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Friday, July 03, 2009

Bee Team: Astros 7, Padres 2

Apparently, there was a 52-minute delay in today's Padres game while the team called a beekeeper to tranquilize a swarm that had infested left field and chased Padre Kyle Blanks in the top of the ninth.
Imagine you're Kyle Blanks for a moment, a 22-year-old rookie not even a month in the Major Leagues. You're a first baseman by trade, but you're in left field, learning a brand new position and trying to just slide under the radar.

The plan is working just fine. It's a sun-splashed day at PETCO Park in the ninth inning in what has become an otherwise forgettable game with most of the crowd of 23,284 long gone as the Padres are trailing the Houston Astros by six runs.

Suddenly, standing there in left field, Blanks notices a bee milling around his head. And then another. He's not allergic to bees, or at least he doesn't think so, but Blanks and bees don't mix, he would say after the game.

"I saw one or two floating around my head, and then I turned around and there was just a wall [of bees]," Blanks said. "There was just a ton of them. I started walking in and tried to get out of there. It's not something I want to tempt."

Who could blame him?

It was probably a smart, as what the Padres estimated were 2,000 bees had flown in from center field, passed high over the left-field seats and then settled down near Blanks in left field.

The bees (not the Salt Lake variety) left peaceably, and so did the Padres. Of course, as they pointed out in the Angels broadcast tonight, Manny Ramirez is scheduled tomorrow in left at Petco. Huh.

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Those bees left Petco Park peacefully dead. The exterminator was fast and efficient. It is probably in his contract that if the bees are not gone within one hour of the phone call he receives his service is free. My nine-year-old son, his friend and I were at yesterday's Houston Astros @ San Diego Padres game. When the game was stopped with two outs in the top of the ninth because of the bee swarm I figured it would take close to an hour for the game to resume. I based that on a little league tournament game played at the end of May/beginning of June 2004 between the South Sunrise AAA Dodgers and another league's Padres. When we arrived at the Anaheim Hills little league field (Peralta Canyon Park, Thomas Guide page 770 quadrant D2) south of the 91 freeway we found a beehive in the first base dugout of the field we were to play on. While waiting for the exterminator the Dodgers practiced as the Padres just stood around. The Padres parents had an impromptu meeting about protesting the game before it was played. As it was a tournament and there was a game the next day a protest would very quickly turn into a forfeit loss. After the exterminator sprayed the hive with poison he flooded the dugout with water. Our Dodgers won the coin flip for home field advantage (and the third base dugout). The Padres were forced to use the visiting bullpen as their dugout. That was sixty feet further away than the flooded first base side dugout). The Dodgers took a seven run lead, fell behind by five, and eventually won by two runs in a slugfest with a forgotten final score. The Padres delay in warming up prior to the exterminator's arrival led to the game being shortened from six innings to five innings. When in doubt warm up!

Yesterday's beefest in San Diego was the first game of a doubleheader for us. The nightcap was the Baltimore Orioles @ Los Angeles Angels game. With the Astros up 6-1 in the top of the ninth it was a pretty easy call to leave the Astros-Padres game early in order to be sure to see the first pitch in Anaheim. If it was a tie game or one run game we probably would have stayed in Petco Park until the end. Geoff Blum had a rbi single to put the Astros ahead to stay (a game winning hit in my book) in the first inning. Later Blum clubbed a three-run home run to right field off of Kevin Correia to cap a four rbi game. Blum was the Killer Bee of the game. Lance Berkman gets an honorable mention with two doubles, two walks, three runs scored, and one rbi. The bees were attracted to a ball girl's jacket that was hung on a folding chair in foul territory down the left field line. Perhaps she left some honey gum in her coat pocket. It certainly was not sugar free gum. The beeswarm arrival just after 3 p.m. is probably the typical time this problem occurs. The bees need a home for the night. They scout around for a likely site and go into hive making mode. This probably was not a permanent hive. They might of just stayed for the weekend or even just overnight. They might of moved off on their own accord prior to the Man Ram is back Dodgers exodus to San Diego arrived today. Count me in the camp that believes Jason Bay has a better future than Manny Ramirez. I will be at the Big A tonight for the second game of the Orioles @ Angels series. For the record I was at a game at Jack Murphy Stadium in the early Nineties that was delayed when a skunk ran on the field. It was at least the second time they had a skunk delay at Jack Murphy Stadium. Skunk removal is much quicker than bee removal!
EXCELLENT stories.
Outstanding blog! The neat thing about yesterday's Astros-Padres game was that it was my birthday and my name is Jeff. The Killer Bee who had the game winning hit (a first inning single) and a 3-run home run for a 4-rbi game was named Geoff! Thanks for cluing me in on the incredible Matt Wieters! I am ready to depart to see the Traveling Wieters Roadshow tonight at the Big A. When my son Roger and I were in Minneapolis for the three game Brewers @ Twins series (plus one Red Sox game) over the Memorial Day Weekend we saw the greatest catcher B.W. (Before Wieters), Joe Mauer club three home runs, including one off of Jon Papelbon.

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