Delay of Game: Bees Crossing
If you weren’t at Banner Island Ballpark on Sunday afternoon (4/15), you missed out on quite a sight to see – and a sound to hear for that matter! During the top of the fourth inning, some 20,000 bees made their way over the center-field wall and directly across the field, buzzing above the heads of the Ports players on the field and the Nuts players on base and at bat.
We sat down with the Ports starting pitcher Blake Hassebrock, who was on the mound when the swarm came in, and asked him to recount the event. “I turned around and saw my second baseman lying on the ground, and I stepped off the rubber to see what was going on – I thought he was hurt, maybe,” said Hassebrock. “And then our shortstop hit the dirt, and there was a base runner on second base, and I think he thought we were trying to pick him off, because he dove back to the bag on his face and he didn’t know what was going on. And this was before I even saw one bee. Then the umpire hit the dirt, my outfielders were running around, and I started walking to the dugout, and before I knew it everyone on the field was on the ground and I was just walking to the dugout. Then the whole dugout started screaming at me, “Hass get on the ground!!” like there was a bomb about to go off, so I got on the ground. And then I heard the bees – just a huge swarm of them right over the infield. It was wild; I’d never seen anything like it. I was laughing my face off, lying down on the ground. It was hilarious seeing all the guys, in the middle of a baseball game.”
Ports General Manager Luke Reiff stepped out of the Front Office just as all of this was taking place. “I walked out the back door of the office and it was literally one of the strangest things I’d ever seen at a ballpark,” accounts Reiff. “I walked out in the middle of it and saw that the players were on the ground and immediately started thinking of scenarios that could be happening, but I couldn’t match up players lying on the ground with anything from our emergency manual. Then I walked down the concourse and saw the bees, and I was actually close enough to watch the swarm fly right over the press box and colonize on this tree outside the gates.”
And colonize was exactly what they did – all 20,000 bees swarmed a small tree in the parking lot that was quickly roped off to protect fans from getting too close as they left the game. Amazingly, no one was hurt as the bees made their way on through the ballpark. And once they had cleared, play continued just as if it had all been a strange dream, with the Ports going on to defeat the Nuts in the bottom of the 9th thanks to a walk off homerun from Ryan Pineda. Hassebrock’s closing remark on the event was that it was the craziest thing he’d ever seen on a baseball field, and it’s safe to say that it was something that he and all of the players, staff, and fans in attendance Sunday afternoon are never going to forget.