Thursday, November 23, 2017

2014 was a good year for wacky sports stories


The weird. The wacky. The bizarre. The just plain dumb and funny. Usually this time of year, we look back at the special athletes and the great moments of the year. But it's also time to look back at the offbeat sports of 2014. Enjoy.

They're collector's items

Moments after the BCS championship game between Auburn and Florida State, the FSU online store was selling T-shirts that read "Tigers 34 Noles 31.'' You would think the winning school would get the winning score right, right? FSU — that would be the 'Noles — won 34-31.


Pro wrestler Ric "Nature Boy'' Flair took some serious flak and even a few threats from Carolina Panthers fans after he gave a pep talk to the 49ers before their playoff game with Packers. Flair, a North Carolina resident, said, "What I can I say? I've always been a very good heel.''

No running in the house

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland missed the start of the season after tearing cartilage in his left knee when his dog ran into him while running up the stairs. Cursed? Well, his dog's name is Wrigley.

Blue cheese or ranch?

Molly Schuyler, a 5-7, 126-pound mother of four, ate 363 wings over 30 minutes to set the record at the Wing Bowl 22 in Philadelphia. Previous record was 337 by Takeru Kobayashi. Schuyler won $22,000. She also holds world record for eating a 72-ounce steak in less than three minutes. None of this is a misprint, including the 126-pound part.

Make my day

Actor and director Clint Eastwood (bottom left) saved the day at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when he saved the life of tournament director Steve John. Apparently, John choked on a piece of cheese and Eastwood performed the Heimlich maneuver. Now get off my lawn.

Thanks, but ...

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson received plenty of congratulatory texts after he won the Daytona 500 back in February. One problem: he didn't win. The 2014 race was delayed by rain and Fox broadcast a re-run of the 2013 race, which Johnson did win. Maybe Johnson needs some smarter friends.

And the Oscar goes to ...

Baseball reliever John Axford is in the wrong business. On Facebook, he posted predictions for 18 Academy Award categories. And he was right on all 18. How about that: 18-for-18 on this picks. To bad he is not as good at pitching. He was only 10-for-13 in save opportunities with the Pirates.

Watch your step

Bizarre injury of the year goes to Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who had his spring training debut delayed because he stepped barefoot on a cactus. Where was he, in a cartoon?

What's the buzz?

A Yankees-Red Sox spring game in Tampa was delayed seven minutes. Quick-passing Florida rainstorm? Nope. Bees. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said: "What I thought is, if you just do a line of honey out of the ballpark, the bees would maybe follow it and then leave us alone.''

... And a Diet Coke, please

This season, the Diamondbacks introduced a corn dog that cost $25. It is 18 inches long and stuffed with cheddar, jalapenos and bacon. Calories? The D'backs tweeted: "We're still counting.''

Stepping up, paying up

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (right) was so sure that Duke would beat 14th-seeded Mercer in the NCAA Tournament that he promised fan Dylan Hoyt two tickets on the 50-yard line for a Falcons game if Duke lost. Sure enough, Duke lost. White made good on his word … and then some. White got Hoyt two Falcons tickets, two Super Bowl tickets and a VIP guest pass at Falcons training camp.

RIP Pele

CNN reported on Twitter in March that Brazilian soccer star Pele (above) had died. Except the 73-year-old was alive and (sorry the pun) still kicking. Nineteen minutes after the tweet went out, CNN corrected its error.

Make yourself a dang quesadilla

U.S. skiing great Bode Miller and his wife tried to take a quesadilla onto the course at the Masters, but were told they could not. Miller said, "If you pay $7,500 (for tickets), you should be able to bring out a quesadilla.'' And if you're lucky enough to get Masters tickets, you should stop your complaining.


Remember when Bobby Brady joined the chorus and was teased by his football teammates until Deacon Jones came to his rescue? He was no songbird. But Yale junior basketball player Brandon Sharrod (abover right) is. The 6-foot-6 forward left the basketball team after he was one of 14 students selected to be a part of the Whiffenpoofs, the school's famous male a cappella singing group that has been around since 1909 and includes composer Cole Porter as one of its former members. Hey, the Whiffenpoofs were Ivy League favorites.

This does sound like the Cubs

A 1927 photo of aviator Charles Lindberg (right) was included in a mural celebrating the 100th anniversary of Chicago's Wrigley Field. One problem: the photo was taken at Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox and since demolished. This is who you work for now, Joe Maddon.

Iron Miguel

Evoking memories of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, Dodgers Triple-A Albuquerque infielder Alex Guerrero needed plastic surgery after his left ear was bitten by teammate Miguel Olivo in a dugout fight. Olivo was angry that Guerrero failed to tag out a runner. Miguel is Spanish for Mike.

What are you, a wiseguy?

Worst news conference of the year following a Nicolas Mahut match at the French Open.

Reporter: Congratulations.

Mahut (left): Congratulations? I lost.

Reporter: You lost? Okay, what happened out there?

Mahut: Are you serious? Did you watch the match?

Reporter: No, I didn't. I was told that you won. I'm sorry.

Two minutes for ...

Flyers star Claude Giroux spent a night in jail after repeatedly grabbing the buttocks of an Ottawa police officer in a bar. Authorities said they believed alcohol was involved. Gee, you think?

Can they ring cowbells, too?

A Korean baseball team struggling with attendance put robot fans in the seats to improve the atmosphere at games. The robots can cheer, chant and even perform the wave. Can they travel? To the Trop?

May the fore be with you

The KLM Open in Amsterdam offered a unique hole-in-one prize pack. XCOR Aerospace offered a trip to space if anyone aced the 15th hole. Turns out, European Tour golfer Andy Sullivan did, in fact, make a hole-in-one in September. He isn't sure he will collect. "I'll see what the Mrs. says.''

The wrong man

Yes, even NFL players play fantasy football. Such as Giants tight end Larry Donnell (right). He even drafted himself. So he must have been really excited when he had a career day with seven catches for more than 50 yards and three touchdowns. But, turns out, Donnell benched himself that day in favor of 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who didn't do a thing. Numbskull! Had he played himself that day, he would have won.

Irish, Gamecocks potentially await USF women this weekend

Irish, Gamecocks potentially await USF women this weekend

The extended Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, with Christmas on deck. A season of bountiful dining, though some are wondering if Jose Fernandez has bitten off a bit more than he can chew.One thing's certain: There's not a cream puff or cupcake to be ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 5 hours ago
New Weeki Wachee basketball coach transitions from years on college sidelines

New Weeki Wachee basketball coach transitions from years on college sidelines

WEEKI WACHEE — Mark Lee was looking for an accomplished coach to take over Weeki Wachee High’s boys basketball team. Not only did he find what he was searching for, but he may have gone above and beyond with the hiring of Rick Scruggs.The 30-year vet...
Published: 11/23/17

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winston’s off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Published: 11/22/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Lightning-Blackhawks game

Every Lightning-Blackhawks game at Amalie Arena has a good representation of red in the stands. And Wednesday’s matchup was no exception, with a large contingent of transplants and travelers. "It feels like half the city of Chicago is traveling down ...
Published: 11/22/17

Thursday’s sports on TV/radio

TodayCollege footballMississippi at Mississippi State7:30 p.m.ESPNCollege basketballMissouri vs. Long Beach State11:30 a.m.ESPN2Tennessee vs. Villanova12:30 p.m.ESPNSt. John’s vs. Oregon State2 p.m.ESPNUPortland vs. North Carolina2:30 p.m.ESPNNorth C...
Published: 11/22/17
Niederreiter stays hot for Wild in win

Niederreiter stays hot for Wild in win

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund each scored two goals to lead the Wild to a 5-4 victory over the Sabres on Wednesday night. Tyler Ennis also scored, and Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter each had two assists as the Wild snapped a two-g...
Published: 11/22/17