At a baseball game in Minneapolis, Minnesota between the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins, fans got to witness more than they expected.
It was the Twins’ home opener and the pregame pageantry was well underway. As a giant American flag unfurled nearby, a bald eagle that was brought in to fly over the field for the national anthem decided to go off script.
Instead of the usual graceful flight, this eagle decided to target opposing pitcher James Paxton of the Mariners, who just so happens to be Canadian.
“I guess the eagle knew I was Canadian. I don’t know. But it came for me,” said Paxton. “I figured I’m not going to outrun an eagle, so might as well see what happens.”
Instead of flying to his handlers, the eagle (whose name is Challenger) took a special interest in Paxton. “I kind of ducked it so it wouldn’t fly into my face. It was, I think, trying to stand on my back,” he said.
“Then I thought, ‘Okay, if I can stand up slowly, maybe it will just rest on my shoulder.’ But as I stood up, he kind of fell off my back a little bit and was kind of clawing to try to get back up on my shoulder,” Paxton recalled. “But then as I stood straight up, it fell back to the ground.”
“I don’t think the talons punctured me. They were kind of sharp on my back. I don’t have any scratches, I don’t believe,” he continued. “That’s not the first time I’ve seen a bald eagle, but it was the first time I’ve had one try to land on me.”
“I was just standing there trying not to panic.”
Watch the eagle take on the Canadian pitcher during the national anthem in the video below.
It’s been a good year for eagles in Minnesota as earlier this year, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game and defeated the New England Patriots in Minneapolis two weeks later to win the Super Bowl.
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