|Animals were harmed in making this list|
By Jeff Merron
Page 2 staff
Ozzy the osprey lived a simple life, enjoying a view of Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Fla., from his perch atop a 40-foot lightpole. He liked baseball, nesting with his mate and playing with his brood of young chicks.
Sadly, Ozzy passed away on Monday, a week after Jae Kuk Ryu, a 19-year-old pitcher for the Class A Daytona Cubs, hit Ozzy with a baseball in an attempt to knock him off his home.
Also, we're sad to report this is not the first time something like this has happened. In honor of those animals who gave, so we could enjoy our games, our list of the worst 10 cases of sports and animal cruelty:
1. Jackie Sherrill's motivational move
"The whole story came up when I asked our players what a steer was and none of them knew what a steer was," Sherrill said after the incident caused a national furor. "People say (the Texas mascot) is a longhorn steer. Is that a bull, or is he a steer?"
Sherrill added that the demonstration performed on "Wild Willie" was done to educate and motivate the team. The motivational part worked, at least -- Missisippi State, a two-point underdog, won 28-10. After being widely criticized, Sherrill offered a quarter-hearted apology.
"Even though I was not involved in the procedure that took place, I take responsibility," he said. "If this incident was in any way not perceived as proper by those who love Mississippi State, then I apologize."
2. Rameses stabbed and gutted
A few months later Wade pleaded guilty, apologized for what he had did, and said that he had committed the crime while drunk and hungry. "He later realized what he had done and could not eat the quarter of the ram" he had carried away, said the DA.
3. Randy Johnson and the dove
"I'm sitting there waiting for (the pitch), and I'm expecting to catch the thing, and all you see is an explosion," said Diamondbacks catcher Rod Barajas. "It's crazy. There's still feathers down there."
"It exploded, feathers and everything, just 'poof!'" said Murray. "There were nothing but feathers laying on home plate. I never saw the ball, nothing but feathers."
Murray said the pitch should have been called a ball, but it was ruled no pitch.
One wag suggested that the bird might have fared better had it been wearing a batting helmet. Johnson, noting the fun those around him were having with the incident, said, "I didn't think it was all that funny."
4. Kevin Mitchell beheads cat
5. The flying octopi of Detroit
The Red Wings swept their way to the Cup, and the tradition endured. During the 1996 playoffs, a record 50-pounder flew onto the surface, and was carted around on the Zamboni between periods.
According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, the practice of tossing the mollusks onto the ice after each Red Wings goal has resulted in a lucrative business when the Wings make the playoffs, with fans buying them from a local market at $9.95 a pound. But PETA finds the practice far from acceptable.
"In recent days the team owner (Michael Ilitch) seems to be promoting it and encouraging the practice," said a PETA person. "Flinging an octopus is no more acceptable than hurling kittens and puppies."
6. Dave Winfield kills seagull
"They say he hit the gull on purpose," said Yanks manager Billy Martin "They wouldn't say that if they'd seen the throws he'd been making all year. It's the first time he's hit the cutoff man."
The charges were dropped the next day.
7. Harvey the Hound loses his tongue
At one point, Harvey leaned over the glass, and MacTavish pounced on the opportunity, swiping Harvey's foot-long tongue right out of his mouth, and waving it like a trophy before the crowd.
MacTavish had no regrets. "You deal with a lot of stuff as a coach, and Harvey the Hound isn't normally in the job description, nor should it be," he said.
Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock thought something should be done to help the mascot. "A Save Harvey fund," he suggested. "Hopefully they get that done. Harvey needs his tongue back."
8. Golfer clubs black swan
Trump had imported four black swans in all. Before Alex's death, another had been eaten by an alligator.
9. Ozzy the osprey knocked from perch
10. Mariner Moose smashes into wall, breaks ankle
To his credit, the Moose didn't complain about being mistreated or being forced to perform the stunt. The replacement Moose simply called the accident a "tough break."