This is a story, first and foremost, about patriotism. It’s a tale about home field advantage and always having pride in who you are. It is also a story about a bird digging its talons into a human.
The Minnesota Twins held their home opener on Thursday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners. The pregame festivities featured, among other things, a bald eagle landing on the field as a symbol for the United States. The eagle sails around the field and seems to zero in on Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton. The eagle, representative of the nation and its beloved pastime, likely knew that Paxton is Canadian. Or it’s a bird and just does this stuff sometimes, either/or.
But “Big Maple,” as he’s called, didn’t know what would be in store for him from this eagle. After the brief flyby and a stare-down, the eagle took flight once more and mixed up Paxton for an actual tree.
The eagle definitely got some talons on him, but it doesn’t appear that Paxton was hurt by the exchange. The animal trainer comes over shortly after to find the bird, who rightfully got distracted by the opposing pitcher. As for the game, Paxton went five innings, allowing four hits and two runs (both earned) while striking out seven. There is no word on what happened to the eagle after this, but it was probably given some food or something.