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Top 10 animal invasions in sports

Yes, a star was born Monday across the pond when a kitty cat invaded the soccer pitch at Liverpool’s Anfield during their EPL game with Tottenham.  Don’t believe me that a cat can become a star overnight?  Just check out the Anfield Cat Twitter account, which now has almost 30,000 followers and growing!  That’s more than Awful Announcing’s Twitter page (insert cheap plug for @awfulannouncing here).  

But, as crazy events like this tend to do, the Anfield Cat got us to thinking about other moments when animals invaded our sporting events.  Here’s 10 of our favorite moments in our most ridiculous, yet most adorable countdown yet.  Well… except for the animals who didn’t quite survive their moment in the spotlight, they might not see this as an adorable list.

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(10) A bear walks the course at the U.S. Senior Open
-One of the best qualities of golf is the enjoyment of nature while playing the game.  As an outdoor sport, it’s not uncommon for golfers to come across all sorts of critters from squirrels and birds, to deer and aligators.  But, at the U.S. Senior Open, a black bear might have caused a bit of panic when it decided to play through.  How this clip lead to a Tim Kurkjian breakdown of man vs. bear is beyond me though.

(9) Bird meets its demise at tennis match
-I don’t know how old this clip is, or who the tennis players are involved, but it was clearly a bad day to be a bird.  The only thing missing is the tennis player saying “Cerrano kill a living thing?!” as he kneels and prays over the bird.  Let’s hope it got a decent burial!  Ah, who cares it’s a rat with wings! (If you don’t get these references please go watch Major League II… right now, I’ll wait.)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MzntWI6pkJA

(8) Rabbit races for Touchdown at Michigan
-Here’s another old clip where it would be great to know more information.  A rabbit runs the length of the field at Michigan to score a TD while an unknown announcer calls the action like a modern-day Gus Johnson.  Who was that announcer?  What ever happened to that rabbit?  At least there’s a modest tie-in here to announcing.

(7) TPC Turtle takes a dive at Players Championship
-The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass is often called golf’s 5th major.  But, the most memorable moment from the 2011 version wasn’t the golf itself, but this turtle who performed a masterful swan dive on the 16th green.  Sadly, we haven’t heard from the little bugger in months.

(6) Anfield Cat
-Yesterday’s cat that invaded Liverpool’s Anfield has to rank as the most adorable animal invasion on our list for several reasons.  One, the cat didn’t meet its untimely end.  Two, isn’t it precious?  Maybe that’s the side of me that was forced to get kittens after marriage, but seeing the little guy/gal run around just warms your heart.  Granted, a few years ago, I would have rather seen Brad Friedel kick the cat into the stands… but I’m a man changed for the better.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=CIvRrcugSRg

(5) The bugs invade the ALDS
-Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS will always be remembered as “The Bug Game” when thousands, no MILLIONS of tiny insects swarmed the pitchers mound.  Joba Chamberlain ended up blowing his save and the Indians would win the game.  Of course, there are no good clips because of MLB’s archane video policy, so here’s a Youtube compilaiton of pictures that makes it look like a 1950’s horror movie promo.

(4) Rally Squirrel rallies Cardinals
-Another playoff baseball game, another invasion that changed the course of a game.  The bugs that invaded Cleveland didn’t help the Indians advance any further in 2007.  But, the now famous “Rally Squirrel” that invaded Busch Stadium multiple times during the 2011 NLDS between the Cardinals and Phillies changed the course of the 2011 postseason.   Not only did the Rally Squirrel undoubtedly help the Cardinals win the World Series, but it’s become a crossover phenomenon with t-shirts, theme songs, and baseball cards!

(3) Manu Ginobili catches a bat with his bare hands
-I think this is the most self-explanatory clip in our countdown.  A pesky bat was wreaking havoc during a Spurs game.  That is, until Manu “Van Helsing” Ginobili slayed the beast with one mighty swat of his hand.  I wonder if any of his teammates worried about Manu turning in to a blood-sucking vampire after the ordeal.

(2) Randy Johnson kills a bird
-Apparently, birds and sports just don’t mix.  We’ve already seen a tennis ball kill one bird earlier in our list.  But, I’d like to think it’s demise wasn’t as painful as this poor bird who was on the receiving end of a Randy Johsnon fastball during spring training.  If anything, let’s hope the bird’s death was instant.  In fact, I bet it didn’t even feel a thing.

(1) A black cat curses the ’69 Cubs

-Perhaps no franchise has seen as much terror come from animal invaders than the Chicago Cubs. Of course, there’s the curse of the Billy Goat that hangs over the franchise like a black cloud.  There was also Steve Bartman in the 2003 NLCS, although calling him an animal might be a tad bit of a stretch.  But, the most infamous instance of bad luck from animals comes from 1969.  The Cubs were leading the pennant race late in the season, until a black cat crossed Ron Santo’s path in the batting circle.  For those of you who don’t believe in bad luck, the Cubs went on to choke away their lead to the Mets, who went on to win the World Series.  Meanwhile, the Cubs still haven’t won since 1908. Apparently, there’s not enough animal sacrifices that can take place at Wrigley to overcome their checkered past of animal invasions.

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