned banners and climbed foul poles.
The event is frequently characterized as the emblematic moment of the anti-disco crusade
Last Game in Washington D.C.
Before the Rangers moved to Texas, they were named the Senators and played their first 11 seasons in Washington D.C.
The Senators didn't have many memorable moments during their time in Washington. After all, they averaged just over 67 wins per season and finished above .500 just once in 11 years. However, their last game in Washington was among the most memorable, and certainly one of the most bizarre games, in major league history.
Washington came into the game with a 63-95 record, hosting the New York Yankees (81-80), who were also out of playoff contention. The Senators had a 7-5 lead in the top of the ninth inning, but with two outs in the ninth inning, fans starting pouring onto the field.
Fans grabbed bases, dug up the mound and also ripped off pieces of the scoreboard.
“I saw them going crazy, and I just hoped I could get to the dugout, said Senators rightfielder Del Unser. It was basically you just grab your hat and run for it. It was a little broken-field running through the crowd, but nobody was after us, they were after souvenirs from the stadium.”
The public address announcer made an announcement, warning the crowd of a potential forfeit if they did not return to their seats. However, fans were undaunted by the forfeiture threat and continued to mess up the field. The police, security guards and umpires were severely outnumbered and had no answer.
Washington was forced to forefit and finished the season 63-96. They have been in Texas ever since.
Randy Myers is perhaps best remembered for his time on the Cincinnati Reds as one of the three nasty boys, a nickname given to him and relievers Norm Charlton and Rob Dibble of the 1990 World champion Reds team. But up until the 1995 season, Myers had only showed his nasty side on the mound.
However, in late September of 1995, while Myers was with the Chicago Cubs, his martial arts skills came into play. The Cubs were playing the first of a four game series against Houston, and they were three games out of the NL Wild Card spot with four games remaining.
With the game tied 7-7 in the top of the 8th inning, Myers allowed a two-run home run to Astros pinch hitter James Moulton. Then, out of nowhere, a 27-year old fan named John Murray ran onto the field in an attempt to fight Myers.
Myers actually saw Murray coming. He immediately dropped his glove and knocked Murray down with his forearm. The two rolled on the ground near the pitcher's mound before Myers pinned Murray down and the rest of the Cubs ran onto the field to break up the fight.
"I was watching the game with some friends and I told them if Myers gives up another homer to a guy I'm going to run out on the field and yell at him," Murray said. "In retrospect, it was a bad move on my part."
Bill Spiers Gets a Strange Visitor
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During a game between the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee Brewers, in late September of 1999, Astros rightfielder Bill Spiers had an unexpected visitor.
In one of the most random bizarre moments in MLB history, a fan jumped from the outfield stands into right field, then preceded to jump on the back of Spiers, who never saw him coming.
"He jumped on my shoulders," said Spiers, who ended up with a welt under his left eye, a bloody nose and whiplash. "He never said a word."
Spiers was unable to shake him off, but Astros starting pitcher Mike Hampton, who was going for his 21st win of the season, helped lead the rescue. Hampton kicked Spier's attacker several times.
"It was a scary thing, said Hampton. My instincts just took over. My rage took over. I was pretty furious. I wanted to get him off my teammate."
Roger Clemens vs. Mike Piazza
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If you take steroids out the equation, Mike Piazza would easily go down as the best hitting catcher of all-time. Meanwhile, Roger Clemens, who earned a record seven Cy Young awards, can certainly be thought of as one of the top 10-15 greatest pitchers of all time.
Back in 2000, during a regular season interleague game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, Clemens beaned Piazza in the head with a fastball. Piazza was hospitalized with a concussion and was forced him to miss the 2000 All-Star game.
Piazza had been (8-14) lifetime against Clemens, a .571 batting average, so conversation inevitably arose as to whether Clemens had hit Piazza on purpose.
Fast forward to game 2 of the 2000 World Series between the two New York rivals and once again Clemens and Piazza were matched up against one another.
During Piazza's first at bat against the seven-time Cy Young winner, he broke his bat into three pieces on a foul ball, but he began to run towards first because he could't tell if the ball was fair or foul. One of the pieces of the bat rolled towards Clemens, who then tossed the bat in Piazza's direction.
"What's your problem!" Piazza yelled several times. Then, both benches cleared and headed towards the mound.
"He had no response," Piazza said. "It was a bizarre incident."
Piazza ended up grounding out to second. The Yankees won the game 6-5 and went on to win the World Series in five games.
When Hot Dog Races Go Wrong
Randall Simon only played two full major league seasons, but he still managed to make a strong impression around the league.
From 2002-2003, Simon hit .290 with 35 home runs and 154 RBI, while playing first base for the Detroit Tigers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs. However, he is perhaps best known for his ill-advised decision of hitting a participant in the Milwaukee Brewers' sausage race with a bat.
Before the bottom of the sixth inning of every Brewers' home game, a race takes place between participants wearing a polish sausage, an oversized bratwurst, a hot dog and an Italian sausage.
The same was true in July of 2003, during the middle of the sixth inning of a game between the Pirates and the Brewers. During the race, as the participants ran past the Pirates dugout, Simon randomly swung a bat at the lady wearing the Italian sausage costume.
The Italian sausage collided into a female wearing the hot dog costume. Both fell and were taken to a Miller Park first aid center for treatment.
"I thought at the moment they were trying to play with us, said Simon. They were running right next to the players," he said. "I'm a fun player, and I've never hurt anyone in my life."
It was one of those strange moments that looked funny in one way, but very dangerous in another.
Fire at Dodger Stadium
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The 2011 season has been a disappointment for the Los Angeles Dodgers both on and off the field. But after their game against the Marlins a week and half ago, it appears that they may have already reached their low point of the season.
On May 28th, during the sixth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Florida Marlins, a fire broke out in the top deck.
Officials on the scene said that a small fire of paper products was the cause of the smoke. Luckily, it was put out by firefighters within 20 minutes. Thousands of fans were relocated, but fortunately nobody was hurt.
The loss brought the Dodgers to a regular season record of 23-30, their worst record of the season to date. Since that loss, the Dodgers have won five out of seven. Perhaps even more impressively, the Dodgers have scored at least seven runs in all five of their wins, after having scored just 80 runs in their previous 29 games (2.7 per game).