After a rough few innings in his start last Saturday, Yankee pitcher A.J. Burnett had to come out of the game when a few mysterious cuts appeared on his hand. First, he said that he’d fallen down some steps. Then the truth came out: After falling behind 3-0, the righty punched swinging doors in the clubhouse. The doors — they are Yankee Stadium doors, after all — didn’t take kindly to that and cut up Burnett’s hand.
“I’m an honest person, I don’t need to make up a lie,” Burnett said. “I was embarrassed.”
But Burnett’s not alone in the lie or the act itself. Outside of knocking over Gatorade coolers, attacking walls — and losing the battle — tends to be the favorite pastime of punchless pitchers. Guys like Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, Oliver Perez and Ryan Madson have proven that over the years. In fact, professional athletes have a long history of going to battle with stationary objects and emerging on the losing side. Here are the 10 best examples for your schadenfreude pleasure.
No. 10: Gus Frerotte vs. Wall
Gus Frerotte couldn’t outrun much during his 13-year career as an NFL quarterback, rushing for only 196 total yards in 147 games. But he could, we thought, outmaneuver a wall. We were wrong. While playing for the Redskins in 1997, Frerotte celebrated a one-yard TD run by headbutting the lightly-padded, heavily-cemented wall behind the end zone and sending himself to the hospital with a sprained neck. He was released from the ER later that day, but after going to the Pro Bowl a year before, his career never recovered.
No. 9: Kevin Mitchell vs. Donut
Kevin Mitchell’s intentions were always good. The results weren’t. The man who famously told the Mets’ clubhouse manager in ’86 “Holy shit! You mean to tell me the Statue of Liberty is here in New York? I’ve got to call my brother and tell him,” once strained a rib vomiting and later had to miss time when he broke a tooth biting into an over-microwaved donut.
No. 8: Troy Tulowitzki vs. Bat
Things weren’t going so good for Tulo in 2008. The 2007 Rookie of the Year couldn’t quite harness the fire that made Rockies fans momentarily care about baseball the previous fall. Then, three weeks after coming back from a torn thigh tendon, manager Clint Hurdle pulled him late in the game. Tulowitzki responded by slamming his bat on the ground. The bat responded by shattering and making the first solid contact it had in two weeks, gashing Tulo’s palm and sending him back to the DL.
No. 7: Roger Craig vs. Bra
Bras have confounded males for generations, gumming up the fragile wheels of seduction for a century. But rarely have they done as much actual damage as they did to former San Francisco Giants manager Roger Craig, who showed up to the ballpark one day with a deep gash on his hand. Turns out he’d been involved in a terrible bra accident the night before and made it to work the next day…earning the full support of his team.
No. 6: Ken Griffey, Jr. vs. Cup
Junior, one of the most coordinated players in the history of the game, took…well, he took his eye off the ball. When his protective cup slipped during a game, it pinched a testicle and caused him to miss the next game. Years later, when teammate Adrian Beltre came back from his own groin injury, Griffey made sure the PA address played Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker on his arrival. Low blow.