Sports are great. Animals are great. So what is the general consensus when the two mix? Chaos — and awesomeness.
From from a cat-tastrophe, a furry feline got loose during Friday’s Dodgers-Rockies game in Denver. It had a nice run and spent some time luxuriating in the outfield grass.
But that cat was not the first animal to become the star of a game. Far from it.
There was that time when a sportswriter’s own dog ran onto the field, interrupting a UGA football game. And San Antonio seemingly has had as many bat encounters as Dracula. In honor of these amazing animal-on-field incidents, let’s look back at some other top moments.
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio
When: 2009 — and again in 2019
Here’s the thing about bats: If you don’t know much about them and what they’re capable of, they’re terrifying. And at AT&T Center, where the San Antonio Spurs play, they’ve shown up more than once.
First, we have to go to October 2009, when one bat invaded the Spurs game against the Sacramento Kings. Luckily, the swift and speedy Manu Ginobili was still on the Spurs, and he was able to somehow swat the creature down and capture it. What’s even more interesting is that this happened on Halloween night.
The bats weren’t done though.
The Spurs were taking on the Brooklyn Nets in January when the game was delayed for a few minutes by not just one, but four bats, as the staff worked to clear the animals. Clearly fans knew who was needed, as chants of “Manu, Manu, Manu” broke out in the crowd.
Sorry to break it to you, but the bats weren’t done in San Antonio. A month later, during a Spurs game against the New Orleans Pelicans, another bat made its way to the floor at AT&T Center.
This time it was the Spurs’ mascot, The Coyote, who was able to capture the critter with a fishing net near the scorer’s table during the first quarter. The delay lasted about 90 seconds.
The bats came back AGAIN for a third time this year in March when the Spurs were taking on the Milwaukee Bucks. Again, The Coyote came to the rescue.
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Imagine it’s your first time bursting into the spotlight, and you win the World Series.
That’s how it went down (kinda) for the gray squirrel that ran across home plate at Busch Stadium during Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals in October 2011.
There was no delay of game, though it was evident that every player was considerably confused.
*Note: We scoured every corner of the interwebs, and there is no original video of the Rally Squirrel. It seems that 2011 was clearly a much simpler time.
The Phillies won Game 3 though, giving them a 2-1 lead in the NLDS. But the Cardinals won Games 4 and 5, clinching the series and heading to the World Series. St. Louis went on to win the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers in seven games with Rally Squirrel playing a role.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore and MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
When: 2017, 2019
Cats are pretty nimble creatures, so it’s no surprise how often they make their way into any sports venue.
In 2017, a kitten snuck down into M&T Bank Stadium to take in a game between the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.
Tony Romo’s play-by-play is highly entertaining. But the cute cat was eventually captured by stadium staff and taken away.
The story had a happy ending, though. According to the team, a stadium employee officially adopted the stray cat and named her “Rae” — short for Ravens.
In 2019, a black cat ran onto the field during last week’s New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys Monday Night Football game at MetLife Stadium.
Where: Dunhill Links Championship, Scotland
Look, dogs and balls go hand in hand. Not only that, but Scotland is one of the most dog-friendly nations. So it’s no surprise that Dunhill Links has seen its fair share of pooches during golf play.
In 2012, however, one dog took its ball obsession a bit too far, and stole Paul Casey’s golf ball right off of the third hole green.
“It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever had happen on a golf course,” Casey said. “I noticed the dog on the 12th tee and he sort of followed us down the fairway before taking a real liking to my golf ball.”
The good news was that Casey was allowed to play his original ball and scored a birdie on the hole.
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
The worst part about bees is you really have no idea which way they are going to fly. And of course the fact that they can sting you.
There was an 18-minute delay when a swarm of bees landed at the top of the backstop screen before the first pitch of a game in May between the San Francisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds.
Honestly, we’re just glad no one got stung.
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