March 15, 2010
I was watching the Twins-Tigers game the other night when Detroit pitcher Joel Zumaya unleashed a 99 mph fastball and ended up on the ground grasping his arm in agony. Turns out he fractured his elbow – obviously terrible news for Zumaya and his team. But if any good can come from this, it’s the fact that many of the media members discussing Zumaya’s injury have been compelled to mention that he famously missed a portion of the 2006 playoffs because his wrist was too sore from playing Guitar Hero. I’m certain his video game escapades weren’t real funny to Tigers fans at the time, but I find it humorous to reminisce about some of the absurd injuries that have sidelined professional athletes over the years. Here are 10 of my personal favorites:
Marty Cordova – The one-time Rookie-of-the-Year for the Twins became a punch-line when he missed a game after falling asleep in a tanning bed and ending up with a severe sunburn. The cast of Jersey Shore would be proud.
John Smoltz — The future Hall of Fame pitcher once burned himself trying to iron the wrinkles out of a shirt while he was wearing it.
Steve Sparks – The Milwaukee Brewers brought in a motivational group, which included a few guys bending metal pipes and tearing phone books in half with their bare hands. Sparks was motivated to try ripping a phone book in half the next day and dislocated his shoulder.
Chris Hanson – Not the guy from Dateline NBC, the former Jacksonville Jaguars punter. Jags head coach Jack Del Rio brought an axe into the locker room to remind his team to “keep chopping wood” for the rest of the season. Instead, the punter accidentally chopped his foot and missed the rest of the year.
Greg Harris – The Texas Rangers pitcher missed a few starts after his elbow became inflamed from flicking sunflower seeds at a teammate in the bullpen throughout an entire game.
Adam Eaton – Another Rangers pitcher, this guy was removing the cellophane from a new DVD and stabbed himself in the stomach with a knife.
Gus Frerotte – The Redskins quarterback was pumped up after scoring a touchdown and celebrated by head-butting a wall. Instead of playing the second half, he went to the hospital with a sprained neck.
Milton Bradley – The hot-headed baseball player injured his knee while attempting to confront an umpire — tearing his ACL as teammates tried to restrain him.
Bret Barberie – The Florida Marlins player missed a game after cutting up chili peppers for a plate of nachos and then putting in his contact lenses without washing his hands – burning his eyes in the process.
Kent Hrbek – One of my all-time favorite players, he ended up on the disabled list with a sprained ankle after bringing his professional wrestling alter ego, T- Rex, to life in a locker room “match” against a clubhouse attendant.
I think the lesson here is that pro athletes have way too much time on their hands – particularly baseball players. However, even marketing professionals are not immune to strange injuries. Our very own George Fiddler can be seen crutching his way around Fast Horse Headquarters these days. He had reconstructive surgery after blowing out his knee reaching for a piece of paper while on a conference call. True story (the short version anyway).