A bald eagle landed on James Paxton before he pitched against the Twins
Anyone that's seen Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" or James Nguyen's "Birdemic," knows that our friendly feathered friends can sometimes turn fowl. James Paxton learned that up close and personal before Thursday's 4-2 loss against the Twins.
With a bald eagle out on the field for the Twins' home opener, it seemingly mistook the Big Maple for either a) an actual tree, b) his owner or c) was trained to give the Twins an edge before Paxton took the mound.
You have to give the lanky left-hander some serious props -- he barely moved as the eagle landed upon him.
"It was coming right for me and I was like, 'Alright, the guy is over there. And I'm not the eagle guy,'" Paxton said after the game. But I guess this eagle was just confused -- apparently the first time ever. I was just standing there trying not to panic."
"I wasn't going to run," Paxton added. "I figured I'm not going to outrun an eagle, so we might as well just see what happens."
While almost any other person would have turned tail and fled, Paxton explained why he was able to stay so calm. "I was just kind of like, alright, we'll see what happens. When it first started flying toward my face, I ducked it. But it was just trying to stand on my shoulder. I think it was just confused, thinking I was the [trainer.] It actually fell off my shoulder because I didn't have the perch thing on my shoulder to grab onto."
Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who pitched 4 1/3 innings in the victory, would not have held his ground the way his opponent did. "That was impressive," Gibson told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. "I don't know how he handled that. I would've been freaking out. How he stood there with the eagle on his shoulder was impressive. I don't know how cool he thought the moment was, but that was a pretty cool moment."
"That was a classic," Twins manager Paul Molitor added. "I tried to imagine being in his position. He was so calm. The eagle was ignoring the whistle. That's for sure. We could hear it by the mound. It made for a nice moment."
Naturally, Fernando Rodney's take was wholly unique. "Wow. That's the first time I've ever seen that," Rodney said. "When I saw that, I said, 'Wow. That's baseball. A lot of things happen.'"