Wild Kingdom Streakers: Our Favorite Animals Who Think They’re Athletes
"We've got a squirrel."
Saturday night, with the LSU Tigers baseball team down 9–4 in the 7th inning to the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks, a miracle occurred in Baton Rouge: a possum wandered onto the field, to the confusion of the Hogs defense and the delight of the ESPN announcing crew.
An inspired LSU squad ended up coming back and winning in the tenth, inspired no doubt by the brave defiance of their swampy neighbor. And lo: a hashtag was born. (Or, at least, resuscitated; somewhat improbably, the Oakland A’s had a #rallypossum of their own two summers ago.)
So in honor of the latest creature to find its way onto the playing field, we put together a list of our favorite gatecrashers from the animal kingdom.
Randy Johnson vs. The Bird
Randy Johnson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and for good reason: Five Cy Youngs, five no-hitters, one perfect game, dat mullet, etc. And despite all that he accomplished in his career, the first suggested Google search when you start to type his name is “Randy Johnson bird.” That’s how mind-blowing a moment it was. Didn’t hurt, either, that such a microcosmically rare incident happened to such a microcosmically rare player. Plus, you just know that, when the impact occurred, John Kruk—wherever he was—shuddered.
Manu Ginobili vs. The Bat
Bats—like European NBA players—tend to get a bad rap. No creature is perfect, though, and if Manu Ginobili can rock his bald spot with as much swag as he has managed to do, so too, then, can a bat dream of being the Spurs’ sixth man. Eh, not really. Those things have rabies. But that didn’t stop Manu from using his lightning-quick hands to swat one out of the freakin’ sky at the AT&T Center in 2009. Ah, Ginobili! Ah, humanity!
Squirrel vs. propriety at the US Open
Are there any four words in the English language as foreboding as “We’ve got a squirrel”? When those biblical words were uttered at last year’s US Open, they were predictably followed by such additions—on what appears to be the Australian telecast, anyway—as “It could be rabid” and “That’s the most this crowd has cheered all match.” Haha, tennis. Hilarious.
California Condor vs. Bakersfield Condors
Usually when an animal makes its way onto the ice at a hockey game, it’s been thrown there. Not the case for this bird of prey, who makes a—let’s call it less-than-majestic entrance at a Bakersfield Condors minor-league hockey game. When people say that hockey isn’t supposed to be played in the desert, this is exactly the kind of thing they’re talking about.
Two dogs vs. injury time in Turkish soccer
“We are dogs! Look at all these humans we can play with! They are already playing! They want to play with us! Dogs!” Most likely what these excited Labrador Retrievers that interrupted a Galatasaray and Aalen soccer match would have been yelling if only they could speak. Honestly, just Google “dogs on the pitch” and you’ll find yourself lost amidst the epic cuteness of dogs that just wanna play ball. There is nothing more adorable.
Alligator vs. Louisiana stereotypes at the Zurich Classic
Golf has never been more exciting than the time a massive three-legged beast of an alligator decided to take a stroll through the green during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The course is renowned for its reptilian inhabitants, but this big lug is stubbornly eager to steal the spotlight and visit with the humans. Onlookers and players leave him be and keep their distance as he makes his slow crawl across the fairway.
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Reveille vs. the future at Texas A&M
Reveille is the highest-ranking member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Her handler is responsible for taking her everywhere with him, including to class, and if she barks, the professor is required to end the session early. She is referred to strictly as “Miss Rev, ma’am” by other cadets. All former Reveilles are buried in the north end zone of Kyle Field, so they can watch Aggie football forevermore. This Reveille saw the shadows flickering on the wall of the cave, and she dared to turn around.
Cat vs. (Mike) Trout at Angel Stadium
Just one of many MLB players to contribute to the great tradition of fish-based last names (Tim Salmon, Mike Carp, Kevin Bass, etc.), Mike Trout could lure even the most self-respecting cat to run onto the field—so it was no surprise to find that situation playing itself out this week at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Luckily for Trout, though, a cat whisperer was able to somehow scoop up the fur-ball and calm him down (seriously, how did he do that?), rivaling Steve Martin in one of the greatest cat-based performances in the last century.