It was quite the odd start as the Minnesota Twins hosted the Seattle Mariners in their home opener on Wednesday.
Members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Curling Team Shuster that surprised everyone and won gold at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, were invited to throw out the first pitches.
As members of the Duluth Curling Club, for them, it was a dream to have an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Twins game.
But those dreams didn’t go as smoothly as they probably wished. Adorned in white jackets with their gold medals proudly hanging around their necks, the five curlers lined up in a row to pitch at the same time.
And as it often occurs when a non-baseball player steps up to throw the first pitch before thousands of fans, it went awry.
While one was on target, three of the other throws would probably be scored a wild pitch in baseball. Though one of the members stuck to his game, rolling the ball much like a curling rock towards home plate.
But the oddity of these opening day ceremonies at Target Field didn’t end there.
Ladner, B.C., native and Seattle Mariners’ starting pitcher that day, James Paxton, remained surprisingly still as a bald eagle, that was supposed to fly across a gigantic American flag, found a landing spot on his shoulder.
Paxton, after the game, told reporters how he was able to remain so still as the large bird flew towards him.
“I’m not going to outrun an eagle,” Paxton recounted to USA Today.
“It was coming right for me, and I was like, ‘All right, the [bird trainer] is over there. And I’m not the eagle guy.’ But I guess this eagle was just confused, apparently the first time ever. I was just standing there trying not to panic.”
While bad ceremonial pitches and out-of-control wildlife aren’t necessarily new to baseball, having one happen after another may be a first.
Longtime Toronto Blue Jays fans may remember an incident at Exhibition Stadium in 1983 where then New York Yankee Dave Winfield killed a seagull with a baseball. While Winfield maintained that it was an accident, Toronto police charged him with cruelty to animals. The charges were eventually dropped.
And after all of that pre-game commotion, the Twins ended up beating the Mariners 4-2.