KC Royals fans saw an odd sight in Monday’s game against the Cardinals when a bird flew right in front of third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert just as a pitch was arriving from St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright.
With a the count at 3 balls and 2 strikes in the second inning of the Kansas City Royals 6-2 win over the Cardinals, Wainwright threw what appeared to be an 84 mph change-up as a bird flew across home plate. The ball both narrowly missed the bird as well as Cuthbert’s swinging bat. It looked like the sort of thing you saw in a cartoon as a kid, or some of the more ridiculous CGI from an action movie.
You can see the play by clicking the below video from MLB.com:
The amazing thing to me is that Cuthbert somehow managed to make contact with the ball despite the distraction. Cuthbert didn’t get rewarded for his focus. He eventually flied out to right field and ended the night 0 for 4.
As the game’s announcers reminded us, the play reminded many of Randy Johnson inadvertently hitting a bird in flight with a pitch 15 years ago:
Johnson’s pitch was going over 100 mph during spring training in 2001, when he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks won their only World Series title that season, in seven games over the New York Yankees.
The dove, not surprisingly, died on impact.
Many people considered the incident one of the most unlikely things they had ever seen on a baseball diamond. Monday’s near miss showed it might not have been as improbable as many believed.
Who knows, maybe Wildlife Control needs to look into protecting nature against the environmental risks posed by flying baseballs. I’m sure there’s a bird expert somewhere writing up a grant proposal as we speak. Government agencies have funded dumber studies.
KC Royals fans have to hope that the incident might prove a good omen, since the Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001. However, I have to point out that both Wainwright and Cuthbert MISSED the bird, which suggests both teams will fail to win the World Series if you buy into that kind of logic.