Swarm of bees delays Mariners-Angels finale
Fan, apiarist at local beehive removal company, helps grounds crew
ANAHEIM -- A swarm of bees circling through Angel Stadium delayed the Mariners' 3-2 win over the Angels for 23 minutes on Sunday when the contest was stopped midway through the bottom of the third inning.
Felix Hernandez stepped off the mound when the insects first arrived, huddling over near third baseman Kyle Seager as members of the Angels jeered him from their dugout.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said this was a first for him.
"I've never seen bees like that," said Wedge. "I've seen quite a few instances in my days as a manager with different types of bugs, but never like that with a swarm of bees. I couldn't see them for a long time. Then finally I got my eyes fixed on them, and then I couldn't get rid of them. I didn't know what was going on out there for a while, but I'm glad nobody got stung."
Hernandez said the bees weren't actually too close to him on the mound, but he wasn't taking any chances.
"When they called timeout and I turned around, I saw them and just started running to the dugout, the [Angels] dugout," Hernandez said. "I just saw them in right field and I said, 'No, I'm not staying here.'"
The bees eventually congregated in the outfield, but did make a pass through the infield initially.
"I didn't notice them until that one inning, but mid-pitch I had them swarming around my head," said first baseman Justin Smoak. "It's the first time I've ever seen that."
Mariners right fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has had more than his share of health misfortunes over the past few years, fled his post quickly once he figured out what was going on.
"I heard people yelling at me, telling me there were a lot of bees behind me," said Gutierrez. "But I didn't pay attention. As soon as I looked back I was, 'Oh my God. That's a lot.' That was crazy today. That was something different. … I was hoping Felix would get the [final] out. That was scary right there."
Gutierrez said he doesn't know if he's allergic to bees, but he wasn't about to find out.
"I just ran away, just in case," he said with a smile. "There were a lot of them."
Mariners defenders were eventually pulled off the field by the umpires.
The swarm circled in the right-field area, then moved out over the center-field fence, as fan John Poto -- -- an apiarist at local beehive removal company Honey Pacifico -- pursued the swarms with a Gatorade bucket that contained honey, a broom and what looked like some kind of repellent.
"That was weird. Obviously, it didn't bother Felix. He didn't crack. Kole [Calhoun] was freaking out. There was a softball-sized bee colony on the ground. It was amazing. I've never seen that before. That dude just came out of the stands, 'It's OK, I'm a beekeeper.' It was like a Seinfeld episode," said Angels starter C.J. Wilson.
The score was tied at 1 at the time of the delay. Hernandez, pitching for the first time since straining his left oblique muscle on Sept. 2, continued to pitch.
The game was delayed momentarily again in the top of the fourth when right fielder Calhoun began waving his arms at some remaining bees. Players remained on the field, though center fielder Mike Trout and Calhoun vacated their positions until an Angels grounds crew member came out and blasted a fire extinguisher at a spot in the grass in right-center field.
"That was crazy. I saw them right before they called time -- saw them in right field, moving everybody away. Thought they got rid of them all. Went out there, all the fans were yelling, 'They're on the ground! They're on the ground!' I'm looking around, and I see them swarming, I'm out of there. Saw a pile of bees, hundreds and hundreds of them, right where they dropped that honey on the ground. They were all chomping on it. There were bees everywhere. I had to call [umpire] Jim Joyce over and tell him, 'I'm not kidding, they're all over the ground,'" said Calhoun.