When Nationals pitcher Miguel Batista was announced as the emergency starter in place of rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg, he was booed. Batista joked, "Imagine if you go there to see Miss Universe and you end up having Miss Iowa. You might get those kind of boos.'' Well, Katherine Connors, the real Miss Iowa, was insulted. Batista ended up apologizing and sending flowers to Connors, who was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nats game.
At least he didn't need fake blood
When it was 0-8, the University of New Mexico lost its starting quarterback, Brad Gruner, with season-ending hand surgery. Was he hurt trying to stiff-arm a linebacker? Was he sacked by a big defensive end? Nope, he sliced his pinkie carving a jack-o'-lantern for Halloween.
Nick Saban did not approve this message
Dorothy Davidson, a candidate for mayor in Bessemer, Ala., sent out pamphlets with her standing next to Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban, who was allegedly endorsing her. Turns out, the photo was a fake. Davidson was photo-shopped over Saban's wife in an old photograph. A campaign manager took the blame, but still, Davidson did not win the election.
Now hurling for the Phillies
Matthew Clemens, a 21-year-old punk from Cherry Hill, N.J., showed just how classy Philadelphia fans are by getting drunk at a Phillies game and intentionally throwing up on an 11-year-old girl. He was arrested and sentenced to three months in jail and community service.
What do we do now?
Joe Branstrom, a high school basketball coach in Kansas, was blindfolded by his students at a pep rally and told that if he could make a half-court shot, he would win Final Four tickets. The prank was that the fans in attendance would go crazy as if he made the shot. Uh, one problem: Branstrom actually made the shot! An anonymous person got Branstrom the Final Four tickets.
Doing the right thing
Grant Desme, one of the top prospects in the Oakland A's organization and an MVP in the Arizona Fall League, was on the verge of being a major-leaguer when he abruptly quit to become a priest. Desme, 23, said, "I love the game, but I aspire to higher things.'' Meantime, a football player named Keith Fitzhugh turned down a chance to join the Jets for the final month to remain a train conductor. Fitzhugh said he wanted a secure job to help support his parents.
Nice job, brainiacs
Four Penn State football fans beat up another fan, breaking his nose in the process, because he was wearing the rival blue-and-yellow colors of Michigan, the team Penn State was playing. Turns out, the beaten-up fan was a Penn Stater, too. He was wearing a Halloween costume because it was, well, Halloween.
Whistle while you work
Jose Pinto, a goal keeper for Barcelona's soccer team, was suspended for two games in the European Champions League, because he could imitate a referee's whistle. Whenever it appeared an opposing player had a break, he would make his sound and the opponent would stop because he would think an offsides was called.
Look at me, ma
Tampa native Denard Span was playing in a spring training game for the Twins when he lined a foul ball into the stands. What are the odds that he hit a woman wearing a Span jersey? Actually, pretty good if that woman is your mother. Span's liner struck his mother in the chest, but after being checked out by paramedics, she returned to her seat.
He should've just carried the pads
Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant refused the long-standing tradition of carrying a veteran's pads during training camp. He said he would pay for a team dinner as his initiation instead. The bill for the meal? More than $55,000.
It's one thing for an NFL player to be on the receiving end of trash talk from a tough guy like Ray Lewis or James Harrison. But to get smacked down by Justin Bieber? The teenybopper laid into Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for stealing his haircut. In a video posted on YouTube, Bieber said, "Sacked like a sacker. Call up Mr. Brady. Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings Baby.''
Don't they use 'love' to keep score?
So which sport has the toughest fans? Soccer, maybe? Football? But in 2010, we have a major upset for toughest fans: tennis. At the U.S. Open, three fans decided to start their own little brawl. Goodness knows what the fight was about, but all three ended up losers. They have been banned from attending the U.S. Open until 2012.
Members of the Texas A&M-Commerce football team were caught on cameras stealing every copy of the student newspaper so no one would see a story about how two of its players were arrested on drug charges. Coach Guy Morriss said, "I'm proud of my players for doing that.'' And you wonder how these players have turned out to be such fine, outstanding young men.
For the birds
High school football games on the island of Kauai in Hawaii had to be postponed to the daytime because migrating seabirds mistook the stadium lights for the moon and stars and became disoriented. The birds would fall to the ground and then get attacked by cats. Call it Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of Friday Night Lights.
Injuries of the year
Here's a look at the wacky injuries that occurred this season (and these were just in baseball):
The Angels' Kendry Morales broke his leg while jumping on home after a walk-off homer.
Padres pitcher Mat Latos ended up on the disabled list when he strained a side muscle trying to stop a sneeze.
The Orioles' Brian Roberts missed the last week of the season with headaches because he clubbed himself over the head with a bat after striking out.
Marlins star Chris Coghlan, who went to East Lake High, needed knee surgery when he injured himself trying to hit teammate Wes Helms with a post-game shaving cream pie.
Baltimore's Luke Scott took 35 seconds to touch 'em all on June 30, but he wasn't hot-dogging. Scott blew out his hamstring rounding first. He finally touched home and went straight to the disabled list.
The Astros' Geoff Blum was putting on his shirt when he felt something in his elbow pop. Blum needed surgery to remove bone chips.
Orioles pitcher Brad Bergesen battled shoulder problems all season after he didn't warm up before throwing too many pitches while shooting a commercial for the team.
Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco missed the last two months of the season when he tore his meniscus while tying his shoe.
Rays pitcher Grant Balfour landed on the disabled list when he injured his side while horsing around with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey.
We finish with the Mariners' Russell Branyan — a former Ray — because ... well, you'll see why. First, while on a road trip, Branyan woke early in the morning and went to close the curtains. He tripped on a coffee table and missed a week with a bruised foot. Later in the season, while at a pizza joint with his young son, Branyan reached down to pick up his son's flip-flop. His chair slid out from underneath him and he missed the last three weeks of the season with a bruised tailbone.