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Chute Happens
September 08, 2008
A brief history of the aerial entrance
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September 08, 2008

Chute Happens

A brief history of the aerial entrance

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How do sports stars fit in? Weirdest celeb name you ever heard I'm totally addicted to ... Favorite song to dance to Kimmel, Leno or Letterman ____ should play my coach on-screen
BRIAN ANDERSON White Sox CF Djimon Hounsou Texting and online shopping Any boy-band song Leno Cheech Marin ( Ozzie Guillen)
BOBBY CARPENTER Cowboys LB Apple, Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Working out Cupid Shuffle Leno Bill Pullman ( Wade Phillips)
JAMES RILEY Earthquakes D Coco Crisp (below, in milk) Rock Band, iChat and Korean food Put On by Young Jeezy Leno David Duchovny ( Frank Yallop)
ANDY SONNANSTINE Devil Rays P Iceberg Slim Rock Band Hip Hop Saved My Life by Lupe Fiasco Leno Malcolm McDowell ( Joe Maddon)

IT WASN'T a good week for parachutists. Last Friday, the Cincinnati Bearcats' mascot got tangled in a wire as he alighted with the game ball for the school's opener against Eastern Kentucky. The next night two parachutists landed at Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium an hour before the Blue Devils' game against James Madison. Alas, they were supposed to be at the North Carolina-- McNeese State game in Chapel Hill—eight miles away. They're just the latest evidence that maybe men (and mascots) aren't meant to fly.

April 1978
The first ball at a Triple A game in Tucson is delivered by a skydiver. A nude skydiver. The prank was ordered by a Toros coach, and the authorities are not amused. "She tried to throw out the first pitch, but she couldn't get it through the screen in the paddy wagon," says Rich Donnelly, who was then Tucson's manager. "I think she was a dancer at the Cha Cha Club."

April 1983
As the mayor of Baltimore looks skyward, the Orioles mascot misses Memorial Stadium on Opening Day and lands in the parking lot. The following year President Reagan is on hand to watch the birdie give it another go—and nearly impale himself on the foul pole.

November 1993
Attention-seeker James Miller drops in on the Evander Holyfield-- Riddick Bowe heavyweight title fight unannounced in the seventh round. Wearing a chute powered by a giant fan, Miller, 29, crashes into the outdoor ring and tumbles onto the apron, where he's pummeled by Bowe's entourage. "It was a heavyweight fight, and I was the only guy who got knocked out," says Miller.

April 1997
As Florida's Billy the Marlin drops toward Pro Player Stadium, he loses his head at 7,000 feet. Literally. Wanting to spare children the sight of a headless mascot, the Navy SEAL inside the costume diverts himself into the parking lot. The head is found on the Florida Turnpike after three troubling months. "I was worried that it might turn up on a bank robber," says Florida's Jeff Conine. "I didn't want somebody to start wearing Billy's head and go on a crime spree."

The Pop Culture Grid
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]