When I logged onto MLB.com to check the Giants vs. Diamondbacks score on this opening weekend of spring training 2012, I was quite surprised to see "Delay" written in the current inning column. Upon refreshing my browser in disbelief, that five-letter word best known by East Coast weather teams like the Red Sox and Yankees remained—somehow the Giants and Diamondbacks were in a delay, in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona, in March.
It clearly wasn't rain. The box score had reported a perfect 75 degree, sunny day.
Unfortunately, it is too early in spring training for television broadcasts, but Diamondbacks' Luis Gonzalez on K-TAR radio explained exactly what the problem was—a swarm of bees had settled into the centerfield area before fluttering toward the infield, causing a mass exodus by the D-Backs defense.
Centerfielder Chris Young described the insect invasion: "I heard it before I saw it," while the Giants' Angel Pagan had a backup plan just in case the bees decided to attack: "I was right next to the bathroom in case I had to lock myself in."
Unfortunately, D-Backs starter and ace Ian Kennedy was so spooked by the early-inning bee delay that he did not return to pitch following the 41 minute apiarian adjournment.
This isn't the first time bees have wrecked havoc on MLB teams. In 2009, an Astros vs. Padres game was delayed 52-minutes by a bee invasion in left field of San Diego's PETCO Park. During that game, a fully equipped bee-keeper had to be called in to remove the bees before Houston could go on and continue a 7-2 rout of the Padres.
As for Sunday's San Francisco vs. Arizona matchup, it was all downhill for Arizona after the bee incident: The Diamondbacks were pummeled by a split Giants squad, 11-1.
Fear not, however, for Arizona fans can take solace in the following:
- The first few games of spring training—and March in general—don't make a heap of difference when it comes to trying to predict a division winner. In 2011, for instance, the Minnesota Twins won the Grapefruit League, while the Kansas City Royals finished second to San Francisco in the Cactus League—the Diamondbacks were dead last in spring training last season before coming back to win the 2011 NL West championship.
- The Diamondbacks play indoors, often with the roof closed during the hot desert summer. Let's hope Chase Field's roof is secure.
Ah, spring training at its finest.
Gil Imber is Bleacher Report's Diamondbacks and Rules Featured Columnist and owner of Close Call Sports, a website dedicated to the objective and fair analysis of close or controversial calls in sports.