Baseball conjures images of a big grass field, hot dogs and cold drinks, players throwing the baseball to get the runner out at second…and bugs? In baseball, we often only see the exciting action of the game without remembering that there are smaller members of the team who inhabit the field as well. Bugs ranging from worms, beetles, moths, bees, and even praying mantises make their homes in baseball fields. While these might seem harmless to us, several players have had unpleasant experiences with these unwanted teammates.
One such experience came in 2007 at a Yankees/Indians game. A swarm of gnats had a mating swarm in the middle of the game right in the middle of the pitcher’s mound. This was problematic for some of the Yankee pitchers and ended up costing them the game. Not only was the bug problem a determining factor in the outcome of the game; it was determined that bugs also caused slight waves in the finish grade on the field.
Another pest problem came in the form of squirrels at Game 4 of the National League Division Series when the Cardinals played the Phillies in 2011. During the 5th inning, a brave squirrel approached Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt in the middle of a pitch. Oswalt asked the umps to nullify the pitch, claiming the squirrel had distracted him. Umps stood firm and the play stood.
So if your playing seems off, blame it on the bugs, and call Command!