Animals invading a sports field are more common than one might think.
From cats to dogs to squirrels and even capybaras, a wide variety of animals have taken the court, field, or ballpark. While these invasions can cause frustrating game delays, they are quite the tale to tell!
The St. Louis Squirrel
In a game against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were interrupted by a squirrel that ran across home plate in Busch Stadium. The squirrel even scurried up into the stands, confusing players and viewers alike. In the end, the speeding squirrel was nicknamed “Rally Squirrel.” Perhaps Rally Squirrel was the luck they needed, though, because the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series!
Halloween Bat Invasion
In 2009, a crazy coincidence happened when a bat flew into the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Halloween. The bat glided rapidly across the court during the Spurs and Sacramento Kings basketball game. Unfortunately, Spurs player Manu Ginobili whacked the creature mid-air, and it fell onto the court.
Spurs Bat Invasion II
In January 2019, The Spurs had another encounter with bats. Four bats flew around the same court where the Halloween bat appeared a decade prior. The game was delayed for a while, and Manu Ginobili’s name was shouted by Spurs fans around the court.
Spurs Bat Invasion III
The Spurs versus New Orleans Pelicans game in February of 2019 saw another bat speeding across the court. In this instance, The Coyote, the Spurs mascot, caught the bat with a net. Funny enough, The Coyote was dressed as Batman when he conquered the flying creature.
Digby the Dog
Digby the Dog is known for stealing golfer Paul Casey’s ball right off the green. During the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland in 2012, a dog followed Casey and his team until he committed his devious act. Digby tried to evade being caught, but he was eventually grabbed by a nearby onlooker.
Rae the Cat
In a game between the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens, the most adorable cat waltzed onto the field of M&T Bank Stadium in 2017. The cat was ultimately removed from the area and adopted by a stadium staff member. The owner named the cat “Rae” after the Baltimore Ravens.
Cursed Black Cat
Black cats are associated with signs of bad luck, and in 1969, one black cat warned the Chicago Cubs. In a Cubs versus New York Mets game, a black cat ran around player Ron Santo while he was on deck. It is said that the black cat cursed the Chicago Cubs, who did not make it to the playoffs for that season.
Animals Invading a Sports Field: Beware of The Sting!
In May 2019, a swarm of bees delayed a Cincinnati Reds versus Francisco Giants baseball game by 18 minutes in the Great American Ball Park. Players and crowd members were petrified that the bees might sting them. Luckily, the bees came before the first pitch, so the game wasn’t interrupted mid-way.
Baseball Bees, Again
In a Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Angels game, a group of bees swarmed a camera positioned right above home plate. Thankfully, the bees did not go after any players or spectators; they seemed only interested in getting the best seats in the ballpark! As a result, the game was delayed.
Groundhog at NASCAR
Although he was no Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog meandered onto Michigan International Speedway, disrupting a NASCAR practice. He was soon removed by some employees and carried away. We will never know why the groundhog decided to run onto the track; maybe he was looking for his shadow.
Capybaras in Rio
In 2016, a capybara trudged onto a golf course only a week before the start of the Olympic games! Sergio Garcia and Bernd Wiesberger saw its adorableness up close. This was not a one-time event, though. In fact, many capybaras and other animals were repeatedly invading the Olympic golf course, causing anxiety about who or what might interrupt the games the following week.
Animals Invading a Sports Field: Alligator Edition
This story might lean toward terrifying rather than hilarious. One sunny day, a massive alligator walked onto Osprey Point Golf Course on Kiawah Island. Huge doesn’t even describe how colossal and intimidating the alligator was. He did not seem to be bothered, though, simply walking along and enjoying the beautiful sunshine and the gorgeous green.
The most well-known story of an animal on the field occurred when Randy Johnson’s made his infamous pitch toward the home plate. In a startling coincidence, a bird flying across the ballpark met the pitch thrown by Arizona Diamondbacks Randy Johnson. The throw was so strong that the bird’s feathers practically exploded from its body. The bird passed away upon contact.