Not only have the Red Sox had a lot of epic performances and games over the years, but they’ve also had their share of comical moments. In the grind of a 162-game season, you need a flash of light every now and then.
Here are eight that gave Red Sox fans some laughs.
1. Manny cuts off Damon’s throw
July 21, 2004
In the midst of what would turn into the most memorable season in Red Sox history, the night of July 21 -- a 10-5 loss to the Orioles -- would have been erased from memory if not for one of the most perplexing plays ever. It might not surprise you to know that Manny Ramirez was in the middle of it. David Newhan belted one off the wall in center field, and Johnny Damon made a valiant effort on a leaping catch, but it bounced off the wall and took a bad carom. Damon chased it down, and then he fired the relay throw.
But before the throw could get close to the infield, Ramirez, who was playing left field and not standing all that far in front of Damon, made a diving catch of his teammate’s throw. Ramirez then threw it to the intended relay man, shortstop Mark Bellhorn. Thanks to the extra step created by Ramirez, Bellhorn’s throw to the plate was too late to get Newhan, who slid home for an inside-the-park, two-run homer against Pedro Martinez. Of all the Manny-being-Manny moments throughout the years, this one probably topped the list.
2. Nomar tapes Pedro to dugout pole
June 25, 1999
As much as Martinez was known for his dominance on the mound, he was known for being a goof off of it, particularly in the dugout during games. Martinez could be downright hyper on days he wasn’t pitching. His teammates noticed. On a Friday night in 1999, Red Sox star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra took the matter into his own hands, using a roll of white tape to tie Martinez to a pole in the dugout. Pitcher Mark Portugal helped out Garciaparra. As Martinez playfully shouted, Garciaparra then taped the pitcher’s mouth shut as well.
When the Red Sox recorded the final out in their 6-1 win over the White Sox, they left Martinez tied to the pole as they formed the traditional victory line in the dugout.
“Pedro’s going to pitch here tomorrow at 4 o’clock over most of these stations, and hopefully he’ll be freed by then,” said Red Sox play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough. No worse for the wear, Martinez and Boston beat Chicago, 17-1, the following day en route to his 23-4 season.
3. The pizza throw
April 16, 2007
On a gloomy Monday afternoon at Fenway Park -- it was the annual Patriots' Day game -- J.D. Drew hit a short foul popup down the third-base line, and Angels left fielder Garret Anderson tried to make a play. So did a couple of fans sitting in the front row. The ball squirted free and was ruled foul, and beer splattered from the cups of two customers due to the impact of Anderson.
But the fun was just getting started. One of the fans who couldn’t catch the ball -- and got beer on the back of his jacket -- had a slice of pizza thrown just under his neck by another spectator. NESN play-by-play man Don Orsillo and analyst Jerry Remy were in hysterics over the incident. Remy noted that the fan who threw the slice of pizza was asked to leave the park, joking that the reason was, “ruining a good piece of pizza.” NESN showed another replay with an incredulous Remy asking, “Why did he do that? Was it because he thought [the other fan] was interfering with a play?”
The camera then zoomed in on the slice of pizza face down on the railing in front of the first row. “Someone should put that in a bag and make sure they take that away to secure the evidence,” Orsillo said. “CSI Miami will be here soon to collect the evidence,” Remy said. “I’ll tell you what, I’d eat that thing,” Remy said. Of all the hilarious bits Remy and Orsillo did throughout their 15 seasons together, this one probably topped the list. The Red Sox won the game, 7-2, behind Josh Beckett. But the lasting highlight from that day will always be the pizza throw.
4. Psycho runs into Barrett … but Red Sox somehow win anyway
May 18, 1986
There would be many wild wins for the Red Sox in 1986, but none of them ended in as comical or joyous a way as this one. Trailing the Rangers, 4-3, in the bottom of the 10th, Steve Lyons was on first base for the Red Sox and Marty Barrett was at the plate. Lyons should have been picked off, but the throw by Texas pitcher Greg Harris got away for an error. Lyons moved to second with one out, Barrett laced one down the line in right and George Wright dove for it but the ball squirted away. The problem is that Lyons thought Wright caught it, so he went racing back to second base. Just as he slid back to second, Barrett arrived feet-first on the other side of the bag at the same time for his double.
Realizing he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Lyons again took off for third. Wright ran the ball back toward the diamond and then heaved to third. The problem was that his throw was so off the mark that it bounced out of play. Not only was Lyons awarded home on the overthrow, but Barrett was too, and the Red Sox had themselves a walk-off win. It isn’t hard to figure out why Lyons carried the nickname of Psycho. He was traded to the White Sox five weeks later for Tom Seaver, and one headline writer dubbed it, “Cy Young for Psycho.”
5. Papi smashes dugout phone in Baltimore
July 27, 2013
Known for his smile that lights up a room, Red Sox legend David Ortiz was not smiling on a Saturday night in the middle of 2013 at Camden Yards in Baltimore when he struck out swinging. The issue was on the 3-1 pitch that Ortiz was so sure was high and out of the strike zone that he started trotting to first base, only to have home-plate umpire Tim Timmons call him back. Once he struck out, Ortiz barked at Timmons with such vigor that he was ejected. Ortiz then took three swings with his bat at the phone in the dugout. Dustin Pedroia had initially tried to restrain Ortiz, to no avail. As pieces of the phone started flying, Pedroia covered his head with a towel.
When Ortiz retired three years later, the Orioles presented Ortiz with the phone he broke as part of a retirement gift to the slugger.
6. Irate Yaz covers home plate with dirt
May 25, 1975
Though it would be a great season for the Red Sox that ended with a loss in Game 7 of the World Series to the Big Red Machine, frustrations boiled over for eventual Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski on this Sunday afternoon home game in 1975 against the Angels. When Ed Figueroa was credited with a strikeout looking on a pitch that Yaz deemed to be off the plate, the eventual first-ballot Hall of Famer lost his mind in an argument with home-plate umpire Lou DiMuro. Out of words to describe his frustration, Yastrzemski humorously covered home plate with dirt and slammed his helmet down as he got ejected in a 6-1 loss.
7. Manny high-fives fan after great catch
May 14, 2008
Ramirez was always more known for his big bat than his unpredictable glove. But every now and then, he would make a great catch. Such was the case during this mid-week matinee in Baltimore when he raced back and made an over-the-shoulder catch to rob his former teammate, Kevin Millar, of extra bases. As Ramirez followed through with the grab, he climbed up on the wall and spontaneously high-fived a fan in Red Sox gear. That was fairly remarkable, since the play wasn’t even over yet. Ramirez fired the ball back in for a relay to Pedroia, who threw to first to double off Aubrey Huff.
8. Rally Karaoke Guy
Aug. 21, 2003
The Red Sox had lost five in a row in the middle of the pennant race, and even the team’s entertainment staff was trying to find ways to help the team rally. Enter the Rally Karaoke Guy, which was inspired by the Rally Monkey in Anaheim, which was hugely popular at the time. The Rally Karaoke Guy was Millar.
The Red Sox had found a film of a college-aged Millar imitating Bruce Springsteen for the hit song, “Born in the USA”, and they played it between innings. The youthful Millar, wearing a skin-tight shirt, could be seen pumping his fist repeatedly and bobbing his head as he lip-synced the song. The Fenway fans loved it during that 14-5 win over Oakland, and it was played at every home game for the rest of the season.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.