CHICAGO — The White Sox and Rays encountered quite the stubborn pigeon here at The Cell this afternoon. In the top of the second inning, the bird landed on the field down the first-base line and began walking back and forth all along the chalk line.
At one point in the inning, Rays first-base coach George Hendrick tried to shoo the bird away, but it flew a few feet before dropping back down to the dirt. The pigeon kept up the act, much to the amusement of those in the seats and in the pressbox, for the entire inning.
The feisty fowl made its way toward home plate in the middle of the second, but was scared when one of Matt Garza’s warm-up pitches zipped by above his head. So, he treated back down the first-base line, waddled on the infield grass, and made it almost to second baseman Akinori Iwamura.
Finally, when the bird moved back in front of home plate with Ken Griffey Jr. up in the bottom of the second, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro moved from behind the plate and waved his glove at the bird, who hopped toward the mound. Garza walked off and shooed the bird, too, and the fans erupted in a hilarious chorus of boos.
Garza’s attempt to get rid of the bird suceeded temporarily. After Griffey singled to center, the bird flew to near the third-base dugout, but refused to leave the field. Soon, a second pigeon joined him near the mound — though that one flew off when he heard the crack of Alexei Ramirez’s bat.
At the end of the inning, Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria trotted off the field and ran toward the bird and scared him off, with the pigeon finally flying away. Is there anything that rookie can’t do? Man, it was pure entertainment. Oh, and the Rays are up, 1-0, in the third.