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12 Weirdest Stadium Malfunctions

by: Esteban On  Thursday, December 22, 2011

weirdest stadium malfunctions


If you happened to be watching the Monday Night Football game between the 49ers and Steelers the other day, then you were treated to a bizarre spectacle. Early in the second quarter, with the home team up 6-0, all the lights went out at Candlestick Park.

Personally, after the brawls that occurred at Candlestick during the preseason, suddenly being plunged into darkness there would have made me a little uneasy. But the lights went back on after 16 minutes and everything was okay.

Of course, this was hardly the first time a stadium malfunction has delayed or impacted a major sporting event. So today, Total Pro Sports brings you a list of 12 other weird stadium malfunctions. In time, we’ll have a better idea of where the 2011 MNF power outage might rank on this list.

Check ‘em out.

12. Padding Problem at SunLife


In April of 2010 during a game between the Marlins and Dodgers in Miami, some of the padding came off the base of the foul pole in right field. It caused an 8-minutes delay—which was just enough time to ice the Dodgers pitcher, Vincente Padilla. The Marlins followed the delay with a hit and then a 3-run homer.

Accident, or conspiracy?

11. Notre Dame Overtime Sprinklers


In 2008, a football game between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh took went to quadruple overtime and became the longest game in the history of Notre Dame Stadium.

Also of note: during the 3rd overtime, the automatic sprinklers went off. I guess they weren’t counting on triple overtime game when they set the sprinkler schedule.

10. Sharks Mascot Gets Stuck in the Rafters

sharkie stuck in raftersBefore a 1999 hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings, the now-retired Sharks mascot—S.J. Sharkie—attempted to make a death-defying entrance into the arena by rappelling down from the rafters before the game. Unfortunately, he got stuck in mid air and ended up delaying the start of the game. (I don’t know why they couldn’t just play with him dangling there.)

9. Sprinklers Go Off During Giants-A’s Game

During a 2008 baseball game between Bay-area rivals Oakland and San Francisco at the Giants’ AT&T Park, the sprinklers suddenly went off right in the middle of the 9th inning. It could have been a coincidence, or it could have been an attempt by the giants to get A’s closer Houston Street off his game.

Of course, if it was a conspiracy, it didn’t work. Street closed out the game for a 5-1 A’s victory.

8. Tie: Escalator Incidents at Coors Field and Giants Stadium

escalator accident at giants stadiumIn 2003, a down escalator at Denver’s Coors Field suddenly sped up, sending about a dozen people flying forward. The dangerous malfunction sent several people to the hospital.

Then, in 2007, almost the same thing happened at Giants Stadium in New Jersey during a football game. The escalator suddenly sped up and sent people flying. Luckily, the most serious injury was “only” a fractured leg.

(I put only in quotation marks because, to the person with the fractured leg, it probably didn’t feel all that insignificant.)

7. Vancouver Winter Olympics Cauldron Malfunction


This one probably went unnoticed by most viewers. But during the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, one entire leg of the giant cauldron failed to rise up out of the stadium floor like it was supposed to. In the video clip here, at the bottom of the screen, you can see a big hole in the floor where the fourth leg was supposed to come out.

How’d you like to be the engineer who spent years designing that thing for this one big dramatic moment, then see it fail in front of a hundred million people on live television?

6. Vince Coleman Attacked by Tarp

vince coleman tarpPrior to Game 4 of the 1985 National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Dodgers, a freak incident knocked Vince Coleman, one of the Cardinals most important players out of the playoffs.

During a routine pre-game workout, the automatic tarpaulin system at the old Busch Stadium kicked into action, surprising the Cards’ Rookie of the Year, running over him and injured his leg. The team would go on to beat the Dodgers, but would lose to Kansas City in a 7-game World Series. So they really could have used Vince Coleman.

(That’s why they don’t have automatic tarps anymore.)

5. Lights Out at Playoff Game Between Canes and Devils


An NHL playoff game between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils in 2006 got interesting when the lights suddenly went off at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

This was not the first time the lights went out during and NHL playoff game, however… (keep reading)

4. Metrodome Collapse


Just last December, a game between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants was delayed after a huge snowfall made the air-supported roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapse. Luckily, Fox had already set up their video equipment, so the whole thing was caught on tape.

Also lucky: the fact that no one was hurt.

3. “Lights Out at the Garden”

boston gardenIn 1988, during the Stanley Cup Finals between the Bruins and Oilers at Boston Garden, a power outage with the score tied at 3-3 in the 2nd period forced the cancellation of Game 4. (The Oilers went on to win the Cup.)

Here’s the amazing part: almost the exact same thing happened two years later. Same teams, same stakes, only it was Game 1 and they were able to get the lights back on so the Oilers could win in triple overtime. (And the Oilers again went on to win the Cup.)

2. Pittsburgh Zamboni Massacre


Our #2 weirdest stadium malfunction gets the award for most gruesome delay of a professional sporting event.

One of the zambonis at a 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins game starting leaking hydraulic fluid while cleaning the ice at intermission. Of course, it just so happens that hydraulic fluid is blood red. So it looked an awful lot like the zamboni ran somebody over out on the ice.

1. Fire “Sprinklers” Go Off at the Alamo Dome


The San Antonio Spurs’ home opener against the Golden State Warrior in 1995 was delayed for 50 minutes after smoke from a pyrotechnics display set off the sprinkler system at the Alamodome.

But you know how they say everything is bigger in Texas, right? Well, that include fire sprinklers apparently, which at the Alamodome were more like fire hydrants. They spewed who know how many gallons of water all over the fans and the court before building engineers could get them shut off.

That’s one hell of a malfunction.




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