Major League malfunctions |

Major League malfunctions

It’s a fickle and dangerous world out there, even for professional athletes. Just ask Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, who tweaked his left knee Thursday, forcing him to leave the game. It wasn’t the hitter’s scamper around the bases on an attempted inside-the-park home run that led to the soreness, but the aftermath. After being called out, Crawford flailed his arms and jumped up and down like a 3-year-old. He landed awkwardly, then fell to the turf in pain. He’s been out three games since. Then there’s Mariano Rivera. Baseball’s best closer had to watch from the sidelines Thursday as Kyle Farnsworth squandered a Yankees lead in the ninth. Two days later, Chien Ming Wang was closing out games for New York. Why? Because Mo was experiencing back spasms he suffered while tying his shoelaces. Seriously.What’s next? Bernie Williams cuts his hand on a guitar string while performing songs from his album “The Journey Within” during a pregame locker-room concert? Derek Jeter becomes the victim of a freak toaster oven incident?It could happen. In fact, judging by previous events, we shouldn’t be that surprised if it does. Wherever there are professional athletes, freak incidents aren’t far behind. And the results? Hilarious. Remember: These are highly trained, highly paid professionals. Don’t try this at home.Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent once came to spring training sporting a cast on a broken hand he said he suffered in a fall while washing his car. Reports later surfaced that Kent was injured while doing tricks on his motorcycle and thus violated the terms of his contract. Seriously Jeff, a car-washing fiasco? That’s the best you could come up with?Padres pitcher Adam Eaton missed a start after he was attempting to unwrap a DVD and stabbed himself in the abdomen with a knife. Eaton needed two stitches. Talk about an interesting plot twist.Former Giants manager Roger Craig once cut his hand on a bra strap – I’d be willing to bet the injury didn’t land him on the 15-day DL. I’m sure all the single men reading this feel for you, Roger. Former Blue Jays designated hitter Glenallen Hill went on the DL after suffering cuts while smashing through a glass coffee table. Hill was dreaming that he was being attacked by spiders. Try explaining that to the team trainer and general manager. That’s a nightmare. Kevin Mitchell, a former outfielder with the Mets and Giants, once injured himself while eating a cupcake. I thought this was odd until I found out Mitchell missed the first four days of spring training in 1990 when he was hurt eating a microwaved donut. Mr. Mitchell: Back away from the sugary treats. Athletes and food create a volatile mix. Tom Glavine broke a rib in 1992 after throwing up airplane food. We can all relate.Ryan Klesko once pulled a muscle while picking up his lunch tray. Bret Barberie, a former Marlins middle infielder, missed a game after inadvertently rubbing chili juice in his eye. And Rangers outfielder Oddibe McDowell sliced his hand while buttering a roll. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make this stuff up.Denver quarterback Brian Griese missed a start because his dog ran him over, spraining his ankle. In 2002, Griese tripped on a steep driveway at a friend’s house and was knocked unconscious. Who knew dodging the pass rush was easier than eluding a dog – or asphalt?Another Colorado standout, Clint Barmes, makes the list. Barmes, who was carrying venison up the stairs at his apartment complex, fell and broke his collarbone. He needed surgery, and was inactive for three months. The Rockies struggled deer-ly in Barmes’ absence. The best blunders are those that result from a complete lack of common sense. There’s really no other way to explain how former Detroit knuckleballer Steve Sparks dislocated his shoulder while attempting to tear a phone book in half.Former Oriole Mark Smith injured a hand after sticking it in an air conditioner to “find out why it wasn’t working.” Funny, yes, until you realize sports stars are role models for the world’s impressionable youth – and we though global warming was the most pressing issue for the future. The player who stands above, or below, the rest is Braves pitcher John Smoltz. The future Hall of Famer burned himself while ironing a shirt – he was wearing that shirt at the time. He must’ve been playing ball instead of attending home ec. Let’s hope, for his sake, this information doesn’t make it on the plaque at Cooperstown.Don’t hang your head, Mo. You’re certainly not alone. Heck, this isn’t even a complete list. Wade Boggs even had a footwear foul-up. He strained his back while pulling on cowboy boots, and landed on the bench for seven games. Maybe “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was onto something.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is

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