Baseball and Sudden Death

Baseball. Sudden death. Two-fisted subjects. But what are they doing on a website about birds and birding? Everything.The pitch

By now you’ve probably seen the snippet of video in which fireballer Randy Johnson throws a 97-mile-an-hour pitch in a Diamondbacks-Giants pre-season game, and a bird happens to fly into the trajectory of the ball as it zooms from the mound toward the plate. Bam, the bird explodes in a burst of feathers while stunned ballplayers stop the game and the umps try to figure out what to call the pitch.

Makes you wonder two things: One, if you’re interested in birds—and you probably are, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this website—what species was that hapless bird? Well, as far as we can tell it was one of those show biz albino Rock Doves, although some say a gull. We’ll call it a dove, though, since gulls are less likely in Arizona, and there was talk of a dove-releasing ceremony at the game. In any case, it was an explosion of white, and it sure wasn’t a Snowy Owl.

The windup...
The windup…

By the way there’s actually different footage of another bird being hit, same way, in a minor league game. That bird was documented as a gull, probably a Herring Gull and it was said to have survived. Gulls are tougher than doves. And a minor league pitcher’s no Randy Johnson. If you’re going to get smacked by a league, stick to the minors.

Anyway, the other thing you’ve got to wonder is: Life, what’s it all about. One second you’re flying along without a care and the next second you’re a splatter of feathers and a hit on You Tube.

The pitch
The pitch

Now, the more philosophical of two-fisted guys are saying, hey, maybe that’s not so bad. Think of all the things this bird will never have to do…

It’ll never have to sit around starving because its arthritis is so bad it can’t fly. It’ll never die of cancer of the giblets. It’ll never perch on a branch wondering where the hell it is and how did it get there. It’ll never look at a hot young Rock Dove and think, “I haven’t got a chance.” It’ll never get old and lose its feathers.

Was it good to die young? No, absolutely not. Was it good to die fast? Well, sure. Was it good to be immortalized by Randy Johnson, one of the biggest, hardest-throwing pitchers to ever head for the Hall of Fame?


From our point of view, the human, or at least semi-human view, we have to say that it’s humbling and instructive, even inspirational, to be reminded once again how everyday life can disappear in a splash.

A little more okay
A little more okay

You don’t expect it. You can’t see it coming. And bam, gone. Thoughts like this can make you feel like getting a big martini and a steak. And while you’re in the mood, it just seems a little more okay to get the pie ala mode for dessert.

Why not enjoy the things you were born to enjoy? They say you never hear the shot that kills you. If you’re a dove on a baseball diamond, you never see the fastball that gets you. And if you’re a guy, you might never know when the good times are going to stop rolling.

So enjoy. And take solace in knowing that the bird nailed by Randy Johnson probably had a belly full of ballpark fries and a half eaten hotdog, two tastes of bird heaven, with more to follow. At least we hope so.

One Response to “Baseball and Sudden Death”

  1. Tim Pinkston says:

    “Cancer of the giblets?” This is priceless stuff. Thanks!!

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