Eagle lands on Mariners pitcher before game

NOAA via tropical tidbits

As Dessa finished singing the Star Spangled Banner, a bald eagle that was supposed to land on the pitcher's mound instead alighted on Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton.

"It was coming right for me and I was like, 'Alright, the guy is over there". The Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game this winter, of course, before the Eagles came to Minneapolis two weeks later to win their first Super Bowl. The bird initially flew off and landed on the ground but went airborne again, landing its giant claws into Paxton's shoulder!

"I was just standing there, trying not to panic", he said.

"Figured I'm not going to outrun an eagle", Paxton said.

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During the National Anthem, Paxton was standing alone in left field at Target Field between warm-up throws. The Canadian's nickname is the Big Maple. But it was just trying to stand on my shoulder. "The talons, they were kind of sharp on my back, but I don't have any scratches I believe".

Eagles by nature will seek the highest point as a landing spot.

Paxton had a rocky first start of the season, allowing six runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Indians, but perhaps this is a sign of a few goose-egg outings to come.

Paxton called the experience interesting and said tongue-in-cheek that he wasn't too surprised that the errant eagle sought out the Canadian on the the field.

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