Baseball Game Delayed as Bee Wrangler Saves Players and Fans from Swarm Invasion


Play ball. The uncharacteristic chant that echoed around Chase Field on Tuesday evening meant far more than the traditional rallying cry for the competitors on the diamond below. This particular night, the anticipation humming in the air matched that of the buzzing wings of the swarm of bees who had descended on the stadium.

The bees claimed the baseball diamond as their new home, weighing down the protective netting behind home plate, mere hours before the Los Angeles Dodgers were to do battle with the Arizona Diamondbacks. This unexpected interruption from nature, absent of malice but high in drama, delayed the start of the game by almost two hours.

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The chaotic scene unfolded under the close scrutiny of Diamondbacks’ manager, Torey Lovullo, and Dodgers’ bench boss, Dave Roberts. A conference of their minds ensued with the umpires, their conversation eventually relayed through the public address system to the patiently awaiting fans.

The logistics of remedying the situation came into play twenty minutes into the delay. A member of the grounds crew, balancing properly with practiced precision, wheeled out a scissor lift onto the field. The stage was set, and it wasn’t long before a hero emerged to steal the show.

Enter Matt Hilton, a representative from Blue Sky Pest Control’s Phoenix branch and specialist bee wrangler. His entrance felt almost cinematic, rolling in on a cart from right field, taking his first steps towards the buzzing horde above home plate. The fanfare grew to a chorus as he suited up in his beekeeper armor and moved in on the unexpected guests.

The crowd erupted in cheers as Hilton, with a wave of his hand, brought them to their feet. The melodious strains of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero,” echoed in the stadium as he sprayed the bees, stunning them, and began vacuuming them from their new-found perch above home base. The late-comers of the swarm were given the same treatment before Hilton descended back onto the diamond, pumping his fist high in a victorious salute as the crowd offered an ovation.

The players, who had enjoyed an unexpected interlude, were allowed a full 30 minutes to reacclimate themselves to the game. The Diamondbacks took advantage of this time to switch starting pitchers from Jordan Montgomery to Brandon Hughes.

For Hilton, the spectacle was not yet over as the Diamondbacks had yet another surprise waiting for him. Honoring his heroics, he was offered the chance to throw out the game’s first pitch. He took the mound, still in his beekeeper suit, showing that man was in command, even when nature decided to play ball.

The invasion of the bees had not been entirely surprising. Springtime in Arizona has seen its fair share of bee swarms leading to delays in sporting events. In fact, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, experienced a similar incident between players Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev just last month. Usually Chase Field’s retractable roof keeps such disruptions to a minimum, but on this sunny Tuesday evening, the roof was open, and the bees were ready to play.