There's a lot of buzz around the office cooler this morning about Thursday's Rockies-Diamondbacks game, which was called after five innings after a swarm of bees relentlessly attacked Rockies pitcher Darren Oliver, then chased D-Backs shortstop Sergio Santos deep into center field.
Why do such things happen? Well, just bee-cause.
But games have been called for lots of weird reasons. And no doubt in a year or two the "bee game," solidly ensconsed in sports lore, will be trotted out the next time a bizarre calamity causes a sudden and rude break in the action.
Here are 10 unforgettable ones. You might remember some.
1. Beer Night (Rangers at Indians, June 4, 1974)
Ten ounces, 10 cents, not quite nine innings. That's what happened when the Indians' brain trust came up with the idea of building attendance with cheap booze. Even 30 years ago, a 10-cent beer was a bargain, and 65,000 "fans" showed their appreciation by getting completely, collectively toasted. There was a streaker. Home-plate umpire Nestor Chylak might have appreciated the amorous propensities of a smoocher, if she hadn't tried to plant one mid-game. The brawls in the stands were sometimes interrupted by real game action, but things kept getting worse as the drunken disorderlies pelted the Rangers' bullpen with beer and fireworks.
The game continued past those disturbances, but was finally called in the ninth when fans came after Rangers right fielder Jeff Burroughs. The Rangers defended their mate by coming after the fans with bats. The fans retaliated by swarming the field with broken bottles and chairs and other imaginative weapons. Four players were injured, Chylak's wrist and head were cut, and Chylak forced the Indians to forfeit the game.
The Indians decided to cancel the three Beer Nights left on the home slate.
2. A big upgrade comes (crashing) down (Bruins at Sabres, Nov. 16, 1996)
Just a few hours before the Bruins and Sabres were scheduled to face off at the brand-spanking new Marine Midland Arena, the prize jewel of the new facility recognized gravity as its righteous ruler. The scoreboard, a $4 million, eight-sided behemoth, suspended high above the ice, came tumbling down. Fortunately, nobody was on the surface. The game was rescheduled for March.
3. Disco Demolition Night (Tigers at White Sox, July 12, 1979)
Bill Veeck's son, Mike, hated disco. Bill, who never met a gimmick he didn't like, said yes to Mike's idea to boost attendance for a July 1979 White Sox-Tigers doubleheader: Blow up a crate of disco records with a quarter-stick of dynamite between games. Fans could bring an LP or 45 to the game to add to the pile and get in for 98 cents. Comiskey sold out. Extra discs brought to the game were flying throughout the first game, prompting Ron LeFlore to wear a batting helmet while he patrolled right field.
After the first game, Steve Dahl, a popular local DJ, blew up the records, and mayhem ensued as fans rushed the field by the thousands. Jim Keen, a fan who was there, recalled that the fans ran all over the field for 45 minutes. But, he told the Chicago Tribune in 1989, "It was no riot. We were just sliding into bases, running around and acting like the Sox just won the pennant. They hadn't won one in 20 years, so we figured we'd never get a real chance. Looking back, of course, we were right."