Watch your step as crazy stuff is happening

Injuries, quotes, factoids, historians and comedians of the month.

Originally Published: August 20, 2003
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Injuries of the month
First prize: Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford missed a game Aug. 9 after colliding in the outfield before the game with Charlie LaMar, the 10-year-old son of GM Chuck LaMar. Crawford stepped on his foot, turned an ankle and had to go for X-rays. Fortunately, those X-rays were negative. But we have a feeling the GM won't be playing arbitration hardball with Crawford any time soon.

Second prize: Reds reliever Scott Sullivan cut his cheek during a photo session last week? How? He was at the Cincinnati Zoo -- and got accidentally clawed by an ocelot.

Franco
Franco

Third prize: Braves first baseman Julio Franco has now been on the disabled list in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, but his current injury is his all-timer. He was talking in the weight room Monday with Jason Marquis, leaned on the wrong stand at the wrong time and inspired an 80-pound weight to roll over his finger, breaking it.

"When the weight started to roll," Franco said, "I said, 'Uh-oh.' "

Box score lines of the month
Mano a mano division: Brewers ace Ben Sheets gave up 10 runs in a game for the second time in his career Aug. 13. See if you can find a connection. Here's the latest line, in a game in Philadelphia:

5 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP

His pitching opponent: Kevin Millwood.

And here's the previous 10-run line, from Aug. 5, 2001, vs. Atlanta:

5 1/3 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

His pitching opponent that game: the very same Kevin Millwood.

Quote of the day: "I don't know what it is, but I haven't pitched well against him," Sheets told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Drew Olsen. "I better get over it."

Minor league division: Midland's Shane Komine gave up two quick touchdowns in a game last Saturday vs. Arkansas. His funky line:

2 1/3 IP, 10 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 23 batters, 7 outs in what turned out to be the biggest blowout in the history of the Texas League: Arkansas 21, Midland 0.

Good negotiating division: Greg Maddux had gone almost a month and a half without losing until he ran into the Padres on Aug. 12, whereupon he spun off this eminently un-Maddux-like line:

River rat of the month
Stairs
Stairs

And the first player to hit two balls into the Allegheny River, floating out behind the right-field fence at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, is ...

Matt Stairs, ladies and gentlemen.

Stairs conked a 461-foot homer off Houston's Tim Redding recently that bounced into the Allegheny. Two years ago, as a Cub, he'd hopped one into the water off Bronson Arroyo. But Stairs says he'd like to go down to the river one more time.

"I still want to hit a homer into the river on the fly, though," Stairs told the Beaver County Times' John Perrotto. "Maybe pull one down the right-field line and sink a ship."

5 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.

Factoids of the day: Maddux just missed tying his career high in hits allowed. He threw a 14-hitter against the Cubs on May 15, 1999. ... But more incredibly, the 14-4 loss marked the third time this season the Braves had lost one of Maddux's starts by 10 runs or more. (They lost 17-1 and 16-2 games in April.) Before this season, he'd started 327 regular-season games as a Brave, and they'd lost only one of them by double digits -- and that was at Coors Field (19-8, on June 7, 1996).

Quote of the day: From the Padres' Phil Nevin, on rumors Maddux is building a house in San Diego and wants to sign with the Padres next year: "We try to get Maddux's numbers up so we don't have to pay him as much next year."

Derby fans of the month
When the 2005 All-Star Game was awarded to Detroit this month, there was only one thought on the mind of the Tigers who have come to call Comerica Park their home, not-so-sweet home.

"I'm waiting to see that home run derby," Dmitri Young told Booth Newspapers' Danny Knobler. "Somebody's going to win it -- with three."

Ex-owner of the month
Now that Nelson Doubleday has sold his share of the Mets, he can give up diplomacy and practice sounding like a caller to the Michael Kay Show. Just check out a few of his recent reviews of the Mets, to the Newark Star-Ledger's Lawrence Rocca:

  • On how often he uses his season tickets: "I have season tickets, and we have used them six times. People have asked us for them six times. I think we have to attach a $20 bill to get someone to take them, go out there on the Long Island Expressway and see who will take them."

  • On Jeff Wilpon, the son of former co-owner Fred Wilpon: "Jeff sits there by himself like he's King Tut waiting for his camel. Hump one. Hump two. They like that -- two for the price of one."

  • On the Robby Alomar trade: "I saw a comment in another paper after the (Roberto) Alomar trade that it was a very good trade, but it would have been an excellent trade if they had included Jeff Wilpon."

  • On Mo Vaughn: "They made him lose weight so they didn't have to feed him so much in the team lunch basket. ... Bobby Valentine said, 'Sure, I can make him a first baseman.' He can probably make a first baseman out of the Empire State Building. They have about the same mobility."

    Whoah. This guy makes George Steinbrenner look like a cheerleader.

    Bobblehead of the month
    Since the All-Star break, White Sox bopper Paul Konerko has hit .297 and slugged .506 -- after winning our LVP (Least Valuable Player) honors in the first half, when he hit .197, with five homers and 22 RBI.

    Konerko
    Konerko

    Well, we can now reveal the true turning point in Konerko's year, courtesy of our bobblehead czar, David Hallstrom. It was (what else?) his bobblehead day.

    It was back on July 18, his second game after the break. He went 2-for-4, became the second player this season to hit a home run on his bobblehead day, and finally got his average out of Mendoza Land. He's been on a roll ever since.

    Of course, maybe that's because he didn't just sit around during the break.

    "I worked with the kids at FanFest, if that counts," Konerko told MLB.com. "I swung a little Styrofoam bat -- so I got my swings in."

    Historian of the month
    It's now 18 years since one of our Wild Pitchers heroes, Jim Deshaies, won 12 games for the 1985 Astros. That set the hallowed record for Most Wins By An Astros Rookie. And it stood for many years.

    But then, two years ago, along came Roy Oswalt to obliterate that one. But Deshaies, ever alert to the preservation of his own history, was quick to point out that he still holds the record for Most Wins By An Astros Rookie Who Pitched Left-handed.

    This year, however, Jeriome Robertson is already up to 11 wins. And it's clear yet another storied Jim Deshaies mark is about to topple.

    When asked by our pal, Chuck Pool, how he's handling this inevitability, Deshaies replied: "I'm clinging to the Astros rookie wins record by a left-hander born east of the Mississippi."

    Comedians of the month
    Finally, best of the late-night baseball quips:

  • Third prize: From Jay Leno: "Good news for the economy. President Bush is off on a 35-day vacation. Who else can take a month off? Besides the Dodgers."

  • Second prize: From Conan O'Brien, on his proposed new state motto for Connecticut: "The state the Red Sox have to drive through after losing to the Yankees."

  • First prize: From Craig Kilborn: "Some of Ted Williams' DNA is missing. And Italian scientists have cloned a sheep that hits lefty."

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

    Jayson Stark | email

    Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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